Weekly Standard Writer: Fey Mocked Palin Because Liz Lemon Is Unhappy

Illustration for article titled Weekly Standard Writer: Fey Mocked Palin Because Liz Lemon Is Unhappy

Weekly Standard writer Matthew Continetti has written a book called The Persecution of Sarah Palin, in which he explains why unreal Americans hate her so much. In Tina Fey's case, it's apparently because of her television "alter ego" Liz Lemon.


Paul Bedard at the Washington Whispers blog of US News offers several tidbits from Continetti's book, including this one:

The left recoils at a certain swagger, a manner of speech, and a lack of cultural embarrassment that the two share. Neither Bush nor Palin mind the fact that they are not part of this country's cognoscenti. But until Palin showed up, one could have written off the liberal reaction to Bush as simply anti-Texan bias. That wasn't it, however. Palin proved that at its root the reaction to these folksy Western politicians is a form of anti-provincialism; revulsion toward people who do not aspire to adopt the norms, values, politics and attitudes of the Eastern cultural elite.

Which, like, zzz. But what comes next is some new and different Palin apologia, bizarre enough that it's worthy of a response:

It was telling that Fey should be the actress who impersonated Palin. The two women may look like each other, but they could not be more dissimilar. Each exemplifies a different category of feminism. Palin comes from the I-can-do-it-all school. She is professionally successful, has been married for more than 20 years, and has a large and (from all outward appearances) happy family. And while Fey is also pretty, married, and has a daughter, the characters she portrays in films like Mean Girls and Baby Mama, and in television shows like 30 Rock, are hard-pressed eggheads who give up personal fulfillment-e.g., marriage and motherhood-in the pursuit of professional success. [...] On 30 Rock, Fey, who is also the show's chief writer and executive producer, plays Liz Lemon, a television comedy writer modeled on herself. Liz Lemon is smart, funny, and at the top of her field. But she fails elsewhere. None of her relationships with men works out. She wants desperately to raise a child but can find neither the time nor the means to marry or adopt. Lemon makes you laugh, for sure. But you also would be hard pressed to name a more unhappy person on American TV.

See, Tina Fey chose to mock Sarah Palin because Liz Lemon is unhappy. Since, as he's forced to admit, Fey is married and has a child — and she's received public praise for her looks much as Palin has — Continetti has to delve into the characters she plays in order to find miserable feminists to use as strawwomen. He also says that "Palin's sudden global fame rankled those feminists whose own path to glory had been difficult" — can he really be arguing that Fey resents Palin because Liz Lemon's personal life sucks? That even though she herself "can-do-it-all" (and annoying formulation if there ever was one), she hates Palin because Lemon is stuck working on her night cheese? Does he think, perhaps, that Fey created Lemon as some kind of an exemplar of modern womanhood, and is upset that Palin isn't more like her? Of course, Palin may be more fertile than Lemon, but she's just as absurd. But the most absurd thing of all is that Continetti would choose to center an argument around Liz Lemon, who is an actual "unreal American" since she is fictional. The head explodes.

Interestingly, Continetti's book now has a Nov. 12 pub date, but was apparently originally slated for publication in 2010. This suggests he and his publishers had to rush out the book in response to the moved-up release date of Going Rogue (for which Palin recently reported a "retainer" of $1.25 million, just the first slice of a much larger steaming pie). There appears to be an arms race afoot for who can make excuses for Palin first — herself or her admirers. Pretty soon conservatives will be writing books in negative time.


Palin Book: Feminists Jealous Of Sarah's Rise [U.S. News & World Report: Washington Whispers]
Palin's Book Retainer: $1.25 Million [ADN.com]
Weekly Standard's Continetti Writing Bio Of Sarah Palin [Washington Independent]



I was among the enthusiasts in the Caribou Barbie shock and horror fest, but as everyone piled on criticism with more intensity, I started to wonder about my choice to conform. Now I see Sarah Palin somewhat more clearly as an ordinary person shoved into stressful and extraordinary circumstances. In other words, it may be a good idea to give her some slack. #sarahpalin