Mrs. Maisel goes full Alinsky on Mrs. Schlafly

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz
SPOILERS AHEAD

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.




Leave a Reply