Saturday, August 30, 2008

Offensive Attacks on Palin, Addendum

In my previous post I talked about how offensive attacks on Palin could backfire as they could shock people into supporting her. But I realized I made a mistake in my attempt to describe the internet phenomenon of over-the-top comments because no one really knows who you are. The mistake was that I cleaned up my language. I took the time not to be offensive and used clauses like "When this mother reads comments ridiculing Palin because she is a mother..." without actually using the offensive terms.

Even the quote I included from a blog where the f-bomb--no wait, where fuck--is commonplace was sanitized by the original author:
She’s been on the ticket for two seconds and already the Obamabots are saying she “looks like a porn star,” they’re making rude remarks about her childbearing, they’re ridiculing her intelligence.
Note she says "rude remarks" but doesn't give examples. She says "ridiculing her intelligence" but doesn't say how. It is hard to understand the shock value in these comments and the impact it might have without seeing them.

To try to give an example, I will return to If a story gets posted about a woman have a huge number of children, people often make fun of it. Because it is the internet, they don't hold back and say, "I question the decision to have so many children." Instead they post a picture like the following:

In the context of Fark, that's funny. Imagine the difference though if somebody were to photoshop a picture of Sarah Palin's family in the center and post it in comments in a major newspaper. Suddenly funny goes to offensive and offensive will push people to support the target of the attack.

Ed Morrissey has a post on some of the more desperate attacks on Palin. One of these attacks is:
Sarah Palin wasn’t REALLY pregnant — it’s her daughter’s child.
To which Ed comments:
If this is what the opposition comes down to, McCain made the wisest possible choice, and in the process exposed the opposition in a way that could never have been possible with any other running mate.
It definitely will be interesting as the campaigns heat up. Attack Palin too hard and be seen as sexist. Attack her too softly and have Hilary supporters wondering why Palin doesn't get the same treatment as Hilary did.

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