Fresh from the fray of “Retardgate,” as some media outlets called it, Sarah Palin this week sought to expose another dark and insidious force aligned against her. By which she meant an episode of the TV cartoon Family Guy. On the episode in question, the awkward teen character Chris Griffin dates a girl who has Down syndrome—and at one point identifies her mother as “the former governor of Alaska.”
Palin chose one of her preferred media forums—her Facebook page—to argue that the line of dialogue “mocked” her special-needs son, Trig. She called it “another kick in the gut,” powerful language that’s apparently calculated to remind us she’s been hurt before, and the blows are felt most in that part of the body where intuitions—and babies—come from. In effect, she’s saying the blows are an attack on common sense, disabled children and womankind.
But irony is a harsh master: the cartoon character in question was voiced by a woman with Down syndrome, professional actress Andrea Fay Friedman, and she thinks Palin is the one who lacks common sense—or at least “a sense of humor” or “sarcasm.”
“I was making fun of Sarah Palin, but not her son,” Friedman tells the New York Times today in a candid interview.
Beyond its obvious problems, Palin’s latest claim of victimhood certainly isn’t helping endear her to the public. As Kevin Drum noted last week, the more Americans see of Palin, the less they like her. And the responses to Palin’s Family Guy comment on Facebook—there were 10,567 and counting as this story went online—are largely unsupportive of the former governor’s viewpoint.
Friedman, too, thinks Palin’s concern for special-needs children is disingenuous. “My mother,” she says, “did not carry me around under her arm like a loaf of French bread the way former Governor Palin carries her son Trig around looking for sympathy and votes.”