Thinking About Things and Talking About Stuff

Nora Taylor

It’s just too easy. It’s a Jay Leno punch-line of political comedy, a little too simple and only funny because “that’s what I was just thinking!” The comedy cup runneth over of Sarah Palin jokes. She’s an easy target — a woman who is successful, adored, adorable past the age of forty and not all that smart. Clearly she’s capable because she had to do something to get where she is. At this point in the game Sarah Palin herself has become far less interesting than those she has affected. Next time you offer a friend something wait and see if they say “thanks but no thanks.” Odds are good that they will. “I can see Alaska from my house” is totally the new “Chronic-What-Cals of Narnia,” and only slightly less catchy.
Particularly interesting is the affect she has had on women. She may be single handedly responsible for the reclamation of the term “feminist” by the liberal-under-30 set. She has rendered some of the most verbal, intelligent, opinionated young woman I know completely and utterly stupefied. They’ve been reduced to jokes about her accent and her super hot future son-in-law. Bringing Sarah Palin into the already emotionally heightened arena of political debate brings out the best in women — their cattiness.
Notorious for our trash-talking, self-esteem demolishing ways, women have been unleashing hell fire and brimstone upon the possible candidate in a way that would make the totally contrived Serena/Blair Yale cat fight look pithy, and it’s awesome.
After years of hearing male pundits scream at each other on Hardball and The O’Reilly Factor, women are finally pulling their weight. Look at Rachel Maddow hand it to Pat Buchannan time after time — serious girl power. But perhaps the trophy for uninhibited, long-awaited female rage goes to the women of The View.
I think the last time I watched The View, I was faking sick in middle school and wanted to watch them interview BBMak. Now things have changed. Cable news divides its shows into liberal and conservative. Most of the time, liberal hosts talk to liberal guests about how stupid conservatives are while the conservative hosts do the same. The notable exception — Hannity and Colmes — are boring as sin but at least make the effort.
The ladies of The View don’t hold anything back, especially not Whoopie “no eyebrows, no mercy” Goldberg. That is what is so refreshing. There is a difference between cattiness and snarkiness. Joy Beyhart may want to smack Elizabeth Hasslebeck but she doesn’t think she’s smarter than her. Elizabeth may not agree with Sherrie but in the end they can still talk about window treatments or whatever it is they talk about normally. It is also not limited to females; men can bear the brunt of cattiness as well. Whoopie asked John McCain if she should be worried about becoming a slave again if he appoints justices who strictly interpret the constitution. The View is the truest town hall meeting any politico could appear on.
Angry, articulate women of different backgrounds have a very specific agenda: themselves. Call it what you will but women, and men, have every right to be angry and to demand answers. Though it may look like a bunch of middle-aged ladies sitting around a table, it is in fact the long lost art of semi-casual political discourse. Try it some time.