2010-04-15

Palin the Rock Star?

Sarah Palin is in the news again, this time she's accused of being a Diva:
The requirements stated that first-class transport should be provided for Palin, including return trips to and from Anchorage, Alaska, a private jet that "MUST BE a Lear 60 or larger (as defined by interior cabin space) for West Coast Events; or a Hawker 800 or larger (as defined by interior cabin space) for East Coast Events", one suite and two single rooms be booked in a "deluxe hotel", "laptop computer and printer (fully stocked with paper) and to provide access to high-speed internet and WiFi".

For her actual speech, "unopened bottled still water (2 bottles) and bendable straws are to be placed in or near the wooden lectern", while questions had to be screened.

"For Q&A, are to be collected from the audience in advance, pre-screened and a designated representative ... shall ask questions directly of the Speaker to avoid delay time with a roving microphone in the audience," the contract stated.
Look I'm no fan of Sarah Palin - her policies and her lack of knowledge immediately rule out any potential support I might have - but this "revelation" is hardly going to bother me.

The fact is that Sarah Palin is a famous person - like a rock star or an athlete or an actor. As a result of her fame she has certain differences between her and Joe normal about how her life is led. Palin can't walk into a supermarket without causing a stir, and can't walk down the street without causing a minor riot. In order to make her life more bearable and more common sense, she has to hire a small army of minders and security people to follow her around wherever she goes lest she be accosted by rabid fans or rabid enemies. Public appearances require contracts to be signed in much the same way as a touring rock band requires contracts signed as well.

The inclusion of things such as water bottles, bendable straws and certain types of private jet into a contract is quite normal for someone as popular as Palin. if you look at similar contracts for George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and touring bands like U2, things such as those "disclosed" in the Palin contract are present.

Perhaps the most infamous performance contract in rock history was that required by the band Van Halen - namely that a bowl of M&Ms be present in the band's dressing room before the performance, though with all the brown ones removed. Yet what seemed like an illogical request that hinted at the band's unstable ego was actually a deliberate attempt to ensure that the promoters kept the contract, especially when safety was concerned. Van Halen didn't really care two hoots about brown M&Ms, but if they discovered that brown M&Ms were present in the bowl then it was a possible indication that the promoters did not honour other, more important, parts of the contract (such as electrical safety). The presence of bendy straws in Palin's contract may, in fact, be a contractual necessity to prevent bigger problems (especially those faced by famous people interacting with the public).

Rock bands and other famous musicians also include food and drink requirements for the after show party. One band I know had a performance contract which stipulated that certain wine varieties be present while Shiraz must not be included at all. While it made me goggle at the lifestyles of the rich and famous, I nevertheless saw the importance of keeping the rich and famous happy if people wish to make money out of them.

So for me Palin's "performance contract" is nothing more surprising nor controversial as other performance contracts that famous people use. It must be a slow news day for the media if they think such a report is newsworthy.

4 comments:

Ron Lankshear said...

I utterly agree OSO. I just cannot see any problem with those requirements. We did some work with a ministry taking round a guest speaker and you need to spell out certain things for some people.
Unopened water and Bendable straws are obvious as to why. The Learjet 60 well security - not public flight - two engines and room for her staff although if she wants two single rooms then not big staff but 2 engines is very sound.
And the non roving mike - well yes saves time and enforces the Q&A requirement

The Press attitude seems to be to report her negatively all the time.

BLBeamer said...

The most interesting thing about the report I felt is that she takes questions. Too many Congressmen and Senators refuse to do that unless they are written and asked by members of their own staff whom they have planted in the audience (Pres. Obama has been caught doing this a few times himself). So, good for her for at least soliciting questions.

I thought it was also pretty rich of Attorney General Moonbeam to express concern about "prudent financial stewardship" while his state is in serious danger of bankruptcy. I suppose better late than never, though.

One Salient Oversight said...

Actually the funny thing about moonbeam is that he was the last Californian governor to run a decent budget surplus - which resulted in people getting annoyed and all the anti-tax propositions coming in.

Brown should actually be standing in front of Californians and politicians and saying "It's so nice to see you wallow in the mess you created. You're screwed. Bye!"

He's a great inspiration for a punk song though.

BLBeamer said...

Yes, I thought he was a reasonably able governor particularly compared to the last two, but he came by the nickname Moonbeam honestly.

I'm currently reading Crash Course. The author relates that back in the 1980's when Honda was looking for a site for their first American assembly plant, the president of Honda US interviewed Brown and asked him what he felt California had to offer as a place Honda would want to invest in. Brown said, "Hippies."

Ohio got the plant.