Mrs. Maisel goes full Alinsky on Mrs. Schlafly

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

Alinsky rule #13
Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”

Pamela Geller introduced me to Phyllis Schlafly at the 2008 RNC convention in Minneapolis. Of course I knew of Mrs. Schlafly’s many controversial positions (on many of which I disagreed), but I was surprised that she read my blog. She was very pleasant and after encouraging words about my blog, said, “It’s important for women to stand up for their beliefs.”

Fast-forward to 2019, as I watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel‘s third season on Amazon.

I love the series’ fairy tale clothes and setting of an idealized 1950s New York.

Mrs. Maisel, however, is a potty-mouthed obnoxious comedienne who traipses through Manhattan life dressed to the nines. The daughter of a Columbia University professor who’s always been an academic and a trust fund heiress of a rich oil family, Midge’s life was turned upside down by her husband’s infidelity, and she turned to stand-up comedy as a career.

Of course her father’s a communist.

Midge’s in-laws, who actually work hard for their very comfortable living, are portrayed as crass. and common. They live in Queens.

The third season is essentially a 1950s musical, complete with tracking shots, dance numbers, synchronized swimming and absolutely gorgeous fashions and cars.

Life in stand-up is tricky, and Midge must turn to voice work doing radio commercials. She takes a job doing a live skit – for Phyllis Schlafly.

Enter Saul Alinsky.

To make a long story short, the characters repeatedly describe Mrs. Schlafly as a MONSTER, in righteousness and outrage. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. And drive the point home. I doubt most viewers had heard about Phyllis before this, but now they know her as a MONSTER.

You can’t even watch a miniseries without your medicine.

It’s ironic, however, that a series about a woman finding her voice stoops to demonizing a woman who had a voice.

One thought on “Mrs. Maisel goes full Alinsky on Mrs. Schlafly

  1. You switch from “Mrs. Maisel” to “Midge” without identifying that they are one and the same. In context it appears that they are, but for those of us who have no intention of watching this garbage it would be helpful to the task of understanding your writing to make that clear.

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