Bernard-Henri Levy on Sarah Palin’s Panties


For me, one of the most powerful—as well as the least discussed—images of the recent presidential campaign was the moment Sarah Palin introduced herself to Joe Biden at the vice-presidential debate. Everyone noticed her style. Her smile. Her handsome, form-fitting black suit. Her disarming simplicity when greeting her opponent. What few people saw—or what they saw without seeing, or what they feigned to not see, or what they are sure they didn’t see although they couldn’t help noticing—was Sarah Palin’s panties.


Absolutely. For an instant, all we could see, to our shock—under the sexy, curve-hugging, fashionable skirt of this ex–beauty queen—was the panty line of her granny panties, a line so clear we could practically trace the elastic through the thin fabric as it crossed her derriere and hips. Modern women who wear this kind of skirt are generally quite careful, making sure nothing interrupts the impeccable line of their silhouette. But Sarah Palin is not a modern woman. The message she conveyed at that instant was that she is definitely not one of those modern, stylish, naughty women who pay attention to this sort of detail. Perhaps there are indeed women who wear panties and panty hose. Perhaps there are even women—get thee behind me, Satan!—who do not wear panties at all! Well, she does. And she wants everyone to know she wears the real thing, granny panties in heavy cotton. She wants us to know that she wears the old-fashioned kind, made in Alaska, sex-proof, comfortable, not in the least sexy, Republican underwear.

Those Democratic sluts are really sans culottes (literally, “without panties”), in the historical French sense, meaning “liberal” or “revolutionary.” Not Palin. No way. Her motto: “Re-pub-li-can.” And definitely “Cu-lot-tée” (literally, “wearing panties” and also “cheeky”). This ostensible “cheekiness” was in itself the summary of her entire platform.

Also, Brendan Bernhard on Bernard-Henri Lévy’s take on American sex, American religion and American Vertigo.

More artists, writers, and performers on next week’s presidential election here.