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negative attention is a form of attention

November 20, 2009

I saw this note in TNR (happened to be about Sarah Palin) and came to this conclusion some time ago in my personal life:

To respond to an opponent, even harshly, even rudely, is to accord her a certain respect—to treat her as worthy of a response. But Palin is worthy of no such thing. She stands for nothing beyond her own self-promotion. She craves attention, and negative attention is a form of attention. Even ridicule can be a form of flattery.

I used to live with a housemate a number of years ago who was always spouting off crazily annoying right-wing pronouncements (“Joe McCarthy was right all along;” “Democrats are the party of death;” “I don’t respect people who join the military and take educational benefits afterward;” “The USMC would have won Fallujah I (in spring 2004) if they had just fought harder;” etc.) , and my friends and I would take the bait.

Eventually, we realized it was just better to just ignore him, and he’d eventually go away.  And he did.  He craved attention (probably because he was a lonely guy) and “negative attention is a form of attention.”  I guess this is true on the national stage as well – so just ignore the shtick of Ann Coulter, Michael Savage, Michelle Malkin — and Sarah Palin.  It’s just about sparking outrage for the sake of entertainment.

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