“Remember When We Cared?” I’m Afraid We Still Should

Alexandra Petri is a terrific young pundit-to-be, who stepped straight from Harvard (class of 2010) into an opinion blog at the Washington Post.

She doesn’t need my good wishes in order to succeed, but I extend them to her anyway. I’ve actually read some of the columns she wrote for the Harvard Crimson and have found her to be a clever writer with a keen wit. She’s a breath of fresh air in the flatulent opinion pages of the Post.. Bookmark her and read her: she’s a voice of the future.

But like many young artists, Ms. Petri lacks a sense of history–even recent history. As witness her most recent Post piece:
“Remember when we cared.”

It’s yet another argument that Sarah Palin doesn’t matter any more.

I hope Ms. Petri will be proven right, eventually, but the headline on her column: “Palin…Remember when we cared?” is premature.

Only last weekend, Ms. Petri’s own newspaper cared very much about Sarah.
Presumably, Ms. Petri has not yet been compromised to the extent that she would have attended the “after-parties” (why do I think of placental expulsion whenever I hear that term?) that followed the White House Correspondents’ annual dinner–which, by the way, the New York Times does not allow its reporters to attend–but had she done so, she would have learned that Sarah “Isn’t She Pretty, Isn’t She Nice?”” mattered very much to the WaPo reporters who were there.

Even Sarah’s dithering for fifteen seconds before naming Greta Van Susteren as the most influential journalist in America became news on many a website over the past couple of days.

The sad fact is that only a few days ago the Washington Post said Sarah stole the show at the biggest inside-beltway-insider-politico-media event of the year.

The time will come when we’ll remember–or not–those days or yore (and bore) when we cared about Sarah. But it’s not here yet, as I’m afraid the next few months will make clear.

So do the country a favor, Ms. Petri: don’t stop paying attention yet.

31 Responses to ““Remember When We Cared?” I’m Afraid We Still Should”

  • gypsyrose:

    dear joe,
    being an analytical type person i sometimes try to sort out why i spend so much time reading about sarah palin on both the pro and anti palin blogs. i read the pro palin blogs to try to ascertain why these people continue to follow her and support her and believe in her. it does indeed boggle the mind. i read the anti palin blogs with the hope of one day finding out that she has been caught in her own web of lies and thievery and cheating.
    her complete lack of respect for anyone other than sarah or for any social graces or with any regard for the laws of our society are a constant source of amazement to most people. you seem to take her actions and words in a much less reactive manner- perhaps because you know exactly who she is. having gotten close to sociopathic, psychopathic, narcissistic people in your previous work has possibly given you a much clearer eye with which to view her. it is that finely honed instinct for evil followed by the investigative work you do to expose the evil that has everyone anxiously awaiting the release of your book. i believe there is an intrinsic trust we feel for you that you do know of what you speak.
    i was discussing this whole sarah palin thing the other day and finally just came out with the truth. if you are a good person. an outwardly giving person. a compassionate person. an honest person. a fair person. a respectful person. a patriotic person. a generous person. a loving person. if you are one or all of these things, then you want sarah palin to disappear. she IS the antithesis of all that americans are known to be and are proud of being. she is the american right wing evangelical version of al quaeda.
    joe, i believe there is a lot of pressure on you to bring sarah palin down with what you reveal in your book. i hope the media and the law assist with her social, professional and financial demise. i think for many people it will be a joyous celebration of justice finally having been done.
    i enjoy reading your daily observations about this fake, this phony created by politicians and the media.
    with the exception of those who promote sarah palin and support her, everyone knows she is a fake. her appearance is fake. her words, her history, her “wonderful family and husband todd”, her background, her daily life, her experience, her ability to hunt or fish, her dedication to her children and her service to her town/state/country, her facebook page and twitter page…………all fake. how much more of a leap does it then take to believe her pregnancy was a fake? from where i sit typing, i am not trignostic. i am more about trignity. honor and truth for the child who has thus far spent way too much of his life as a prop for his adoptive mother’s own narcissistic needs.

  • debby:

    That was stupendous. You have said EVERYTHING that I feel about this woman and her ways. (You too Joe…and I am hoping as well that you contribute to her fall).
    I have the Emily’s List bumper sticker on my car (“Sarah Doesn’t Speak for Me”) and I proudly drove my car through Colo Spgs the other day on my way down to Texas to visit friends. Well, I sort of did hold my breath wondering if I was going to get run into or something. I am hoping the tide is turning and the number of people against Mrs. Palin are outnumbering the number for.
    With hope for a PALIN-FREE America SOON!!!

  • BfromC:

    Here, here, gypsyrose! Well said.

    I also feel Sarah’s “Christianity” is suspect. It is a cloak in which she wrapped herself, early on, when she realized it could get her somewhere. And oh, how it has. But her actual sincerity about it and true understanding of the “faith” she brags about is really, truly, indubitably, quite fake.

    I’m trusting that Joe is going to explore this quite thoroughly in his book.

  • FrostyAK:

    If we remember that $arah is 100% smoke and mirrors, then it follows that everything about her is fake. I’m hoping Joe will give us a look at the causality of what we see (or don’t see) today.

    It’s a shame that so many gave her a pass for so long that now they cannot examine the smoke and mirrors without extreme embarrassment. The young reporter will learn from this…

  • lbts:

    I don’t agree with you, Joe. Palin is becoming more irrelevant by the day, and Petri was opining on that fact.

    I find this article of yours disturbing. It seems to be quite critical of the idea that America is starting to lose interest in all things Palin, and it is in your self-interest to keep Palin topical in order to sell your upcoming book. This doesn’t smell right.

    Palin is petty on so many levels and in so many ways. I hope it isn’t “catchy,” as Sarah would say.

  • Samantha:

    Quite a “hmm” moment for me when Petri said that she, and I assume many in media, consumed Palin like coffee ice cream, a guilty pleasure. Maybe Sarah was the media’s dream, but she was the normal citizen’s nightmare, and perhaps the media should remember that. Write it down on the blackboard a hundred times, do whatever you need to do. Because for most of us, the teabagger anthem was hurtful and corrosive, and negatively affected the last election in large part due to the spotlight the media awarded them.

    Sara Palin was relevant, of course, in the beginning. But she ultimately did not bring new voices to the debate, she did not represent or uplift any new constituency (except perhaps evangelical moms, who see her as bucking the traditional vision of proper christian wife, throwing off a metaphorical burka). What Palin did was scoop up an already existing constituency – the same one that followed Rush Limbaugh for years. But Sarah is prettier than Rush, so she deserves to be reported on much more, right? Wrong. If you think the Limbaugh audience who attended the McCain/Palin rallies, who yelled out things like beat the bitch, kill him, and worse, is a relevant, rising, legitimate populace in America,…then report on it. Report on it from all sources, don’t just hover over Sarah.

    Coffee ice cream. Unbelievable.

  • Heidi3:

    I agree wholeheartedly that Ms. Petri’s stated ennui and dismissiveness is premature. It’s imperative that we watch Sarah’s every move and dissect her every utterance! Here’s why: (1) She’s riding the crest of a wave (or worse yet, it’s more like a lethal riptide) of extreme right-wing evangelical dominionist theocracy threatening the very foundation of our country’s democratic origins. (2) Her pursuits are not entirely of her own making, even though she’s reaping filthy lucre from them. She’s being supported by (read: hastily set up 501c3s which disappear overnight, and Texas oil contributions to her PAC sham) the very forces determined to rule us by dint of their pure financial power, i.e. GREED. And these forces have obviously consumed what used to be our “media”.

    $arah Palin is dangerous on so many levels that it would take a book to enumerate them all. She’s the Perfect Storm at this time in our nation’s history, and thus demands our undivided attention.

    Joe, if I may try to crawl inside the male brain for a minute… Perhaps to you “after parties” = “afterbirth” = “placental expulsion”. Perfectly, yuckily logical, I’d say.

  • cranberry:

    I think that this story is bigger than Sarah Palin.

    Even if Sarah Palin becomes irrelevant, there are still a substantial number of Americans who subscribe to her brand of ignorance and fear – fear of Obama (and blacks), fear of homosexuals, fear of libruls, fear of the future. They take refuge in screwy righteous religious notions. Sarah’s rhetoric dips right into that fear and makes it a holy cause.

    If it were not Sarah, it would be someone else. That is why it is so important to expose Sarah for who and what she is, and what she is doing. That she could become so prominent on the the national stage is very scary.

  • Beaglemom:

    I suppose the fact that Ms. Petri is a Harvard graduate is the reason the Washington Post gave her a job – writing her opinions about things. Just think – Ms. Petri still in her early 20’s and one of the major newspapers in this country assumes she has either the maturity or the experience to have many opinions to express! I’m sure Ms. Petri is very smart but she needs years of journalistic experience (beyond the “college rag”) and years of life experience before she should be opining in a major newspaper. This is one of the problems facing this country today – too many people given too much opportunity to express opinions that are based neither on fact nor experience. Sarah Palin is another one!

  • True Blue Girl:

    Think of the Washington Post as the John McCain of traditional newspapers, in an industry rapidly losing all but its older base. Such a young and inexperienced writer is brought on board in an attempt to attract younger readers (read, subscribers). And, yes, it’s all coffee ice cream, with some whipped cream to cut the aftertaste of desperation.

  • cranberry:

    Yesterday I heard someone say that opinions are guises for “unprocessed thinking”. We all have opinions, but only a few do the work of really thinking a problem all the way through.

  • lilybart:

    Actually, it is going to take 4 books to show how dangerous she is!!

    I do feel that the President’s successful capture of bin Laden has put some breaks on the Crazy Train that was going down a dark hole. So I am less concerned now, but I have been on her case since Aug 2008, and we have made progress on the blogs in exposing her, so I will stay on the job!!

  • dubiousraves:

    Um, you wouldn’t have any self-interest in this post, would you Joe?

  • Sharon_too_also:

    I mean no disrespect, gypsyrose, for your well written comment, but I find it unreadable. It refuses to engage my brain. There is a very good journalistic reason why we use caps to distinguish the beginning of a sentence and proper names. Not using them doesn’t make you look cool and modern . . . . it just makes you look lazy.

  • Chill!!:

    Wow, grab another coffee and take a deep breath before you criticize. So what if she used all small case and you had trouble reading it. I doubt she was trying to be ” modern or cool.” You didnt mesn to be disrespectful? Yeah sure. She put a lot of heart into what she wrote and your comment was obnoxious and unneccessary.

  • ManxMamma:

    Nora Ephron was quite young when she started writing ‘opinion’ pieces. The young as well as the old have opinions. People who are writers write from an early age. We enrich ourselves when we consume what they offer – young or old.

  • sharon too also: many people who have been using computers for way over 20 years are pretty used to not capitalizing. it tends to be a wasted step. jjust my opinion.

  • Sharon_too_also:

    At first glance it might look that way – but I think he knows a lot more about Sarah and her intentions than we do.

  • Molly_WI:

    Hey, I’ll have you know that coffee ice cream is both calorie and caffeine free! 😉

  • Reality Check:

    She’s clearly still relevant in the media. But in real life, she does not draw the crowds that one would expect given the amount of media coverage she gets. Her most recent speech in Alabama – the host of the fundraiser said they hadn’t gotten the crowds they had hoped for. It’s the same with most of her speeches, unless it’s at an established event that has been drawing people for years, like the Women of Joy events, or an event with other headliners. Everything about her is indeed smoke and mirrors, including her real life popularity.

  • jk:

    I wholeheartedly and completely agree!

  • jk:

    Of course he does. He wants people to buy and read his book. That is in no way incompatible with the fact that he (and we) also think Sarah Palin still has too much insidious influence in our country and needs to be exposed.

  • Phil Blythe:

    I was in the hot tub at the public pool with 5 or 6 other people the other day. They were talking about the president, and it was apparent they were certain of two things; he was not born in the U.S.A., and he’s a muslim. They think Sarah will be our next president. Yes, she’s still relevant.

  • Aqua Rose:

    I’m with Sharon on this one. I have a very busy life and my personal time on the web could be described as a series of pit stops rather than a leisurely cruise. I just don’t have the time to re-read entire paragraphs in order to make sense out of sentences that weren’t properly punctuated. Those of us who read incessantly have our brains wired to recognize the proper patterns and rules in writing. Reading flows. Breaking the rules interrupts that flow. Minor mistakes can, and are, overlooked. Consistent mistakes make for a major distraction.

  • gypsyrose:

    This post is in reply to those who have read what I wrote about Sarah and also to those who objected to the way I wrote my post. I truly appreciate those who did read my words and also those who stepped up to defend the style in which they were written.
    Without bothering anyone about who I am or what I do, suffice it to say that the use of all lower case letters only means that I don’t take myself too seriously:) Please note that I am using capitalization in this post so that it can be read clearly by anyone who would like to read it.

    This has been the first time I have actually posted any of my thoughts on any blog and didn’t necessarily think that what I had to say would be worth much to anyone. Sometimes one needs to release words and thoughts out into the blogosphere to free oneself. This at least was the feeling I had last night as I wrote my inconsequential feelings. I am not sure why I chose your blog Joe to write out my feelings on this subject….possibly for the very reason I stated in my post, there is a trust in you and what you do.

    I do want to reply to aquarose to only say I believe I was fairly accurate in my post in regards to punctuation.
    The post I submitted did have spaces between paragraphs, however, those spaces were not in the posted writing. I believe your objection was to my lack of capitalization but if any of my punctuation was incorrect then the egg is on my face.

    I enjoy reading all the comments on this blog and several others. I find that I am constantly smiling because of the wit and intellect of those who write and also by the compassion and authentic goodness of the writers.
    I do hope that in the very near future the time we spend on Sarah Palin will be used to further the causes of correcting other and more horrific injustices in our lives. Having Sarah get what she deserves would be a wonderful victory for so many people. Power to the people…….all the little people.


  • Sharon_too_also:

    gypsyrose, I commend you. Readers, there is an adult in the room.

  • KatieAnnieOakley:

    I recognize it is a style; No biggie.

  • KatieAnnieOakley:

    I agree. There are a whole lotta mouth breathers with voting cards out there.

    They hate “the others” and they love Amurecuh; they can cannot accept any type of criticism whatsoever; what’s wrong with Amurecuh is always somehow, someway connected to the Democrats.

    They wish to impose their politics, their doctrine and their religious affiliation upon everyone else.

    Yes – Palin is still relevant, and dangerous. We dismiss her at our own peril.

  • Samantha:

    Not the real stuff.

  • Samantha:

    I work with someone who thinks he’s going to hit the lottery. I work with two people who think all the earthquakes and wars mean that Jesus is returning and it’s the end times. I work with another person who believes that the government is hiding aliens.

    People believe all kinds of things. It doesn’t mean that their views are legitimate, or that they are the majority. Journalists have to decide what views to cover, and represent as relevant, and good for the country. Why, for example, are they covering Trump? When a late-night talk show host laughs and says neither Palin or Trump is running, and yet the media covers them as if they are contenders, then there’s something wrong here. There’s something driving the news cycle instead of common sense.

    Yes, Sarah Palin is waning. So there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging that, I think.

  • Samantha:

    Much better. :) I’m in the camp that appreciates punctuation and capitalization. I admit I couldn’t make it through your first post either, it was too cumbersome.