Why we can't resist Sarah Palin stories

No matter which type of mass media pays your bills, Palin’s high profile has been a horn of professional plenty. If you’re a political blogger, a Palin tit-for-tat with Levi Johnston will break the monotony of Senate committee hearings and Gallup polls. If you’re Us Weekly, there are trashy relatives, dishy ex-boyfriends and custody fights. If you’re a conservative columnist, there’s a sizzling future candidate to champion. If you’re a feminist, there’s plenty to debate about whether Palin is good for womankind. If you’re Todd Purdum, there’s a long arc of push-and-shove politics that ended in a disastrous national candidacy. If you’re a liberal essayist with a Palin fetish, The Nation will give a penny for your thoughts. If you’re Tina Fey, your uncanny resemblance to Palin will crown your career.

But for all the legitimate political reasons to keep obsessively covering Palin, the truth is that, like most Internet-addled Americans, I have a morbid fascination with the lives of the famous and important, especially those that have spiraled into increasingly bizarre twists of plot. In this case, it’s intensified by the fact that millions of people still hope to see Palin running the country someday. Her political career has more closely resembled an American reality show than that of any politician in history. Every Levi Johnston interview is like an exclusive behind-the-scenes clip.