Comedian Lewis Black, famed stand-up comic and regular on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” appeared on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight” Wednesday evening to discuss the release of a DVD of his vintage stand-up material (read: somebody found some old footage), “The Prophet,” and shared with the talk show host his thoughts on who he feared the most becoming president of all possible Republican candidates. His answer was quick; he didn’t even think about it. He said, “Sarah Palin.”
After getting nearly apoplectic over the entire 2012 Republican field of candidates, especially when considering the general disregard the collective seemed to have for all things science, Black calmed down to discuss Palin. It was easy to understand why. When Morgan asked for a reason, he answered simply: “I don’t think she exists.”
Morgan pressed. ” She doesn’t exist,” Black insisted. “She’s a fictional character. She’s a fictional character that came to life. I’m serious. I think that someone wrote her.”
And when his interviewer asked if he really believed that someone like the former Alaska governor could be created, he offered, ” Well, I mean, that’s really what makes her superfiction. It’s a whole — it’s meta fiction. Whatever that means, America.”
He elaborated: “But to think that she’s going to — you know, is a president. You know, when she became the vice presidential candidate, I said this is all really great if it’s like “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” If this is a movie. But the fact is, is that Jimmy Stewart would make a better candidate for the presidency than her. And he’s dead.”
But there is something to be said for Black’s views. Not that Sarah Palin does not exist, but that she is in part a fictional creation. Depending upon which view one takes of the former Alaska governor, she’s an anti-intellectual buffoon with simplistic views of complex matters who somehow conned the people of Alaska into voting her into the governor’s mansion or a successful, stalwart, strong-willed woman with deep conservative convictions that speaks her mind and would steer the country in the right direction should she become president.
Unfortunately, neither of those persons exist. Bits and pieces, to be sure, but for the most part they are characterizations, even caricatures of Palin the real person. She is a strong-willed person, evident in her rise in politics and in her obstinacy when she makes a political stand. She definitely wants to take the country in the “right” direction, although that direction might not seem right to most Americans. She presents herself as a folksy kind of backwoods girl from Alaska while being a college-educated communications major. And she allows her ignorance of issues, policies, and even history to provide the media with gaffes and controversies in such steady fashion that the average person cannot tell whether or not the former governor simply lacks knowledge, is ill-educated or ill-prepared in certain areas, or if she is guided by erroneous or misguided information. Some of it is true; some of it is not.
Like a reality show, Sarah Palin is indeed part fiction, and it is difficult to sometimes discern where the real Palin begins and the fictionalized version ends.
Before turning to other topics in the interview, Morgan attempted to find a comparison in Palin and Black, whose character as an angry guy ticked off at the world at large has brought him a fair measure of success. ” What’s wrong with having a strong-minded woman with strong opinions wanting to actually do something for her country?” he asked. “Isn’t she just like a — different political views. Isn’t she a female Lewis Black?”
“No, no,” the comedian fired back. “First off, she’s not as funny.”
And that could be a good thing for the well-being of the 63-year-old comedian (he seems to get worked up enough as it is), because, fictional character or not, it is most likely the public’s taking of Sarah Palin the politician so seriously that will undoubtedly keep her from becoming what Lewis Black fears most — president of the United States.