Sarah Palin’s Ugly Dark Twisted Feminist Fantasy

by Liz Colville

It’s getting to the point where people have actually opened up Sarah Palin’s new book, America By Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith and Flag, hung around for a few hours, and found all sorts of entertaining, odd, and troubling things within. A writer at Salon discovered that Palin is a little obsessed with Calvin Coolidge, very obsessed with God and Ronald Reagan, and completely infatuated with Barack Obama.

Now comes a less numerical approach to the book from author and Daily Beast contributor Michelle Goldberg, and it’s inspired me to do something Mr. Burns-y with my hands and face, though probably to no 2012-related effect. (If you’re looking at this on the homepage, the photo crop may lead you to believe Palin has started a line of overpriced clothing to wear to polo matches, or a monthly lifestyle magazine called Palin. Sorry!)

Goldberg informs us non-readers that America By Heart contains a pretty sizable discussion of feminism, or “feminism,” or “pheminism,” in other words, nothing you’ve probably encountered before anywhere, even in works of fiction, until this work of fiction:

…[I]n order to claim feminism as her own, [Palin]’s had to radically distort its history. In a chapter on feminism that’s sure to be widely discussed, she mischaracterizes the views of nearly every historical feminist she mentions.

Sometimes she does it to defame them, other times to make it seem as if they shared her ideology.

Goldberg says Palin(‘s ghostwriter) at one point characterizes Elizabeth Cady Stanton as “a pious Christian conservative” — something, she says, that could be easily disproved by just looking at Stanton’s Wikipedia page, for crying out loud. Then there’s this quote from Palin(‘s ghostwriter) herself:

What is hardest to take about liberals calling the emerging conservative feminist identity anti-feminist or even anti-woman is that this new crop of female leaders represents a return to what the women’s movement originally was.

You did not.

Palin, like many conservatives, also tries to paint Susan B. Anthony as pro-life, even though, as Goldberg points out, two scholars of Anthony recently declared, “We have read every single word that this very voluble — and endlessly political — woman left behind. Our conclusion: Anthony spent no time on the politics of abortion. It was of no interest to her, despite living in a society (and a family) where women aborted unwanted pregnancies.”

Oh, then Palin(‘s ghostwriter) calls Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger’s efforts “Nazi-style eugenics.” Goldberg agrees that some of Sanger’s actions haven’t aged well, but Palin(‘s ghostwriter’s) language is hideously, hideously sloppy.

Now — can’t you just see this zinging line from Goldberg accidentally appearing as a blurb on the jacket of Palin’s terrible book?:

…an object lesson in the power of right-wing propaganda to create imaginary histories.

Or as one of the commenters on the Daily Beast simply said:

who cares about this Alaskan fool?

I know, I know, shit. Maybe I’ll stop talking about Sarah Palin for charity.