Don't look now, but Sarah Palin is finding her way back into the spotlight. Grabbing center stage isn't always a positive thing, of course — even conservatives roundly criticized her rambling speech at the Iowa Freedom Summit in January — but she must be happy to have her name on everyone's lips again, right? At least that's what you'd expect, given her surprise guest appearance on Saturday Night Live's 40-year anniversary show over the weekend. But not everyone was happy to see her: Sarah Palin got heckled following the SNL 40 afterparty, and there's video.
Make no mistake, some of the heckles are, shall we say, not cool. As countless women in positions of prominence or public visibility know, attacks centered on physical appearance and aging are a regular feature of our society's sexist double standards. So it's depressing to hear people taunting Palin this way — while the audio isn't terribly clear on the crowd's end, a male voice can be heard yelling out "you look old, Sarah!"
Another voice seems to yell that she should "put some clothes on." Palin's outfit for SNL 40 drew a fair amount of commentary, both because she may have borrowed it from her daughter Bristol, and because some people didn't like the look (I thought it looked great, personally, but hey). It would've been considerably more fun if they'd stuck to some contextual barbs, rather than sexist ones. After all, she sat next to Taylor Swift at the show. That's got to be ripe for a "Taylor Swift would make a better president than you," right?
Palin was in attendance thanks to her immortal place in SNL history, which I'm sure any fans of the show (or even non-fans who're into politics) remember full well. While campaigning for the 2008 vice presidency alongside Arizona Senator and Republican presidential nominee John McCain, Palin gave a number of disastrously bad interviews with the press — fumbling basic questions about foreign policy doctrine, being unable to name a publication she read, you know, the whole deal.
Her awkward, often hilarious unpreparedness gave rise to one of the most popular, politically relevant SNL spoofs of all time — the magnificent Tina Fey, done up almost indistinguishably as Palin, slinging her folksy accent all over the place.
The impact it had was profound, and you have to think Palin and her conservative supporters might still feel a little bitter about it, in spite of her jovial appearance on Sunday. To illustrate just how compellingly and expertly Fey lampooned Palin, there's a large number of people who still believe to this day that the former Alaska Governor claimed she could "see Russia from my house." She never actually said that — she claimed you could see Russia from an Alaskan island, which is actually true, though utterly irrelevant.
At the very least, it's nice that Palin is now willing to look back and have a laugh at herself, even if her toxic brand of politics is still in full-force — after all, when she was first being roasted on SNL, it had a pretty negative impact on her career.