Poise by Contrast
Ann Althouse isn’t sure how to understand Saturday Night Live‘s script as delivered by Alec Baldwin, standing next to Sarah Palin:
Alec Baldwin got to stand next to Palin and insult her — by accident, thinking she was Tina — and then got to say something that’s true: Sarah Palin is more attractive than Tina Fey. Did Fey deserve that? No. Palin seemed like a seasoned actor, which is nice… but disturbing. If our politicians are great actors, we have a big problem. [ADDED ON REWATCH: Did Baldwin say Palin is more attractive than Fey? He mistook Palin for Fey, then, corrected, told Palin she was more attractive in person. I think that means he believed Palin was less attractive than Fey, but now, seeing Palin in person, he acknowledges Palin’s equivalent attractiveness. Or something. The disrespect to Fey that I thought was there is, technically, not.]
Considering that Baldwin goes on to express incredulity that SNL would allow a woman like Fey to play a woman like Palin, I think the joke was meant to be Baldwin’s sycophancy. If taken at face value (again, analyzing from within the script), that would certainly have been disrespectful of the actress).
For my part, I wouldn’t go quite so far as his feigned compliments, but even in the short clip, there is a stark contrast between Palin and Fey that highlighted the exaggerations in Fey’s characterization and the fact that one is a woman of poise and power while the other is an actress.