Nothing Much

Last night Sarah Palin was arrested by special agents of the FBI on charges of being a communist agent. She was released after Republican operatives who outrank the field agents assured them there was no communist plot to elevate Joe Six Pack to the ruling politburo and begin reeducation of intellectuals. “We might overthrow the established order, but that’s because we’re a couple of mavericks,” Palin said, winking and showing some leg as she emerged from the back seat of a black Escalade. “All I can tell ya for sure is nothing’s for sure and that’s for sure.”

Mrs. Palin’s quotation led the news on three network and two cable channels this afternoon, although the campaign complained bitterly that MSNBC took the quote out of context, playing only, “Nothing’s for sure and that’s for sure.”

“It certainly left out some of the repetition and folksy quality which gave the original it’s peculiar zing,” McCain campaign manager Rick Davis told Fox News. “I think there’s more to that quote than you get from a superficial first exposure to it. When you break it down and look at it in depth, it circles back on itself, like the molecular structure of benzene.”

“How did Mrs. Palin come up with this obviously very abstract idea of making something from nothing, while avoiding the depressingly negative pitfalls of mainstream existentialism?” Carl Cameron asked. “I mean, here we have a confrontation with nothing at all, and she makes it seem downright cheerful.”

“Well Carl, Palin is a glass full kind of gal, and once she realized she can answer whatever question she wants, or not ... that she can draw outside the lines if you will, her creativity as a television personality was unleashed.”

“Let’s get back to this very beguiling quotation about the only thing that she can say for sure is that nothing is for sure, but that’s for sure. The twists and turns here are both harrowing and, at the same time, beguiling. How did she come up with this certainty about nothing?”

“She had a dream about a snake swallowing its tail.”

“So this quote was related to the dream?”

“Who knows? Genius is ephemeral. It might have just been showing her that facts will come back and bite her on the ass, so she should stick to circular logic. No matter what question you’re asked, just circle back to the talking points. And one other thing, very important in this business, is realizing that the electorate, like nature, abhors a vacuum.”

“I’m not sure I follow you.”

“The more empty and vague the container, the more likely people are to fill it with their own projections, and what can be more comforting than a reflection of yourself? That’s what’s easy to love. Bush was the guy we wanted to have a beer with; Palin is the girl we’d like to feel up in the back seat of a black Escalade.”

“Are you speaking from experience, Rick?”

“Don’t ask don’t tell, Carl. Seriously, though, this new, improved Sarah Palin may say nothing when asked something, but in the process, she proves that something can come of nothing, which may sound like a no brainer, but our opponents would raise taxes under the theory that you can't get something for nothing, an obvious non sequitur."

“You’re in agreement with Mrs. Palin then, that essentially all certainty is nothing because nothing is certain?”

“Probably, yes. You can’t be around Sarah without picking up some of this upbeat certainty which defines her.”

“Even if it’s certainty about nothing?”

“Especially then. Anyone can be certain about facts, Carl. Certainty about what lies behind the facts is more challenging. If you break it down to the deep structure you get down to what we in the campaign call the Cordelia paradox."

“Nothing becomes the substance of the play?”

“Exactly. Just this afternoon Sarah winked at me and asked, ‘Can you make use of nothing, n’uncle?’”

“She didn’t.”

“Okay, she didn’t actually say that to me. But she did go on about nothing.”

“So it’s essentially factual.”

“Essentially, yes.”

Posted: Fri - October 3, 2008 at 04:45 PM