Liz Smith: Rex Reed Gives It To Sarah Palin

Liz Smith with Rex Reed

And more from our Liz on the hot new documentary about Alaska’s “quitter” governor

“IF THE press will just ignore her and stop talking about her, she’ll go away!” says my perspicacious aide Denis Ferrara, speaking of Sarah Palin.

Well, I’ve tried not to attack this icon of the right, because I think even negative examinations just give her increase. But there are times when one can’t ignore Palin. Now, I want to talk just for a moment, not about Joe McGinnis’ new and hot, scandalous book on Ms. Palin. I have heard a lot about it, but I haven’t read it yet. So I want to speak of a more thoughtful examination.

The New York Observer is a feisty “happening” newspaper struggling to survive in New York City on real estate action. But it has ever been a bellwether and it boasts a wonderful, witty movie critic in Rex Reed. (Mr. Reed was super-famous in a more recent past with years onboard at the New York Times and the New York Daily News. He leads a quieter life these days.)

My friend Rex has now reviewed director Nick Broomfield’s documentary “Sarah Palin–“You Betcha!”– with Joan Churchill as the co-writer. The director is not a slash and burn killer or an advocate or attacker. In the past, he has dispassionately examined Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss, Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love and and serial killer Aileen Wuornos. But Rex says this Briton’s observations of Sarah Palin became his easiest job yet. Rex notes that Sarah speaks only through Facebook and Twitter. It’s her actions, her family, her friends and enemies that speak loudest in this film. “The result is a balanced job of reporting that drives a stake through the heart of whatever she had left of a political career” … “in Wasilla, with a population of 5000 served by 77 churches, she (Sarah) was never home” … “Broomfield did interview her parents to find the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” … “All he had to do was open his eyes and ears and keep his cameras rolling.” Rex observes that in every scene of this film, “Sarah Palin defines self-parody.”

I can’t steal Rex’s entire review just for my own and perhaps your pleasure. But I offer this sum up:

“The Rev. Howard Bess, known as ‘the bravest man in Wasilla’ because of his constant battles with Ms. Palin’s religious fanaticism, declares: ‘She has no hesitancy to use violence against all who oppose her, no conscience about triggering a nuclear war. She believes she is God’s anointed one and until you understand that, you don’t understand Sarah Palin.’ ”

According to the most harrowing sequence in the film, “in 1975, Palin left the Catholic church, got born again by being dipped in a lake and joined the Assembly of God. That, according to her classmates, is where the superior hunger for power began. Driven by evangelical dogma, she forced her teammates in track and basketball to pray before every game, promising them they would burn in hell if they opposed her.” Wow!

Rex writes on: “Dragging those apocalyptic religious obsessions into the arena of politics, a portrait of a zealot emerges that is about as scary as it gets.” He advises the reader who thinks the film is just a hit job on an easy subject to see the movie and “learn something.” “Mr. Broomfield doesn’t make anything up.” (Much like the cheerleading documentary about Palin — which was titled “Undefeated”– this one will also likely die at the box-office and not really be seen until it hits cable TV.)

Rex closes: “All I know is she’s not the person I want to place near the red phone that connects the Pentagon to a nuclear war.”

You can read this critique of Sarah Palin more efficiently on the Drudge Report, which carries Rex Reed … at … or on my pet site other than the so-called Rotten Tomatoes.

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And I know when my Denis reads the above, he will sigh and say: “You have just recruited thousands of know-nothings more than ever to Sarah Palin’s cause.” I do hope not!

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AS LONG as I’m reading the New York Observer, I may as well salute another of their offerings; their editorial titled “An UNmodest Proposal.” This asks that the opening of the United Nations General Assembly be moved from frantic September in Manhattan to a more benign August when there are fewer people in town. Such a move would alleviate the madness that occurs when hundreds of cops direct everyone away from First Avenue, causing the East Side of Manhattan to turn into a parking lot.

The money lost, people inconvenienced, and threatened security of all of us is beyond description. In August it would all be much easier, less expensive, calmer and safer.

I rather enjoyed the Observer’s remark about September: “Portions of midtown and downtown are turned into armed camps to accommodate the schedules of the world’s leaders, a fair portion of whom attend the session just for the sheer fun of insulting the U.S., Israel and the West.”

13 Responses so far.

  1. avatar Lila says:

    Michelle Bachman is not much different, as far as I can tell.

    • avatar Baby Snooks says:

      No and her comments about “submission to the husband” lead one to believe that if she became president her husband would be the one making the decisions.  A very scary thought that more and more, thankfully, are thinking about. 

      This sudden rise of “evangelism” in our political arena is something that shouldn’t be ignored and instead should be loudly protested. The founding fathers would be protesting it. So we should as well.  The First Amendment is very clear. Some simply cannot read.

      These “evangelists” who want to save us all from hell by sending us all to hell represent approximately 20% of the voter base of the Republican Party. So 20% of the Republican Party voter base live in religious ignorance. May be bliss for them. It is not bliss for the rest of us. I am surprised by the number of people who do not realize that Sarah Palin is one of these who believe this nation was founded as a Christian nation and that all others “need not apply.”

      They would, if given the opportunity, shove quite a few of us into ovens.  People say that cannot happen here. That is what the Germans said in the early days. And then they became “good Germans” and remained silent when it happened.  When you forget the past, you are doomed to repeat it. Time for people to remember what happens when zealots rise to power.

    • avatar Frau Quink says:

      I so agree with you, Lila. Exactly my sentiments.

  2. avatar Barbara says:

    The issue with moving the opening of the UN General Assembly to August is that for much of Europe, August is holiday time. Europeans have a much more sensible approach to life and take 2-3 weeks off. Much of northern Europe are gone in July and southern Europe in August. If they moved the opening into the summer, you might not have traffic problems because no one would come!

    • avatar D C says:

      I am not European, and I take 2 weeks off every year — I just do it when it’s convenient for myself and my family.  I don’t think that makes me any less sensible.  1 of those weeks is at Christmas time.  The other one is usually either during summer, or spring break.  My family life still revolves around school calendars.  August is when we get really busy. 

      When planning an event, the Host usually tries to work with others, but ultimately, the choice of timing is up to the convenience of the Host.  If the USA is to continue to Host, then it should choose the time that is most convenient to Host, and invite everyone and accept regrets from  those who feel they have more important things to do with their time.

  3. avatar Anais P says:

    Dear Liz, Perhaps because I do not consider myself a know-nothing, the section on the Palin movie did NOT recruit me to her side. The opposite, in fact. The anecdotes you quoted from Rex Reed are new to me but sadly fit with my opinion of the Quitter Governor of Alaska. I wish she would go back there and out of our consciousness, as I feel there is nothing in her intellectually that would contribute anything of value to the American way of life. And I certainly do not want my family to be blown to Kingdom Come based on her right-wing evangelism.

  4. avatar Bonnie O says:

    You are quite correct Liz.  Sarah only gains from publicity, nothinwithstanding the movie, the political gossip or the blogs.  Her followers will only see ANOTHER attack against the former governor and we in the GOP will just yawn and wonder why the Dems are still fussing about Sarah.

  5. avatar JCF4612 says:

    OMG — Rex Reed, Rex Reed, Rex Reed. First fell head-over-heels for his pithy reviews back in ’70 when stuck in an awful backwater town in … well, who cares. Thanks ever so much, Liz, for clueing readers into his whereabouts now. As always, you’re the one who covers the waterfront.  

    • avatar wilowist says:

      How I have missed the snarky reviews of the fascinating Rex Reed. How nice to have word of him. You have choice friends, Liz.

  6. avatar Rho says:

    Today is Rex Reed’s birthday.

  7. avatar Jody says:

    I don’t consider myself one of the “know-nothing[s]”. So, feel free to let Denis know I have not been sucked in to the Palin Support Club. Personally, I can’t stand her. I have always seen her as a “poser”. It is absolutely obvious to me that she is not EVER being her true, authentic self when there is a camera around. I can’t stand people like that in my life, so I’ll never find a Presidential Candidate of such nature appealing.

    I find it sad that our choices for politicians are so dismal. It would be nice if people would quit just talking about it, and instead did something about it… like vote. But, I’ve even heard the excuse of, “I didn’t vote because it was raining.” Really? The apathy amazes me. And then, I will hear this same person complain later. I have been known to say something about it. Like, “Excuse me? Remember how it was raining the day you didn’t vote? Well, consider it still raining for you.” That stuff just really irks me.

    Anyway, Happy Birthday, Mr. Reed!

    • avatar Lila says:

      Jody, good comeback on the non-voting whiners. I do vote, but for quite a while now I feel like I don’t have any good choices – it’s more about trying to choose who is less awful.

      Since we don’t have any other major parties besides the two parties of “NO,” I would really like to see an election – SOON – where there is a concerted, organized, nationwide push to vote for any of the minor-party candidates, but NOT – NOT Dems or Repubs. Just once. A Congress full of minor party members could not possibly be any worse than what we have now.

  8. avatar Aline says:

    Beat Obama with a CAIN.