After Sarah Palin's appearance in Pella, Iowa at the debut screening of Stephen Bannon's documentary film, The Undefeated, there was some discussion on the various anti Palin blogs regarding the belt that she wore which depicts a crucifix. Whilst pondering it's significance I thought of this painting by Steve Saiz which he titled "Here's your Blood Libel!" (BTW -- it is still for sale.) Click to enlarge:
Whether we like it or not Sarah Palin is a part of the political discourse and as such her image is associated by those who support her with that of a victim. Especially she is considered to be a victim of those people who are bemused or appalled by Palin's somewhat polarising and disturbing political message. Those who discredit or who make fun of Palin are considered as haters or even, as Sarah Jones at politicususa pointed out, potential killers wishing death on Palin and her family because Palin thinks that they are threatened by her.
When I first wrote about the above painting I pointed out that I believed that the artist wanted to express that Sarah Palin's emotional state as the nail is being hammered into her was beyond self control -- that it was one of ecstasy, rapture and loss of self. Or as Palin would say, it is not about me, I am doing this for you. The artist portrays Palin as actually enjoying any perceived attacks on her because she is more than happy to be the victim, the sacrificial lamb, because she believes that she will reap the rewards of having done so. Just like Saint Teresa as depicted by Bernini.
With this in mind, and please also hold the above image in your consciousness whilst doing so, I would like you to read the following article at the Los Angeles Times which reveals that Stephen Bannon will soon release an uncut version of The Undefeated. In the uncut version Bannon reveals that the new release will feature "crucifixions, lynching and suicides." Yes, you read that correctly, and in my mind there can now be little doubt that Sarah Palin's crucifix belt was not an accidental accessory that she casually flung on for the hell of it. After all, in Sarah Palin's world there really are no coincidences. Especially if they are rhinestone studded in order to attract attention (click to enlarge).
There can also be little doubt that Stephen Bannon regards artistic works such as the above painting by Steve Saiz as hateful or part of the "pop-culture beat down" of Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska, now rabble rouser of the highest order, but I wonder what he thinks of her use of such images to further her agenda of being seen as a victim of hate. Personally I think that it is very likely that Bannon will believe that Palin is merely expressing subtlety and irony through her choice of accessories and that it is OK for her to do so. However, the fact remains that a person making a derogatory remark about her use of accessories is considered by Bannon as crude and worthy of significant outrage.
Sarah Palin attracts such remarks and attention because she invites them through her own persistent and cynical manipulation of her image. She does so because she wants to be regarded as the next saviour of the right and, as she sees it, of America itself.