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Posted at 9:15 AM ET, 12/13/2010

Sarah Palin's Alaska minus Kate Gosselin -- America, Real and Surreal

By Alexandra Petri

palinhalibut.JPG

TLC's philosophy with Sarah Palin's Alaska is now clear: it's all about the juxtaposition.

Find something America likes less than Sarah Palin, and juxtapose, juxtapose, juxtapose!

So far, the things America likes less than Sarah Palin are: bears, dead halibut, dressed caribou, and Kate Gosselin.

That seems about right.

I really should invite Kate Gosselin along the next time I have dinner with my hypothetical future mother-in-law. "Alexandra seemed comparatively normal," the woman will say. "Even though she spent a lot of time showing me her collection of dead animal skulls and taxidermied wildlife, I found myself identifying with her."

Last night's episode of Sarah Palin's Alaska was an exercise in perspective. Move the lens even a bit, and I'm sure the picture would change. From Kate Gosselin's perspective, the afternoon of Fun 'n Campin' 'n Roughin' It With the Palins, Alaska-style, probably becomes a nightmarish affair of dampness and numbness and danger. The closest analogue I can come up with is the time James Joyce and Marcel Proust shared a taxi. James Joyce opened the window and lit a cigarette. For Proust, those actions were tantamount to a violent assault. For Joyce, the cab was a little stuffy. So I have to wonder what it was like for Kate, who spent the last half hour standing under a tent looking put-upon and damp.

But watching this made me realize the complex sleight of hand that Sarah Palin's Alaska has worked on my point of view.

Usually, I am the person under the tent. Given the option of taking a camping trip as a freshman pre-orientation program -- outdoors, very outdoors, slightly outdoors, or "in a vaguely rugged hotel with included showers" -- I was so worried about undue ruggedness that I opted for a pre-orientation theater program instead. We used a tree as a set piece, and during the outdoor scenes, I would stand underneath it and complain that things were too rugged.

But this time, watching Kate Gosselin stand under the tent in her white raincoat, I became increasingly indignant. "Get out there and rough it!" I shouted at the television. "Sarah manages to maintain a perfect manicure, and she roughs it all the time! Or at least makes it look like she does!"

I see what they're trying to do here. Sarah is the real one, the all-American mama grizzly protecting her cubs -- and your cubs, too. And Kate Gosselin -- well, she is Everyone Else, the wimpy Beta Version Americans who are bringing this country down, standing in our tents and complaining about how we can't feel our extremities. In this alternative America, Alaska is just another extremity we have difficulty feeling. And Kate is supposed to represent this.

I'm sorry, what?

I refuse to let Kate Gosselin be the spokeswoman for the Rest of Us. If Other Americans were all like Kate, then everything Sarah Palin says about Us would be right. She is horrifying. She does everything short of asking someone to turn off the rain and bring her a cappuccino and the New York Times. "This is fun for you?" she asks Piper Palin. Piper mumbles something inaudible that I assume is vaguely off message. "Interesting," she says snidely.

Her remarks almost, but not quite, form a tonal poem, For TLC Show Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When Sarah Palin's Alaska Is Enough.

They did this before there was houses. Why do you do it now? it's horrible the kids are having fun so I'm tolerating it but this is my new home, dryness, under the tent ...Sorry I'm miserable, but I mean somebody's gotta be... This is cruel and unusual punishment. This is where I'll be the whole time! I'm paralyzed. I am freezing to the bone. I have nineteen layers on. I'm standing in the... not rain. It just kills me that people, like, willingly do this. That is so shocking to me. ... We are not camping people This is just ridiculous. Why would you pretend to be homeless? How do you make sandwiches for eight kids on your arm I don't see a table I don't see utensils I don't see hand-cleansing materials these are not optimal conditions I'm hungry ... OKAY GOODBYE You're now a Palin, you're not a Gosselin. We're deciding who's a Palin and who's a Gosselin... Sarah, all hail you Amazon woman. ... we're going...

Yes, this is the climax of the episode: Kate has had enough, and so she and the Gosselings depart, leaving the rainy, miserable campsite to the Palin brood, in spite of all the inspiring shots of the Gosselings discovering the Real America, building a fire, and trying to fish as Sarah fires off Palinism after Palinism about the value of hard work and being a true Alaskan. "Kids will always have fun if they're being productive and helpful and pitchin' in," she notes. After Kate leaves, she commiserates: put her "in New York City at some red carpet event, I'd be the same way... eh, get me home."

But most people are not like this.

Kate Gosselin is a straw man. The analogy that Sarah draws -- if she were out east in (heaven forfend!) New York City at some red carpet premiere, she'd probably feel sick of it and want to go home, too -- instantly rings false. Not only wouldn't Palin mind the red carpet, but also that isn't what Kate Gosselin does in her natural habitat. In her natural habitat, I picture her color-coding, hand-sanitizing, and feeding people esoteric granolas. That's not normal, either!

Most Americans have been camping. It is more abnormal that Kate has not been camping than that Sarah thinks camping out on some remote Lake Gelatna that is only accessible by boat-plane is the way to spend a weekend. If you ever hear the phrase "only accessible by boat-plane" associated with a place, I usually take that as a particularly unsubtle sign that it is not a place the universe wants me to visit. That's why those words exist. Plane? Sure. Boat? Okay. "Only accessible by boat-plane?" That's like saying I can only contact someone by passenger pigeon. Thanks but no thanks!

Still, one of the requirements of schooling these days (or maybe not, because of all the allergies and the need to fill out complicated waivers -- or maybe they do it all online, or something) is that you have to spend a weekend trekking around somewhere uncomfortable while it rains. Even I did this. I was unanimously voted Group Latrine-Builder, probably a reflection of my companions' high esteem for me and my abilities.

So the fact that Kate Gosselin might not have had a hot dog with mustard and ketchup before actually would make her less American. Kate Gosselin is not the Rest of Us. She's a Surreal American, a citizen of a place that only exists on television and between the glossy covers of tabloid magazines. "Celebrities! They're Just Like Us!" these magazines exclaim. No, frankly, some of them aren't. And Kate Gosselin is definitely one of those.

And so is Sarah Palin. Just because you look normal standing next to Kate Gosselin doesn't make you normal. They're far more alike than different -- TLC Mamas with Dancing With the Stars experience, pursuits they share with an infinitesimal percentage of the population at large. They're both Celebrities with capital C's, more famous for being famous than for any tangible accomplishment. So what if one of them doesn't enjoy the rain and the other claims to relish it?

So the choice the episode works so hard to create is a false one. "We're deciding who's a Palin and who's a Gosselin," Kate says at one point, trying to drag her brood of Gosselings back away from the Palin campfire. Palin or Gosselin? Real or Surreal American? "Palin!" you scream at the TV, because you have spent the last few weeks avidly watching Sarah Palin's Alaska. "Pick Palin!"

Thank God those aren't our only options.

By Alexandra Petri  | December 13, 2010; 9:15 AM ET
Categories:  Petri, Reality? Television, Worst Things Ever  | Tags:  Kate Gosselin, Sarah Palin, kids these days  
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Comments

Touche, Alexandra. The episode sounds as though it was set up to make Ms. Gosselin look stupid. However, if someone has never gone camping, one doesn't plan to go to an extremely isolated area in the rain (what else can you do but sit in the tent?) with eight or nine children. If Gov. Palin were really considerate, she would have found a campsite a little less remote, with hiking trails or wood-gathering or something fun for the kids to do. How do they bring in all that food? What lessons about the environment (safe fires, walking in woods, safe disposal of trash and leftovers) are being taught here? What about drinking water? Did they bring it in, did they purify existing water on the site? Those are also considerations made by "real" wilderness campers.

Posted by: MinnyMa | December 13, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

seriously? this whole article was ridiculous assumptions, including the comment below.

If you don't like her, don't watch the damn show. Its really that simple people.
Stop with the obsession.

:-)

Posted by: blevins20061 | December 13, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Petri Dish oozed" "Find something America likes less than Sarah Palin, and juxtapose, juxtapose, juxtapose!"

So, TLC has signed Obama? Cool! Is he going to dress up in a bear suit and crash the campground? ROFLMAO!

Posted by: illogicbuster | December 13, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Racist and nasty yellow journalism---sad

Posted by: bulldogss | December 13, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Can the media sink any lower?

Alexandra has a problem and it's called PDS!

Posted by: idesign | December 13, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Kate Gosselin: Morose, mawkish, miserable; not to mention drab, dour, depressing. Sarah Palin: Chic, charming, cheerful; and don't forget sweet, sincere, and seductive.

Posted by: bubbasouth | December 13, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Another perspective: Kate represents the part of us that is a perpetual victim; still a frightened child, worrying about getting sick, getting dirty, being yelled at for doing something wrong. She reeks of very deep wounds from her past that have never healed. That shows in everything she does and says in spite of all her surgeries and make-up.
Sarah Palin is the part of all of us who is the super achiever; the high school cheerleader who is the darling on the football field,who can do everything just right. Off the field she continues to "one-up" in a sly and "who me" manner, wanting to be everyone's friend, yet willing to stab in the back for her own popularity.
In "Don't Bring It to Work" there are 13 patterns we bring from our original organization, the family with us for the rest of our lives. We can change the super achiever, victim, splitter, avoider,etc. once we get at observation of how we repeat and repeat the same old ways of reacting and change to a more positive way.
Kate and Sarah were perfect examples of how our behavior patterns end up a contest where no one really wins. Palin and Gosselin, super achiever and victim did what they have done all their lives. There was no real dialogue where Sarah extended a hand to help Kate feel better and Kate did nothing to explore new ways of handling a tough situation other than complain and leave.
I pray we get better role models of women than these two self aggrandizing individuals.
Sylvia Lafair,

Posted by: sylvia8 | December 13, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Alexandra
I was sort of following you up until you started to say "we" are not like Kate and then went off back into Kate's world.
You are not interested if the place is "only accessible by boat or plane"?? You betray yourself so quickly it was surprising to me considering you are trying so hard to say that you and a lot of America like you is not like Kate.
But in that sentence you tell me and America that you are more a Kate Gosselin than a Palin. Now, I have to admit that the Gosselin kids still have some hope because as we could see they loved it. And would have stayed there except for their mom.
You are so deep into it that you don't even recognize that you are a Kate Gosselin too.... and isn't that the most horrifying realization of all? You were exposed to millions and outed right along with Kate.
Have you not figured it out yet? That one of Sarah Palin's skills or attributes is to encourage liberals and people like you to out themselves through their hate of her.... and in doing so, exposing just how messed up the liberals and people like you are which only infuriates you more and this causes you and people like you to spew more hate towards her.
And guess what.... most of America is laughing at how easy it is for Sarah Palin to expose you.

Posted by: philipjames1 | December 13, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I will agree with one comment the author made, but it's not one she apparently believes. TLC may have made an analogy about Kate being the whiny one under the tent and Sarah being the All American grizzly mama, but trust me, they didn't need to point it out. My husband came in while I was watching and said that Kate DOES represent what's wrong with a bunch of self-absorbed, ignorant people in society today.

Kate was rude and absolutely immature. But then, that's not news. I personally would LOVE to have the opportunity she did. Sarah may not be presidential material, but I'd spend a weekend camping out with her any day! Kate didn't even TRY to embrace the experience. Sarah summed it all up so succinctly when she talked about the experience stretching you to your limits and that's where you learn, develop and grow. Kate acted absolutely incensed when she even had to handle a gun. Seriously. If she'd like to be eaten be a bear, be my guest but I'll tote the gun thank you, and have a chance at survival.

I can't go on enough about this episode. I felt bad for Sarah b/c Kate was, shall we say, a less than "gracious" guest. Todd was the brightest one in the bunch when he stayed away from the "whiner". Poor Piper got a good dose of reality when Kate couldn't even hang a few hours and took away her playmates. (Did anyone notice what a GOOD time Kate's kids were having? She's always singing her own praises of how great a mom she is, but she couldn't suck it up so her kids could have the experience OF A LIFETIME!)

That is all. Sarah call me sometime and we'll go camping and fishing and I promise I won't whine!

Posted by: mscott3 | December 13, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Honestly quit with the Us versus Them. And why assume many are out there choosing Sarah or Kate? I’ve been watching Palin’s show to see and learn more about Alaska, and I’ve continued to watch because I think she has been doing a good job illustrating its beauty yet rugged and possibly deadly nature. I get a sense of a true Alaska, a place where if you live or visit, takes a lot of planning, training, preparedness.

I also think it would have been wrong for TLC not to air Kate’s reaction. I viewed it as reality at its best in the sense that this episode probably had some actual reality. Kate was constantly whining and literally condescending to a way of life. In the end, whether I like or dislike Kate, it was sad to see how Kate Gosselin lacked endurance and maturity, not to mention this thing called open-mindedness. So, not all of us are necessarily “taking sides,” but learning something, and in this case (for me, at least), about human nature. That and all of us are NOT easily swayed by the media: meaning, some of us actually do recognize that celebrities are people, too. It’s the media who needs to get off its “high horse” and quit treating us like we’re all a bunch of stupid sheep.

Posted by: nonameanon | December 13, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

That is a whole lot of words to reach a shallow conclusion... This is why more people are crossing the line towards Palin-she doesn't have to "play the game" because she has a "real life".

No matter what Governor Palin does or doesn't do, it seems to get molded into someone's platform. She sure attracts ink, which may just prove to her benefit one day (say...in a couple of years...)

Posted by: oscardench | December 13, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I live in Colorado and previously in Arizona. What I know, from my limited experience camping, backpacking, etc in the mountains and the desert is that you don't take the uninitiated to remote places. It would have irresponsible if it were Kate Gosselin alone; it was do right negligent to take uninitiated children.

Back in AZ, a pair of very experienced hikers took off in 70+ deg spring weather and one of them died of exposure in the snow several hours later. They decided not to bring their cold weather gear because it was 70+ deg when they started. That weather isn't as freakish as it sounds to those uninitiated to the weather in the area.

In CO you need to get off the peak of any mountain taller than 12,000 ft (tree line) by about noon unless you want to risk being very crispy. We get thunderstorms most every afternoon of the summer. They form much faster than you can get off the mountain so you need to be heading down well before the storm begins to form. Or you might be the tallest item on the mountain when 50 deg rain drenches you to the core while making you dodge lightning strikes.

My point is that most wilderness has about 1000 ways to get injured. A badly twisted or broken ankle can be fatal when help isn't readily available. And help is not readily available in any place that is only accessible by boat-plane.

I have always found Kate Gosslin to a whiny woman I would never want to spend 10 minutes with but in this case she has 8 kids she has to fend for in an environment she knows nothing about. I'm a parent and I know that at some point 1 or 2 of the kids is going to need her attention, who is watching the others kids at this time? Where's her backup adult(s)? I wouldn't trust just any adult to watch my children in this situation - not the Palins, not anyone I didn't know really, really well. Especially, since a minor oversight might get a kid lost, injured or killed. And lost or injured might just equal dead in this situation.

It was irresponsible of TLC and the Palins to take anyone uninitiated into this kind of wilderness. If Kate's never been camping with her kids then she needs to go camping out of the back of a car a few times. Get the rules down with her kids - don't run off into the wilderness alone, don't go exploring strange noises in the night, don't run around waving a flaming stick from the camp fire, ... Once you (as a family) are comfortable with car camping you go to successively more remote places.

I'll reiterate - shame on TLC and the Palins they should both know better than to take the uninitiated to anywhere this remote. Kate had no idea what she was getting into and it was unnecessarily dangerous for the uninitiated Gosselin children.

Posted by: bobjohnson2 | December 13, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse


The only people who would miss Sarah Palin if she disappeared from the media scene are those like Ms. Petri, who would have to find a new target. Personalizing and demonizing a figure from the right is all in the Alinsky playbook that "journalists" like her follow slavishly.

Posted by: edbyronadams | December 13, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget to hug .... some pretty 'shot up ..... trees. .... They'll be needin' some lovin'..... Fer shur, fer shur....

Posted by: deepthroat21 | December 13, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Battery pack powered bright orange vehicle : Check.
Orange ink pen : Check.
Orange food dyed 'brood' : Check. (Dog, cat).
Bright orange A - 10 'warthog' tankbuster : Check.
Bright orange 'flak' jacket vests : Check.
Bright orange "Smiley Face" button : Chec .... NIX!

Posted by: deepthroat21 | December 13, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Hey Alexandra, You Palin haters take stupid into a whole new dimension....

Posted by: idesign | December 13, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Jesus H, the lib media really does not see itself. Their Palin dementia is just embarrassing even by lib standards.

Posted by: kbarker302 | December 13, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Kate should never have gone and taken her children. Other than that she showed more sense than Palin whose shooting animals for sport and fame does not entertain or amuze me. She will do anything for money and press. Kate has that problem and perhaps this taught her a less - Palin can't learn.

Posted by: withersb | December 13, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Note to self. : Must remove 2 English words from my vocabulary for 'Alaska' chroncles trip.

Pull.
Target. (and plastic shopping bags too).
No verbal time references either. (especially 9 o'clock through 3 o'clock).
See citizen Cheney's 'incident'.

Posted by: deepthroat21 | December 13, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Alexandra misses a key point, maybe because she lost her childhood, or never had one. The point is that while Kate is grousing, her children are having a grand time with the Palins, and when given a choice of stay or go by Goesslin, her children are ready to let whiney mom disappear into the Alaska mist.

For a fun read on this episode, read OpenSalon's account.

Posted by: 5280sail | December 13, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I wouldn't want to spend ten minutes with either of these egotistical, self-aggrandizing women, who are both "whiney" in their own way. Palin and TLC, as another blogger has said, whould be ashamed for inviting a person who knows nothing about camping, and who has eight children, on a wilderness adventure. Their motive is plain - to make her uncomfortable, and so contrast her with "real" Americans. I've been a camper all my life, have kids, and have been through lots of these experiences (including a tornado in Oklahoma, 100 plus degree temperatures camping on the Outer Banks, and getting caught in a hurricane, to name a few). I would never think of inviting the uninitiated to something like this. Neither would most "real" Americans - they have more sense and more sensability to the needs of a mother who has eight children to care for.

There is nothing "typical" or "real" about either of these women. They are both wealthy, can own planes and boats, and fly wherever their heart desires. They have backup people to service their needs. Palin uses all of this to her advantage on the trip; Gosselin is clueless - she is out of her element. Palin claims that she would be just as clueless in NY - that's garbage - she's been to the big city many times before - she's not a "rugged individualist," living on berries and pine bark. As for "sweetheart" - she reminds me more of some of the old southern gals that kill you with kindness, and stab you in the back while doing so. She's not nice, not sweet, not a "real" American (give her thirty-five or forty thousand a year to live on, and see how she'd do - or maybe half that much, what "real" Americans have to live on). She is just as out of touch as any of her political or media cronies are. Her "real" America includes only the rich and successful - like herself. As for the rest - let them go to NY and eat cake.

Posted by: garoth | December 13, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse


A friend of mine has what she called the camping test. During dating, if it looked like it might get serious, she went camping with her boyfriend. Whiners were dumped.

She was a wise woman, now happily married.

Posted by: edbyronadams | December 13, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Petri is exactly right. Mrs. Palin notes at one point that the "lower 48" just doesn't understand the Alaskan wilderness lifestyle. To prove the entire "lower 48" doesn't get it, she brings on Kate Gosselin. Kate = "lower 48"

This is incredibly insulting for those of us live in states like Wyoming, which has about a 100,000 people less than Alaska.

I'm a lower 48'er and I've probably roughed it a whole lot more and for a whole lot longer than Mrs. Palin. And I proved my mettle in the military and not on the catwalk like the lovely Mrs. Palin did.

You rubes that fall for this blatant media creation of Mrs. Palin, frontier woman, should be ashamed of yourselves.

Posted by: arancia12 | December 13, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Well I guess that she likes the tropics too!

I understand that her and fox went to Haiti on a mission.
They took with them boxes and boxes of Insurance Applications, stating that if you'all had coverage you wouldn't be dipping into America's financial pockets. Hope she brought enough #2 pencils!

But we won't know 'cause she didn't allow any media coverage of her visit, citing "security" issues. And no, fox is not a media outlet, it's a PAC! No amount of "lipstick" in any color or flavor will change that!

Posted by: victorlove1 | December 13, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

My daughter and I love the way Sarah Palin and her father relate to one another.
She says I'll make a great grandfather like Sarah's father. Hopefully she's right.

Family relationships are what the storyline for the whole series is about.

The Gosselins were just props like bears, fishing, glaciers, mountains and Carribu. The wilderness helps screen out a lot of things that confuse our lives.

Palin family members have different personalities and minor conflicts, but sanity prevails as they band together in the wilderness.

Whatever Sarah Palin's political goals or fate, she's made a great family show.

Vote for her or against her, if she runs for office, but give her credit for helping to create a rare family friendly TV series. Don't let your political views cause you to miss good family time with your children, or our parents.

By the way, my daughter is 20. Family time is important, whatever the ages.

Posted by: jfv123 | December 13, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Usually I have a visceral dislike for the snarkiness that passes for journalism these days.

Not here. For once, the lampooning is deft, sharp but not pointed.

Posted by: krickey7 | December 13, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I can't speak for all my countrymen/women, but I dislike people with unfounded hatred towards others who've done no harm to anyone.
Why can't liberals get past their unfounded hatred of others?
Has to be a mental problem.

Posted by: wolf808 | December 13, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

You know, normally I'd pick a comment from the above list, and you know, make fun of it.

But really, people! This particular comments section is so freakin' target rich that I can't even begin to think about which one amazes me more;

Sarah Palin - Charming? Really!?

I also see that folks have flipped the "Obama Derangement" meme around to apply to Ms. Palin. Highly creative work, there folks.

Oh, yes, America is just coming to love Ms. Palin, aren't they - because she's so real, I presume?

Please. Ms. Palin is, as are many people today, a creation of our celebrity culture, nothing more, nothing less. She has no great acheivments to point to as the governor of Alaska, and if you stop to think about it, for the last 2 years, her only role in life appears to be to respond to everything that President Obama does with some form of snarky, high school insult.

You know, fine. You got the high octane boost to your career from John McCain. Great.

Do something positive with it. Maybe try to explain to folks just why, over the last 6 presidential elections, in total, more people have voted for a Democratic candidate than a Republican candidate.

Maybe Ms. Palin's role in American politics might be to point out that we became a great country by working together, instead of calling names, and try to find some common ground between the two spectrums of American political thought.

Could that happen? Maybe, if Sarah Palin chose to do so. As of right now, though, she just acts like the homecoming queen, making fun of the nerds.

Posted by: JohnDinHouston | December 13, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Call -up a death panel that cares about what you thunk.
------
I can't speak for all my countrymen/women, but I dislike people with unfounded hatred towards others who've done no harm to anyone.
Why can't liberals get past their unfounded hatred of others?
Has to be a mental problem.

Posted by: wolf808

Posted by: Emmetrope | December 13, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

What's the difference between Kate Gosslin and a jet engine? A jet engine stops whining when it gets to the gate.

Posted by: Cromagnam | December 13, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

The $42,000 Palin spent for the fun of putting a bullet into a caribou's brain would have paid for 168 surgeries to repair cleft-palates. She did say that she had killed the animal for food, hoping, I suppose, to sound like a pioneer mother struggling to feed her starving brood. Pathetic. The Palinistas, of course, will go for it.

Posted by: m_richert | December 13, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

I use to wonder what it is that the Right seems so fixated on backwoods charm, and people who shoot other creatures for "sport".. and like these sorts of people so much, that they try to "INFLICT them on the rest of us... Sarah, like Bush is , well... less than intelligent and hardly fit to lead anything more important than a marching washtub band... Yet here she is, inserting herself into our politics (as a cutout for her employer at FOX)... No matter WHO gets up on their hind legs and declares her a wonderful find, she is to put it bluntly, hardy representative of a skilled, trained, savvy, ready for prime time politician... FAR from it. She IS, however a glaring example of why members of the Right should be ignored for their choice of national political leaders....These poor folks would proudly put a straw hat on the head of the Marquise DeSade, and declare him the only one fit to enter the Oval office if told to by some "On Air" personality...and then FIGHT to install him... While our armed services fight America's foreign enemies, the most dangerous enemy of all is right here at home and calls itself a Republican....

Posted by: BellsBlu2 | December 13, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I thought that Kate and Sarah were together because they are both under contract with TLC and that TLC thought it would be a ratings boost to put the two women together on a TLC show. It looks like they were right on and really know how to read the viewers minds to enhance ratings and advertising. We live in a People weekly world, Sarah and Kate have really been ahead of the curve using TV to further their ambitions. Why all the indignation?

Posted by: bkeil45 | December 13, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

"So the choice the episode works so hard to create is a false one."

Exactly. Palin and Gosselin represent two different flavors of self-absorption. The only relevant distinction between the two is that Gosselin isn't a demagogue tilting at elitist windmills while using euphemisms like "real Americans" to bash ethnic minorities.

Posted by: Carstonio | December 13, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Madam Petri , I realize you are a woman and have that hormone thing going on. But if you could try for a second to control your emotional hysteria and hatred towards all things Sarah Palin you might realize the reason you're upset over this particular episode is you see in Kate Gosslin a reflection of not only yourself and your beliefs and lifestyle but that of your liberal elitist friends as well. Please seek psychological help for this "Palin Derangement Syndrome" before it's too late and you find yourself living alone with house full of cats.

Posted by: Cromagnam | December 13, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

TO: bubbasouth who wrote
“Sarah Palin: Chic, charming, cheerful; and don't forget … seductive.”

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

I couldn’t help but notice that “intelligent” wasn’t in there.

They say the dumber some women are, the more men love them.

LOL.

Posted by: lindalovejones | December 13, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

actually, Day-Spa Kate has nothing in common with your average American these days. whe was twisting, twisting the knife in her kids' having fun with others -- something rather unusual for that household. this TV hour has killer DS Kate's little machine. not that I'm ever going to vote for Palin, even in a choice between her and a flaming horseman of the apocylpse. but I'd stride into the bugs and eat a moose-dog. of course, I'm a decades-long veteran of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, but still....

Posted by: swschrad | December 13, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Hey Milbank how about you visit a shrink, you know sometimes shows are just shows and Sarah Palin is just Sarah Palin and every little ogre you see in the shadows is your mind dying for some medicine.

Posted by: Jaded2 | December 13, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

It's interesting how many Palinophobes constantly deem her without intelligence. Your criteria for intellect must be very skewed - or, IMO, just biased. Ms. Palin was at least elected Governor. How many of the bashers can say that? Governor Palin was a national candidate for elective office. Rather than bashing some woman because she thinks differently than you - assume you do - why not worry about your flailing President. You know, the guy who has been to all 57 states? The guy who thinks Austrians speak Austrian (not German). Yeah, him.

Posted by: CubsFan | December 13, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Cromagnam -... It's totally understandable that members of the Right would defend their flawed choices, while projecting the very nature of the flaws in their choices onto others....The fact that you feel this unintelligent, crude, provincial, shill for the owner of News Int'l is worthy of your support is a thing of wonder... I use the word wonder because you seem prepared to vote for her to be president.... After all, she shoots critters for food....So I WONDER why you would want to hand the worlds largest collection of WMD over to an intellectual midget..... I WONDER if you understand how many orders of magnitude giving her that much power is over giving a small child a fully loaded weapon....Apparently you don't regard our highest office very highly, and think just anyone can do the job of our nations chief executive... so, keep tossing that lame "Palin Derangement Syndrome" downloaded talking point out there.. it resonates with the mentally feeble, but gives the rest of us pause to consider your worthiness for the right to vote.

Posted by: BellsBlu2 | December 13, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I have to agree with Bob Johnson, irresponsible to take Gosselin out into the woods. Except that, with film crew there was no real danger to anyone.

Gosselin was used as a prop. Just like so many others in Sarah P's life.

Reality? Far from it!

Posted by: thebobbob | December 13, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Kate Gosselin -- the only person in the world who can make Palin look normal.

Posted by: MSinVA | December 13, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

" It's totally understandable that members of the Right would defend their flawed choices, while projecting the very nature of the flaws in their choices onto others...."

That's funny. Because this reasoning is about the only justification that remains for anyone still being an Obama supporter after all of his failures, gaffes and self-absorbed tone deafness.


I more or less agree that Sarah Palin should not be President. And the reason I know she shouldn't is that we already elected her....in our current President. And it's really not working out at all.

I'm happy to have Sarah Palin being on TV, giving speeches and writing books. She's doing all of that pretty well. Obama would be good at that too. He's just horrendous at being any kind of leader.

Posted by: etpietro | December 13, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

.
.
I would never have wasted a moment reading this whining drivel if I knew that Dana Milbank was involved..

Now I will add Alexandra Petri-dish to my do not read list from the Washington Post.

What is it with you guys and Palin? Get a life, really.
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Posted by: salvosm | December 13, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

.
.
I would never have wasted a moment reading this whining drivel if I knew that Dana Milbank was involved..

Now I will add Alexandra Petri-dish to my do not read list from the Washington Post.

What is it with you guys and Palin? Get a life, really.
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.

Posted by: salvosm | December 13, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

etpietro -... President Obama's only sin is that on "day one" he allowed Republicans into his inner circle (referred to as "mistake one")... Palin on TV is great, because all one need do is change the channel, or turn it off...

Lets look at the dynamic of our state of play... America is struggling with HUGE debt, and two ongoing wars... (how much is that costing us a day?)..Listening to Repubs on ANY subject is like listening to a baby in need of a bottle... the bottle is the only thing that matters.. only for Repubs.. the bottle is for those who've paid them to request it....The middle class, poor, infirmed, elderly... Not entitled to "the bottle",... But corporations, the wealthy, foreign investors... can always depend on Republicans to represent THEIR interests in our government at the expense of our citizens, our tax payers, and our nations interests...After all, hasn't that been the point of any and all Right leaning initiatives? Isn't that why the folks the Right push into leadership roles are less and less qualified?...

Posted by: BellsBlu2 | December 13, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

The problem with "Palin's Alaska" is that it "IS" Sarah, in just ANOTHER one of her acting roles. She SHOULD have been a movie actress, or a wily bar girl, instead of trying for politics because "acting" and "pretending" are SO "Sarah"! Those of us women who REALLY do go out and LIVE this life she is acting, (not only briefly for the camera), can easily spot all the phoniness, which is her only REAL trait that come through loud and clear. It doesn't matter WHICH movie role she is playing today or next Tuesday or Friday, it's such obvious theatrics, and some, very poorly at that. For instance, a person, used to clubbing a fish, doesn't make a hesitating move with the club, while grimacing a squeamish look on her face. It's just an everyday part of the job! Neither do women, who "live" this life in reality, walk around with half inch nails, real OR artificial, because they are just a hindrance. I would LOVE to watch an unretouched/unspliced video of Sarah, field-gutting one of her "many" buck Caribous, step by step, without an unfilmed substitute taking over for her between shots.

Her phoney acts to TRY to "fool" the American people, are nauseating! I do believe that Sarah and her "silent partner" are the biggest connivers I have ever seen in my 70 years. They have the balloon boy scheme beat all to heck!

Posted by: Maerzie | December 13, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Alexandra:Something "America" likes less than Sarah Palin??? That's just plain idiotic to make a statement like that. America is "We the People"..the long standing majority of people in this country. It is obvious that to you "America" is the less than 20% of far left liberals who dislike Sarah Palin and only you get to decide who "should" or "Should not" like Sarah Palin. It just so angers you for her or anyone to highlight anything that proves your image of her as just wrong. In 2012 we just might see that it is the majority of Americans who really like this woman..albeit much to your chagrin.
I would be like Kate too. I would stay inside near a warm fire all the time. Kate expressed my sentiments exactly. My daughter lived in Alaska and the only roughing she did was from the parking lots into the malls. But Sarah is her Daddy's girl. Her Dad did move there to experience the frontiersmen's rugged lifestyle. They went many years without a TV and when they did get one he moved it into an unheated part of the home to encourage their reading. Sarah loves this lifestyle but I doubt the enjoyment born out of necessity can hardly be passed down to her kids who have not experienced the "need" part of such rugged outdoor life....ah, except maybe Piper who never leaves Sarah's side.
America is fascinated by Sarah Palin. That is why TLC has had more viewers than any other show; why her books are best sellers, and why people lie on frozen grounds overnight to get a pass to see her at a book signing...and why no news channel or any media site will go even an hour without mentioning the Palin name. Just saying...One tally against her only leads to 3 or 4 tallies for her.

Posted by: ParkerRules | December 13, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Except for the teabaggers with mommy issues, there is very very little that America likes less than Palin. Perhaps Osama bin Laden, but even then, their tactics are quite similar. In any event, please quit making up reasons to post stories about this lying, quitting backwater nitwit.

Posted by: losthorizon10 | December 13, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

ParkerRules-... Do you actually believe that only 20% of America are lefties, or that only 20% of America find Palin to be a joke played on everyone by John McCain, which has been turned into a running gag by her new "uncle Murdoch"?... Well... There's you problem, right there.... It's called reality dysfunction.

Posted by: BellsBlu2 | December 13, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

First, this article is pure gibberish. Second, why must the post write about Palin every single day?

Posted by: Chigliak | December 13, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Yes.. Gosselin is just a prop.. she represents all the pampered big-city Leftists and progressives. The show was a hoot except to Palin-haters : )

Kate says many funny things:
“I can honestly say I have never camped for real.”

“Are you kidding me? Doesn’t a lodge sound more exciting to you?”

“We never did spray the kids with bug spray, which is a very big problem.”

“[People] did this before there were houses, why would [they] do it now?”

“I’ve been bitten about 200 times already. I know the kids are having fun, and that’s the only reason I’m tolerating it.”

“This is cruel and unusual punishment.”

“I’m standing in the ‘not rain’, that’s what I’m doing.”

“It just kills me that people do this. It is just so shocking to me.”

And my personal favorite:

“I’m sorry I’m miserable, but somebody has to be.”

Meanwhile, her kids and the Palins gather firewood, cook hamburgers and hot dogs, fish by the river, collect rocks and keepsakes, make s’mores, laugh, find cool fish bones and generally have a ball.

“We are not camping people, I’ll scream it from mountaintops,” she says as her discomfort reaches the breaking point.

“This is just ridiculous. There are no paper towels. How do you make sandwiches for 8 kids on your ARM?! I don’t see a TABLE; I don’t see UNTENSILS; I don’t see HAND CLEANSING material. These are not ideal conditions. I am freezing to the bone. I have 19 layers on. I have held it together as best I could and I am DONE now. I’M HUNGRY!” she yells finally, slamming her fist on the table and dropping, defeated, into a chair as her voice breaks.

Meanwhile, Sarah is becoming perkier the more Kate comes unglued. It has grown increasingly apparent as the show has progressed that her appreciation for Alaska is based partly on how miserable it makes non-Alaskans.

God how I love Sarah Palin ! : )

Posted by: pvilso24 | December 13, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Yes.. Gosselin is just a prop.. she represents all the pampered big-city Leftists and progressives. The show was a hoot except to Palin-haters : )

Kate says many funny things:
“I can honestly say I have never camped for real.”

“Are you kidding me? Doesn’t a lodge sound more exciting to you?”

“We never did spray the kids with bug spray, which is a very big problem.”

“[People] did this before there were houses, why would [they] do it now?”

“I’ve been bitten about 200 times already. I know the kids are having fun, and that’s the only reason I’m tolerating it.”

“This is cruel and unusual punishment.”

“I’m standing in the ‘not rain’, that’s what I’m doing.”

“It just kills me that people do this. It is just so shocking to me.”

And my personal favorite:

“I’m sorry I’m miserable, but somebody has to be.”

Meanwhile, her kids and the Palins gather firewood, cook hamburgers and hot dogs, fish by the river, collect rocks and keepsakes, make s’mores, laugh, find cool fish bones and generally have a ball.

“We are not camping people, I’ll scream it from mountaintops,” she says as her discomfort reaches the breaking point.

“This is just ridiculous. There are no paper towels. How do you make sandwiches for 8 kids on your ARM?! I don’t see a TABLE; I don’t see UNTENSILS; I don’t see HAND CLEANSING material. These are not ideal conditions. I am freezing to the bone. I have 19 layers on. I have held it together as best I could and I am DONE now. I’M HUNGRY!” she yells finally, slamming her fist on the table and dropping, defeated, into a chair as her voice breaks.

Meanwhile, Sarah is becoming perkier the more Kate comes unglued. It has grown increasingly apparent as the show has progressed that her appreciation for Alaska is based partly on how miserable it makes non-Alaskans.

God how I love Sarah Palin ! : )

Posted by: pvilso24 | December 13, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

I do not like Shara, but even if she doesn't think I am real American for living in Boston, she can fly me and my wife to a really nice part of Alaska to go hunting and fishing anytime she likes. In that environment, she does know a lot more than I do, and she would be interesting, if still a little annoying. However, for 5000-10000 dollar trip, I would be happy to go.
As for the Rain, it rains a whole lot of the time in Alaska, if you are ready for it, its no big deal. You do not have to love camping to take you kids on a once in a life time trip, backed by film crew and security I willing to bet. I pretty sure her security detail will at least protect the all the kids, and most likely even Ms Gosseli. Palin or at least the producers should have made sure the Gosselins had proper rain gear, on everywhere I went in Alaska they made really sure that we had proper rain gear that could handle hours of rain.

I have heard that some Alaskans are upset that the show implies the Palins live off the land as many (small percentage, but still thousands) do.

Posted by: Muddy_Buddy_2000 | December 13, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

WaPo serving up it's daily portion of Wasilla brown trout.

Posted by: whocares666 | December 13, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

A waste of ink and time on both Sara and Kate!!

Posted by: shejoy | December 13, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm amazed that anyone could have watched that show and not see Sarah Palin for what she REALLY is. Anyone can fake being a frontier woman type if she is given a script and the means to do so. Many actresses have done just that in movies. But what showed up like a neon sign was Sarah's mean streak. The way she sneered and made comments behind Kate's back was disgusting even if it were all scripted. Any decent person couldn't have played that part for real but it's obviously what/who Palin wants to be. Kate is a fool, but Sarah is a mean, snarky, vindictive shrew and I agree with Barbara Bush. She should stay in Alaska.

Posted by: CorrineK | December 13, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Who the hell is Kate Gosselin?

Posted by: daweeni | December 13, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

This Alexandra Petri person is just 'all that', isn't she? Are her and Joy Behar roomies? Was Petri a former star of Beverly Hills 90210, or a member of the Brat Pack?

Posted by: chatard | December 13, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

The pairing of Palin and Gosselin is essentially the reality show version of old-school pro wrestling. Competitors embodied ethnic stereotypes that were so cartoonish that taking offense at any one of them missed the point.

Posted by: Carstonio | December 13, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Palin is yet another political opportunist. Is it wrong that she's using her 15 minutes to cash in a buck? Heck no! You go girl. But I won't be contributing because I don't support political opportunists. I ignore her. She will go away. End.

Posted by: ButzBestSkinEver | December 13, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Sarah is not wise or compassionate, but she is crafty. She knows how to find people to help her spin her facade. I give her credit for that. But propaganda is propaganda no matter how well crafted.

Posted by: greeenmtns | December 13, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

The Compost has fed the starving populace another episode of "We hate Sarah Palin but have to write about her or no one will read our stinking filthy rag".

The reason you perverts hate her so is because, although she is in actuality a warm, loving, giving person, she doesn't support murdering babies or having some homosexual creep try to make a pass at her son while he is over in Irag trying to protect us.

"User reviews and comments that include personal attacks will be removed from the site."

If the Compost removed personal attacks from their articles they would be trying to sell blank pages. Which would be an improvement over what they write now.

We don't care what you write, but please keep including pictures of pretty Republican ladies. It gives us something to look at.

A lot better than Hillary "I haven't combed my hair in 3 weeks" Clinton, Janet "Can I play tackle on your football team" Napolitano, or any of the drug crazed raping Kennedys.

Posted by: cbtole2 | December 13, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Alexandra:Something "America" likes less than Sarah Palin??? That's just plain idiotic to make a statement like that. America is "We the People"..the long standing majority of people in this country. It is obvious that to you "America" is the less than 20% of far left liberals who dislike Sarah Palin and only you get to decide who "should" or "Should not" like Sarah Palin. It just so angers you for her or anyone to highlight anything that proves your image of her as just wrong. In 2012 we just might see that it is the majority of Americans who really like this woman..albeit much to your chagrin.
Posted by: ParkerRules

_____________________

Perhaps you should not presume to speak for the American people either. Mrs. Palin's approval rating is at 37%. Now I'm no genius but I'm pretty sure 37% is not a majority of "we the people." This is not 37% of liberals, but 37% of a cross section of Americans. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/10/AR2010021004708.html

Did you shed tears like the Weeper of the House when you typed your bodice ripping post?

Posted by: arancia12 | December 13, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Whoa, cbtole2! Are you sleeping with Mrs. Palin? Cuz you write as if you actually know her.

Little hint, dude. TV shows are not reality and if Mrs. Palin met you, she'd only give you the time of day if you bought her book.

Posted by: arancia12 | December 13, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: thebobbob
"I have to agree with Bob Johnson, irresponsible to take Gosselin out into the woods. Except that, with film crew there was no real danger to anyone."

Film crews are often dangerous to themselves. This was not a Survivor size production, the crew most likely at the most: 2 camera ops, 2 sound, and a producer.

"Gosselin was used as a prop. Just like so many others in Sarah P's life."

Absolutely, I caught a moment on a comercial fishing boat where Sarah was saying, "It's these mother daughter moments that make the blah blah blah..." while the shot was Sarah standing in the foreground of the frame while her daughter was in the background over Sarah's shoulder. LOL funny. At least on of the editors has a sense of humor.

"Reality? Far from it!"

The show would be better suited if they crafted it as a more of a "Fish Out fo Water" story.

Posted by: thomp | December 13, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Just another WaPo hack using the Governor to sell an article. Pathetic.

I truly believe that WaPo has a roster for their "journolisters" to write articles on Sarah Palin and they are queing up to do so.

The choice this article gave me was who is the real American Palin, Gosselin or Petri. I pick Palin then Gosselin is a distant second.

Posted by: mckenna7 | December 13, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Just another WaPo hack using the Governor to sell an article. Pathetic.

Posted by: mckenna7

________________

Versus another hack ex-Governor using TV to sell herself.

Posted by: arancia12 | December 13, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Something I like less than Palin, Alexandra Petri's whiny ass.

Posted by: jjlj | December 13, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

the writer is an idiot.

Posted by: 12thgenamerican | December 13, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

These articles are becoming more and more equivalent to high school bullying. Rather than using facebook, journalists and left-wing bloggers are using WaPo to attack Palin and her family on every level. Proud of yourselves? Ask the real public how they feel about your childishness, not your left-wing middle school followers who live for another Palin-trashing gossip article.

Posted by: bethg1841 | December 13, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

bethg1841, please allow me to channel Mrs. Palin.

"No wonder others are keeping silent about antics. This is what happens when you exercise the First Amendment and speak against sick, un-American...efforts."

Please see Sarah Palin for the original quote.

Posted by: arancia12 | December 13, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

This SHOULD read:

bethg1841, please allow me to channel Mrs. Palin.

"No wonder others are keeping silent about PALIN'S antics. This is what happens when you exercise the First Amendment and speak against HER sick, un-American...efforts."

Please see Sarah Palin for the original quote.

Posted by: arancia12 | December 13, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

The first day of car salesman class, they teach you never to say, "Do you want to buy this car?" You're supposed to say, "Do you want the blue car, or the white car?"

So do you want the Palin Hummer with the plush, leather seats, or the Gosselin Lexus, with the plush leather seats?

It's sure tempting to go for the Hummer, but I'll stick with the black car I already have.

Posted by: divtune | December 14, 2010 1:59 AM | Report abuse

Anyone would have a miserable experience if they were not fully prepared; even Sarah’s daughter was shown to be asking where they were going. No one in their right mind would drag and introduce a family to their first camping experience in such conditions. And it would be interesting to know the full details of that extended invitation to Kate because Sarah’s skills as a hostess was shown to be seriously lacking and untrustworthy; for instance, snickering at one’s guest is rude. It is disappointing and like Kate said, it is shocking that people would do this.

Posted by: A_musing | December 14, 2010 3:51 AM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin represents what is right with America and liberty. You can get out there and do it for yourself, or you can whine and have someone else give you a portion of what they harvest -- under direct control of the government.

I am afraid that we have gone too far. With the stimulus and the passage of Obamacare, it seems almost impossible to turn our country back to a place of true liberty and freedom.

The election in November echoed the voices of the hopefuls, who are still willing to give it their own shot and who wish everyone else the best. The ones who will still contribute to those in need, but refuse to work for them. Both points can and should exist separately.

Palin is a blazing leader. And the liberals predictably will hate her so badly. Just as they hate any of us who support her.

Posted by: sflesher2002 | December 14, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

"No one in their right mind would drag and introduce a family to their first camping experience in such conditions."

Thus the utter of Palin hatery and liberal whinery.

Posted by: sflesher2002 | December 14, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

"Sarah Palin represents what is right with America and liberty"

Arguably one of the most delusional iterations posted here, although there are many.

BTW, this coming from neither a Democrat nor liberal. It doesn't take an extreme left wing lackey to realize she's tissue in a bra. It does take an extreme right wing lackey to believe that beautiful set wagging in front of them is actually real.

Posted by: ButzBestSkinEver | December 17, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

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