In her latest column for Salon, feminist and cultural critic Camille Paglia describes how she became “increasingly disturbed” in the final weeks of the presidential election by what she believes was the mainstream media’s avoidance of both the Bill Ayers controversy and—wait for it—questions about Barack Obama’s birth certificate. Disturbing, indeed. The very idea that Obama would rest his entire presidential campaign—to say nothing of his actual presidency—on the premise that he could conceal his non-American citizenship without anyone ever figuring it out is patently absurd. “We don’t need another presidency that finds it all too easy to rely on evasion or stonewalling,” Paglia explained, suggesting Obama could have ended the entire matter by asking his supposed birth state of Hawaii to “issue a fresh, long-form, stamped certificate and inviting a few high-profile reporters in to examine the document and photograph it.” Yes, and he could have settled the issue of his Judeo-Christianity by simply unzipping his pants and inviting a few high-profile reporters to examine and photograph his circumcised penis.
Perhaps inspired by political analyst Michael Barone’s statement to the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges yesterday that “the liberal media attacked Sarah Palin because she did not abort her Down syndrome baby,” Paglia goes on to compare the absence of xenophobic inquisition in the media to the treatment of the Alaskan governor, who the writer informs us has been “subjected to an atrocious and at times delusional level of defamation merely because she has the temerity to hold pro-life views.” Really? The right (and Paglia, apparently) would have us believe that the media’s disdain for Sarah Palin is eclipsed only by its hatred for living babies. And here I thought Palin’s real problem was her complete and utter incompetence, her inability to construct a coherent position on practically any important issue, her opportunism at the expense of national security, her mean-spirited and divisive fear-mongering, her worrying readiness to put faith before law, and her general disregard for said law. No one in the media has denied the fact that Palin is, to use Paglia’s term, a populist phenomenon, but for once they did the right thing by calling a spade a spade—and before that spade got elected.