Sarah, Sarah, Sarah

Need to Know is a weekly PBS news magazine hosted by Alison Stewart and John Meachem, covering the week’s news with longer perspectives than a daily show. It airs Friday nights at 8:30 in NYC. Since May, Steven Brodner has been a regular contributor of an animated illustration commentary. His latest segment (watch it tomorrow, Friday, Nov. 19) takes aim at the former governor Sarah Palin’s new eponymous TLC reality show, “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” wherein the branding of Mrs. P continues, or as Brodner says, “politics can be completely divorced from policy.”

I asked Brodner to tell me about his reasons for creating this caricature-commentary:

What prompted this video? This video was prompted by a New Yorker assignment [bottom]. I was asked to draw Palin for [TV Critic] Nancy Franklin’s recent review. For this, I saw clips of the show. My reactions found their way into the New Yorker piece as well as the ideas for this film.

You mean Palin is not your favorite politician? Palin may or may not be a revolutionary politician. The ways in which she is different from all the others are ways which seem to make her more popular with her base. This suggests a kind of genius. She may be perfect for the content-free, reality-show world, where celebrity trumps all.

Have you developed a method of capturing her likeness, or will you be evolving this as time goes on?
I feel I am beginning to find my Palin. But she is a work in progress too. We have perhaps that much in common!  We don’t know really what her face “means” until we see where she goes. Enough to want to stay tuned. Keeping lots of Pepto on hand, however.

Here is a previous episode. (The Refinery is the production house for this series /DP Jacob Williams, animator/editor Bryan Brinkman.)

The Sound of Sarah published in The New Yorker

13 thoughts on “Sarah, Sarah, Sarah

  1. Pingback: Visual Arts Briefs » Blog Archive » In The Press: Steven Brodner in Need to Know and Imprint

  2. Mindy

    I would have to agree with Mark Cable. Graphic Design is done everything A-Z on life, politics, history, products and much more. What will we do without graphic design?! 🙂 
    Personally, I’m not very political but sometimes I like to look at what people are designing these days and it’s interesting on how things are done or drawn in a certain perspective. So, I enjoy reading Steven Heller’s blog no matter what he posts!   

  3. Steve Brodner

    Brodner checking in here with a little warm coffee to replace some of that cold tea. These things you see here are thoughts an artist is having.  That might seem weird to some people.  But we do have POV and, as a matter of fact, have the right and, I feel, the responsibility to express it. What you see here and will see tomorrow night are my reactions to a new dimension in political theater. That’s it. Now, it’s great if you think that’s bunk and can articulate why. I LOVE to engage in respectful conversations on the issues, because that’s where I learn things.  But, if the debate is over whether Heller, Brodner or Mike Lester (a confirmed Rightie and friend) for that matter, have the brief to engage in this way, you will lose and lose bad every time.  You have something to say, then say it and back it up. Otherwise, don’t pull a Boehner.
    One more thing, being a-political is a real option, for 1913. Today doing nothing on global warming, Afghanistan, economic inequality is a powerful poliitical statement.  Doin’ nothin’ is the driving political dynamo of our time.  Just sayin’.

  4. Jay Leek

    Crowd-sourcing. Crowd-sourcing is for tourists!
    I think it’s unfortunate that people get so caught up in this stuff. For anyone who would want to silence a voice or demand a change of direction—well, maybe they miss the whole point OF A BLOG!
    When I say keep up the good work, I very much mean it. No sarcasm there. Not that you need to hear it. You know what you’re doing and why. I have tremendous respect for that.

  5. Steven Heller Post author

    Jay- I appreciate your comment, and agree with your assessment of politicians. Political discourse has certainly turned sour, but that is why political satire is one of the foundations of the democracy.
    Nonetheless, in your statement about looking forward to “the next a-political thing” perhaps it would be useful to have a list of what I shouldn’t discuss on this site. That way I can use crowd-sourcing to govern my actions in the future.

  6. Jay Leek

    Steven—I love your work, especially the design part. I heartily agree that this is your property and you have every right to say whatever you want on your blog.
    Brodner is another condescending intellectual (love that world-weary-tellin-it-like-it-is photo) just a-tellin’ it like it is. Spellin’ it out for the little guy who may need some help parsing the complexities of modern life, or sharing that in-joke with the choir to which he preaches. Don’t get me started on Palin, but geeze… let’s lift the game, folks. (And here I don’t mean you, Mr. Heller, I mean PBS)
    That I think most politicians, left and right, are corrupt and working to keep us polarized (and our attention diverted) is another story. Brodner’s work here is only a symptom. Fox news is another. It’s really all the same, folks.
    And while Brodner’s drawings are nice (I wish I could do that!), they don’t look ANYTHING like Tina Fey.
    I’m just sayin.
    Print could be questioned for hosting such a politically-slanted blog by subscribers who disagree (and care enough to raise a ruckus), but PBS can and should be held to a higher standard of egalitarianism if it is to receive public money. I wish they would stick to Sesame Street—quality programming that works for everyone.
    Looking forward to the next a-political thing, Mr. Heller. There are certainly enough of those to keep me interested. Keep up the great work!
    Jay Leek,

  7. felix sockwell

    Chill Will.
    And thank you Steve(s). This is the kind of post I look for on this blog. The opinions are crisp, open-minded anbd respectful. I gave a watch to the Alaska show the other night- I could only take a few minutes of it to be honest. THey were rock climbing indoors. Sarah served up the emotional/ opinion commentary (“Todd is like Superman. He can do anything”) and turned the obvious marital tension into something else. Its surreality. Riveting, but hard to stomach. Whatever “good parts” are filmed will most certainly be scrubbed by Sarah herself who writes directs and persuades this melting glacier ashore.

  8. Steven Heller Post author

    Will –

    You: “Shame on you Steven”

    Me: What kind of nonsense is that? What shame?

    You: “I thought you were better than that.”

    Me: How dare you!

    Whether you subscribe or not is your choice and right. Whether I cover political or social or ephemeral or formal design (emphasis on design) is my mandate – and choice and right. No one is “masquerading” as anything. This IS an open forum, and you have the right and responsibility to offer your opinion. Even if it means hitting the unsubscribe button. But don’t claim a moralistic high ground with such holier than thou “shame on you” pontifications.

  9. Will Cunningham

    I’m done. While I don’t necessarily agree with Palin’s ploitical views, how she chooses to promote herself or or consider her a revolutionary, I am decidedly tired of this publication masquerading as an open forum for design thinking, and then pushing forward a very specific political agenda. Shame on you Steven, I thought you were better than that. I’ll be hitting the “unsubscribe” link shortly.