John McCain's on the cover Rolling Stone this week flying a plane that is undoubtedly not Real American(TM) Todd Palin's "320-series Piper single-engine airplane" and, if Todd has his way, likely never will be. But two Unreal Americans, Kay Steiger of Pushback and me, have a bunch to say about what it might mean to live middle-class in the unreal Real America(TM), what kind of lipstick Real Americans(TM) waste on their pigs and what (if any) print publications Real Americans(TM) read. It's so lonely being so normal!MEGAN: Quick! Name a publication you read regularly! KAY: Wait, wait, I know this answer: "All of them!" MEGAN: Alaska is a microcosm of America, dontcha know, they get the news up there, as such! (Except in the one part of Alaska that can see Russia, they don't really get the TV signals.) KAY: Also I love this one: "Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me all these years." MEGAN: Well, at least that totally explains why she was reading John Birch Society claptrap. KAY: I mean, I've had interns answer this question better than Sarah Palin did. MEGAN: Ooh, is that a question you ask in an interview? That's a good one. Has anyone ever said, like, Maxim or Playboy? Because that's what my ex in college subscribed to, if he was being honest. KAY: I think the trick is to answer that question with the publications you should read even if you don't actually. For instance, Palin was the governor of Alaska. Shouldn't she, um, list an Alaska newspaper? MEGAN: You mean, like, the Mat-Su Frontiersman, to which she just also gave an "interview" via e-mail? Don't worry, you don't have to read it, it's basically just the same talking points her staff normally has her parrot! KAY: Well, supposedly she's saving herself for local media on the campaign trail ... except she's not really on the campaign trail either. MEGAN: She's in Arizona, debating Randy Scheunemann... McCain's foreign policy adviser!
Do you think they're debating the merits of the bailout? KAY: Maybe she's trying to convince them that she knows the economic pain and suffering of Real America (TM) in this financial crisis like she did in that interview with crazy-right wing radio host Hugh Hewitt. MEGAN: The first time I looked at that, by the way, I totally saw "Hugh Hefner" and my brain kind of exploded. KAY: HA. Maybe she and your college boyfriend read the same literature and that's why she didn't have an answer to Couric's question. In any case, the Washington Times reported that she and her husband had a combined household income of nearly a quarter million dollars. MEGAN: Dayum, that's some bank for a seasonal worker and a government employee. Do fish in Alaska shit gold bullion? KAY: Apparently. They also own "owns a 320-series Piper single-engine airplane and two boats, a 22-foot Pacific Skiff fishing boat and a 22-foot homemade aluminum fishing boat. He also owns two Bombardier personal watercraft, valued at about $7,000." Do you think Real Americans (TM) have planes and boats? MEGAN: Okay, maybe this makes me not a real America, but how does one go about making a 22 foot aluminum fishing boat at home? Is there, like, a Wasilla community smelter? KAY: Maybe Todd's smelting in secret. MEGAN: With his copy of Playboy! KAY: My favorite part though is they have five properties valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars each and they paid $7,662 in property taxes last year. I think those are the tax cuts for the wealthy at work. MEGAN: Holy shit, that's amazing. I mean, okay , I'll give that maybe a family of 7 living in Manhattan, $250,000 and a half-million dollar home might be looking at an average level of disposable income after food and whatever. KAY: Right, but Alaska ain't no Manhattan! MEGAN: I know! It's not like Wasilla is some accessible-only-by-copter town where shit is flown in — although Kodiak was expensive, it wasn't as pricey as New York City. Like, my folks, in upstate NY: until my dad retired, 2 state incomes (since my mom went back to work after my sister went to college), one home, two cars. Their one house in upstate New York doesn't sit on a scenic lake or anything, but I don't think the view is why it isn't worth $500,000. And they don't make $250,000 a year. Or have "personal watercraft." I think my dad has a 2 seater miniature sailboat (a Sunfish?) that he keeps in the rafters of the garage and has owned since I was a kid. KAY: I'm from Minnesota, which is probably a lot more comparable cost of living to Alaska, and if you have a half a million dollar home, you are well off. MEGAN: Dude, if you have that kind of property here, you are living high on the motherfucking hog. KAY: With lipstick? MEGAN: We're talking the most expensive lipstick sold in Sephora.