Well, forget it.
Bristol Palin earns more than $250,000 annually as an abstinence advocate for the Candie’s Foundation —offshoot of the shoe company otherwise best known for having a CEO who said “Just because you’re wearing high-heeled sexy shoes doesn’t mean you should have a baby.”
I thought I was being paid more than I was worth — this would not be difficult! But Bristol Palin has me beat. And about abstinence! That’s adding insult to penury!
I, too, can speak at length about things that I have not done! That’s what being a writer means — telling stories of experiences you can only imagine. True, Bristol has had experience abstaining, but this is true of literally everyone on the planet, at some point in their lives.
If you’re going to pay someone to talk about things they haven’t done, then why not invite me to your school to speak about the time I scaled Mount Everest? It was hard, and we lost a lot of dogs during the ascent! And I would at least speak inventively, getting misty-eyed about losing an ax down a crevasse! Also, if I had to be in a PSA about it with the Situation, I could deliver lines with a wooden intonation that made English seem like my eighth language at best, just the way Bristol did.
But that misses the point, obviously. Bristol isn’t paid for what she’s able to say. She’s paid for who she is.
And this is just symptomatic of an era where entertainment sells on personality rather than content. Hear about abstinence from a 20-year-old who hasn’t abstained but is making an effort now? No, thanks! Hear from Bristol Palin? Well, that’s different. Yet somehow the revelation of this preference makes headlines. Toni Morrison is less expensive to bring as a speaker to your college than Snooki. Content? We’d prefer color, every time, even if that color is an unnatural orange.
An old friend recently asked if she should go see the symphony or Charlie Sheen’s live show when it came to town. Without hesitation, I told her: “Charlie Sheen.”