Bristol Palin: Speaker for Hire

It seems like every day when I go on line I read something that causes me to think: "Another indication of the end of civilization as we know." Well, this morning I had another one of those painful epiphanies when I read that Bristol Palin, the daughter of the former Alaska governor and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, has signed on with a speakers' bureau and is available for up to $30,000 per speech.

Now I am sure that Ms. Palin is a perfectly nice young lady. And I don't begrudge her the choices she made to have sex or give birth to her son Tripp before she was married. I'm sure that she has learned some difficult lessons about life that hopefully will help her navigate her life in the future. But, at 19 years old and with almost nothing on her life's "resume," can she really offer anything of substance to any reasonably intelligent audience?

And isn't there a bit of hypocrisy in having Ms. Palin be a spokesperson for sexual abstinence and against teen pregnancy? That is like having BP advocate for environmental conservation. The fact is that if she hadn't gotten pregnant and had a baby, she would be just another child of a celebrity. Instead, she is likely to make tons of money from the decisions she made. And things have worked out pretty darned well for her, haven't they? Though I also don't begrudge her that either (okay, I do a little), she is not exactly an exemplar of how those decisions would typically impact a young woman's life. To the contrary, giving birth as a teenager out of wedlock is usually associated with a lack of education attainment and a life of low-paying jobs.

This post is not intended to make a target of Ms. Palin, but rather to use her as an example of a popular culture that has lost its senses. I have the same feelings of jaw-dropping disbelief about anyone who gains fame and money after the horse has left the barn. It just kills me when I hear professional athletes, actors, politicians, and pop stars who were caught with their hands in the cookie jar (you name the vice) and then travel the country and write books telling people, "Do as I say, not as I do." But at least they accomplished something in their respective professions before they hopped on the double-standard train. Ms. Palin is where she is today due to nothing more than her mother's own celebrity and her own decisions. Isn't the hypocrisy and just plain absurdity of this obvious? The real lesson I guess is that making money trumps all reason or decency.

Now, mind you, the speakers' bureau with which Ms. Palin signed appears to be a one-man show that specializes in conservative issues. And I haven't heard Ms. Palin actually being asked (and paid) to give a speech; that will be the real test of whether this news is another indication of the end of civilization as we know it. So there is some hope for America; perhaps no one will hire her to impart her unique brand of wisdom. But I'm not optimistic given our track record of elevating undeserving people to the pantheon of popular culture notoriety and wealth.

I hate to use the example of Rome, but it is hard to avoid. If we continue down this road of allowing people to become rich and famous despite having no particular abilities or work ethic to warrant that status (also see Octomom), that can't possibly bode well for the future of America.