Tag Archives: Sarah Palin

The Humpday Times Book Review

Hold on to your hats, everyone. I just read An Atheist in the FOXhole: A Liberal’s Eight-Year Odyssey Inside the Heart of the Right-Wing Media and I’m ready to share some of author Joe Muto’s discoveries during his years at Fox News and his stint as the undercover observer for Gawker.  Fix yourself a good strong drink and take up a position near the fainting couch, lest these smokin’ hot revelations send you toppling in disbelief.

Are you ready?


Oh, and Geraldo Rivera waits politely to use the vending machines and has a gorgeous wife.

An Atheist in the FOXhole offers a magazine article’s-worth of mildly interesting inside gossip larded with detailed accounts of backstage quibbling and entirely too much FOXHOLEinformation on the personal life of Joe Muto, his breakups, his attempts to have a personal life, and his ongoing effort to convince himself that paying New York rents makes sense. It also has a running subplot showing how Muto, hired by Gawker to be a mole in the Fox News ranks — much the way the late, lamented Spy magazine had moles burrowing through the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal — bobbed and weaved to avoid being outed by the Fox management. As a means of generating  suspense, it falls considerably short of The Big Clock.

Muto spent the best years of his Fox period working under Bill O’Reilly, and while his depictions of the volatile top dog at Fox ring true, that’s because he isn’t offering much that we haven’t seen before. Though politically liberal, Muto ended up liking Bill-O even when he was living in dread of pitching the wrong story idea. It’s not hard to see why. One of the few roosters in the Fox News barnyard with a genuine news background, O’Reilly shows just enough independence along with his crankery to be an interesting figure. The first time I saw O’Reilly’s show, in which he interviewed an evangelical about his group’s stance on allowing gay couples to adopt children, I thought O’Reilly was pretty good. The Jesus whooper kept saying the group’s stance on gay adoption was in line with Blblical teachings; knowing he would come off barbaric and creepy, the whooper refused O’Reilly’s repeated challenges to articulate those teachings, and the ensuing game of rhetorical Whack-a-Mole was pretty entertaining. There’s no point in overpraising the man — his nonsense about secular progressives and the phantom war on Christmas is straight out of Bedlam. But in a shop dominated by GOP apparatchiks, ideological grifters, and race-baiting clowns, O’Reilly does stand out.

Fora man who spent so much time in the Fox trenches, Muto has remarkably little to say about Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck or Ann Coulter, all of whom are presented on the book jacket in what can only be described as consumer fraud. Ann Coulter, a nasty creep on camera, is very pleasant and warm offstage — wow, what an insight. Glenn Beck, for all his business savvy, seems like a true loon — hey, thanks for the analysis, dude. Muto’s prose style is competent without being particularly memorable: there are a couple of zingers, but not nearly enough to justify this forced march over too many barren pages. An Atheist in the FOXhole is a true disappointment: a book that promises much, delivers little, satisfies not at all.          

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We’re all Lester Freamon now

I swore I wasn’t going to pay any more attention to Sarah Palin and her cross-country pity party tour, but when I hear something like this:

I find myself feeling like Lester Freamon in The Wire:

Actually, I get the same feeling these days whenever a conservative or libertarian starts talking: “English, motherfucker! English!”

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The Bonfire of the Inanities

Word that winger filmmaker Stephen K. Bannon, the auteur behind Fire from the Heartland and Battle for America (and, it should be noted, actual movies such as Sean Penn’s The Indian Runner and Julie Taymor’s Titus), has produced a feature length documentary about Bailin’ Palin inspired Balloon Juice to solicit title suggestions. Mine is up top, but you can offer yours here.

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Sarah “Don’t Retreat, Reload!” Palin, proud owner of a map using rifle-scope crosshairs to mark states with Democrats who displeased Mama Grizzly, now wants to offer her “sincere condolences” to the family of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (one of the Dems Palin marked with the crosshairs) and the other victims of the Arizona shootings.  Michele Bachman, friend of anti-government extremist cults, says her “tears are flowing” over the incident.  John “Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran” McCain wants everyone to know the shooter is a disgrace to Arizona.

There’s going to be a great rush to quarantine the alleged shooter as a loner, a weirdo whose Internet rambling in no way link him to the little tinpot warriors of wingerdom. It’s going on right now, in fact. And it’s garbage. There have been other gun-crazed wackos who get their news and opinion from Glenn Beck and all the other bottom-feeders. This Arizona shooting is just the latest example of what happens when a political party and its attendant propaganda channels make crazy into their lingua franca.

I don’t care how many crocodile tears Bachmann, Palin, and all the other career sleazes shed. They own this. They’ve lying to loons and poisoning our politics to make money and keep power, and when one of their deluded followers decides to take them at their word and act on his convictions, they can’t pretend it has nothing to do with them. It has everything to do with them.

They have spent years demonizing Democrats and liberals, imagining a sinister alternate universe where liberals are in control of everything, and the President is actually a Kenyan-born dictator who wants to establish death panels for the elderly. They smirk about “second-amendment solutions” to politicians they don’t like, and talk about watering the tree of liberty with the blood of tyrants when Obama talks about reining in the ability of health insurers to screw their customers. And this is where that crazy talk leads us.

So, I guess we can’t use the term “teabaggers” anymore. It’s no longer appropriate. They’re bodybaggers.

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Caribou Saki

On the basis of this report on Sarah Palin’s nonexistent hunting skills, I think it’s high time Mama Grizzly starred in a film version of “Mrs. Packletide’s Tiger,” the genius short story by Saki. Maybe Levi could co-star as a gender-switched Loona Bimberton. Who do you like for Miss Mebbin?

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Roguetry in motion

Carl Hiaasen, eminent muckraker and novelist, reveals to the world a secret communication between Sarah Palin and the publisher of her soon-to-be excreted “memoir,” Going Rogue:  

2. The mainland of Russia is indeed visible from parts of western Alaska during favorable weather conditions in the Bering Straits. Considering the ridicule you endured over this issue during the campaign, your desire to set the record straight is understandable.

Still, 78 pages is a big chunk of the book. Perhaps it’s possible to deal with the I-can-see-Russia controversy a bit more succinctly.

3. Our researchers can find no evidence that Tina Fey belongs to the Taliban. Could you send us the sourcing for that reference?

4. John McCain’s campaign staff is vehemently denying the incident you describe in Chapter 13. Perhaps you could provide our legal department with the names of persons who actually witnessed the senator placing the duct tape over your mouth.

5. Even though you quit with 18 months remaining in your term, your achievements as Alaska’s governor will be of great interest to your readers and political supporters.

How about expanding that section of the book to a full chapter?

Looks like they’ll be editing this turkey right up to the last minute.

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Late to the party

I realize this clip has been around the world via the Internets at least a thousand times by now, but I wanted to join in the fun. Ladies and gentlemen, open your minds and ears to the greatness that is William Shatner reading from Sarah Palin’s farewell speech:

Among Shatner’s career distinctions is to have starred in one of the only two feature films performed in Esperanto. That experience must have come in handy when it came time to translate Sarah Palin’s utterances into English.

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The ‘zilla from Wasilla

When GOP national chairman Michael Steele talked about “the storm that is Sarah Palin,” one assumes he was not trying to evoke the image of a vacant area surrounded by a vortex of howling winds that dissipate and disappear, leaving behind a lot of wreckage. Which is pretty much the picture of Palin one gets from reading this already famous Vanity Fair piece by Todd Purdum.

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“Only dead fish go with the flow.”

The defining quality of Yogi Berra’s one-liners is that they start out sounding ridiculous but turn out to be pretty shrewd when you think about them. The defining quality of Sarah Palin’s utterances is that they start out sounding ridiculous, then get even more ridiculous as you think about them.

Meanwhile, Palin’s status as Mrs. Chauncey Gardiner is confirmed as wingnut pundits pretend to believe there’s actually shrewd calculation behind Caribou Barbie’s meltdown.

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Don’t count your Passenger Pigeons before they’ve hatched

From time to time, I like to offer advice to those readers who, like me, are in the throes of working as professional writers. Today’s tip: It’s smart to plan ahead and try to anticipate trends with your book proposals, but don’t get ahead of yourself. And try to avoid making that oldest mistake in the world — believing your own bullshit. If the headline is a little esoteric for you, watch the video and a get a science bonus.

Of course, Hugh Hewitt need not despair. After the election, he can simply change “won” to “lost” and the proposed title will be completely accurate.

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