Fallopian follies

By KARA BASKIN  |  September 10, 2008

Condoms? What are condoms?
The problem with young Bristol’s pregnancy isn’t so much her unborn child and its implicit taboo. Sometimes teenagers get pregnant and they don’t mean to. Fine. But not every teenager has a mother who, by adopting such arcane stances on everything from abortion (in case you were wondering, she opposes it — even in cases of rape) to sex-ed (condoms? What are condoms?), has dug her own political grave and managed to set herself up as a hypocrite and a caricature before even having the chance to be lampooned on SNL. Talk about peaking early! The idea is that by banning any talk of sex, you’re also banning sex itself. Perhaps we should expect such a naive worldview from a woman who only got a passport in 2007. But it’s not how the world — or the human body — works. I wonder if poor Bristol even wanted to keep the kid.

Tellingly, at Palin’s RNC speech, Bristol’s pregnancy was the elephant in a room full of elephants (both figurative and literal — did you see the 300-pound dude from Ohio wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a football helmet?). Instead, her Down-syndrome son, Trig, offered more fertile ground for exploitation. She did not, of course, address the rumor that Trig is in fact her daughter Bristol’s first child. But Palin did name-check baby Trig multiple times and, while cameras panned to the listless infant, promised to be a voice for special-needs children in the White House. Limp little Trig was passed around like a prop in a high-school play, while the creepy would-be veep gushed over her secessionist husband (“He’s still my guy!”) and explained to a rapturous audience the difference between hockey moms and pit bulls. (Take note: hockey moms wear lipstick.) Meanwhile, Levi Johnston, Bristol’s beau, licked his lips guiltily from the stands, looking like he’d wandered onto the set of Wedding Crashers. It was a true Brady Bunch moment.

Then Palin blasted Barack Obama for criticizing her experience. But why should anyone withhold judgment on someone so, well, judgmental? This is a woman who, when running for Alaska governor, advocated abstinence-only education in schools and denounced same-sex marriage and rights for same-sex couples. When Palin was mayor of Wasilla — a frosty little hamlet of approximately 7000 — she reportedly asked the local library how she could go about banning books, because some voters thought they had inappropriate language in them. Palin threatened to fire the librarian, Mary Ellen Baker, for noncompliance. And she spent her entire nomination speech tearing down Obama, then using her family as a shield — if you critique her, you’re anti-feminist. If you criticize Bristol, you don’t like babies. If you bring up Trig, you’re a member of the left-wing media who eats little children for dinner. But if you criticize Obama, you’re a maverick.

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