- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Hard 10 months

In the wake of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s abrupt resignation from office, the media has gone wild speculating about the motivation behind the 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate’s unexpected announcement.

Noticeably absent from these discussions, however, has been any comprehensive review of the brutal attacks on her and her family since she was selected to run on the party’s 2008 presidential ticket, a list likely to intimidate many people from even considering a political career let alone maintain one.

Ever since she entered the national stage, Mrs. Palin’s mothering abilities have been openly challenged by those who believed she was putting her career before her family by agreeing to run as vice president. When her teenage daughter Bristol’s pregnancy was announced, that added even more fuel to the fire, and her entire family was put under the media’s microscope. Some liberal commentators, like Andrew Sullivan, have demanded over and over again to see the birth records of her youngest son, Trig, who was born with Down syndrome, believing the child was never even hers.

Daughter Bristol Palin’s relationship with her baby’s father, Levi, has been ripped open for public consumption in the aftermath as he’s appeared on “The Tyra Banks Show” to discuss his sexual experiences with her and was seen shirtless in the pages of GQ magazine. When Bristol attempted to become a spokeswoman for abstinence, based on her experience as a teenage mother, she was pilloried as a hypocrite and mouthpiece for her power-hungry mother.

In the midst of the election season, Mrs. Palin’s personal e-mail account was hacked by the son of a Democratic Tennessee representative. Then, an arsonist set her hometown church on fire in December.

Mrs. Palin has fended off 15 ethics complaints since last fall, costing her at least $500,000 in legal bills, according to her aides. Most of the complaints would be considered frivolous by most reasonable measures, filed by state-based liberal bloggers for things like wearing a jacket made by a company who sponsored her husband’s snow machine races to a public event and conducting television interviews in her state-provided office.

Last week, Vanity Fair unloaded a nearly 10,000-word piece stocked with anonymous sources who questioned her intellectual capacity and temperament, but would not permit their names to be associated with their remarks.

And all of this is just at the tip of the iceberg of columnists, comedians, bloggers, radio hosts, television personalities and even pornographers who have devoted countless hours over the past nine months crassly making fun of her looks and mannerisms.

So it appears, at least for now, the governor just wants a break from it all. She posted on her Twitter account Monday: “Grateful Todd left fishing grnds [grounds] to join me this wkend; but now he’s back slaying salmon & working the kids @ the site; anxious to join ‘em!”

Islamic comics

The man who sought to promote the peaceful virtues of Islam through comic books based on characters and stories from the Koran wrote an open letter to his sons describing his reasons for creating the series.

Kuwaiti-born Naif al-Mutawa, a psychologist and writer, says he was driven to write the comics as a way of taking back his faith after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. In his letter, posted to the Internet by the British Broadcasting Corp., he said, “I worked with disappointed children trapped in the minds of men who grew up to idolize a leader, to see that leader as a hero and then be tortured by him. I started to think very seriously about whom your heroes were going to be.”

The series is called “The 99.” “The 99 references the 99 attributes of Allah - generosity, mercy, wisdom and dozens of others not used to describe Islam in the media when you were growing up,” he wrote. “But if I am successful, by the time you read this, you will not believe that such an era could have ever existed.”

Although the teachings of Islam inspired the series, none of the characters pray or read the Koran in the series - something Mr. al-Mutawa chose not to highlight so that the series would more easily appeal to children across the religious spectrum. Only one character, named Batima the Hidden, wears a burqa.

Mr. al-Mutawa compares his characters to popular American superheroes like Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, all archetypal, moral figures who fight for common values like truth and justice. And soon enough, his characters will appear alongside those well-known heroes. DC Comics announced last week they are beginning to collaborate with “The 99” for a joint miniseries.

• Amanda Carpenter can be reached at acarpenter@washington times.com.

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