Monday, November 10, 2008

Wasilla Hillbillies and Self-Loathing

Throughout the presidential campaign, I was perfectly positioned to be insulted by both parties--I grew up on a farm and live in the country, which makes me racist white trash on one hand, and I have an education, which prohibits me from living in "real America" on the other hand. Just when I thought the dual dose of contempt was over, we have fresh insults in Newsweek's "special election project" (Nov 5, 2008):

...While publicly supporting Palin, McCain's top advisers privately fumed at what they regarded as her outrageous profligacy....One aide estimated that she spent "tens of thousands" more than the reported $150,000....An angry aide characterized the shopping spree as "Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast," and said the truth will eventually come out when the Republican Party audits its books.

"Wasilla hillbillies!" I don't see the connection to the southern Appalachians. (West Virginian's official nickname is "Mountaineers.") The Palins look more like wannabe-yuppies run amok. The term snowbilly has been coined for them, apparently one more "white trash" synonym. It's just not an accurate application of our beloved/despised ethnic slur. If a real hillbilly were to loot a department store, wouldn't it be Cabela's, rather than Neiman Marcus? (At least, that would be my personal preference.)

This sort of discourse puts Republicans in an awkward position. For years, some of them have heaped contempt on the "liberal elite" and metropolitan populations, but now, it turns out that small town people are "hillbilly looters." I guess the Republicans are the party of self-loathing.


Marvin said...

The Republicans have successfully held together a bizarre coalition of hillbillies and high rollers for many years. Maybe Sarah Palin will be the chink leading to a collapse, but that's probably just wishful thinking on my part.

Rebecca Clayton said...

I like "hillbillies and high rollers!" I think the coalition may be breaking down, but who knows what frightening thing will rise to take its place?