TLC’s approach to programming is, in a nominal way, educational; if you don’t know any little people, or kids whose legs are fused, or families with nineteen children, you don’t really know what their lives are like. The shows are extremely invasive, though; TLC’s programming is all about babies, weddings, and families in extremis, and yet there’s something inhumane at the center of it all. It panders to our curiosity, allowing us to gawk at its subjects for as long as they are willing to be gawked at—which may be longer than is good for them. When it comes to Palin specifically, there is the fundamental problem that some of us don’t want to see or hear any more of her than we have to. And there are those whose objections have a physiological basis as well as an ideological one: the pitch and timbre of her voice, the rhythms of her speech, her syntax, and the way she coats acid and incoherence with cheery musical inflections join together in a sickening synergy that distresses the listener, triggering a fight-or-flight reaction. When Palin talks, my whole being wails, like Nancy Kerrigan after Tonya Harding’s ex-husband kneecapped her: “Why? Why? Why?”