There has been a huge kerfuffle surrounding Sarah Palin goading her daughter into beating a live fish to death. Rather than add to the outcry of disgust surrounding this, I would like to focus on a different piece of the clip. In this segment Ms. Palin takes her documentary film crew to a shooting range and tells them that this is the site where she had a baby shower. She goes on to say that she loves to share that story because it "gets the liberals all wee-weed up".
I have felt an inchoate sense of unease since viewing this as I struggle to determine the interstitial messages of the taunt. Is she saying that those not in favor of hunting, shooting or clubbing a living thing to death are cowardly bed-wetters? Must one commit an act of violence to prove power, loyalty and personal fortitude in order to be asked to join the "cool kids" not unlike the practice of an initiation ritual to enter a criminal gang? As "wee-weed" connotes diminutive, infantile and helpless traits, are killing, shooting and stomping indicia of the large, powerful and strong? Is everyone who is not comfortable with the juxtaposition of a shooting range and a newborn baby weak and prone to terrified urination?
What does such language say about the speaker? Are they words of a bully, a meanie or the twisted jeers of one with dismally low self esteem? Is it indicative of one who can only feel effective while demeaning others? Who uses violent illusions to ridicule and threaten people except silver screen mob bosses and juveniles trying to shock adults for attention. What was the purpose of such a gratuitous jab in the context of a non confrontational travelogue? Not everyone chooses to hunt and fish. Why deride rather than discuss.
I suggest that we stop rewarding negative puerile behaviors with endless attention and start mentoring positive conduct such as productive debate, tolerance of differences, and the respectful treatment of all living things. At a minimum, we could hone the skills that would permit the peaceful resolution of issues. To paraphrase the Rolling Stones: we won't always get what we want - but if we try real hard- we could get what we need.
The Palin video:http://bit.ly/i17Q91