Sunday, February 7, 2010

Talking to the hand

I think the whole Palin-writing-on-her-palm business isn't worth anyone's bother. People do that all the time. I've done it sometimes. I call it my "palm organizer." I like to think that joke never grows old, though it probably does.

If you're on the left and you want to be appalled by Palin's performance at the Tea Party Convention and subsequent Q & A, there's ample reason, but there's not much need for Palmgate (may I be the first?) to be part of it. Why focus on notes on her palm as an indicator of the shallowness of her ideas, or her general unfitness for office, when you've got over 45 minutes of her speech right there? Why get worked up over something that might arguably symbolize the problem, when you've got the actual problem right before your eyes?

And frankly, after watching one of her poorer performances at the podium last night--rushed punchlines, flubbed lines, strange pauses--if inking some notes in her hand would have improved her game, I'd have been happy to loan her my favorite Sharpie. I taught public speaking for more years than I care to remember, let alone admit, and as far as mnemonic aids go, it's whatever gets you through the night. And different people have different tricks. Letterman uses blue 4" x 6" cards just to get through the Top 10 list every night, and I don't remember the last time anyone called him out for that on my Twitter home page.

Some have guessed that her crib notes were proof that her Q&A questions were known to her in advance. Let's suppose it's true, that she wasn't just looking for her political lifeline. The words written on her hand were:

Lift American Spirits

As the title for the next blockbuster inspirational memoir, there could be something there.

But it's hard to imagine she'd need a crib sheet for those, no matter what you think of her. I'd guess that by now she sees them whenever she closes her eyes, burned into her retinas like flashbulbs. But if she does need them written there--perhaps the way a professor of mine used to print the mini-prayer "JMJ" at the top of his spelling homework as a lad back in Catholic school--so what?

Focus, people: You've got her totally-mistaken ideas about the federal deficit. You've got her out-loud musing attacking Iran. You've got the evidence she's part of an effort by the GOP to co-opt the Tea Party movement rather than let it run off-leash. And those things are all right there for the viewing; no need to scour YouTube freeze-frames.

Talk to what she actually said. Not to the hand.

(Image via.)


Zak Johnson said...

I don't think Palin's worth much notice at all; except as a footnote. But I think she's getting called on it because she's such a nasty piece of work who dishes it out at every chance and, specifically, because of her transparent attacks on others for using teleprompters, as if that were somehow something Obama in particular invented.

orange triangle said...

Perhaps it is because I was a Middle School teacher for 25 years that I find Palin's cheat sheet method so appalling. She obviously had the questions for the Q and A in advance but couldn't keep the answers (someone else had written for her) straight in her head. So she writes them on her hand so she can cheat during the "test". Yes, there are plenty of issues to take up with Palin, but this particular incident is so blatantly revealing of her ineptitude and immaturity.

Chuck Butcher said...

Maybe they were witchcraft totems or some such. I mean surely they're not actual answers to some question that she might forget - she can pretty reliably remember her own name.