Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Palin's Marilyn Monroe Moment

As a legendary woman of the last century turns 85 tomorrow, there are echoes of a Marilyn-like media frenzy in the hide-and-seek game being played now by another super-celebrity.

“Congratulations, Sarah Palin, you have turned the Washington press corps into a bunch of paparazzi stalking your every move,” a reporter writes about the bus tour meant to bolster her presidential chances by blowing kisses to crowds while avoiding contact with journalists.

What we have here is a 21st century equivalent of that classic photo of Marilyn posing on a subway grate, her skirts billowing up while dodging reporters’ questions about her future.

Somehow, with as little political substance now as Monroe had in her acting career then, Palin has attained the same iconic status and, no matter what the media and public think about her, she is an irresistible object of curiosity.

“Why,” Marilyn asked me when we first met back then, “do they print things about me that aren’t true?”

“Because,” I told her, “pictures of you sell magazines and newspapers, and when there’s no excuse for running them, they’ll print rumors, gossip, anything they can get.”

Palin and her people have learned this lesson of publicity sainthood well and, instead of subjecting her to the normal electoral process of being questioned by press and public, are putting her out there to be seen and idolized but remain untouched by substantive scrutiny.

When Marilyn Monroe got serious about her acting, she made a movie titled “Bus Stop,” to reveal more about herself than her looks and manner. As Palin continues her tour, there is no sign that she intends to do something similar.

Yet, at some point, she will have to get off the bus and get serious if she intends to have it carry her all the way to the White House. When will she be ready for her closeup?

Update: The Magical Mystery Tour, after a sneak-off visit to Gettysburg, does Philadelphia and the Liberty Bell. The Palin family tours the Civil War gravesite but bypasses Eisenhower’s retirement home. Just as well, Ike must be spinning in his grave if he knows about any of this.

1 comment:

Mirza Ghalib said...

Marlyn will always be remembered for her iconic roles. One of her best movies was 'some like it hot', a thriller of the beygone era. She had the top influential persons of her time under her spell.