Saturday, September 06, 2008

Northern Exposure

If you listened to the show on NPR this weekend you might have thought there was static on your radio. That was, in fact, rain. We taped it outdoors at Millenium Park in Chicago in a steady downpour. Peter Sagal described it best on his blog. Besides the change of venue, this was an interesting week to be on the panel. The Republican Convention is always a deep well of material and the selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin should have set me up with plenty of rude Alaska commentary, which I somehow failed to produce. I blamed it on distraction, but after some time to think about it I see it was actually a buried sense of loyalty I have to what I consider the place I came from. Alaska is a nutty place and Alaskans are the first to admit it. But only to each other. If "Outsiders" try to ridicule the ways of The Great Land they will be met with pissy defensiveness of the type you saw in Governor Palin's speech on Wednesday. I couldn't bring myself to indulge in all the obvious Alaska jokes about chainsaw art, oil, and Wally Hickel's famous pronouncement that "You can't have nature just running around wild." I'd better get over it if I'm to preserve what's left of my reputation as a humorist.
Once the news crews start to home in on the hairless underbelly of Alaska politics and begin interviewing the local characters, upstanding Alaskans -- and most Alaskans are -- will wish McCain had picked almost anybody else. Before you start hearing from the real whack jobs, here is a reasonable perspective on Sarah Palin here from someone who has known her for a long time.
The next sixty days should prove to be both interesting and nauseating. Like every other election year.

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