We've always wondered: why is the speech of the coquettish, fake presidential candidate Sarah Palin, a 2nd generation Alaskan, all ”you betchas,” verbs ending with -in' for -ing, and full of distinctly Fargo-like vowels, and dirt-farm tropes?
So why does Palin talk like that?
Turns out, her speech patterns were formed by being raised surrounded by local descendents of a very ambitious socialist program by one of our historic heroes: FDR.
The Matunuska Valley (known locally as the Mat-Su Valley) with its towns of Wasilla and Palmer, was populated in 1935 by families -- many from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan -- by Roosevelt's Matanuska Colonization Project which moved hundreds of families from their Midwestern hometowns to start an experimental farming colony in Alaska.
"Alaska Far Away: The New Deal Pioneers of The Matanuska Colony," a documentary made by Paul Hill and BlatherWatch friend, Joan Juster tells this extraordinary tale.
It was the Depression, and in a long-gone era when America could take a Big Idea and make it happen. The Mat-su Valley was relatively empty but for some Dena’ina and Athabaskan natives; the only white residents were a some coal miners, and some Russian farmers left after Alaska was bought from Russia in 1867.
But the Valley was populated and transformed when the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, one of Roosevelt’s New Deal projects, established the Matanuska Colony.
From Minnesota, Wisconsin,and Michigan, the government moved 203 families by train and ship to reach the valley, arriving in the summer of 1935. That first summer, they were housed in a tent city. Then each family drew lots for 40-acre homesteads.
It was un-apologetically and wonderfully socialistic, and collectivist.
They were chosen for their experience as farmers and in the trades and retail skills that support farming. The failure rate was high, but the area was transformed; a stable white population was installed; many of their descendants still live and operate farms in the area.
Palin’s family were not among those brave, hardworking utopians: Her father was born in LA, and her mother is from the Tri-Cities (Richland) in Eastern Washington.
To the delight of Tina Fey, and those of us who love to mock her, the Wasilla beauty queen, despite having college media training and working for a short time as a local teevee sports babe, never changed her public speaking patterns to teevee-talk.
And of course it’s not only how she says it, it’s what she says. Her narrow worldview, cultural illiteracy, lack of general knowledge and her apparent disinterest (or laziness) in improving those things have nothing to do with Roosevelt, socialism or Midwestern speech patterns.
Brilliance such as this keep us interested, if not obsessed:
“Nuclear weaponry, of course, would be the be-all, end-all of just too many people in too many parts of our planet.” -- CBS interview with Katie Couric, September 25, 2008
Although this woman, lips gleaming with Fox News lip gloss, is running second in polls of Republicans to Mit Romney, tentative front runner, will not, in the end, actually run for president. She's having too darn much fun cock-teasing it, and making money to actually go back to work doing the people's business. Exploitation can be fun as well as profitable.