The new Vanity Fair Sarah Palin profile is enthralling: rage-fueled breakdowns, domestic violence (is there a battered spouse center for First Dudes?) and Madoff-worthy financial manipulation. Equally fascinating is the climate of fear and confusion that Michael Joseph Gross discovered in Wasilla, where townspeople are terrified of discussing their former mayor/governor, and deeply uncomfortable with the world-famous media creation that she has become. "To appreciate how alien Palin has become in Wasilla, how inscrutable to her own people, you have to wrap your mind around the fact that Sarah Palin is more famous than any other Alaskan, ever," Gross writes. "It still does not quite seem real to most Alaskans that there are all these thousands of people in the Lower 48 turning out for … Sarah."
But if they want surreal, they should travel to the Lower 48. Because it's not until you leave Alaska that you realize it no longer exists — only Sarah Palin exists.
Palin doesn't merely represent the Alaskan archetype in the national consciousness; she is Alaska. The rest of us are stars in her constellation, fish in her sea
Whereas Alaska used to enter my every conversation, I now rarely bring it up—if I've had enough whiskey and someone asks, I'll grimace and mutter yeah, "Palin country."
But as much as I'd like to avoid the subject, I'm probably stuck with it forever.