Hitting the Combat! trifecta of existential dilemmas, new media and Sarah Goddamn Palin, Sarah Goddamn Palin has apparently created a second Facebook account that she uses to Like posts from her main Facebook account. Props to Pete for the link. In addition to vociferously supporting Bristol’s appearances on Dancing With the Stars, “Lou Sarah” has the same email address that Palin uses for her Sarah Palin account, tipped her 14 friends to the appearance of Edge Fitness in a then-unaired episode of Sarah Palin’s Alaska, regularly comments “amen” to Sarah Palin Alpha’s Wall posts, and Likes the video “Sarah Palin’s Favorite Things.” Don’t try to untangle the subject-object relationship in that last one if you want to continue believing in the temporal self. This news story is A) obviously unimportant and B) relentlessly significant. The more you think about it, the more weird implications unfold.
Obviously, there’s the crazy. If you came home to find your loved one in the process of using his second Facebook account to agree with himself on his first Facebook account, you would question his maturity. Anyone who has read internet comments on his own work knows how easily an ostensibly secure adult can fall into panicked narcissism, but an ostensibly secure adult also tries to restrain himself. Making a second Facebook account to praise your main one is such a multi-step process as to provide ample opportunities to think wait, this is crazy. To get through creating the account, confirming the email address, installing the Blackberry application, friending yourself, accepting your friend request and then commenting on your Wall without experiencing that moment is to be out of the habit of self-examination.
I think it’s safe to say that Sarah Palin does not gaze upon herself with a critical eye. Even if we accept that, unlike a normal person, she never considers whether what she is doing is weird or unpleasant, we still have to ask what she hoped “Lou Sarah” would achieve. Her Wall is already a deluge of people who Like/agree with everything she says, so one more drop seems not worth the trouble. By similar induction, why only one Lou Sarah? If it’s worth it to make one fake account in order to bolster Facebook Palinism, two or twenty would probably be better. Perhaps the grimmest stop along this train of thought is the possibility that this has already happened.
Palin’s creation of a fake person to like herself also offers a telling glimpse of what she might consider the purpose of people liking her to be. Most of us view human affection—or whatever version of human affection people agreeing with you on Facebook is—as an end unto itself. As a person who hates people but paradoxically wants everyone to like him, I believe that it is good when people like you because then you have an array of individual affections. A fake person liking you is useless, unless you believe that the purpose of having people like you is something other than individual support. The existence of Lou Sarah suggests that Palin might consider people liking her less important than people believing that a lot of people like her.
Lou Sarah, then, is the project of a woman who has no particular agenda and hopes it will succeed. Palin is a politician with no policies, a television personality with no show (I count neither Sarah Palin’s Alaska nor her occasional human interest specials on Fox News, since the first is a reality show and the second is a reality substitute,) a leader with no direction. At least until she announces for 2012, she has no concrete things she is trying to accomplish, which makes popularity the only metric for her success. In the absence of the Sarah Palin Project, there is only the Sarah Palin Person. And now there are two of them.
Apropos of nothing, but perhaps the most terrifying aspect of this situation: Lou Sarah’s last name suggests that Palin thinks of herself as “Sarah,” as in, I have to help Sarah become President.