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‘Just jealous’

“[Wednesday] night saw the first public debate between Delaware senatorial hopefuls Christine O’Donnell and Chris Coons. Throughout the proceedings, Democrat Coons fired several barbs in the direction of O’Donnell, the Republican nominee, choosing to call attention to her newfound national celebrity and her dearth of political experience. O’Donnell’s counter-strategy, according to The New York Times was grounded in her repeated insistence that ‘she is an ordinary person.’ An ordinary person, that is, who no longer believes in witchcraft. …

“At certain points, the debate pivoted from matters of policy to those of popularity. ‘Coons said O’Donnell’s well-publicized statements from a decade earlier that she dabbled in witchcraft and questioned evolution theory were distractions instead of a substantive campaign issue,’ CNN reports. In response to Coons’s criticism, O’Donnell surmised that he was ‘just jealous’ that he too was not parodied on Saturday Night Live.

“In her unpreparedness and apparent infatuation with her own notoriety, O’Donnell’s debate performance recalls Sarah Palin’s 2008 vice-presidential appearances. Her resemblance to Palin, it now seems, is no longer just physical. Although Palin’s success as an author and demagogue is unquestioned, her viability as a candidate is dubious at best. Depending on whether O’Donnell views public office as a means to an end or as an end in itself — and, discounting the late-90s television appearances, there’s no reason to believe it’s the former — she should take care to learn from Palin’s gaffes, not misidentify them as markers of success.”

Juli Weiner, writing on “‘You’re Just Jealous You Weren’t on Saturday Night Live’ and Other High Points of the O’Donnell-Coons Debate,” on VanityFair.com Oct. 14

Always on edge

“The first ever episode of ‘The Simpsons’ showed a family plunged into poverty by the vagaries of capitalism. When Mr. Burns cancels the Christmas bonus, Homer has no idea how to get presents for his children in ‘Simpsons Roasting Over an Open Fire.’ That set the political tone of the series, so forgive me for not being amazed by the courage of Banksy in satirising the ethics of the now-venerable ‘Simpsons’ in its own opening credits. The British street artist has created a very funny opening sequence in which we glimpse a hellish underworld where oppressed Koreans labour to put together the programme and its merchandise.

“Banksy is supposedly responding to ‘reports’ that the makers of ‘The Simpsons’ use far-eastern sweatshop labour to help churn out its episodes. I don’t know about ‘reports,’ but I do know that the makers of the show have joked about the same subject. As for Banksy’s portrayal of the Fox logo surrounded by military searchlights and barbed wire, that too is of a piece with the programme’s persistent biting of the hand that feeds it, including caricaturing Rupert Murdoch.”

Jonathan Jones, writing on “Banksy’s satire on the Simpsons,” on Oct. 11 at his On Art blog at the Guardian

Liberal men

“In a Salon column last month headlined ‘Forget about the tea party — what about the crumpets?’ Gene Lyons wrote that, ‘The most entertaining aspect of the 2010 election season has been the rise of the right-wing cuties — political celebrities whose main qualification is looking terrific on television. From where I sit, in a comfortable chair in front of the tube, the GOP Cupcake Factor has enlivened an otherwise dreary campaign season.’ You, Sir, are a pig.

“The ‘cuties’ in question are a former Governor (Palin), a current Congresswoman (Michelle Bachmann) and a current Senatorial candidate (Christine O’Donnell). Lyons take on O’Donnell was this: ‘Everybody knows some poor fool who married a woman like that.’ To anyone who believes that a man with the same religious views as O’Donnell would have received the same nonstop vicious mockery, I have one name for you: Mike Huckabee.”

Kirsten Powers, writing on “What Do Dems Have Against Women?” on Oct. 8 at the Daily Beast

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