Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Trained Monkeys can do that

I was in a children's film a few year's back. I played a pirate. I had done community theater before that, but never a film. The other adult principal was a drama professor from a local college who also had only ever done stage productions. After we had filmed for a couple of days she put into words something that I had thought about, but didn't dare to express out loud. It was pretty blunt.

"Trained monkeys can do this," she said.

What my fellow thespian meant was that unlike stage productions where so much depends on your own interpretive skills, on film it's more a matter of simply speaking and acting the way the director tells you to. And you don't even have to get it right the first time as each scene requires numerous takes before they say: "that's a cut." "Trained monkeys can do that."

I was thinking about this as I was watching snippets of Governor Palin's speeches on the news tonight, snippets taken not from her acceptance speech at the convention, but on tour with Senator McCain. What struck me is that she continues to repeat the same lines over and over again in exactly the same way. That, plus the fact that the Republicans are shielding her from the "piranha-ical" press, makes me realize that we are watching a performance that is so carefully scripted that a trained monkey could do it (given a voice, of course). At this point we can only wonder what the governor might say if she had to think for herself.

But that is exactly what the Republicans are afraid of; what she might say if she were forced to use her own thoughts and words and, God forbid, her own meager resume. There's so little there that commends her for the office of vice president that it's better simply to have her stay on script (even when that script has her repeating outright lies).

I happen to believe that Governor Palin is a very capable, intelligent person who can think for herself. She wouldn't have gotten as far as she has without being able to do so. I'm just hoping that the Republicans unleash her sometime soon so we can figure out for ourselves what she's like and what she's thinking. Too much is at stake for us to be considering a vote for a trained monkey.

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