Everybody knows that Sarah Palin is making right Charlies out of all of us. Watching her interview with Charlie Gibson about foreign affairs is like watching pornography -- the same simultaneous feeling of embarrassment and voyeuristic pleasure, of knowing that the whole thing is an absolute sham and yet remaining transfixed to the screen. Even the surreal, exaggerated colors of the video, the weirdly uncomfortable physical intimacy of Gibson and Palin, the unlived nature of the living room are more akin to a set in a porn movie rather than the backdrop to a serious conversation between two adults.
Are we really watching this gross media porn?
Yes, we are. We are watching a barely literate woman being interviewed for the most powerful job in the world. Everybody -- including herself and her supporters -- knows that she isn't qualified for the position. Everybody knows that she's ignorant about international politics. Everybody knows that she doesn't know what the Bush Doctrine is. Everybody knows that she doesn't understand Russia or Iran or NATO. Everbody knows that she can't distinguish Al Qaeda from Baathist Iraq. Everybody knows that a woman who didn't have a passport until 18 months ago is ignorant about the outside world.
So why are we watching?
For the same reasons that we watch pornography. We know its fake, a big lie and that it's us who are being exploited. But there's something in many of us that glories in such self-evident fakery. We like to be made into right Charlies. Everybody knows.