BerryBush (1000+ posts) Sun Sep-07-08 10:12 AM
Overheard in a Barnes & Noble in Cuyahoga County, Ohio yesterday...
Advertisements [?]...I was looking over the current-events books, and there before me were two elderly women, marveling over the fact that in the center of the top shelf of the New Releases was a glossy, brightly colored paperback about...Sarah Palin.
"Ooh! LOOK!" one cried. "There's already a BOOK about her!"
"How did they DO that?" said the other. "Why, it was only--two weeks ago!"
"Isn't she just the cutest thing?"
"Yes, isn't she adorable?"
Finally, they decided together that this book HAD to have been out for some time. After all, there was NO POSSIBLE WAY that anyone could research and publish a book on Sarah Palin THAT quickly. They just must not have noticed it before.
I stood there and realized I was listening to yet another example of the American voter caught off guard.
There you have it: two prime examples of the kind of person who's going to vote for McCain--even in this heavily blue county. Elderly, female, and easily swayed by a brand-new VP candidate they don't even know, provided she spouts nonsense they'll believe in and is as cute as a bug's ear to boot. Also, not exactly up to date on modern printing technology or marketing techniques--otherwise, they'd realize that it's completely possible in today's world to churn out a thick, glossy, four-color-cover paperback on a previously un-written-about person within only a couple of weeks, and that a publisher will gladly do so if it thinks there's money to be made in doing such a thing. The information in it doesn't have to be balanced, it doesn't have to be verified, it doesn't have to even be spelled correctly (editing is usually one thing there ISN'T time for when churning out a quickie paperback designed to capitalize on a current event)--it just has to take a boatload of factoids, rumors, innuendos, hearsay and half-truths, organize it into chapters and a table of contents, and bind it between two covers with a pretty picture.
This kind of stuff was already being done even back when the news headlines were full of Tonya Harding and OJ Simpson. And that was BEFORE you could turn to the Internet and collect enough information to write such a book (a poorly sourced one, perhaps, but a book nonetheless) on any given topic with only a few hours invested in tapping keys and clicking a mouse.
And that's when it hit me. Sarah Palin is exactly like that book we saw.
Glossy, slick, attractive appearance. A surprise find. Full of all kinds of "facts" and "information," grabbed and thrown together in some semblance of order by someone who specializes in assembing such stuff and doing it quickly.
But is it all verified?
No. None of it is. Because fact-checking and verification were the least important part of the process. The important part of the process was making the product look good and appealing to the consumer and getting it out there on the shelves ASAP, so that people would purchase it while it was still "hot."
So there you have it: Sarah Palin, the quickie paperback. Glossy and attractive on the outside, but nothing whose veracity you can be sure of on the inside.