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How can Palin be 'ambivalent' about HBO's McCain campaign movie?

Craig Medred
Aaron Jansen illustration

Here we go again.

Once more former, half-term Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is being portrayed as the sad, female victim of the big, bad boys in the media. Her political flunkies are on TV, online and in the press claiming a yet-to-be-released, made-for-TV movie called "Game Change" does a hatchet job on Palin's vice-presidential run in 2008. Everyone has been down this road many, many times before, so it's nothing new.

Bad things get said about everyone who makes it into the public eye. No one is loved by everyone. The late Christopher Hitchens even picked on Mother Theresa, for God's sake, calling her "a fanatic, a fundamentalist, and a fraud."

Palin trying to trade on what she and her flunkies see as her role as the special victim of America's left-wing media conspiracy is getting just a little old.

But wait, this time there's more. Take it from Palin herself.

What does she have to say about a movie that her chief aide says is replete with "distorted, twisted and invented facts"? By the way, what is an "invented fact"? Isn't the very nature of a "fact" that it can't be invented? Isn't it that things are either factual or, as Palin has been wont to say, someone is "making things up"? But that's not the interesting thing here. The interesting thing here is Palin's reaction to having her story distorted, twisted and invented.

Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday asked her about it over the weekend:

WALLACE: "Are you angry? Are you upset that this story is going to get told and it will get told to a much bigger audience?"

PALIN: "I am ambivalent about it."

Excuse me?

"I am ambivalent about it," Palin said.

"Ambivalent" is, of course, not a new word like “refudiate,” which Palin invented back in 2010 before comparing herself to William Shakespeare. Ambivalent is a old word with a well-established meaning: "Of or pertaining to the coexistence within an individual of positive and negative feelings toward the same person, object, or action, simultaneously drawing him or her in opposite directions."

The common definition of "ambivalent" is "love-hate." "Ambivalence was used by Freud to indicate the simultaneous presence of love and hate towards the same object" is the way ever-faithful Wikipedia describes it in outlining how our psyches work.

Palin has a love-hate relationship with a movie she and her camp believe smears her? Say what? She made the hate part pretty clear to Wallace, saying yet-to-be-seen movie is all based on a "false narrative," that she's "sorry that millions of people are going to waste their time (watching it),” and that she's sure they have “more productive and constructive things to do."

So where's the love?

Does Palin simply not understand the meaning of the word "ambivalent,” or is there something here she just can't bring herself to publicly admit:

She's hit the jackpot again!

Just when the former Alaska governor was on the verge of becoming publicly irrelevant, America -- or some teensy, tiny slice of America -- has fixated on the one thing Palin likes to talk about, the one topic on which she could be considered an expert: Sarah Palin.

Palin did admit to Wallace on Sunday that "there are so many other things that we need to be talking about," and then she ignored any and all of them in favor of talking about "Sarah Palin" and "Game Change," which is probably about as accurate a portrayal of reality as "Big Miracle" or "The Grey." They are movies. They take liberties with reality.

One shouldn't get too upset with them, but people do. Wolf lovers are in a giant huff about "The Grey" because it portrays wolves as bloodthirsty killers. Animal rights activists have called for a boycott of that movie, even though wolves are bloodthirsty killers. The only mis-portrayal in "The Grey" of wolves is as bloodthirsty killers of HUMANS. That part has no basis in fact, absolutely none.

So what? It's a movie.

But still, it's hard to believe any animal rights activist is ambivalent about "The Grey." Can you see a couple of them sitting around talking about how viciously it portrays the wolves, but then adding, "Hey, look at all the face-time these wolves are getting? Nobody will forget about wolves after this movie! You gotta love that."

Then again, put that way, maybe an animal rights activist could like the movie, and maybe Palin didn't misspeak this time. Maybe she just let a little truth sneak out. Maybe she really is ambivalent.

So she is presented in a less-than-favorable light in some silly, made-for-TV movie? So what? As goes the old cliché: "It doesn't matter what they say about you as long as they spell your name right."

Palin has branded herself, for better or worse, as America's political lightning rod. "Game Change" is generating some lightning. What's not too like? Would she really rather be talking about the issues?

That's a big 'you betcha not'. Issues are boring. Who wants to talk about issues? As Palin long ago told Andrew Halcro, a Republican policy wonk who challenged her for governor in Alaska, "Does any of (that) really matter?"

Issues? Sarah Palin doesn't need no stinking issues. She's back in the game, baby. She's got Sarah Palin to talk about.

Contact Craig Medred at craig@alaskadispatch.com.