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 www.observer.com … or on my pet site other than wowOwow.com: 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.”