Gotta Hand It To You …


Exhibit A: Check out Sarah Palin consulting notes written on her hand as she addresses a Tea Party crowd last weekend.

Lesson Learned: Never, ever write reminder notes on body parts. Some bloggers have questioned Palin’s intelligence given her need to write down her talking points (e.g., “Lift American Spirits”). Not me. I constantly write reminders to myself about simple, everyday tasks (e.g., this a.m.’s list “blog, car, lasagna, call re: derm appt”) and, like Palin, spell-out in advance the take-away points I want an audience to remember when I give a presentation. Palin’s problem was that she relied on a method (writing on one’s hand) that comes off as juvenile and a bit sneaky. Any other writing surface would have worked - note card, post-it, corner of newspaper, napkin, Kleenex, and, of course, paper. Bottom line - my son writing on his arm to remember to bring in lunch money is O.K. An aspiring leader of the free world furtively consulting her palm to recall her “inspiring” rhetoric is NOT O.K.

gibbs-press-secretaryExhibit B: Now watch Obama Press Secretary Robert Gibbs later poking fun at Palin’s use of “hand-written” notes.

Lesson Learned: People are either innately “Mean Girls,” or they’re not. Gibbs is not. For those who are not naturally snarky, it is very difficult to pull off snarky humor. (You can hear the groans in the press room at Gibbs’ cheap shot.) Listen, people who can quickly come up with a biting/sarcastic/wry/cynical quip have had a lifetime of practice. If you must plan in advance and put effort into being a Mean Girl, don’t bother. You’ll be the one who ends up looking silly. (Alas, as a person who is not quick on her feet, this is a lesson I’ve learned the hard way.)

Wise Women, what’s your reaction to Exhibit A or Exhibit B? And, if you’re one who jots down reminders on your hand or arm, please feel free to amend the “lesson learned.”


  • Cindy's Coffeehouse Says:
    2-12-2010 09:06:46

    Exhibit B: I think Gibbs probably shouldn’t have done that. Leave that kind of humor to The Daily Show or Colbert. Of course, even Andrea Mitchell did her version of it. I sense that it’s quickly becoming a meme.

    Exhibit A: There’s nothing wrong with carrying a 3×5 card with you to remember your notes. And there’s nothing wrong with reading from a teleprompter, as Palin did at the Republican Convention or as most Presidents do. But I think Palin got the ribbing she did because she dared to criticize Obama as a professor who uses a teleprompter, while she’s writing her own notes on her hand. It’s the hypocrisy of it. Also, I think it’s interesting that she even had a cross-out on her hand! I guess she decided that Teabaggers don’t want to hear about “budget cuts” — it might affect them negatively. They’d rather hear about “tax cuts”. Very interesting strategy.

  • Stacy Says:
    2-12-2010 12:50:13

    Exhibit A: Scary!

    Exhibit B: Inappropriate.

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