Warner Todd Huston
Palin's newest crime against humanity: an ugly fence
By Warner Todd Huston
June 25, 2010

It must have been a slow news day for the Washington Post's Adrian Higgins. Either that or someone made him upset that day and he wanted to take some anger out on someone and get paid for it at the same time. Catharsis doesn't come free from a journalist, you know? So, looking for some payback, Higgins decided a petty attack upon Sarah Palin would be cheaper than a visit to his therapist. Besides, Palin is always the Old Media's favorite target for venomous attack so he obviously didn't have to think too hard in the effort.

But, since Sarah hadn't been in the news over the last several days, Higgins must have had a hard time trying to find a rhetorical hook upon which to hang his venomous pen. Then it hit him. Her fence is ugly. Who cares that the fence story is now months old, eh? Who needs topical when one is going after Sarahcuda?

That's right, the fence is ugly and that makes Palin an evil, oil-loving, war-mongering, racist, anti-feminist, monster, right? Man, that must have made Higgins feel better. And it saved him from kicking his dog this time, too. Smiles all around.

Of course, there was more to it than just saying the fence was ugly. Higgins also proclaims the Palins as "bad neighbors" because of it. Never mind that the only reason that the thing was even put up is to keep the hack-next-door from acting the peeping Joe on Palin's young children.

So, that fence is "defiantly ugly," says writer Higgins.

    However genuine the motives behind the fence, from a design, horticultural and sheer aesthetic standpoint, it looks like a disaster.

Higgins scolds the Palins for not tearing down the old fence and replacing it with a more costly, professionally made fence.

Seriously? That is his concern here? Let's review why the fence went up in the first place. The goal for the Palins was to immediately stop the voyeur-jurno next door from peering into their living quarters. The Palins had no plans to carefully tear down an old fence and build a new, permanent fence that was taller before the intruder arrived. Speed was of the essence, not "horticultural aesthetics"!

In fact, it is doubtful that the Palins intend to leave the thing up once the tabloid screedist next door has run out his lease and leaves the neighborhood.

Of course, this is thin gruel for a story. So Higgins goes off on several related tracks. That fence, that ugly, ugly fence, why it wouldn't even be allowed in some communities, Higgins gravely informs us.

    A fence of such towering presence would not be allowed in many communities across the land, including the District and the Virginia and Maryland suburbs.

See, here is the thing, Mr. Higgins. The fact that some communities have rules that restrict the freedom of property owners to do whatever they want with their property is not a reason to scold those communities like Palin's that respect their citizen's rights more! In fact, I'd say that those rarefied communities in Maryland are far more un-American by telling people what they should be allowed to do on their own property than Palin's "ugly fence" is. And I'd also suggest, Mr. Higgins, that you, sir, are un-American if you are in such wild support of government taking away its citizen's property rights!

In any case, this was a petty and rather pointless attack piece and it makes me wonder how it got past an editor. In the final assessment, Higgins' op ed was far uglier than Palin's fence, for sure.

© Warner Todd Huston


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Warner Todd Huston

Warner Todd Huston's thoughtful commentary, sometimes irreverent often historically based, is featured on many websites... (more)

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