Sarah Palin vs. Buffy: Why They Hate Her Part 2

In my post Sarah Palin: Why They Hate Her Part 1, I discussed how the political hatred of Palin’s positions stems from the age-old conflict between the Eastern elites, who favor expensive land and cheap labor, and the Western populists, who favor expensive labor and cheap land. But there is something new, and personal, in the hatred of Palin, that is not political at all. It’s related to her personal life.

There’s been a lot of straight out hatred, directed at Sarah Palin, often from people who have not felt the need to unburden themselves of any particular issue relating to the Presidential election before her selection as McCain’s running mate. Singer Pink says Sarah Palin hates women and is not a feminist. Faded actress and sex tape entrepreneur Pamela Anderson says she can’t stand Palin and tells her to “suck it.” Forgotten movie critic Roger Ebert weighed in on Palin’s glasses, dress, and general appearance (he’s since taken it off his website). Forgotten cheesecake 1970’s actress Lynda Carter confesses her hatred and fear of Palin. “North Country” screenwriter Michael Seitzman lets us know how much he he also hates Palin for being ordinary and “stupid.”

Added to this are constant smears, insinuations, and lurid tales, about Palin’s pregnancy, her daughters, sons, husband, and marriage, from the most “enlightened” side of the aisle, the Left. Which is instructive. It is not just, or even mostly, her politics that some “liberated” women and men feel threatening. Rather it is her life itself that is the most threatening, and creates the most bile since that vitriol directed at first, Andrew Jackson, in 1824, and again in 1828, and Abraham Lincoln in 1860. Sarah Palin is a direct and pressing threat to the current model of female empowerment, probably best symbolized culturally by television’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

Worse, Palin could actually slay Buffy’s model of female empowerment, just by example. Hence the venom.

Like Andrew Jackson, orphaned at 14, and from a poor family, and Abraham Lincoln, another poor and up from his bootstraps politician, Palin comes from a modest background (though not quite as poor as either Jackson or Lincoln). Her parents, like most “middle class” Alaskans, hunted regularly to supplement their food budget. While good money can be made in Alaska, high transport costs make it more like the Tennessee in the 1780’s or Illinois frontier of the early 1800’s. Hunting is not a mark of wealth and leisure, but a matter of economic necessity in a place where a jar of Skippy Peanut Butter can cost $12. Both Sarah Palin’s parents were school teachers who coached track on the side, but lacked money and connections for expensive schools like, for example, Occidental College, and then Columbia (where Barack Obama attended as an underclassmen and transfer, respectively). Like both Jackson and Lincoln, Palin steadily climbed the socio-economic ladder, working a variety of jobs, but that does not account for the rage directed at her. Americans are familiar with all sorts of politicians from modest backgrounds. Neither ex-Wrestler Jesse Ventura (of Minnesota) or celebrity-actor-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger generated this level of bile. Despite being larger than life, outlandish characters from modest backgrounds. Initially, most found them entertaining. No, it is not Sarah Palin’s modest beginnings and rise up the social and economic and political ladder that enrages her mostly non-political critics.

Rather, it is her choice of husband, and her decision to have five children, starting at an early age, that really enrages her critics. Who find that a dagger aimed right at the heart of the traditional view of female empowerment. Simply because people can see her advantages in her choices, and might seek to copy her path.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-California, has five children. However, not only was she born to wealth and power (her father, Thomas D’Alesandro, Jr), was a Maryland Congressman and Mayor of Baltimore, but significantly, she married into wealth and power. Her husband Paul Pelosi is a wealthy businessman. Significantly, Todd Palin is not a wealthy businessman. Though a champion snowmachine racer, he remains blue collar in appearance and status, as a seasonal oil field worker and commercial fisherman. He even retains his United Steelworkers union card.

Unlike TV’s Buffy, Sarah Palin married her High School sweetheart. And not to a man resembling hunky TV-vampire “Angel” either, source of much misery mixed with romance and passion. Nope. Sarah Palin married “Xander.” Todd Palin’s Wikipedia entry may be found here and the actor Nicholas Brendon’s (Xander on Buffy) entry may be found here.

Whether it’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” or “Sex and the City,” or pretty much any female oriented television show, the model for female empowerment is pretty much the same. Have a boyfriend, but for heaven’s sake don’t get married young (Palin married at age 24). Make sure the boyfriend is powerful, or wealthy, or both. Don’t have children, particularly when you’re young (Palin’s first child was born at age 25). Since youth is best spent “exploring” in eternal adolescence. Above all, avoid supportive, steady men in favor of volatile, but high in status and power alternatives. Make sure your parents and family are kept at a distance, since they only limit your endless romantic life and professional growth. These are the rule of female empowerment, adopted by cultural consensus over the years.

Palin violates all those rules. Unlike TV’s Buffy (and also Sex and the City’s Carrie), she chose a supportive, steady man whose character and good points, flaws, and idiosyncrasies were well known to her. Rather than sacrifice career for family, she chose family first over career. Buffy, like most of TV’s empowered heroines (Xena, Veronica Mars, Carrie on Sex and the City), is often alone, between vampires boyfriends, and has no prospect of a family of her own. Even worse, the advantages Palin had over Buffy were obvious. Her husband was steady and supportive, not competitive with her own efforts. Though their family still had to hunt, as most Alaskans do, to supplement their food budget, Todd Palin’s financial and emotional support was critical to Sarah Palin’s advancement (much as Rachel Jackson’s emotional support was critical to Andrew Jackson’s political rise in the chaotic politics of Tennessee). Politics, particularly in the rough and tumble small town Alaskan variety, is not easy. Those most successful in it, usually need a supportive partner. The parallels with other career paths for women are obvious, and threatening.

Thus Palin committed three great “sins” against the conventional wisdom of female empowerment. She first chose to marry, not a powerful, “impressive” short-term romance that brings constant heartache. Buffy is often noting that love for her equals physical passion mixed with pain and misery, and reliably chooses men who will give her the heartache she craves. Sarah Palin compounds this by putting family first, starting hers early, when it’s much easier to conceive, and also care for, children. But even worse, she becomes a full adult, early in her life. Instead of age 35, or later. Trading testosterone and power for comfort, stability, and support; choosing family over career; and becoming adult early. These are her sins.

They are considerable, given the threat her existence poses to the Buffy model.

Just taking her decision to have children early, which is a massive challenge to the status quo. By having her children at a relatively young age, her parents are still young enough to help out with child care, and they do by all accounts, along with Palin’s sisters and brother, who are all close by. The value of the extended nuclear family, as contrasted to the chaotic, divorce-driven single, lonely family of Buffy (or TV’s Veronica Mars) is striking. Palin could afford as many children as Nancy Pelosi (five), with a tiny fraction of her wealth. Rather than the prison that feminism and in particular, Buffy the Vampire Slayer depicted, the nuclear family enabled Palin to have her children first, and later her career. “Having it all,” is indeed possible, but only if your parents stay together, you have a sibling or two, and you have children at a relatively young age with everyone in the same geographic area, willing to help out as part of a close-knit family.

Then, there is Todd Palin. Sarah Palin’s husband. A blue collar man who earned enough working the oil fields and fishing boats, to support a family early. A man who quit his job of 17 years in the oil fields to both avoid conflict of interest (when Palin was elected Governor) and help care for the children while Palin focused on her transition to Governor. Todd Palin later took considerable time off (without pay) to help care for the family when Trig (Palin’s Down Syndrome child, her youngest) was born. Todd Palin no less than Sarah Palin is a threat to the model of female empowerment, which panders to the idea that there are no trade-offs in pursuing the high-status, high-powered, high-testosterone men, or no advantages to be found in choosing comfort, stability, and character instead by women considering marriage.

Can one imagine Bill Clinton, John Edwards, or San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome acting in any similar manner? Much less any of Buffy’s high-powered but unreliable boyfriends? Hollywood no less than politics has a stake in this election and the prominence of the Palin family. It’s why so many made so many negative, personal, and mean spirited comments. They felt profoundly threatened by Palin’s examples, and their own choices seemed shallow and shabby.

Pamela Anderson’s disastrous personal life, rivals fictional Buffy’s for depressing chaotic sadness and bad choices. Lynda Carter married Washington DC attorney and fixer Robert Altman, who was tried and acquitted by Jury in connection with the BCCI securities fraud scandal. Carter has admitted she has undergone treatment for alcoholism. Pink is divorced from Motocross racer Carey Hart, and rumored to be involved in Scientology. Both Roger Ebert and Michael Seitzman work in an industry that is built on pushing positive images of the choices of women like Anderson, Carter, and Pink, and negative ones of the nuclear family choice that Palin made.

Sarah Palin and her family, by demonstrating without a doubt that the nuclear family, and the stability and comfort it brings, can allow ambitious women to achieve great things instead of preventing it, is a massive threat to the conventional idea of female empowerment. She just might slay Buffy’s standard in that regard. No wonder Hollywood reacted so badly. People might have to start working for a living, instead of vomiting out the old, stale ideology of 1968. We can’t have that!

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17 Responses to Sarah Palin vs. Buffy: Why They Hate Her Part 2

  1. Anonymous says:


  2. Anonymous says:

    Well, Buffy is a superhero. Xena is an ancient warrior princess who is taking responsibility for & seeking redemption for wrongs she has committed in the past – she feels she has no right to settle down & be happy until she rights her wrongs. A big positive ,I think – Buffy, Xena, and Veronica Mars were very moralizing shows that always made it clear that subordinating one's personal desires for the greater good or the truth is the right path, that one must take responsibility for one's mistakes, helping others & seeking to do good is a duty, loyalty to friends & family is highly important, etc. Characters that disagree with this idea (e.g. the rebellious, highly sexual, bad girl slayer on Buffy) are typically depicted as dysfunctional, selfish, & on the wrong path. Male supeheroes & warriors, are also quite often single, alone, angsty because a pretty standard trope of this genre is the loneliness & burden of responsibility & duty this type of life carries with it. So, considering some of these shows as bad influences strikes me as odd. Buffy is often miserable because of the duties & burdens of being the "Chosen One" conflict with her desire to be a normal girl who can just enjoy her teenage years & young adulthood. The fact that she mostly chooses the former and is punished when she does not makes me see Buffy and some of the other shows you mentioned as a positive influence on girls. You should have stuck with shows like Gossip Girl, where fashion & the quest for popularity (not meditations on good & evil, and how one lives a good life) are the reigning issues.

  3. Whiskey says:

    To the first Anon — Marriage and children are the fundamental basis for Western society, and it’s competitive advantage over other societies. The nuclear family explains why the West has dominated other cultures, despite a disparity in natural resources, population, and the like.For example, the creator of “Buffy,” Joss Whedon is married, with children. In his own personal life he would profoundly disagree with you.To the second anon — Considering Buffy in the tradition of American Comic Book superheroes, she comes off as a radical departure from the classic modes. Clark Kent / Superman drew strength from … Lois Lane, to whom he was married. Spider-Man from Mary Jane Parker. The Fantastic Four featured a married Couple: Susan Storm and Reed Richards. Which is not surprising given that Comic Book superheroes where the creation of lonely Jewish guys in the late 1930’s to early 1960’s.But more to the point, Buffy’s choices did not work. Her parade of vampire boyfriends resembled nothing so much as Pamela Anderson’s Tommy Lee and Kid Rock; disastrous choices guaranteed to cause unhappiness and chaos. Veronica Mars did little better.Sarah Palin did not fight vampires, but really did fight the old-boys network, the old guard, as entrenched as Buffy’s “Council of Watchers” in the old way of doing things. She won, not on the fantasy of superior individual strength, but rather a support network who’s key was selection of a supportive husband, financially and emotionally. Enabling her to have the career and influence of a Nancy Pelosi at the fraction of the inherited wealth, power, and connections.Which is why I think Palin threatens the atomic, individual, urban-anonymity model of Buffy. Buffy fights things on her own, mostly, achieves at best a dubious stalemate, and never really changes things. She feeds her own ego and predilection for making bad choices in men that validate her misery and inability to truly change much of anything. Whereas Palin’s life shows that the old truths are still true: family matters, a supportive spouse matters, no one can fight alone, people need each other’s support, particularly in modern society which tends towards urban isolation.Palin actually did change things in Alaska, ending a lot of the corrupt, insider politicking, particularly pork-barrel spending. She did not do it by herself, and that I think accounts for the startling animosity, directed at her personal life. She’s a gigantic rebuke to the Buffy model, which even in fiction never changed much of anything (or seemingly wanted to).Thanks for your comments.

  4. Whiskey says:

    A shorter version of the above might be: Palin shows that you can actually succeed in the real world of rough politics by having a tradition nuclear family, which means critically a wise choice in husband.Compared to Buffy’s relative failure to change much of anything, and constant internal turmoil, it’s telling.Particularly since most of the Buffy writers made the same choice as Palin in their own lives (nearly all are married with children, to supportive spouses).Quite likely, the residue of the pointless, aging (nearly 40 years old now) cliches of the culture being always 1968. There is nothing more sad than rebellion against the man, when you are in fact, the man. Heck twenty years ago Don Henley sang about Deadhead stickers on Cadillacs.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Buffy fights things on her own, mostly, She does not fight on her own. She is surrounded by her friends and family, whose emotional support she leans on and most of whom have a talent or skill she heavily draws upon.She has never won against a strong enemy by herself. The show repeatedly, explicitly makes the point that she surpasses previous Slayers because she doesn’t walk alone. The episode that depicts an alternate world in which she disdains friends and family starts with her emotional desolation and ends in her death. achieves at best a dubious stalemate, and never really changes things. The show is based on the concept of the persistence of evil. That you will never completely defeat evil. All you can do is fight the good fight every day. This is a pretty mature and realistic, which is to say, conservative philosophy.Her choice in men suck alright. Luckily, the show makes that clear – her relationship with Spike for example occurs while she’s depressed, self-loathing, devastated over her mother’s death, and openly suicidal. It’s destructive for all involved and the show depicts it that way. We’re not supposed to admire her choices.Buffy seems more in line with your philosophy than not. The problem for you is that Joss Whedon wants to present a “complex” ,fallible hero, which typically means s/he has to experience the tortures of the damned, dramatic doomed love affairs, go to “dark” psychological places, and so on. His male hero (Mal from Firefly) is kind of an asshole who makes dubious decisions all the time. Healthy well-adjusted characters in monogamous healthy relationships with other well-adjusted people are not seen as good television. The Cosby Show model is not the norm.Take a look at Lost, or House, BSG, Smallville, Supernatural, ER or any mainstream show, really. The male lead characters are no better (actually worse because they’re adults, not teenagers) – fundamentally good, but somehow “edgy” and badass, have dysfunctional love lives (but always the chance the right woman can save him), make terrible choices all the time and can be jerks, but that’s because they’re misunderstood. Which is interesting – how do these types of male characters, by far the most popular and critically praised characters in pop culture, influence female preferences as to what men should be like?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Oh and regarding Veronica Mars – this might be the only show I can think of where the schlubby, bald lower-middle class beta dad is depicted as a hero, the moral center of the show, and the object of his daughter’s fierce admiration while her skanky, drunken mom who ran off is depicted as an unambiguous villain who has selfishly destroyed her family.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Buffy is a goddammned fictional creation. SURELY stupid-assed young females dont take her “life-lessons” on marriage, romance, children, and success to heart. Real people dont have superpowers or friends with superpowers. Real people dont have fertility in their late forties and fifties either. Sarah Palin is an actual human being who actually had five kids and really is the governor of Alaska despite being born lower middle class. She is a success story of the REAL kind, not hollywood bullshit. I know it irks some coastal lefty’s to no end, but the white-christian heartland majority isn’t going anywhere as long as they keep having two kids per female, but the coastal elite certainly will be headed somewhere by having only 1.5 children per female: history. Affirmative Action ensures that white coastal elites will actually be having to hire/compete with some of the token minorities they have willingly imported to keep up the the red-state white birthrate, furher undermining their own power. You already see it in a way. Hispanic/Black/Asian anchorpersons and actors and pitchpeople. You see it in workplaces also. That slice of the pie the blue blood elite will get is only going to get smaller within “their” organizations. Our laws MAKE it so, whether they like it privately or not. It will be comic entertainment wathing it unfold. Its amusing to see that Lindsey Lohan and Pamela Anderson and Lynda Carter dissaprove of Palin. By doing so publically, they have garnered votes FOR, not against, Palin. Does anybody REALLY respect the opinions of these people? Of course none really do. The only thing any of that trio had going for them were their looks, which is gone on two of them and already fading on one. Ive witnessed on this blog, the narrator’s focus on media and how it corresponds with the tastes/obsessions of the populace. I present to you a suggestion—-now and in the future the media will play less of a role in shaping tastes because of blogs like this one and the internet as a whole. People with internet access can look up facts and opposing arguments, memorize the talking points, and defend their own personal convictions against our professorial/media overlords better than ever before. Through things like YouTube, people can actually seek out the entertainment that moves them personally instead of some MTV VJ telling them what is “cool” to listen to or what movies that they are supposed to like. If you really think about it, the internet as a whole, although it would first seem to be a great intellectual equalizer, will end up rewarding intellectually curious whites and asians more than anyone because those are the people who will take the time to look up subjects that intrigue them and grow and learn from them. When I was a lad, I was considered verbose. I liked to read novels and would look up the definitions of words I didn’t recognize in the text. I’d write them on the inside cover of the book (usually espionage or detective novels). After a few years of this, I developed a larger vocabulary than my friends had with no effort in appearing more intelligent than they. I merely liked to read instead of watching sportscenter for the third time that day. The internet, allows for the intellectually curious red-stater to be a hell of a lot more well informed than the blue state hipster in REAL LIFE, not the movies. Ive ass-reamed a few liberals that Ive bothered to debate in real life. Ive enjoyed watching the expressions on their faces turn to horror when I ask them things like “do you know how many carrier groups the US has” or “how many nukes does Russia have”. None of them ever know these things—-and it crushes their self perception to meet a right winger who knows so much more than they do. Their professors told them we’d all be dolts. The coastal elite wants to think of all conservatives as dolts, but they really aren’t. Sarah Palin, with her five offspring, will be felt and remembered generations from now. Kristen Davis, at 43 and childless, will not be felt generations from now despite being “the hot babe” on Sex and the City. She will simply be a lonely old maid with no grandchildren in roughly 15 more years who is no longer pretty. Who is the dumbass prole?Conservative red state white women who marry young and have 2-3 kids will have grandchildren when they still have teeth vs. blue state hipster chicks who pay too much for rent, cant save for retirement, and put off their one childbirth until 39 or so. They will be broke in old age, still waiting on their first grandchild, surrounded by people who look nothing like them and are unfond of them. Who is the dolt?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Though I admire a lot of Palin’s family values, her political platform is not anything I could ever support. You don’t seek to ban books in a country which is famous for free speech. But on the family note, though she does set a great president for women who want to have a career and a large family, she does not set a good example for raising a special needs child. I think it remains to be seen what she does other than play the sympathy card yet rarely appears to devote the appropriate amount of time to her child. If she were to express more opinions about raising her child or even special needs education and rights, then perhaps I wouldn’t feel the same way. But hey, that’s my opinion, which I am free to express in this country, unless, of course, someone objects.And dude, seriously, what’s your issue with Buffy?

  9. Anonymous says:

    We couldn’t possibly dislike Palin because of her politics, the fact that it took 6 different colleges before she managed to graduate and the fact that religion seems a little TOO important in her life, now could we? It has to be hatred and it has to be because we’re somehow jealous of her. *eyeroll*This comment is brought to you by someone *else* who married Xander.

  10. “Though I admire a lot of Palin’s family values, her political platform is not anything I could ever support. You don’t seek to ban books in a country which is famous for free speech.”That isn’t true. Public records indicate that only five books in the Wasilla public library were ever challenged. Out of the five, NONE of them were banned. Note that1) the librarian who claims Palin brought up the censorship question never identified any particular titles in her comments, and2) several of the books she supposedly banned (according to leftist blogs) had not even been published yet during her tenure at the library. The Harry Potter series, for instance, was not available until 1998, yet the left insists she tried to ban it., and that was a charming rant from our first commenter. I suppose the Blue Staters aborting themselves into oblivion have foresight and “vision”, unlike “fat [women] with 50 kids”. Based on my experiences in higher education, Leftist elites really do tend to be homosexual or loosely-knit, childless hetero couples stuck in “perpetual adolescence” mode. Not sure how either lifestyle choice will produce a sustainable political base over time.

  11. Anonymous says:

    “the fact that it took 6 different colleges before she managed to graduate”I can understand why a liberal would dislike Palin based on the other two points mentioned in there, but this particular reason displays a shocking amount of small-mindedness.My best friend will finally be getting his BA in French business next fall, 15 years after we graduated high school. He’s attended four different colleges in that span. By the logic displayed above, he is worthless.Never mind the fact that he speaks four different languages fluently, has worked in marketing, sales, and IT and been successful in all of them, AND has put his wife through college while working 50-60 hour weeks.The truth is, he has put his family above his ambition, like Palin, which is why comments such as the one above are reveal the utter cluelessness of the poster.

  12. Whiskey says:

    Anon — you are quite right that Whedon is not alone in his “edgy = good” view, it’s always 1968. But the ending of Buffy had well, Buffy throwing herself completely into Spike’s arms, and Spike “saving the day” with a deus ex machina (provided by Angel). Buffy didn’t actually … well do anything. Any more than the end of S6, for that matter.In her “game changer” she does not even eliminate vampires, once and for all. Evil will still exist, but she’s done nothing to eliminate at least a part of it. It’s akin to Wilberforce deciding, well this slavery thing can’t be changed. We’ll just have to live with it.Good point on Mars, but the “Logan” character and Veronica’s inability to learn about him, repeatedly, (as a pandering gesture to the female fans) puts her in the same boat as Buffy. Immature views on love and relationships.Anon2 — you’d be surprised at how much influence fiction has on young people. Consider that they rarely if ever go to Church, volunteer, lead atomic, isolated lives, their peers and TV forming the main environment in which they learn about how people relate. Many families being divorced or single mother-headed.Thanks for your comments.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Whiskey–Lois Lane was never married to Superman. In fact, much of the storyline over the years in the comic book revolved around her pining for him and his resistance to her efforts. The irony was her confiding in Clark Kent of all her plans.Superman was above all of that, what with his Fortress of Solitude, etc.

  14. mikemathew says:

    I have not seen any episodes of the first season of the sarah connor chronicles, however, am highly intrigued by what I have seen of the second season. I think Shirley will do quite well portraying her casted character as she is a very talented woman. If anything, I will watch the show just for her! 🙂 Don’t be so quick to knock her.. she has MANY fans and the season is just starting..____________________mikemathew Social bookmarking

  15. You’re comparing the love life of a fictional character to a politician’s?

  16. Buy Viagra says:

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