Sunday, June 28, 2009

PA Arts Sunday - June 28th 2009 - The "Blasphemy" of Meg Stapleton

If you google the set of word set desecration + iconic + image, the first two items that come up this morning are a Wonkette article from June 25th, and an article from WhatdoIknow?, published this morning by Steve, about Meg Stapleton's weird statement issued last week, upon discovering an image at the web site Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis, showing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, seemingly holding a tiny Eddie Burke in her arms.

The fifth item, though, is an article from January 20th, protesting somebody's desecration of an actual icon in Bend, Oregon, by inserting President Obama's head in place of that of the baby Jesus, in a photoshop of a religious painting done in the traditional Madonna and Child modality of the Catholic Church.
Progressive Alaska hasn't published any of the altered images of the following real picture of Palin with her youngest child, Trig.
But I'll defend to the ends of the earth and the blogosphere those who have. As we've seen, Stapleton has mostly brought far more laughter upon herself and Gov. Palin than sympathy, for her statement last week. And, even though PA didn't post the altered images, we have now posted two of them with President Obama inserted, either as the adult in the combination, or, as in the case above, the child.

I'm not holding my breath for Obama's press secretary calling the Alaska Democratic Party to have me removed from my obscure party posts.

The two finest analyses of Stapleton's statement that I've read, are those by AK Muckraker at The Mudflats, and the article referenced above, by Steve at WhatdoIknow? They both analyze Meg's statement, word by word.

AK Muckraker analyzes Stapleton's use of the word, desecration:

1) desecration (noun) -
    An act of disrespect or impiety toward something regarded as sacred: blasphemy, profanation, sacrilege, violation. See sacred/profane.

“Malicious desecration?” “Iconic representation?” Does the spokeswoman or the governor herself believe that a picture of she and Trig is literally a sacred object? Might be time to find that knob that says “rhetoric” and turn it down a notch…or three. I mean, if you’re worried about offending people and all.

Steve also looks at the same word:

Desecration. Merriam Webster's online dictionary isn't too helpful:
: an act or instance of desecrating : the state of being desecrated
But you can link to desecrate:
1 : to violate the sanctity of : PROFANE
2 : to treat disrespectfully, irreverently, or outrageously
And sanctity?
1: holiness of life and character : godliness
2 a
: the quality or state of being holy or sacred : inviolability
b plural : sacred objects, obligations, or rights

So there is a religious etymology to this word, but it has come to be used in other contexts as well.

Steve goes on to look at the whole episode, which he calls the "Baby Burke Brouhaha." Steve, who is the ethicist among the Alaska progressive blogging community, has come to our defense at key times, and has helped to rein us in - me especially - on occasions. His essay on this "brouhaha" takes advantage of his having watched this combination of drama queen petulance, comedic internet explosion, irony deficiency and nasty reactions unfold over the past few days.
I heartily recommend Steve's essay - here it is.

Steve wonders to what degree Palin's religious beliefs have embedded themselves in her syntax, and that of her acolytes:

Using both desecration and iconic image in one sentence strongly suggests to me that there was either intentional manipulation to give this a religious spin, or that Palin's staff are so steeped in religion that they think in those terms and just write this sort of language naturally.

We need go no further than today's (Sunday) tweets to see more of this:

Thank you Wasilla for Trail of Healing! May God bless efforts of reconciliation; it shall be manifested in more respect for AKs First People
about 14 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Trail of Healing: Moller, Will Mayo, other Native leaders say important to remember past as we move forward, but must not live in the past
about 14 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Fortunately, we've always got AKM's pal, Brian, to bring us back to our senses:


Anonymous said...

I imagine those two narcissists and a few acolytes of the moment standing in the kitchen after the original was taken and going, "It shows you as such a good mother!"

"Look! Tryg is so cute! It's precious!"

"It's iconic!"

Then Diva superimposed the image of Burke over Trig's face and the Palin & Bots got furious. They had applied the term iconic to it and it just made sense that the image had been desecrated. They forgot that the rest of us didn't see Palin that way. (My former in-laws were like this with other terms. I won't go into it, but an idea would take off on a tall tale and the tale was considered true, then something would happen needing to use the original story and they'd go back to the tall tale as truth.)

Now the only way Palin can save herself is to go on Letterman and let him roast her. I hope Letterman makes her publicly beg and apologize for being an idiot.

Muffin said...

"Using both desecration and iconic image in one sentence strongly suggests to me that there was either intentional manipulation to give this a religious spin, or that Palin's staff are so steeped in religion that they think in those terms and just write this sort of language naturally."

Iconic is a term that a Protestant wouldn't use naturally. They tend to shy away from seeming to worship images, feeling that it's a direct ticket to Hell.

OMFG!!! There could be a Catholic or an Eastern Orthodox in their midst! Where is Muthee when she needs him?!!!!!!!!

Dr Something Something said...

@Anon, 1:15, let's not forget that Crooks and Liars photoshopped the "iconic" photo first, on 6/19, & there was nary a peep from Palin & Co:

mlaiuppa said...

You know, I'm looking at the body language of the Madonna and child paintings and that of Govenor and grandchild. It just doesn't match.

Palin looks like she's showing off her special needs baby, while the Madonnas look like they simply love their babies.

Just sayin'.

I wonder when Palin will start wearing red dresses with a medium blue shawl draped around her?

Steve said...

Slow art week on the blogs Phil? But thanks.

Philip Munger said...

Very slow. It is, after all, midsummer in Alaska, and I'm putting up more fish.

you're welcome.

Bones AK said...

Sacrificial soldiers who fought for freedom put it all in perspective: time/resources wasted on pettiness is futile- ask what really matters about 19 hours ago from TwitterBerry

Just what the hell does she mean by SACRIFICIAL!

What is she trying to say????

basheert said...

It means she will allow her followers to live until it is time for her to ask them to go sacrifice themselves to she who is all holy.

Looks like worshipping a false idol to me. Isn't that sort of forbidden in most religions?

Good old Brian- I have to admit, I love that moose. Hopefully SP won't be able to turn him into mooseburger.

Cathy in Colorado said...

Bones AK, I saw that twitter, too, and wondered what the hell she meant by that statement.

AKPetMom said...

Sarah will perhaps wear red dresses but will not have the "medium blue shawl" draped around her anytime soon, unless she needs to fake another pregnancy. Then she will enlist the shawl, or a scarf, or ya know, something to wear around her neck that hangs over her belly ;-)

Or wait, perhaps Trig can be used as a camouflage device once he's a little taller. The wee child Piper ran defense for Palin's (not) preggers belly many times in many different photo ops.

Okay, that's my snarky comment of the day. I have to have one "Palin Slam" in my daily dose of comments to various blogs or I just don't feel I've done my duty.

BTW, Phil, great job on Method last evening. I just listened to the podcast this a.m.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great post, Phil

I predict that the new "cultural war" will be separation of church and state. Yes, Palin et al will have their narrow-minded supporters who think the constitution was written on a pew in a Baptist church....but they will be defeated as political leaders in the future. Americans in general are much more tolerant of varied religious beliefs these days. Mark my words...the electorate has had enough of religious diddling and outright screwing of the government by the so-called hypocritical "Moral Majority" types. The future doesn't include Palin or her type. The death throes of their political ideology will not be pretty to watch...but it will come. (I should know...I'm one of the millions of people who have left the Republican party in disgust).

LisanTX said...

The Trail of Healing sounds horrible---its purpose is to convert Natives to fundamental Christianists! How dare that church and Palin act as though their beliefs are superior to Native spirituality.

From their website: Vision: Through reconciliation, to see people of every tribe, tongue and nation be lifted up to their place in the Body of Christ, for the healing and empowerment of the whole body of Christ.

Their Vision:
• To see Aboriginal people realize and step into their callings and giftings, and to see leaders arise from within the Aboriginal community.
• To see the body of Christ begin to walk the same path together, encouraging, accepting and lifting one another up to their full potential in Christ.
• To impart a heart for worship that is free from the religious bondage of cultural preference.

Then the guv's Tweets on the subject provide more insight into her positions:

--to convert Native Alaskans to her brand of Christianity

--that once these people have converted, they will get more respect!!! (from who??)(it is amazing/scary that she believes that and is working toward that end)

--she represents than Moller, Will Mayo and other Native leaders endorse the Trail of Healing brainwash program and are knowledgeable about the program

---she represent that Moller, Will Mayo and other Native leaders want the Native people to abandon their beliefs [must not live in the past] and switch to the Trail of Healing system and to the churches that sponsor that program.

In effect, the State of Alaska is endorsing the religion of the Crossroads Community Church in Wasilla and the Broken Walls Ministries.

Philip Munger said...


I was too busy painting and putting up fish this morning to do as much research on this program as I wanted. Thanks. We need to find out more, and if they are getting any government funding.

Anonymous said...

The religious component of Sarah Palin and her disciples is the scariest thing about her to me. How can you ever be wrong if you wrap yourself in the mantle of religious zealotry?

I, too, am curious about what she meant by sacrifical soldiers and time/resources wasted on futile pettiness. Is there any way to twitter her back and ask what she means by that?

Anonymous said...

I hope you will consider writing an article for HuffPo or DailyKOS about these tweets. Especially the ones about the troops and the religious ones about her feelings regarding native Alaskans.

Julie said...

There could be a Catholic or an Eastern Orthodox in their midst! Where is Muthee when she needs him?!!!!!

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