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49 Minutes With Levi Johnston — New York Magazine

I’ve never been a fan of unhinged attacks on Palin. I’m also not a fan of unabashed gushing over her. My premise about the woman has always been fairly clear eyed. She’s got political ability and intelligence enough to become governor of Alaska and make the cut for a presidential ticket, and the raw ambition to think she can leverage that into her own run for the presidency. What’s not clear is whether she has the raw political skill to build a winning run for the White House. I want her to go for it, because watching it will be amazing political theater.

However, she has some anchors around her neck, one in particular named Levi. He and his family have been described as Palin’s attendant freakshow. Somedays this seems like an uncharitable description (to her; it may be apt in their case), other days not so much. In any event, his continuing (…and growing?) visibility and minor celebrity status (because we live in a society that is sick that way) detract from taking her seriously. Its probably not fair that this is the case, but I think its true.

If you have a desire to take Palin seriously, that impulse gets stepped on a little bit every time Levi opens his mouth. I dislike the young man, primarily because he is simply young and not particularly smart. I wonder perhaps if I should not dislike more the country we have become, that Levi is now a minor political, and apparently soon to be entertainment celebrity. Here’s why Levi makes me think a bit less of Palin’s political effectiveness. This silly young 17 year old has managed to get leverage enough on the governor to muscle better visitation and some level of stand down from her camp that permits him to exploit his connection to the Palins in a tabloid sort of a way.

Despite this minor success, a commenter on this article gave what I thought was very good advice:

“A little advice for Levi: You’ve basically stumbled upon a marketing goldmine simply by failing to wrap it up (B!). Write a book. Get on reality TV. “Act” in some straight-to-DVD movies. Whatever. Trust me, your fame WILL BE fleeting, so bank on it while you can. And, as a consumer who will allow you to do this all that I ask in return is that you don’t forget about your kid. Don’t cling to celebrity after your time’s up and, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, don’t drag your son into it with you. Make that money ASAP, move back to Alaska, and spend it on the kid.

Good advice. I hope he takes it.


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