Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
It’s hard to imagine that any aspect of Sarah Palin’s life could remain a secret for long. So it’s even more surprising that the former Alaska governor has been able to keep news of a feature-length movie about herself under wraps until just one month before its release.
Today, Real Clear Politics reported that the film “Undefeated” — a two-hour film by conservative filmmaker Stephen K. Bannon with a budget of $1 million — will premier in Iowa next month. As Real Clear Politics noted:
[Palin asked Bannon] if he would make a series of videos extolling Palin’s governorship and laying to rest lingering questions about her controversial decision to resign from office with a year-and-a-half left in her first term. It was this abdication, Palin knew, that had made her damaged goods in the eyes of some Republicans who once were eager to get behind her potential 2012 presidential campaign.
The response was more positive than Palin could have hoped for. He’d make a feature-length movie, Bannon told Mansour, and he insisted upon taking complete control and financing it himself — to the tune of $1 million.
Bannon went out of his way to keep the project quiet, even asking for random, unrelated footage from Alaskan TV stations when he requested Palin footage, so as to throw people off track.
Scott Conroy, who broke the scoop on Real Clear Politics, gained exclusive access to a rough cut screener. He describes the film as a “sweeping epic … Rife with religious metaphor and unmistakable allusions to Palin as a Joan of Arc-like figure.”
“Undefeated” is not just an attempt to repair Palin’s shattered image, however. It is, Conroy writes, “a galvanizing prelude to Palin’s prospective presidential campaign.” And this is not conjecture — Bannon himself told Real Clear Politics, “This film is a call to action for a campaign like 1976: Reagan vs. the establishment.” (Bannon wants to follow up the film’s premiere in Iowa with major screenings in 2012 hot states New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada).
However, Palin choosing to actually launch a presidential bid is a different thing entirely. Neither Bannon’s intentions, nor the film, serve as evidence for a genuine Palin campaign — another publicity stunt is just as likely.
Palin reportedly gave Bannon plenty of access for his feature-length hagiography and as such it will no doubt attract considerable attention when it opens. However, if Palin’s TLC reality show, “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” is anything to go by, the interest is unlikely to last (5 million people tuned in for the show’s premiere; 2 million fewer watched Episode 2).
Conroy dubbed “Undefeated” Palin’s “secret weapon.” He’s right about the secret part. How much of a “weapon” it will be is unclear. The Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart is understandably skeptical. “Palin’s popularity among Republican Party faithful has been flagging and that she continues to be wildly unpopular among the electorate as a whole,” he writes, “no movie, no matter how favorable the depiction, can reverse this trend fast enough to make Palin a viable candidate for president.”
Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email email@example.com.More Natasha Lennard.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.