June 26, 2009
Sarah Palin: Revenge of the Vagina (Monologues)
Sarah Palin is Eve Ensler's worst nightmare.
That's all you need to know to understand the dramatic impact of the individual who continues to be the target of a cultural and political elite that looks for "anything that will criminalize and/or humiliate Palin and her family." Sarah Palin, of course, is the charismatic, conservative Alaska governor who is unapologetically traditional and Christian in her politics and values. And Eve Ensler is the feminist who wrote the play The Vagina Monologues and has been enshrined by our cultural elite for her bizarre, sometimes depraved, and often just plain silly promotion of a sexual organ as the font of all wisdom.
To understand the Palin hatred, almost always expressed in sexual terms (the David Letterman assessment of her as "slutty" is fairly mild in the Palin-hater scheme of misogynistic insults), you have to understand the profound absurdity of our leftist culture. Ensler's play has been arguably the most visible part of the elite arts scene for more than a decade, performed by adoring feminists at more than 4,000 campuses and college communities in the United States in the past year alone. Her vagina-as-god message has attracted more than twenty awards and a flock of celebrities and politicians anxious to be associated with the playwright who "invented the vagina."
Her original off-Broadway play featured the "good rape" of a 13-year old girl by a lesbian woman who abuses the girl after getting her drunk in order to cure her of the aftereffects of a rape by an adult male some years before. Why is it "good"? Because lesbian abuse of a minor strikes a blow against an established worldview that, according to Ensler and her supporters, must be replaced with...Ensler and her supporters.
The Ensler worldview has become a dominant part of a culture -- most evident on university campuses and in trendy, upscale urban areas -- that promotes spiritual transformation through gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender sex -- not even relationships, just sex. In this, the world's brutality comes from traditional relationships, which lead to the kind of abuse that Ensler has raised more than $50 million to combat. How dominant is this view? The New York Times put its cultural stamp of approval on the world according to Ensler, describing her as "brilliant," a "messiah heralding the second wave of feminism."
Into all of this strides Sarah Palin, who is refreshingly and wonderfully normal, appealing to the vast majority of Americans who don't read The New York Times (303,062,059 at last count) and shake their heads in dismay at the almost endless lineup of celebrities rhapsodizing over the opportunity, like actress Glen Close, to get "2,500 people to stand and chant the word c**t." Or who, unlike the educators bringing culture to their children, don't think that expanding "the identity category of ‘woman'" to "male-to-female trans individuals" will bring peace on earth and goodwill toward...well, all politically sanctioned victims.
Palin is enormously attractive to a majority that has found itself increasingly scorned for middle class values that emphasize morality, tradition and civility (see Bruce Walker's "The Murder of Civil Life" in American Thinker for insight on this). This wide swath of traditional America has found its "proud sense of respectability and family commitment," conservative critic Michael Medved writes, threatened by a cultural avalanche of sex-as-wisdom media and a political class that encourages government dependency by culturally-appointed victims in both public and private life.
Enter the Alaska governor on the national stage. Just when the average American thinks all is lost and Washington is Mordor-on-the-Potomac, Sarah Palin does the unthinkable in a politician: she serves, she works, she makes sense, and she is unapologetically a mother, a wife, and a Christian. She battled corrupt politicians of both parties in Alaska and won, prompting Fred Barnes of The Weekly Standard to describe her, a year before she became the running mate of John McCain, as a politician of "eye-popping integrity." No victim, she: Sarah Palin absorbs the shocks of life the way a ShamWow absorbs water.
Her stewardship of Alaska government has broken the logjam of corruption created by decades of Republican and Democratic politicians, including the incumbent she defeated, and reversed the rating of the governor's office by Alaskans from last to leading all states. Her leadership has enticed Canada and major oil producers to join her in putting together a gas pipeline deal that will do more for U.S. energy self-sufficiency than all the czars and czardines of the Obama administration put together. "By defying naysayers," Investors Business Daily editorialized this month, "Sarah Palin is now vindicated."
Ordinary Americans are responding. Jay Valentine writes in American Thinker that she would "fill a stadium if she were reciting a cookbook." She has been glowingly compared with Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy and -- worst of all, in the eyes of liberals -- Franklin D. Roosevelt (her connection with the average person is a "rare talent" shared by the iconic originator of the New Deal).
And so, too, is the Ensler left. Just as rape is "good" when done for politically correct purposes, so is demonizing an accomplished woman when she threatens the liberal culture that has dominated the past decade. The media establishment has been particularly vicious in its attempt to trivialize her by reducing her to a sexual object. The Associated Press, for example, routinely photographed her as a vice presidential candidate from an angle that emphasized her calves, deliberately playing on images of strippers; Reuters had a more Ensler-like body part in mind when it paired her with a "jacuzzi (sic) floozy"; Yahoo focused on her breasts; Slate, owned by the Washington Post, was reliably Ensler-like when it tagged her as a pornography archetype, the "Sexy Puritan"; and entertainer Sandra Bernhard won applause and laughs from theatergoers and mainstream Washington D.C. media when she warned that Palin would be "gang-raped by my big black brothers" in retaliation for her conservative views.
Palin does not only threaten liberals; she also threatens culturally elite conservatives, who unashamedly savaged a woman who is so...so...well, gauche that she actually admits to praying. Town Hall (by way of the San Francisco Chronical) columnist Debra J. Saunders spoke for a conservative establishment that resented Palin's extraordinary effect on voters when she wrote, "I wish Sarah Palin would just go away." Columnist Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post and National Review attracted cheers from the elite right when she spat, "If BS were currency, Palin could bail out Wall Street herself."
The Washington Post, which has devoted much of the past decade celebrating the Ensler culture, nastily declared that her "greatest hypocrisy is in her pretense that she is a woman." Those were among the kinder words written by one of its showcased writers on faith, a University of Chicago divinity school professor who also derisively noted that someone who "has a womb and makes lots and lots of babies (and drives them to school! wow!)" does not a woman make.
So what does make a woman...politically, that is? Hate and cultural conformity, to judge by the venom spilling from the nation's elite. Ensler promotes this, exhorting women to "vote with your vaginas" and put Democrats in office. She has urged them "to get our vaginas to the polls", in this last election warning that a vote for Palin is the equivalent of a vote for rape...the bad kind. Women -- and those non-traditional men who have escaped gender stereotypes to embrace a walk down the "vagina trail" -- should ask themselves: what would your vagina do?
However, judging by the sea of women in the enthusiastic crowds Palin continues to attract, Eve Ensler is not getting the answer she prefers.