Friday, September 16, 2011

Do the Sarah Palin sex tidbits really titillate us? Or are they just droll?

Now we know exactly why the Chicago Tribune canned the Doonesbury comic strip for the week.

Garry Trudeau focused this week’s worth of strips on the fact that a new book is coming out next week about "is she/isn’t she" presidential candidate Sarah Palin – one that offers up so-called salacious tidbits about her personal life.

THE DISCLOSURE THAT would have appeared in the newspaper on Thursday was the fact that Palin supposedly once had a fling/quickie/hook-up/whatever you call it with now-former professional basketball player Glen Rice.

Not that Tribune readers were able to avoid the disclosure. For as it turns out, a look at the Tribune’s website Thursday afternoon shows them prominently playing up a review of the book that is the source of this tawdry disclosure – and a whole lot of others that we’re going to chew through in coming days.

Of course, what the Tribune did was take the review written by someone at the Los Angeles Times, which I’m sure they’re going to say means that they never really touched it themselves.

It’s a whole lot of semantics that rivals the rhetoric we’re going to hear from the Palin people themselves in dealing with this book; which her husband, Todd, has already denounced as, “full of disgusting lies.”

WHICH MEANS THE experience we’re all going to endure related to this book is going to be petty and cheap, particularly since the National Enquirer has managed to get itself entangled in this whole story (they’re going to claim they broke this revelation, even though all they did was reported the existence of the book).

Author Joe McGinniss (the guy who actually moved to Wasilla, Alaska and bought the house right next door to the Palin residence) did all the real work (although some have denounced his book as being nothing more than hearsay).

Sometimes, even political people get their own trading cards.

Now I have to admit that my first reaction to hearing a story about former sports broadcaster Palin and a ballplayer was to wonder if this so-called fling took place before she was married.

Perhaps it might be something resembling a story if the word “adultery” could be claimed (and also assuming that the hook-up actually took place) as fact. But in this case, the so-called fling occurred before marriage.

AND I PERSONALLY could care less about Sarah Palin’s social life – particularly incidents that took place more than two decades ago.

Which is why I’m not about to recall the details of where their one-time dalliance took place. It’s really such a common tale – except for the fact that one of the people in the coupling was a reporter-type person (Sarah used to do the sports segments for a local television station in Alaska) and the other was an athlete.

That is a journalistic ethics breach, along with just tacky behavior – if it really happened.

But then again, Palin has always said she got out of broadcasting and into politics because she didn’t want to conduct her life in the ways that reporters are forced to for professional reasons.

IF THIS INCIDENT really happened, it is just more evidence that Palin did the right thing getting out of journalism. And if it didn’t, she probably got easily bored by the tedious, often-nitpicking attention to detail that is necessary to get a story correct.

It means she still did the right thing by getting out of journalism.

What strikes me about this tale is that if it is true, then Palin would probably be best off using the reasoning that was offered up by the Clintons when Bill was first running for president – they admitted to marital difficulties during their lives, but tried to avoid getting into specific incidents.

Considering that the people who are most likely to back Palin’s presidential dreams are the same ones who most detested Clinton’s presence in the White House, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn they will not accept it as a legitimate excuse.

IN FACT, I think much of the rhetoric that we will hear about McGinniss’ book in coming days is going to be from people who are determined to ignore what is being written and said about the candidate. They already live in their own world, and don’t really care what the rest of us have to say or think.

Although I am inclined to ignore the disclosures made in “The Rogue” because I just think they’re boring. Titillation is cheap when it becomes repetitive.

And in the end, the Chicago Tribune may wind up regretting that they didn’t just run the Doonesbury strips this week – particularly the one from Thursday that told us about the alleged Palin/Rice coupling.

For in that strip, a character refers to the tawdry tale as something that nobody will believe. “NBA trash talk,” in the words of Trudeau, which means Garry may have given us the best assessment of what to think of this incident.


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