Satire serves crucial role
Editor in chief
“I believe global warming is caused by man,” Amy Poehler, as Hillary Clinton, said.
“And I believe it’s just God hugging us closer,” Tina Fey, as Sarah Palin, said.
This was just one of the exchanges on the much discussed Saturday Night Live sketch, broadcast by NBC on Sept. 13. The sketch featured Poehler as Senator and former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., and Fey as Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Republican vice presidential candidate.
For those who missed the show, the sketch presented Clinton and Palin discussing sexism side by side at a conference. The subject quickly turned to the differences between the women, and they could not be more transparent.
On one side there was Poehler, explaining how she supports diplomacy for foreign policy and believes global warming is caused by man. Then there was Fey, who countered Clinton’s arguments with ones that were juvenile at best. Their exchanges suggested Palin lacks Clinton’s substance.
The best part of the sketch was how it served as a political check on Palin. True, Fey’s sketch did not precisely reflect the Republican VP nominee’s stand on the issues but then again, it was not supposed to. Satire has a disturbing way of being critical of politicians in the most delicious way.
To those who were offended, get over it. This is satire, not reality. Do you really think it is unfair for SNL, the show that ridiculed and attacked Monica Lewinsky until they had enough footage for a “best of” episode, to ridicule Palin? It’s comedy. It picks on a target’s weak points, the ones that make us laugh. That is what it is supposed to do. But it served a greater purpose too: It allowed the general public, and those of us who have not been keeping up with the election, to see some potential flaws in McCain’s running mate.
Those who have watched Palin discussing politics, especially foreign diplomacy, know it is difficult. It seems as if she is struggling to think of answers to questions she never considered. Compare that to Sen. Barack Obama, Democratic presidential candidate: When he is put on the spot, he knows what he is talking about. The contrast is striking and crystal clear.
While this editorial is not meant to attack Palin, it is meant to show the differences between the candidates. We know she started at the bottom and worked her way to the top by being better, not prettier. She did her job at the top by being smarter and tougher than those who stood in her way. However, it is only fair to think the candidates should be at equal levels. Palin is not. She’s not incapable; she just doesn’t know much about the world outside Alaska. This is a significant fact if you want to be next in line to a 72-year-old president.
Also remember that SNL is not the first to comment on Palin in such a way. However, the show was one of the first to do it so robustly. The sketch was funny, but that is what you would expect from Fey and Poehler. It was so funny it apparently caused McCain advisor Carly Fiorina to completely lose her sense of humor.
“The portrait was very dismissive of the substance of Sarah Palin,” Fiorina said to MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell. “And so in that sense they were defining Hillary Clinton as very substantive and Sarah Palin as totally superficial. I think that continues the line of argument that is disrespectful in the extreme, and, yes, I would say sexist in the sense that just because Sarah Palin has different views than Hillary Clinton does not mean she lacks substance.”
Obviously she wants more respectful satire. Right.
The Review, however, agrees with Poehler: “I invite the media to grow a pair, and if you can’t, I will lend you mine.”
Do not hold any punches when it comes to what is important, and that goes for everyone.