Tuesday, February 9, 2010

PA's Palin Poll - A Critical View by a Close Friend

[my friend and colleague, Mel Green, at her outstanding blog, Henkimaa, has posted an article that is not only highly critical of the poll on Palin I posted Monday morning, but is very compelling in its arguments. Mel's article is posted below at this link at Henkimaa, where it is also accompanied by its own set of comments from her regular readers, none of which support my publication of the poll in the way I have. Please also go there and read the comments. Another Alaska progressive blogger has written, but not yet published a critical essay, and I will address both my friends' work later in the week.]

Progressive bloggers on Palin: Civility versus namecalling

--- by Mel Green

I didn’t watch Sarah Palin’s Tea Party speech this past weekend, just as I didn’t watch the Super Bowl. But I do stay in touch with the news, so I know the Saints won, & I have the gist at least of some of the remarks Palin made. And of course I heard about the now-famous “Palm Pilot” crib notes she wrote on her hand for the Q&A session following her speech. I found it funny, ridiculous, and — particularly since she apparently went after Obama’s use of teleprompters — extraordinarily hypocritical.

But if we are critical of the ugly tactics from those we disagree with politically, does that justify our using some of the same ugly tactics? Does our constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of speech make unrestrained use of uncivil speech & namecalling wise or useful?

Phil Munger of the blog Progressive Alaska is someone I admire & respect a great deal. And so I was disappointed late Saturday night to read the title of the blog post he wrote about Palin’s “Palm Pilot” crib notes: “Saradise Lost – Book 4 – Chapter 43 – What a SLUT”. Today he reiterated the namecalling with a poll & an accompanying post entitled “Saradise Lost and Found – Chapter 12 – Saint or Slut? – A New PA Poll”. The poll asks readers to register their vote for “Which Term More Accurately Defines Sarah Palin to You?” with two possible answers, Saint or Slut.

I privately wrote to Phil about the problems I have with the poll earlier today. At lunchtime I went back to read comments.

After seeing what other people had to say, I felt no choice but to register, publicly, my objection to Phil’s pejorative description of Palin, & the way other self-identified progressives in comments defended it. So I wrote my own comment. Here’s what I wrote:

I am a woman, consider myself a progressive (though not a Democrat), am more-or-less a member of the Alaska progressive blogger community (though I’m trying to focus my blog on writing nowadays) & have already registered my dislike of Phil’s terminology & this poll privately to Phil. And now am doing it publicly.

As I wrote privately, I won’t vote in this poll. Given a forced choice between “saint” & “slut” is far too reminiscent of the “virgin” versus “whore” typology that women have been relegated to for centuries. I don’t see Sarah Palin, however deluded she is or creepy her views, as either. As ridiculous as I find her political posturing to be, & as scary I find it that anyone takes seriously her potential as a leader, I have less & less confidence that namecalling from “our” side is any more productive or useful than the namecalling from the Palin supporters.

I am disappointed that Phil used this terminology, especially because there is so much else I find to respect in his work — as a composer, as a teacher, as a blogger, & as someone supportive of the work of other progressive people. I am further disappointed read many of these comments & find so many other self-identified progressives defending his use of this language — in pretty much the same hypocritical way that Palin condemned Rahm Emanuel for how he used the word “retard” but defended Rush Limbaugh’s use of the same word.

It’s clear that just as much on the left as on the right, too many people are willing to excuse their “own side” for employing the same tactics that they condemn the “other side” for. As scary as I find extreme people on the right to be, I find this behavior by people who are presumably on my side to be just as scary. You might as well be on two sides of a wall lobbing grenades at one another, for how likely these tactics will lead to any kind of peace or good for our nation.

Can we find some way to engage with our political opposition without just creating more hostility — none of which is likely to encourage our opposition’s better nature & better thinking, any more than their namecalling & disrespect towards us encourages our better nature & thinking?

I want to support other progressive Alaska blogs & bloggers, but I’m growing ever more worried by the propensity of some of “our” side to demonize the “other” side with namecalling & insults. It’s no more helpful than when the “other” side does that to “us.”

At the same time, it’s this kind of polarized incendiary stuff that seems to attract the most hits on blogs, & encourages bloggers to keep blogging that way. I don’t think that high hit rates is necessarily a good measure of the quality of blogs — but it can be an excellent measure indeed how polarized & contentious our political culture has become. And how much more likely we are to enflame our political culture into some kind of outright civil war.

Which is not at all the kind of civil we need.


After more comments came in on Phil’s post about his “saint v. slut” poll, I added another comment, reading as follows:

In essence, most of the progressive rationalizations for Phil’s use of a sexist & demeaning word to describe Palin amount to “Palin & her supporters use demeaning insults to describe us & our leaders, so that gives us the okay to do it to her & her supporters.” This is hypocrisy.

In essence, most of the Palin supporters who are visiting this blog to criticize Phil for his use of this sexist & demeaning word to describe Palin are correct that his use of the word is sexist & demeaning, but have no compunction about using equally demeaning language to insult Phil, Obama, or other people with whom they disagree. This is hypocrisy.

Both sides are being equally destructive to our social fabric as a civil culture. I’m a progressive, & yet I don’t want to be on the side of anyone who simply stands in their corner lobbing insults at their opponents. If we want a civil culture in which everyone’s rights are respected, we’re not going to get it by refusing dialog with those who disagree with us — which is what this oh-so-very-witty (not) lobbing of demeaning insults amounts to. It’s all fine & nice to feel righteous about how intelligent your own side is & how horrible & stupid & purposely perverse the arguments of the other side are — but in reality, you’re only making yourselves mirror images of one another.

And leaving no room for people who really want this country to work. For everyone, not just “our” side, no matter which “side” that may happen to be.


Anonymous said...

ITA. I saw the poll, but I did not vote in it because I object to the use of the word "slut." It pained me to see that word! It is sexist beyond belief and highly objectionable to this long-time feminist. I have zero use for Sarah Palin, but "slut" is NOT an appropriate pejorative for her or for any woman. Very sad to see it used by a blogger I respected.

Anonymous said...

Phil Munger needs to consider whether he has any responsibility to avoid inflaming discussion.

The highly charged language he has been using is disturbing. The frequency of his use of the "f" word in his posting and his references to a vice presidential candidate/ former state governor/ mother of 5 children in terms such as "slut" and "Palin handjobs" are very offensive.

Is this the better Alaska he envisaged?

Laurie-Ann said...

Mel is right of course...so I am chagrined. I cannot speak for anyone else...but it is fury that overtakes me sometimes. Fury at a woman so bereft of much that is decent. Her loyal followers are the same. "sigh"

Its true however, that progressives do not have to respond the same way when something we don't like is said or done.

I guess I just wanted to feel better somehow, and this poll accomplished that for me, for a few minutes at least.

Something has to give. People who support MUST wake up and see her for what she is, and...what she isn't.

10catsinMD said...

The negative word used here is not one that I would regularly use in my writing or speaking.

But I did vote that way in this poll. What I am seeing and continue to see in Palin's diatribes that she spews across our beautiful country instigate nastiness, negatives, and promotes meanness amongst peoples.

I don't think being nice to her will make her stop. For myself and what I recommend to others is to not stoop to the level of throwing insults. But what I have found is there can be jewels amongst homeless people and "sluts" wearing diamonds and designer clothers.

We project what we are to the world, and mean spirited Palin seems to be able to only project her gender bias (sexuality) as a free ride to somewhere (usually a cash reward).

I am not justifying the word, but I think it should stay to see where it goes. In one sense it is "calling a spade a spade."

People need to rise up and call her out to her face or we may regret everything she is.

womanwithsardinecan said...

I have mixed feelings about this. Palin's crowd has been over the top with name-calling for a long time. There is certainly truth to the idea that sinking to their level isn't good for healthy discourse in this country. The Internet brings out our tendency to say whatever is in our minds, without the filter we used to use in "polite company."
That said, I know what I say privately, I know what I think privately, about Palin and her ilk, and it is like Phil's printed words on steroids. Sometimes I look at her image on the screen and call her names until I run out of breath. She is TRASH, and that's being extremely mild. I can understand why Phil has given in to the urge to say what is in his mind. And ultimately, it is his blog. I have a blog that is not political, but occasionally I go on a rant about the witch from Wasilla, and it is not pretty. My blog, my right.
So, as I said in the beginning of this comment, I have mixed feelings. Sometimes I think that my only "civilized" outlet for my desire to rip her from limb to limb and feed her to the wolves is to call her names. That's just me. She is a pox on the universe.

Anonymous said...

Colbert called her a retard last night. Is everyone going to protest him, too?

Basheert said...

Although the word "slut" is used derogatorily most often, to me it describes a woman who sells herself to anyone for money.

In my personal opinion, that pretty much describes Sarah Palin to a "T".

I find her dangerous and evil. Her religions (dominionism) is frightening. Cloaking her radical evangelicalism in "Christiancrockery" is appalling.

She is at best a fake, and at worst, seriously mentally ill and a danger to our nation.

Personally I don't care who finally manages to get her to run screaming into the woods, as long as it happens. Choosing "stupidity" as a political party s everyone's right I realize, but there are many people who seem to be under her evangelical spell.

So call her what she truly is - she sells herself for money. Perhaps "prostitute" is not quite as slurry as "slut" - but I don't see that she is any better than a cheap common streetwalker. She just gets paid more.

And as a woman, I don't find it insulting. Merely descriptive.

Phil's blog .. he can say what he wants.

Anonymous said...

It probably hasn't happened here, (at least not yet), but what's a hate crime? What's the difference between us calling Palin a "slut" (or some commenters here calling others "retards") and, say, the Ku Klux Klan calling a black person a ni.... ?

When do we cross the line?

AKjah said...

Understanding Mel's view. The choice of words canbe lamentable but the basic premise of the "poll" does not change if you were to say...Saint or morally challenged. Saint or out standing in her field. We all have anger. True friends help keep it in check.

Michelle said...

Phil, I appreciate you posting Mel's response. We only get smarter when we look at both sides of an issue.

Mel said...

Well, in the end, none of us has control over anyone's behavior but our own. I can't control Palin, I can't control her supporters. It's a waste of my time & energy, as well as crazymaking, to agonize over my inability to change her or them.

I can't control or change the behavior of anyone on "my" side either (progressives), so I'm not going to agonize over it either.

But I can at least do what I've done here -- because I respect & care about Phil, & about the larger progressive community of which we are both part -- which is to ask people to look at their own behavior, & ask: is it serving you? Is it serving the greater good? Does it help anything, or does it make it worse? Does it make you feel better to rant & rave at Palin's image on TV delivering a speech that is equal parts incomprehensible & warmongeringly evil? Or would it be better for your mind & soul to turn the TV off & do something better? Does it give more than momentary aggressive satisfaction to put up or vote in a poll that asks people to call Palin a slut, even though it will make "your" side look just as looneytunes as you feel "their" side is? Does it make you feel like the liberal version of Eddie Burke? Do you want to feel that way?

Maybe I'm wrong about some of this stuff. Think it over. If you really truly think that I am off the deep end, then don't sweat it -- just ignore me. But think about it. Be the judge of your own actions, & don't do stuff that makes you feel bad inside or sickened about your effect in the world. It might mean turning off the TV, restraining yourself from writing nasties in ADN comments, not voting in a poll that asks you to vote on whether someone is a "slut." Or it might not. But don't delude yourself that it depends on anyone but you. If you decide to say nasty things about other people, don't kid yourself that you're making them because they made nasty comments or did something else that's objectionable. Maybe they did, but does that control you? Did they put a gun to your head and say, "you be nasty too, or I'll blow your brains out?" Unless they did, just take responsibility for it. You make the choice about what you say or do, & what kind of impact you put out into the world, for good or ill.

It's that simple.

Mel Green

Philip Munger said...

Mel (& others),

I'm swamped this morning, but will have some time this afternoon to possibly join in the comments. Thanks for commenting at this post.

RoseMontague said...

If we had a poll asking which is the more accurate description of President Obama; the Messiah or the anti-Christ, I believe there would be a similar issue. Honestly, neither is very accurate at all. It is simply one of those misleading and meaningless poll questions. I agree with Mel that the choice of the word "slut" was a poor one and the 'poll' itself destined to be polarizing.

Basheert said...

Hi Mel
Thanks for your thoughtful comments. They are appreciated.

I would like to offer this small comment in semi-rebuttal.

To ignore Palin is irresponsible. To turn off the TV and read a book and ignore the vitriol and hatred she spews is negligent in this day and age. This is not just a person that is unlikeable. This is a woman who believes that she is going to be President of MY country.

To ignore her venom? To not be aware of what she says and does? To pretend she isn't important when FUX news is building her a studio to spew her vitriol daily from her own Alaskan compound?

In her own simplistic thinking way, SP is a very very dangerous woman. On a personal note, I also believe she is a Sociopath with narcissistic tendencies. Frankly, I love my country and the thought that this grifting liar could be a potential candidate for the highest office in the land is obscene to me.

That being said, I don't spend all my time worrying about her and I do think she'll go away. I also believe she is a vile racist which I don't like in anyone.

Underestimating Sarah Palin is not the brightest thing to do. Neither is ignoring her spew. She is reaching people and she needs to be stopped in her tracks.

She can spew on FUX all she wants - she just cannot be allowed to destroy a country with her hate.

Mel said...

It heartens me at least to see that my blog post at my own site has had over 440 views so far -- Phil's have undoubtedly had many many more -- & yet his poll has only 201 votes in it thus far.

For some reason, the majority of people are choosing not to vote in that poll. Could it be because, as Rose just said, neither choice is accurate, the poll itself is destined to be polarizing? -- & most of us refuse to live in a society in which inaccurate forced choices are the only choices we're given?

womanwithsardinecan said...

Calling someone a "n..." is not a hate crime. It is racism, ignorance, and probably hate. Name calling falls under free speech. Hate crime has a legal definition. Here is a good one from uslegal.com:
A hate crime is usually defined by state law as one that involves threats, harassment, or physical harm and is motivated by prejudice against someone's race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation or physical or mental disability. Laws vary by state and if hate crimes are provided for by statute, the definitions of hate crimes and penalties imposed vary. States that have hate crime statutes provide harsher penalties for such offenses.

The underlying criminal offenses that are designated in hate crime laws include, but are not limited to, crimes against persons like harassment, terroristic threats, assault and crimes against property like criminal trespass, criminal mischief and arson. It may also include Vandalism causing damage to a church, synagogue, cemetery, mortuary, memorial to the dead, school, educational facility, community center, municipal building, courthouse, juvenile detention center, grounds surrounding such places or personal property located within such places.

Mel said...

Thanks, Basheert. I'm sorry, I wasn't completely clear. I don't actually advocating ignoring Palin or the evil stuff she says. I believe absolutely in staying informed, & also on calling her to account through the use of blogs, news, protests, whatever. (I've played my own part in that, particularly regarding her 2 million dollar meme when she resigned last year.)

But I also don't advocate fixating her to the point of making oneself crazy, or becoming so obsessed that one loses awareness of anything but her, or working on other ways to better things so that scary people like her wouldn't even be able to get a foothold.

As it is, there are some folks who have the stomach to follow & report on her without going crazy themselves -- I think especially of Jeanne Devon over at Mudflats, who somehow managed to read Palin's book of lies without pitching herself over a cliff, & while not becoming nasty herself. Wow how I appreciate her & other people doing the same work -- not always without going crazy, or getting a little loopy, either. I can't do what they're doing myself because -- well, for one, I'm a writer trying to write, but for the other, focusing on Palin too much pushes on all my crazy & despair buttons. People like me are much better off turning off the TV when Palin comes on, & getting most of their news of her filtered through those with the stomach for it, or through Jon Stewart & Stephen Colbert.

Mel said...


But I also don't advocate fixating her to the point of making oneself crazy, or becoming so obsessed that one loses awareness of anything but her, instead of working on other ways to better things so that scary people like her wouldn't even be able to get a foothold.

Anonymous said...

I admit that I voted "slut" but felt pretty bad about lowering myself to that level. I thought as I did it, "Is this what Sarah has brought us to with her leadership in hate"?. I am a 71 year old woman who has never used that word before and yet I voted for her as a s--t. I think there is not a proper word for the evil person she is and the evil she promotes us to commit in her name. God save us all from her.

RoseMontague said...

Mel, Thanks for your comment and I also believe Basheert made a good point. I enjoy Philip's blog tremendously but I rarely comment unless I strongly disagree. I do understand where he is coming from. For me it is Michele Bachmann, there are not enough derogatory terms in the English language to properly describe her.
Good to see you disagree with each other in a civil manner, and that is more important than the subject of the disagreement, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

womanwithsardinecan 9:35:

That's true.

However, using the "n" word during a crime is often regarded as a determinant of hate. There is a good discussion of this at:


I wonder if some people who call Palin a "slut" hate her. Is degradation an expression of hate? May not be a crime, but it aint pretty.

Bill of Wasilla said...

I'm glad that you posted Mel's column. However one wants to define the word, using it in public discourse to describe a woman, no matter how low her own politics, only brings the level of discourse down that much lower.

It does, I think, increase her strength, as it energizes and activates her supporters and gives them good reason to shout, "hypocrites! Sexists!" at liberals/progressives.

It also repels a good many who otherwise view this amazing debacle that just keeps unbelievably rolling along much the same as do you and I.

Onejrkitty said...

I am 66 yrs old and have been a feminist before there was a term for it.

I have spent 6 yrs in a gender discrimination civil rights case.

I deplore sexism.


An accurate description of Palin as a whore, slut, prostitute, etc is just that. Descriptive !

These are perfectly good words and using them to describe someone whose behavior fits the description is not "name calling." It is being descriptive.

People have been "polite" to her too long. Time the truth is spoken.

She sells herself, and her kids and her country for money ! Period. That is what whores, sluts, prostitutes do!

This commenter says it succinctly and I agree ! ! ! !

"So call her what she truly is - she sells herself for money. Perhaps "prostitute" is not quite as slurry as "slut" - but I don't see that she is any better than a cheap common streetwalker. She just gets paid more.

And as a woman, I don't find it insulting. Merely descriptive"

Anonymous said...

Hello Phill,
annoy-mouse here.
I do find this conversation over the poll a wonderful learning experience.

It sure has been a long time since I posted. However it doesn't mean I don't read what you happen to write. The memeorandum link is just wonderful. Thank you.

And for a bit of perspective, Phill gave me the name annoy-mouse a while back because I hounded him about the use of poster that involved McCain and Bristol. As a teen mother myself, I felt Bristols situation should be off limits. So I hounded Phill over the his posts that involved her. I believe a politician's children should be off limits, no matter how many times the kids are dragged around to political rallys. As a teen mother, now reaching 52 yrs. old, adding more of a spot light, such as Phill did with the satire poster, is not advancing anyones peticular cause.

As for damaged caused to my personal property... I believe such happened because of my sign "Impeach Palin". Carefully placed on top of the woodshed so Todd would see it when he was approaching Lake Lucille for landing. I am a licensed seaplane rated pilot and a Bristol Bay fisherwomen, Todd and my vendettas go waaaaay back. I hope he has been able to view my current sign, "Thank God She Quit". As well as get rated for seaplane landings. Safety First! Insurance costs later!

Alaska is a wild place. I love it!

I abhorr those who do not admit using or exploit their own sexiness for profit. Use a little winky or get a little cutie in the face... We have all seen it before.

Ever met Dolly Pardon or Queen Latifa? Both celebs in their own right with their own talents. And both have used that sexiness ALONG with their talent for profit purposes. We have all seen it before. And they have gone on record, that yes, they use their sexiness.

Then we have Sarah Palin.

You can't just continue to float with only sexed up looks, ya got to have some talent SOMEWHERE. I believe Sarah Palin does bump up the sexed up look in a purposeful fashion. But I think her brand of religious rightous inner binding doesn't allow her to admit such. I've seen the sexed up display on the fishing grounds. Is it appropriate? No. However when it was happening, I was able to slide on by the show and get more fish. he he he...

I love Mae West. She totally admits being a sexed up chic for those who choose to view. Would I call her a slut, never. Mae West had a wit and wisdom, back in her day, that was unmatched.

Then we have Sarah Palin... would I call her a slut? Nope.

Would I consider her someone with talent? Nope.

Would I venture to say she has wit and wisdom? Never.

Like the woodshed states, "Thank God She Quit".

Phill, I believe your poll is a bit over the top. I'm sure there are some who felt a little satisfaction by being able to vote on such.

Yeah, my wonderful dog has been shot. We will never know by whom. I am grateful for those who showed alittle love about her being gone. Everybody in my neiborhood just loved her. She never chased the moose off, she just held vigil around everyones garden plot. That in itself was highly appreciated. So the loss will be felt more come gardening time.

Now I'm rambling on and on...
Take care all.

Onejrkitty said...

Only cowards shoot dogs instead of confronting the person they have a gripe with.

Now I really cannot print what I think of Palin. Trust me. Calling her a slut is giving her a break.

Philip Munger said...

hugs to {{{{{annoy mouse}}}}}

Anonymous said...

Thank you. I have attempted to post on conservative sites, and the viperative language that was returned as "dialog" soon has me back on more liberal sites, where the attempt to keep commentary civil overrides the lowest common denominator.

Not always. I've been slammed for reminding posters that treating others' opinions with respect is one of the better representation of our beliefs -- but I'll continue to ask for civility.

The worst counter to that, of course, is that civility has gotten our president absolutely nowhere. I am still very happy that he has not fallen to the level of his opponents.

We are being played by corporations and our own government. Some day someone will dig through these commentaries to report to our g'grandchildren just why they are living in a particular outcome. I want them to discover that reasoned argument and a civilized insistance upon reality over false premise won the day.

I can dream.

Anonymous said...

All I can say is your right about what we should and shouldn't say. You called it on us. But where is the right not calling out their haters. I will tell you the Palin brings the worst out in me and I am sure many normal people of good will. I will try to take what you said and do better. But that has to go both ways.

Anonymous said...

OnejrKitty: I sell myself every day, working at a job that involves faking enthusiam and flattering the most awful people. It feels very much like whoring, but I won't thank you for pointing that out in public.

There isn't a person with a job who isn't, in point of fact, selling themselves for filthy lucre.

I also happen to believe that prostitution should be legalized, and there should be no social stigma attached to the work -- that sex workers should be legally protected and allowed to work in safe surroundings. They provide a service that only the most hypocritical will not admit is both necessary, highly utilized and grossly underpaid.

For that reason -- because it is working women who have no other option to support themselves, and often their families, not to mention often being forced into such a perilous and socially degraded role -- I think that using the term 'prostitute' as a perjorative is as viciously reactionary as calling feminists 'whores'.

Which, as an old-hand feminist, you might recall was the favorite description of a feminist back in the day.

Anonymous said...

I quess I am wondering what the fees for the speakin/hand signing is all about....as someone who is pretending she may be running for an office someday, I quess to me that cheapens the speaker as a potential candidate for public office, she is doing all this speaking, handspeakin' for the moula....I've not seen anyone I can think of who has gone around charging for speakin' with the thought of higher public office
esp when she couldn't finish the other office she held and by the looks of things from the memos she ran things like a three ring circus

Her appearance is not professional as is Hillary's and other females we see running for office or in a public office and since she is charging the few who will pay to see her it doesn't say public office, it says something else, it says take the money any way you can, this comes across in many ways...I personally have a difficult time with someone who does very little work and still wants the cash. . .it is obvious her preparation is miinimal. . . .to me it shouts unprofessional....when we want someone to represent us in a high public office we know the amt of work it takes and we want it done right and professional, how would it look if Paylin starts waving her hand around with messages written on it in a meeting with foreign dignataries ...not good

She is not want many may consider professional, capable, leadership material and yet she's out there like an escaped convict. . . . . .

She brings out the worst in people, she calls people names(elites, adding hussein to Obama,terrorists) Her past history shows she doesn't like to lose, she's a poor sport and will go after you if you win or she thinks you're winning, and she sets up this atmosphere of condoning name calling and so those on her side go after everyone, people watch way too much teevee and they see and hear all that she spews and people consider her some sort of a leader(the uninformed) and feel it's okay for her and noone calls her out so others will repeat the same crap....all I can say is, Paylin mark my words "KHARMA IS A B***H" What you do to others comes back twenty fold

Well she is not the kind of person I'd be friends with and probably she wouldn't be able to foster good relations with other countries
due to lack of sincerity...she's a fake on so many issues and some of us can't stand a fake....

I don't think she'll make it far, she'll be smacked down, she will never make it through the primaries. I quess McCains daughter has a book coming out and she insinuated that there was info about Paylin in it
We will need to be organized in case she makes an attempt to the White House

God Speed

Mel said...

Anonymous at 10:00 AM wrote,

I admit that I voted "slut" but felt pretty bad about lowering myself to that level. I thought as I did it, "Is this what Sarah has brought us to with her leadership in hate"?. I am a 71 year old woman who has never used that word before and yet I voted for her as a s--t. I think there is not a proper word for the evil person she is and the evil she promotes us to commit in her name. God save us all from her.

When I read this, I thought, yeah, behaving with ugliness ourselves makes us feel ugly. That Palin promotes evil — & yes, I agree, that’s what Palin does — doesn’t mean we have to surrender to it. I get just as sickened when I see “my” side spew ugliness as when I see the other side do it. I get even more sickened when I catch myself doing it. And none of it helps any of us.

Anonymous @ 11:46 AM -- thanks for your response to OnejrKitty. Good point about prostitution -- yep, I agree, prostitution should be made legal & sex workers protected w/ safe working conditions. It's amazing to me that we're still having this debate about whether slut & related words that were invented to stigmatize women in relationship to their own sexuality is appropriate.

Chuck said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chuck said...

I'm going to agree that as hard as it might be, those of us on the progressive side should think about taking the higher road when possible. We've watched the dumbing down of the right, and the people that think Sarah is the answer scare the hell out of me; but I'm going to try and make it a point to tone down my responses in the future. "Our" side should, and will, win this ugly battle with the right-wingers with intelligence, good humor, reasoned judgment and above all else, common sense. But yes, sometimes I just want to smack all of "them" in the side of head and ask them what the hell they're thinking :)

crystalwolf aka caligrl said...

I agree with Basheert and onejrkitty
and I believe Phil has a right to put anything he wants on his blog, he is not posting treasonous stuff that I see on certain pro-palin blogs and free speech is for everyone not just pro-palin people.
I think as usual, this is a great example of how the c4p will grab onto anything about their queen and blow it up into BIG effing deal. Take Letterman, that was c4p, Pipers Lemonade stand, them also it is how they roll. Also a example how to throw a red herring to start people thinking about something else, like besides how someone is being paid $120K and writes cheat notes on her hand...?
C4p attacks everyone over there! They are lying if they say they don't. No, we don't have to conform to their way of thinking and its time to start calling $arah what she is, don't like slut how 'bout $ whore? Liar? Grifter?
She's runnin' for pres. I can't wait until the R's go after her now!
Anonymoose....{{{Hugs}}}about your poor girl. I know she is still with you...to the sick coward bastard who did that, hope you burn in hell! Karma....Karma...for killing a innocent dog that never did nothing to you, didn't write the sign, karma gonna come for you...

Mel said...

Interestingly enough, crystalwolf, most of the "blowing this up onto a BIG effing deal" has come from me, & I am not a C4Per. Most if not all the people commenting today, & as far as I can tell everyone who has commented on this post at its original home on my blog, are not C4Pers but are, in fact, Palin critics like I am; & most also have a problem with Phil's "slut" poll.

Of course it Phil has freedom of speech. Of course it's his choice. It was also his choice to crosspost my original post here because he respects me enough to give my criticism a wider hearing & chance for wider comment. I respect him a lot for that -- though I still think he messed up by using the word "slut" & making his "slut vs. saint" poll.

Anonymous said...

I realize you folks pretty much live in an echo-chamber of extreme leftist hysteria and that a goodly number of you would dance in the street if Sarah Palin was killed but please explain to me what, exactly, was "EVIL" about her speech in Nashville ?
So, come on, let's have the quotes , the lines you thought were "EVIL".

crystalwolf aka caligrl said...

No Mel...it didn't come from you, this happened before you blogged about it, you just said what you thought and that's all good. There were c4p'r who came over out-rage that Phil called the queen a "slut"!
I have been called "call girl" over there (caligrl=call girl get it) and I have been threatened by them.
They are bullies like her and they want to dish it out and can't take it. Free speech only for them.

Anonymous said...

"he is not posting treasonous stuff that I see on certain pro-palin blogs"

Well, going by "crystalwolf"s reasoning, and the fact hat traitors are often executed by the State, is this the start of a leftist movement to have critics of this administration put to death ? Thank God it's only the right-wing in this country that is so extreme.......

Philip Munger said...

From some comments there appears to be occasional confusion about why I posted Mel's essay, even though I tried to make that clear in the preface.

Mel is one of Alaska's most valuable progressives. She covers different territory than do I, and when I use the term "close friend," I mean that seriously.

I had never used the term "slut" in writing about a female until this weekend. When Mel and a few other friends wrote to me in protest, I could have taken the poll down. I thought more might be learned about these issues by keeping it up and by publishing essays that disagree with me on this issue, during the life of the poll.

crystalwolf aka caligrl said...

Phil, I really like that you posted Mel's post on here. But I also like that you didn't take the poll down b/c of screams from the pee-nut gallery.
Geoffry Dunn is on Shannyns show and he was a Paylin's rally yesterday.
He said something like "where every she goes she has collateral damage"
And most outsiders are clueless about Alaska history and most of the lower 48 has only her views from her book o lies and he wants to set the record straight.
He calls the c4p the creeps for palin or something, lol.

Martha Unalaska Yard Sign said...

Phil, you did exactly what I thought you would, when you would and why you would. I may never be right again in my entire life, but I'm glad that I was this time!

Good for keeping the discussion open - it needed to happen. You snapped, I've snapped, my sisters have snapped, my most reasonable and fair friends have snapped - we have to examine it, think about it, discuss it, learn from it and move forward.

Mel added great discussion - most everyone has!

crystalwolf aka caligrl said...

Phil, I have a question re: anonymoose...did they find the people who vandalized her house and killed her dog? Someone said she was suing. If not is there some way we can make some kind of support and put pressure on whatever police dept this happened in? Things are shaking up about Houston's Mayor ordering 4 dogs and 4 cats to be "humanely" shot, they might be the time to press for justice of Annonymoose's beloved dog? You know my feeling is, sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never harm me...but don't fuck with my dog!
My dog has nothing to do with my political views and people who abuse/murder dogs well I believe they should be treated as if they killed a person. Most of us consider or dogs as our children. Is there anyway we can help? Or honor anonymose's beloved girl?

Anonymous said...

Hello crystalwolf,
This is annoy-mouse.
In a effort to clear some things up and keep the conversation more directly related to "it came from Wasilla". From reading my neibors and mine own posts it really isn't clear. The woodshed fire was the first weirdness. The oiled porch and garden happened 5 weeks later. The latter is the only arrestable situation. As for Knuckle, our beloved Aussie, how he ever got shot will forever be a mystery. He was a true neiborhood protector of carrots, potatos and all things growing in our gardens. My neibors get very empassioned over the way Knuckle traveled to the aurora. More than once they have said the dots are too close to not connect them. I just can't go 'there'. It is just not how we can operate.

However it doesn't stop me from having my own little graffiti-fest on top of the woodshed. Which by the way included a message for Phill at one point. ~ snicker ~

With that said, I hope things are more cleared up and this topic of sexism can continue.

(we will be getting another dog the end of April... Techincally Knuckles cousin, which we plan on naming Finger)

crystalwolf aka caligrl said...

Well anonymoose...I would be willing to give some $ in Memory to "Knuckles" to your charity of choice.
My girl is getting up there and I would be a wreck if anything happened to her let along some bastard killed her.
Please let us know and {{{HUGS}}}about Knuckles and wonderful news about the new pup. Bravo to you keeping your protest up!
I'm not so knowledgeable about guard animals, except some people in "Humboldt county" have asked suggestions and I suggest a ostrich or Lama or Alpaca...don't know how they fair in Alaska but those bastards would toss their guns having a ostrich running 50 miles a hours at them when trespassing...just saying...!
These animals are bigger and NOT friendly like a dog! Ostriches kick ass! Just sayin....
I hope you can somehow find the monster that did this to you beloved dog...

Anonymous said...

Mr. Munger:

I'm very disappointed with some of your recent posts; I think you were dead wrong, but you do a better job than most of your fellow Alaska bloggers when it comes to allowing people to disagree with you. Several of your colleagues censor disagreement and can't handle it. Their blogs have become surgically, autocratically manipulated mediums of biased distortion.

Some of the feedback that you've allowed here may germinate some healing from your original degrading remarks. Unlike others, at least you listen to a wider audience than clones.

Anonymous said...

It's good to see others such as Mel finally speaking out about this.

I've been making this same argument for a while now, but when the message doesn't fit the theme it just gets ignored.

Some of the tactics of the liberal Alaskan bloggers are quite frankly, embarrassing.

I learned about Progressive politics at a very young age, the story of Fighting Bob LaFollette was required reading where I attended school.

The words of Phil Munger and the actions of some of the other liberal AK bloggers do not advance the Progressive cause.

Spreading lies, rumors and innuendo about a person or their family, and then whining about it when the other side pushes back, does not advance the Progressive cause.

No, Phil, Shannyn, Linda, Jeanne, Jesse and even Steve, have succumbed to their own myopia, they can't seem to see past their own prejudices at times.

What's really scary is that readers outside of Alaska who don't know any better, subscribe to what these bloggers write as if it's the gospel truth.

Some of us know better though.

Just keep talking down to those who disagree with you, continue to belittle and dismiss and ignore those of us who dare question what you write.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Mel, for a well-reasoned reminder to remain civil. Palin's record as mayor and governor is appalling, and her actions have not shown me she has the knowledge, skills, temperament, views, or maturity I want to see in elected office. However, stooping to the level of some of the comments and threats I have seen from the other side only makes us like that which we detest. We must do better for the good of our country.

Anonymous said...

The other bothersome phrase that Mr. Munger likes to use is the term CW, or Crazy Woman.

This does nothing but dehumanize Sarah Palin.

This, and referring to her followers as crazy does you no favor, Phil.

I wish I could find the program on NPR, but there was a very good discussion on a couple of weeks ago on Talk of the Nation that spoke directly to this, the labeling and name-calling of political opponents on the far-right.

Even your blogger with a conscience, WDIK-S has succumbed to this rather puerile behavior.

You will win no converts to your cause by doing this, the choir that you preach to will give you plenty of amens. For those of us who are neither hard core Palin haters or Palin supporters, it just makes you and those on the other side who engage as well, look like a bunch of ill-behaved children.

Just my thoughts, you can continue to ignore them Phil.

crystalwolf aka caligrl said...

Oh, now he's not allowed to say CW???
In game change they came out and called her "mentally unstable" and
She was called "whack job" and "little shop of horrors" during the campaign...Steve Schmidt thought the VP debate was going to be a debacle of Epic proportions....
If you can't handle the truth, why come here?
Its Phil's blog and he can say what he wants! I find it so Hilarius that at the peezoo they call anyone who doesn't kiss paylins ass a "Troll" and whine for admin to "clean the blog up" they harass and call people names.
They are just like mean girl CW paylin, they can dish out but can't take it!Whaaaaaaaaaaa!
And besides we all know its just
satireanyway....ask rushbo about that...

Anonymous said...


Thanks for your entertaining remarks today and in the past-- I laughed when you called me a "fucking retard" a couple days ago. Thanks for your informed, first hand perspective.

Extrapolating from how you express yourself here, I'd love to be a fly in your car listening to all the colorful stuff you may say while driving across town. Could make for a hysterically funny reality TV show. However I wonder if you know much more about the truth than a fly in your car does.

You said, "if you can't handle the truth, why come here?" Answer: People like you should be taken on.

If you upchuck more insulting vitriol, as you probably will in response to this message, that would be entertaining at first, albeit ultimately sad. I'm already sad for you. I won't play the game by your rules and I won't stoop to responding with vitriol. No matter what you call me, I will not call you degrading names. There are adequate intellectual options for dealing with you.

Anonymous said...

Why Sarah Palin Is No Ronald Reagan
Palin’s jokes are caustic and angry,

"This is what above all else distinguishes a Sarah Palin speech--the snide put-down and the snarky remark delivered with a broad, sneering smile and spitfire demeanor. She doesn’t seem to think a speech is complete if she hasn’t winked and name-called her way through it."

"And for much of the media, one of the most irritating things about Palin is that she revels in the politics of personal destruction at the same time that she believes she should be off limits."

Anonymous said...

Latest gossip--

A person very close to R.M. (let's call them W.D.) is furious that Sarah was handed an opportunity of a lifetime and squandered it for instant gratification. They said I've been called many insulting names but even my worst critic never suggested I was lazy. R.M. had only a few words-- Sarah is a self-limited ratings blip.

Anonymous said...

She took great umbrage at Rahm Emanuel's use of the phrase "fucking retards," then excused Rush Limbaugh's subsequent reference to a "retard summit" as "satire." She snarked to the Tea Partiers about President Obama's use of a teleprompter, then was caught during the Q&A sneaking peeks at her hand, where she had pathetically scribbled crib notes in the idiotic belief that no one would notice them. ("Energy," "Tax," and "Lift American Spirits" -- she was afraid she'd forget those deep thoughts?) And, of course, there was, "How's that hopey-changey stuff workin' out for ya?" which, in all my years of watching politics, is the most viscerally nauseating utterance I've ever heard. And these are just from the past week.

After a year and a half of exposure to this virulently toxic presence, the question on the table is: In our lifetime, has there ever been a worse human being in American politics than Sarah Palin? For all the morons and criminals and bigots we've been subjected to, has there been anyone else who has combined all of the fetid qualities -- the proud ignorance, the sadistic viciousness, the shameless hypocrisy, the arrogant laziness, the congenital dishonesty, the unctuous sanctimony, the bilious resentment, and whichever others I'm forgetting for the moment -- that this morals-free harridan so relentlessly displays? (Not to mention that atonal bray with which she communicates it all.)

Anonymous said...

"I thought more might be learned about these issues by keeping it up and by publishing essays that disagree with me on this issue, during the life of the poll."

Talk about the ultimate cop-out in blogging history ! Hey, let's have every lunatic out there post comments about "sluts", "niggers", "yids", "spics" etc. etc AND then turn around and say "I thought we could learn something about these issues by writing those vile insults". What a joke.

AKjah said...

Insightful commentary such as i have been reading here is much needed in the overall view of where the conversation originates from. Our language allows us to use many ways to achieve what we intend to convey. The basic idea does not change. Only the way it is conveyed. Emotion will retard the elocution of informed discourse.

Anonymous said...

"There's trouble brewing between the Ron Paul libertarians who staged the the first modern tea party in 2007 by dumping tea into Boston Harbor, and the neocon war hawks led by Sarah Palin who are furiously trying to hijack their message."

"But it underscores a rift between the anti-tax, pro-civil rights libertarians who started the tea parties and the corporatist neocon grifters of the GOP who are now trying to swoop in and capitalize on all of the hype. And in the irony of ironies, tea party-identified candidates are now trying to oust Ron Paul from his Texas House seat.

Anonymous said...

"Insightful commentary such as i have been reading here is much needed in the overall view of where the conversation originates from."

Bullshit. That statement is a longwinded way of saying "Hey, we're liberals , we can use sexist and racist abuse whenever we want and we never have to say sorry ."

CabinDweller said...

I did not vote in the poll, because I found the two choices, 'saint' and 'slut' to be an example of the paternalistic, sexist crap that I grew up immersed in. And I expect more from a intelligent, progressive blogger.

Criticism of female politicians (whether Hillary or Pelosi or someone else) also seems to devolve into insults about their appearance or sexuality in a way that does not happen with male politicians. Our language really doesn't even have similar words for men.

The issue is not whether she or the idiots who support her use racist, inflammatory language. For me, the issue with the poll is being very disappointed that PA went there in the first place. I'd expect that crap from the righties, but not from progressives.