You know, when John McCain first chose Sarah Palin as his v-p candidate, I took a little grief for remarking that I didn’t much care for her accent. (You know who you are, grief-givers.)
So I was listening to the radio this morning, and NPR played a few excerpts of Palin’s interview with Katie Couric, and, well, I’m just going to come out and say it:
Sarah Palin’s accent makes her sound stupid.
And I don’t think she is stupid. Ignorant, maybe. Uneducated. Un-curious. But I don’t think she’s a dingbat.
It’s just that when she says something like, in response to Couric’s question about whether Palin could give her one specific McCain attempt to support regulation, “I’ll try to find you some and I’ll bring them to ya“—well, she sounds dumb.
It’s a fine line, right? In Fargo, where the accent was basically the same, Francis McDormand made it sound sort of sly and knowing. Maybe it’s because we knew that her character was intelligent and she used the accent as a tool for putting people at ease and playing down her smarts.
Palin, not so much…. Because we don’t believe in her intelligence, we don’t interpret the accent in a positive light. And when we hear someone like Tina Fey make fun of it, it registers: Not so bright. Fairly or not.