I’ve been following the Real Women Respond to Sarah Palin webathon, which is being (or was) streamed live on Ustream from 1-9 PM ET on October 30. The webathon consists of performers, some of whom are celebrities, read letters and comments written by others in response to a letter written by two women, Lyra and Quinn soon after Palin received the vice-presidential nomination.
The women typically read the letters in front of a minimalist black background, focusing our attention on the readers, who usually read letters from people who live in distant parts of the country. While many of the criticisms are now familiar–citing Palin’s opposition of comprehensive sex ed, her lack of support for Medicaid, her position on abortion–the letters do seem designed to focus on female voters. Many of the letter writers and readers also emphasize that they were former Hillary Clinton supporters or remind us that Palin and Clinton have vastly different policy views.
It’s an interesting idea conceptually, but I wonder precisely what rhetorical purpose it serves, especially given that most Clinton supporters have lined up behind Obama. That being said, many of the letters are quite powerful, and it is interesting to see the letters being read not by their original authors but by other women who are interpreting them.