Feb 222011
Authors: Shane Rohleder

Sarah Palin seems eager to offer her two-cents on just about any issue making news now-a-days. She recently offered her expert opinion on Michelle Obama’s campaign against childhood obesity.

The First Lady told reporters this month that, as part of her campaign, she would be promoting breast-feeding for infants six months and younger. Experts say the human body needs nothing except human milk before six months old, and, although formula does suffice, human milk is the best option. Palin had a different take on why Mrs. Obama would be promoting breast feeding.

In a speech she gave in Long Island, New York last week, she said, “No wonder Michelle Obama is telling everybody, ‘You better breast-feed your baby.’ Yeah, you’d better, because the price of milk is so high right now.”

This comment not only takes the focus off the rational parts of Mrs. Obama’s campaign, but it also insinuates that the sole purpose of the campaign is to take the public’s eye off of the rising cost of milk. With the economy in turmoil, healthcare on the fritz and teachers unions being ousted in Wisconsin, I have a hunch that the price of milk is not exactly a booming issue on most American’s minds.

Palin, though taking heat for comments like these, always seems to recover fairly well.

For years now, she’s been stunning the American people with made up words (“refudiate”) and notions about a foreign policy that equates a person’s experience with being able to see some land of a nearby country.

When I first started watching Palin make a public fool of herself with comments like these, I dismissed it as stupidity. This conclusion, however, bothered me.
She is obviously not stupid. Why then, I asked myself, do we continually have these great little nuggets, mined from her brain and delivered from her mouth all over the media every few months?

My new conclusion is simple: she is using an ingenious “perplex-them strategy” to keep us coming back for more.

This strategy is risky. In fact, most of the time, it can only be pulled off successfully by toddlers around age 2.

When a 2-year-old opens a cupboard door three, four, five times, with no intent of stopping, somehow adults find it endearing. When a 2-year-old unrolls a roll of toilette paper all over the house or knocks a box of Frosted Flakes off the counter-top, it’s an occasion to get out the video camera and start recording.

Palin has the same affect on us.

When Palin speaks, it’s time to pull out the video cameras and capture the moment for the future. She keeps us perplexed, but, like a 2-year-old, she is so non-threatening at this point in her political career that, instead of scolding her, all we can do is watch and laugh.

So think about what Sarah Palin would do the next time you are backed into a corner.

You could try and rationalize your way out of the situation –– for instance the next time you are appealing a poor test score to your professor –– or you could just perplex them to the point of infatuation.

Instead of going in to discuss test-taking strategies with questions like, “How can I do better next time?” or, “What are some effective study strategies?” try stuff like this: “No wonder I failed your test. Yeah, I’d better fail, with the global warming melting the ice caps and all.”

It doesn’t matter what the subject is, a comment like this should perplex your professor enough to get them to invite you back to their office, merely to hear you speak.

Shane Rohleder is a senior communication studies major. His column appears Wednesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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