I’m sure that’s the question many of our readers will ask of this month’s issue of Lake & Sumter Style. Of course, that also means a roughly equal half of our readers won’t question the decision at all. So why did we choose to put the controversial former governor of Alaska/vice presidential nominee on our single most valuable page? For one reason—she’s newsworthy.
But it was by no means an easy decision.
Sarah Palin’s meteoric rise to prominence is almost like a script for the film adaptation of the yet-unwritten The American Dream, complete with a photogenic leading lady to play the protagonist. Surely everyone knows by now that she was plucked from the relative obscurity of the Alaskan frontier by John McCain’s presidential campaign advisors to shore up his support among conservative voters—and to court a few disenfranchised Hillary Clinton supporters as well, I’m sure. It’s actually hard to believe that Sarah Palin has only been part of our national dialogue for a little over a year. It seems much longer.
Maybe that’s because of Tina Fey’s spot-on impersonations on Saturday Night Live or the frequent tabloid scrutiny of Palin’s family or the carefully managed TV appearances or her perfectly timed new book. But while some of America fell in love with Sarah Palin, affixing bumper stickers of devotion to their Ford Explorers, the rest probably didn’t know what to think.
But since the election and despite some heavy criticism, her cult-like status keeps going and going, like the Energizer Bunny with a Neiman Marcus card. Want proof? Madonna, Britney, Cher… now we’re on a first-name basis with Sarah. She even co-opted a punctuation mark!
Still, when we heard she was going to be making a stop in The Villages to support her new book, Going Rogue: An American Life (a New York Times bestseller, by the way), we knew we’d have to send a photographer to cover the media circus sure to follow. Boy, did it.
Steve Floethe is a veteran news photographer, but I’m not sure even he was prepared for the thousands of fans that turned out to cheer on their beloved Sarah. They crafted homemade signs, chanted her name, and stood in line for hours just for a glimpse to see her. A privileged few even got to actually purchase her book and have her sign a copy. Some even got a photo with their icon.
All the major local affiliates were there. All the local newspapers sent representatives. The radio stations did live cut-ins. It was a veritable lovefest.
Yes, it was news.
All my best,