by gordita, SPB correspondent on nitwits, nutjobs and outright lunatics
Everybody has heard the question, “If you could sit down to dinner with one person from history who would it be?” When Sarah Palin was asked the question several years ago by the Editor of Southpaw Beagle, she said, “Oh! You know that girl who lived a long time ago, who dressed like a boy in armor and rode on a white horse and stuff?” “Joan of Arc?” asked the Editor. “That’s the one!” exclaimed Sarah and so started the repast that turned Sarah into the enterprising champion for conservatism we know and love…or hate…or love to hate.
The dinner started out awkwardly as it became clear that the nineteen-year-old Joan had a better grasp of history than Sarah. I (gordita) sat inconspicuously in the corner and listened.
“Ooooooooooooooh, Joanie!” squealed Palin. “Just seeing you on that horse with all your championing of the good things you fought for. It just makes me want to be a fighting woman…to charge forward to make a stand for freedom and all the other super-duper things this proud nation stands for.”
“Merci, Madame. You are very kind,” said Joan.
“Well, don’t ya know, you looked so pretty with that sword in your hand. All the men wanted to follow you while you fought that nasty French army. I mean the bravery in your heart that you showed for all the world to see…”
“Mais non, Madame. I did not fight against ze Français! I fought against ze Anglais!”
“Oh Joanie, don’t get all technical on me! The point is that you were persecuted over and over and over by the French but you got back on your horse and you never said die!”
“Mais non, Madame! Ze Français did not persecute me!”
“None of that matters in the twenty-first century, Joanie. What matters is that here you were this little girl and men were so in love with your spunky can-do attitude, you didn’t have to do anything in that war against the French except show up and lead!”
“Mais non! Non! Non! Non!”
“Tell me how you did it, Joanie. Did you wink at them? Is that what made those ornery men want to give it their all when you led the charge?”
“Oh là là. I cannot believe zis is really happening.”
“And I’ll bet you gave ‘em kisses too, didn’t you Joanie? That will always get a man to do what ya ask him.”
“Mais, bien sûr! Of course I gave kisses! Right cheek, zen left cheek, zen right cheek again.”
“Ha! I thought so!”
“Madame, would you not like to ask me about ze battles? Whezer I was a strategist or merely a standard bearer? Would you like to know what it was like being railroaded and burned at ze stake?”
“YOU WERE BURNED AT THE STAKE?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! Oh my gosh!!!!!! I can’t believe it!!!! Those French liberals are monsters!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
“Ayeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am going to tear my hair out! I am Française! I fought against ze Anglais!!!!!!! It was ze Anglais who lit me on fire!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
(Editor enters room)
“PSSSSST, gordita, we have a problem. This story is going nowhere. It has no traction.”
“I was thinking we could spin it into a story about a nitwit who constructs a narrative of self-aggrandizing female heroism and martyrdom based on a corruption of the Joan of Arc legend.”
“It isn’t working,” said the Editor ruefully.
“What do you suggest?” I asked.
“Squirrel Tooth Alice.”
“Whaaaaaaaa?!?!?!?! Who is Squirrel Tooth Alice?”
“An iconic figure of the Wild Wild West who hooked her way through countless cow towns and then became a madame in a Texas bordello. Her husband was a grifter. All her sons grew up to be criminals. She pimped out her daughters. She was a self-made American woman driven by pure moxy with much more in common with most Americans than a medieval mystical French maiden.”
“Sounds intriguing,” I said.
“Let me see if I can get her here.”
(((Editor picks up the phone and dials. RING RING)))
“Howdy, Squirrel Tooth Alice speaking.”
“Alice, this is the Editor at Southpaw Beagle. I was wondering if you would be willing to have dinner with an ambitious Alaskan named Sarah Palin who is looking for a historical mentor.”
“Is Southpaw Beagle willing to pay?”
“Sure, Alice, send me a bill for whatever your going rate is.”
“Nuh uh. Cash up front, in advance of all services.”
“Fine. Can you come over right now?”
“You betcha. Be there in a jiffy.”
And that, my dear readers, is the story behind the historic dinner that turned the little-known Sarah Palin into the multimillionaire martyr-tart superstar that she is today. It is the honest-to-goodness truth and I am standing by it.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks to Claude Remains for calling to our attention The Guardian article about Palin commissioning a documentary of her life and drawing a parallel between herself and the martyred Joan of Arc. The film title, obviously inspired by Squirrel Tooth Alice and not Joan of Arc, is Undefeated.