Just five days ago, John McCain chose Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to be his running mate. Doesn’t it seem like it was a hell of a lot longer ago than that? At the time I thought it was a very shrewd political move, to choose an unknown, an outsider, a fresh face. Since joining the Republican ticket on Friday, we have learned many things about Governor Palin’s unique qualifications for the office of Vice President. For example, just off the top of my head:
- She served for two terms as mayor of the town of Wasilla, population less than 7,000 people, distinguishing herself during her tenure by requiring city department heads to get her approval before talking to the press, and for firing the police chief and town librarian because she felt they were not supportive of her administration. People of the town later pressured her to reinstate the librarian, whom Palin had dismissed following a “rhetorical” conversation about banning books the mayor found to be objectionable.
- She has been Governor of Alaska for less than two years. Her brief stint as the state’s chief executive has been marked by her standing up to the oil industry by raising taxes slightly on their profits, by awarding a contract to operate a lucrative natural gas pipeline to a Canadian company instead of an American one, and by pushing to expand drilling into the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge; and by suing the United States government to keep polar bears from being listed as an endangered species.
- She made the brave and courageous decision not to abort her youngest child, even after he was revealed to have Down syndrome, a decision made by thousands of women in the United States every year and which is, like, totally relevant to holding the second-highest elected office in the federal government.
Sarah Palin is also a former beauty queen, having won the title of Miss Wasilla 1984, then taking second-place and Miss Congeniality in the Miss Alaska pageant. If elected, she will be the first vice president to have applied electrical tape to her boobs (Henry Cabot Lodge, you came so close). The sticky residue on her bust-line isn’t the only evidence of her days in the pageants — check out those teeth. As McAsherson so cleverly points out on this week’s edition of The Snark-Gap Transmission, she’d be the V.P. with the P.V.’s (porcelain veneers).
How odd that a woman who has advocated the teaching of intelligent design alongside the theory of evolution in science classes should display her teeth so readily. Teeth, you see, are very compelling evidence that life a) evolved quite independently, without a designer; or b) was designed by a vicious sadist whose only pleasure comes through the inexorable suffering of his creations.
Creationists like to use the human eye as evidence of a designer, when actually the eye demonstrates the opposing principle just about perfectly. The tooth can be used the same way. What’s the function of teeth? To chew food to aid digestion, to attack prey or defend against predators, to attract mates or denote social class — especially in human society, where we judge each other by our teeth like fucking horses. Good teeth? You care about oral hygiene, and can afford to get regular dental care. Come home with me and impregnate my daughter. Bad teeth? You’re apathetic, British, or worst of all poor. Get off my property, you goddamn vagrant, before I call the law.
Teeth are functional and versatile, which makes them seem very well designed, but they also cause a slew of problems for we unfortunate vertebrates who are stuck with them. For instance, they tend to fall out. Sometimes this is supposed to happen, as when human children lose their deciduous teeth so they can be replaced by the permanent ones; sometimes it isn’t, as when tooth loss results from periodontal disease. The initial emergence of baby teeth, and the natural loss that follows years later, causes just about everyone a great deal of pain and distress, and the prevention of tooth loss to disease or decay later in life requires a great deal of inconvenient, and sometimes expensive and painful tooth maintenance. Plus, wisdom teeth, which erupt later in life and can cause pain and necessitate surgery to remove, serve no essential function and are a huge pain in the ass to just about everyone.
Our teeth are complex, multilayered structures, with roots and nerves and dentin and enamel. But are they intelligently designed? Wouldn’t an intelligent designer have thought ahead a bit and come up with something that doesn’t, you know, fall out of your head? Think how many of our tooth-related troubles would disappear if our teeth were permanent extensions of our maxilla and mandible, instead of 32 separate little structures. No more tooth loss, except that due to facial trauma, like being pistol-whipped by the irate wiseguy boyfriend of the woman across the street you tried to rape.
My heart breaks when I think of the pain and suffering my own dear Ashley could have been spared had God, our benevolent designer, seen fit to create us with teeth that don’t fall out the same way he made us with fingers that don’t fall off. The girl just had a tooth removed on Friday (the same day of Palin’s addition to the ticket, conveniently), and five days later all she’s left with is a sore lower jaw and a bottle of Vicodin. Sure, she’s counting her blessings what with the powerful pain-killing opiates and all, but I’d rather she’d been able to skip the whole thing.
Sarah Palin may speak in favor of intelligent design, but her suspiciously bright white chompers testify to the contrary. Human teeth, especially ones that have to be replaced or augmented by man-made attachments, are not the work of an omnipotent creator. They are the result of a natural process that takes what mutation gives it, indifferent to what makes us comfortable or causes us pain, and only favors what works. So if someone is ever born with the sort of permanent part-of-the-jaw teeth I describe, and they work as well as I think they would, kidnap that cocksucker and get him/her to have as many goddamn kids as humanly possible. Fuck, clone, and fuck some more. For the sake of the future, those genes must survive.