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Anti-intellectualism Abounds

The BBC’s Newsnight site features a puff piece on its Sarah Palin special, due to air later tonight, in which we read:

Watch Jackie Long’s film on Sarah Palin – including an interview with Ms Palin – on Newsnight on Monday 7 March 2011 at 10.30pm on BBC Two, and then afterwards on the Newsnight website and BBC iPlayer.

A text box on the page suggests:

Read the full transcript of Newsnight’s interview with Sarah Palin

Clicking on the link, we arrive at a page with the grand title ‘Newsnight’s Interview with Sarah Palin’.

Newsnight has a reputation for tough interviews, so I was somewhat surprised to find the first third of the interview is devoted to Lifestyle section fluff:

JACKIE LONG: Governor Palin, Jackie from BBC in London. How are you?

SARAH PALIN: Excellent. Excellent today. This is one of our favourite days of the year.

JACKIE LONG: I’m struggling with the cold, I can hardly speak.

SARAH PALIN: Do you have layers on? Do you have enough layers?

JL: Tell me about the race, tell me about why it’s so important?

SP: Pretty uniquely Alaskan, you know, 2,000 miles across [interruption as one of the riders comes over and she gives him a hug] rugged conditions. God Bless you. God Bless you. Ride safe, ride hard.

It’s uniquely Alaskan. This is awesome. A lot of us living sort of vicariously through the Iron Doggers, so many of us would love to be tough enough to do what they’re doing and be good-enough mechanics and strong enough and tenacious enough, because I think it’s one of the world’s toughest races. It’s the world’s longest and toughest snow machine race.

JL: And you’d love to do it, wouldn’t you?

SP: You know it takes a special breed of cat to be able to lift 700lb, to be able to change out shocks and fix the engines at -70F (-56.6C) in the pitch black on a frozen river. I’m not capable, so it’s just something I dream about.

JL: Looking at it from the outside, people will be saying: ‘why do they put themselves through this? It seems crazy.’

SP: It’s just like our other great race, the Iditarod the 1,049 miles (1,688km) with dogs. It’s just a good, again, uniquely Alaskan, it’s something that Alaskans so enjoy because we want to be outside, we want to be outside enjoying God’s creation however we can and this is one of the tools used to enjoy the great outdoors.

JL: Do you worry about your husband when he’s on this?

SP: I really don’t. He started racing this race 18 years ago. He’s got a lot of miles under his belt, he’s a great mechanic, he knows what he’s doing. Just say a prayer and wish him well and he’s in his element when he’s out there in these rugged conditions. So not too worried.

Who cares about this rubbish?

In related news:

Evangelical Christians prefer former Arkansas-governor-turned-Fox-News-talk-show-host Mike Huckabee as the Republican presidential candidate, according to a Barna report released this week.

Huckabee garnered 88 percent favorable rating and 11 percent unfavorable response from evangelicals that participated in the Barna survey that tracks who Christians prefer as the 2012 Republican nominee.

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin came in second among evangelicals, with 79 percent favorable and 21 percent unfavorable ratings. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (57 percent favorable, 37 percent unfavorable), former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (56 percent , 29 percent), and Texas Congressman Ron Paul (51 percent, 26 percent), rounded out the top five picks among evangelicals.

(Sadly, this isn’t an outtake from Idiocracy. It’s real.)