Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Palin's Late Style: He Knows the Main Thing

Henri Matisse, The Sorrows of the King, 1952. Image via KimLud.

Editor's note: In her new work, dedicated to the real estate magnate and philanthropist Donald Trump, Sarah Palin has taken a remarkable step, in this writer's opinion, toward transcendence, toward what Theodor Adorno referred to, speaking of Beethoven, as a "late style", meaning not the conventional serenity of old age but the shudder of the dialectic between convention and a heightened subjectivity, as Edward Said described it:
It is the episodic character of Beethoven’s late work, its apparent carelessness about its own continuity, that Adorno finds so gripping. When we compare such middle-period works as the Eroica with the Opus 110 sonata, say, we are struck by the cogent and integrative logic, the driven quality of the former and the somewhat distracted, often careless and repetitive character of the latter. Adorno speaks of the late work as ‘process, but not as development’, as a ‘catching fire between the extremes, which no longer allow for any secure middle ground or harmony of spontaneity’. 
Palin's poetry has always made use of a superficial simplicity that melts away when the reader tries to follow her layered structures with a linear logic, but now those moments confront each other in jagged juxtapositions, and yet at the same time there is a lightness and playfulness in the startling use of rhyme and wordplay, almost randomly sprinkled through the text (do we detect here the influence of hip hop?).

Old themes familiar from her past work recur as young, brightly lit, childlike images. She remakes Barack Obama's "they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them", for instance, into a kind of jolly nonsensical nursery song, while her own "Drill, baby, drill," formerly a bluesy erotic expression of her love for the petroleum industry, takes on the sudden violence of a toddler's unexpected rage, in a new context.

But there is a classicism, too, right from the outset, in the way she turns Trump's slogan "you're fired" into an oblique reference to the fire-stealing demiurge Prometheus, I think; and the almost Sophoclean irony of the central paradoxical question, "What would the establishment know about conservatism?"

But enough talk, you need to read the thing:

He Knows the Main Thing
a poem
by Sarah Palin

He Knows the Main Thing
And he knows how to lead the charge.
So troops, hang in there,
because help’s on the way
because he, better than anyone,
isn’t he known
for being able to command

Are You Ready for a Commander-in-Chief?
You ready for a commander-in-chief who will let
our warriors do their job and go kick ISIS ass?
Ready for someone who will secure our borders,
to secure our jobs, and to secure our homes?
Ready to make America great again,
are you ready to stump
for Trump?

Well, and Then, Funny, Ha Ha
Not funny, but now,
what they’re doing is wailing,
“well, Trump and his, uh, uh, uh,

Trumpeters, they’re not conservative enough.”
Oh my goodness gracious.
What the heck would the establishment
know about conservatism?
Tell me, is this conservative?

Give Me a Break!
Who are they to say that?
Oh tell somebody like Phyllis Schlafly,
she is the Republican, conservative movement icon
and hero and a Trump supporter.
Tell her she’s not conservative.

How ‘bout the rest of us?
Right wingin’,
bitter clingin’,
proud clingers of our guns,
our god, and our religions,
and our Constitution.
Tell us that we’re not red enough?
Yeah, coming from the establishment.

This Election is More than Just Your Basic ABCs
Anybody but Clinton.
It’s more than that
this go-around.

When we’re talking about
a nation without borders.
When we’re talking about
bankruptcies in our federal government.
Debt that our children and our grandchildren,
they’ll never be able to pay off.

When we’re talking about
no more Reaganesque power
that comes from strength.
Power through strength.

Well, Then, We’re Talking about Our Very Existence
So no,
we’re not going to chill.
In fact it’s time to drill,

baby, drill down, and hold
these folks accountable.
And we need to stop
the self-sabotage and elect
new, and independent,
a candidate who represents that
and represents America first...

Pro-Constitution, common-sense solutions,
that he brings to the table.
Yes the status quo
has got to go.

Otherwise we’re just going
to get more of the same,
and with their failed agenda,

it can’t be salvaged.
It must be savaged.
And Donald Trump is the right one to do that.
(after the text via BuzzFeed.)
Proud Klingers of our guns. Via

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