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Sarah Palin: irresistible to satirists

September 21, 2008 |  3:47 pm

Sarahpalin_0921Nobody was surprised when "Saturday Night Live's" season debuted with  Tina Fey portraying VP nominee Sarah Palin — not even Sarah Palin. The resemblance is pretty striking (so you know, that's Palin in the photo).

But TV is not the only place Palin is getting the satiric treatment. The Onion, America's fake news newspaper, has a Palin page (as well as pages for Biden, Obama and McCain, too). And this week, the most literary of satirists, George Saunders, has his take on Palin in the New Yorker. He employs a fictional first-person, as he's done before, beginning:

"Explaining how she felt when John McCain offered her the Vice-Presidential spot, my Vice-Presidential candidate, Governor Sarah Palin, said something very profound: 'I answered him "Yes" because I have the confidence in that readiness and knowing that you can't blink, you have to be wired in a way of being so committed to the mission, the mission that we're on, reform of this country and victory in the war, you can't blink. So I didn't blink then even when asked to run as his running mate.'

"Isn't that so true? I know that many times, in my life, while living it, someone would come up and, because I had good readiness, in terms of how I was wired, when they asked that — whatever they asked — I would just not blink, because, knowing that, if I did blink, or even wink, that is weakness, therefore you can't, you just don't. You could, but no — you aren't....

"Now, let us discuss the Élites. There are two kinds of folks: Élites and Regulars. Why people love Sarah Palin is, she is a Regular. That is also why they love me. She did not go to some Élite Ivy League college, which I also did not. Her and me, actually, did not go to the very same Ivy League school. Although she is younger than me, so therefore she didn't go there slightly earlier than I didn't go there. But, had I been younger, we possibly could have not graduated in the exact same class. That would have been fun."

The narrator's rubric of Élites and Regulars grows increasingly confused, and a resistance to blinking begins to cause pain. As with much of Saunders' work — which has earned him a MacArthur "genius" Grant — it builds and snowballs, demanding that it be read in full.

As long as people remain intrigued in Palin, chances are satirists will be writing about her, too.

— Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Daniel Acker / Bloomberg News