Thursday, October 2, 2008

best supporting actress

tonight, sarah palin wins some award, somewhere, for best supporting actress.

pundits will say nobody won the vice-presidential debate. folks who were cheering for palin will think she won, or at least didn't lose, and supporters of obama/biden will think biden won hands down.

she sure is folksy. for me (and get your surprised face ready) she actually didn't do as well as i thought she might. i honestly expected a knockout punch somewhere.

in reality, i thought she was condescending, far too cute, got several facts wrong – facts that i knew were wrong as i was watching the debate, not something i had to look up on – and didn't answer question after question. there was, however, attack line after attack line. all sounding, to me, incredibly rehearsed.

which brings me to my initial point: i didn't buy it. and i don't buy her.

as an actor, i think there is a threshold you pass when rehearsing, or performing a role. the moment when the lines, the words, no longer belong to the playwright but to you, the actor inhabiting the role. i think i've only been there maybe twice in my life. i don't know if it made any difference to my performance. i would hope. i know it felt different to me.

i also know, when i'm in an audience, i feel it. i feel when an actor is – not "phoning it in", that's a different thing – but when an actor is acting. instead of being.

i think sarah palin was a good little actress tonight. i think she knew her lines (even though she may not have had her notecards in exactly the right order) and she delivered most of them fairly well. but i don't think she understands a lick of what she says. unless she's talking about her family, her home life, her experiences in alaska, or her personal beliefs (i.e. when she talks about her abortion stance or her faith, she is sincere, honest, and passionate. when she talks about anything she really knows, she looks like a real person and i get it.)

but the lines they've crammed into her head about foreign policy, the economy, john mccain's record, iraq, iran, and the rest...are just that – lines crammed into her head.

the problem is this: plenty of crappy actors win standing ovations, glowing reviews, high-paying jobs, and awards all the time. and you wouldn't want any of them to be the vice-president of the united states either.


  1. now...i could've written your post for you, tony. the media is saying she held her own. obviously, you're going to say biden won. as a moderate (ha), i would give the win to biden as well, but i don't think palin came across as badly as everyone thought she would.

  2. ...i'll also agree with you on "the lines" and "cramming them in". i would tend to think she wouldn't have a handle on much of what she said compared to joe. but her "performance" was better than expected and may bring back some of those palin naysayers that dropping from her camp

  3. You are spot-on Tony. I'm e-mailing this post to everyone. Thank you for putting it so eloquently.

    BTW-- My Sarah Palin impression is getting really good.

  4. What I saw in the debate was Gov Palin attempting to get in all of her "zinger" lines, regardless of relevance to the questions at hand. Which shouldn't be surprising as she announced at the beginning that she didn't plan on actually answering any questions.

    Why can't she work her existing taglines into actual responses? Because she doesn't know enough about the issues to understand the questions. As a matter of fact, I believe she views actually listening to and answering questions as a sucker's game -- she is there to deliver talking points like the TV newsreader she once was. (Regardless of whether they are true, as in the case of "Obama voted to cut off funding for the troops" which she repeated endlessly.) This is the hallmark of the George W Bush campaign machine. It is profoundly disrespectful to anybody who wants to hear something other than the canned goods (which is, um, almost everybody). The McCain/Palin campaign, like the Bush/Cheney campaign before it, is about winning and not about governing.

    Amy H in Milwaukee

  5. Does anyone think that she knew the background behind the term "Say it ain't so, Joe"? I don't. Someone just told her to say it. I'd love to see her asked about its significance. "Umm... it rhymes?"


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