By now you are probably aware that Tina Fey showed up to play Sarah Palin on the season premiere of Saturday Night Live. (You likely discovered this by reading that great newspaper, The Picayune-San Francisco Unsurprising News Digest Of The World.) And if you haven’t seen it yet, no doubt there is video of it somewhere for you to watch, and you will see Fey and Poehler just fucking ramming their knives into Palin’s back, portraying her as a brainless ditz with no business running for vice-president.
This is good news. It is not good news because they made fun of Sarah Palin. Lots of people can make fun of Sarah Palin, because it is so goddamned easy to make fun of her (without having to resort to sexist arguments like “can she do the job with five kids,” which would never be asked of a man). She is the political equivalent of a pinata. So that’s not why it’s good news.
It’s good news because SNL is the heart and soul of conventional wisdom. (It wasn’t always, but has been for well long enough now.) It survives almost entirely on predictability and repetition, and on safe, non-edgy comedy above all. If SNL has, as an entity, decided that Sarah Palin = Dan Quayle 2.0, that means that this is the narrative that pop culture as a whole has deemed appropriate for Palin, and that narrative will siwftly and surely take root throughout both pop culture and then the traditional news media, who love nothing better than a pre-delivered story so they don’t have to waste time with original thought or actual reporting.
And with that narrative, Sarah Palin steadily goes back to being what she always was: a motivator for her own political base and little more. Furthermore, it has the potential to shift the race away from Palin vs. Obama (which is where it is right now) back to McCain vs. Obama. That’s a fight the Republicans desperately do not want to have, because they’ve spent the past month campaigning so dirty that McCain’s “honorable soldier” shtick lies in tatters, even in the media.