Reading Rogue: "The End"

>> Saturday, December 05, 2009

And in the end
The love you take
Is equal to
The love
You make
-The Beatles, "The End"

Jim Wright suggested I should write a post titled "Sarah Palin Made Me A Better Liberal," and if I had more energy I would; maybe I still will at some point. But right now, I am just so grateful that this damn book is over. I am finished with Going Rogue, finished with Sarah Palin's hatchet job against everybody who kept her from being handed one more undeserved and unearned boon or who gave her something and had cause to regret it, done with Sarah Palin's banal hypocrisies, done with the way Sarah Palin pretends to be thoughtful by pulling stray greeting-card platitudes from Google searches, done with reading something three times and feeling forced to fact-check it only to discover it's unprovable at best and openly deceitful at worst, done, done, done.

But just to say this much: that Sarah Palin possibly has made me a better person, if not a better liberal, at least in the short term, because after wading through her awful book I would like to make some effort to be more considerate and forgiving of people around me than Sarah Palin is, more thoughtful than Sarah Palin is, more informed than Sarah Palin is, I'm even worrying about the quality of my writing. Sarah Palin has proven to be surprisingly inspirational as a cautionary fable.

Jim also pointed me, in a tweet earlier today, to this entry from yesterday's Augusta Free Press, and it didn't tell me much I didn't already know from suffering Going Rogue, aside from the not-really-surprising revelation that the unnamed, unqualified, ineffectual, incompetent, lazy state legislative director who constantly undermined and sabotaged Mrs. Palin's gubernatorial efforts, who is described at one point as wandering around the capitol with his shirttail poking through an unzipped fly (p. 151), is actually a high school classmate of Sarah's named John Bitney who was a "top advisor on Palin’s 2006 Alaska gubernatorial campaign." It's sad that I'm not the least bit surprised that the target of so much of Mrs. Palin's wrath was a schoolmate, counselor and probably a friend--she treats so many former friends and supporters that way in Going Rogue, what's one more? The Free Press story is worth a read, it's pretty much dead-on.

On the last album they recorded together, The Beatles' penultimate message to the world was a touching-but-simple statement about karma and the need to be good to one another. It wasn't a novel statement--every major religion has some version of the Golden Rule, really--but, "In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make" is probably as well as it's ever been put. For all its talk of family, community, patriotism, and God, in the end Going Rogue is a shockingly loveless book.

I suppose, as I wrap this up, I might as well mention the last portions of the book--Palin's account of being the target of an organized sabotage campaign by liberal Democrats, which led in turn to her decision to resign (for her family, she says, and because of all the groundless ethics complaints filed against her), and then her obligatory statement of belief in chapter six, and then her epilogue, with it's final line that is sure to fill her loving supporters with joy while striking a sinister chord with every other human being on the planet: "...I'll pull out a road map--I want to show Piper the way to Michigan." (This is a reference to Mrs. Palin's continuing complaint that the McCain campaign pulled out of Michigan when it became clear that Obama had a double-digit lead in state polls and that the Democrats also had an insurmountable edge in their campaign funds, at which point rational heads in the McCain camp decided to focus the campaign's limited resources on closer states, dismissing Palin's quixotic insistence that there was a point to letting her campaign in the state.1) Chapter six is a collection of stock Republican talking points, the predictable and occasionally self-contradictory yammering about small government, deregulation, low taxes, a random shout-out to Israel, hooray Reagan, and critiques of the current administration (some of which, predictably, are incoherent or factually-challenged). Whatever.

Some conservatives talk about a so-called "Palin Derangement Syndrome" (I started to offer an example, but, y'know, you can just Google it if you really want to read a Fox News editorial or Michelle Malkin rant, I'm running on fumes at this point), which is their clever way of rebutting any and all criticisms of Sarah Palin by claiming it's the critic's wackiness and rank bigotry that keeps him from appreciating the Sheer Awesomeness Of Sarah. It's a tautological rebuttal, and therefore not worth wasting much time on: because it's self-evidently irrational to criticize Sarah Palin, to criticize Sarah Palin is self-evidently irrational. It doesn't matter if she's brought a criticism or even an outrageous attack upon herself by getting in over her head, or acting ridiculously, or saying something stupefyingly stupid, because if you weren't suffering from PDS you wouldn't think her behavior was outrageous or foolish or cretinous at all. So it isn't her, it's just you.

I will freely admit I didn't go into Going Rogue with the most open mind in the world. I'm human, and I believe very strongly in my moral first principles, and my politics are almost entirely opposite to Mrs. Palin's and her religious faith is alien to me. But for all the mean things I've probably said about her, and all the cheap shots I'm sure I've taken, I don't think I really despised her or felt anything like the weary detestation of Sarah Palin I've arrived at this week; it's still not hatred, only because that would require me to put forth more effort than Mrs. Palin's book demonstrates her to be worth. I knew that she was not the most-educated or experienced person in the world, and I was amused by her ridiculous public war against her grandson's nineteen-year-old father, and I thought she was a bit of a hypocrite for various reasons, and I knew she sometimes made things up in speeches (c.f. her lie about "death panels"), but I had no idea that she was so petty, vindictive and small. Sarah Palin isn't a bitch, she's a diseased tick riding a bitch's back. I merely didn't like her, I didn't feel the exhausted loathing I now possess.

I could be wrong, but I don't think it's an irrational dislike if you've gone to the trouble to hear someone out, in their own words (or at least the words attributed to them), and decided that you have a well-informed and thoroughly considered antipathy towards them.

I am glad I am finished with this book. I have a short story to finish, other books to read, things to do. There may be another post, possibly I'll bring over the #readingrogue thread from Twitter and paste it in, but honestly? If I never have to mention Sarah Palin, it will be too soon.

Oh, and Stone's Runination IPA is excellent.

1In a response to one of the posts in this series, Janiece Murphy referred to Mrs. Palin as, if I remember correctly, a poster-child for the Dunning–Kruger Effect. Mrs. Palin's absurd fixation on Michigan is a classic example of how right Janiece is: Palin acts as if campaigning for the presidency of the entire United States is somehow akin to campaigning for mayor or governor in a largely rural, largely depopulated state. She even claims that she suggested the VP campaign make little guerrilla campaign stops "the next time we had an official event near Michigan... just do a quick trip across the border to snap one off-the-record photo at a café or gas station, maybe hold a quick grassroots rally." It's the kind of suggestion you might expect from somebody who only thinks they know what they're doing. The people who killed the idea were veterans of national political campaigns, but, as always, Sarah knows better.


WendyB_09 Saturday, December 5, 2009 at 5:03:00 PM EST  

And in the end
The love you take
Is equal to
The love
You make
-The Beatles, "The End"

I strongly suspect that those five short lines make more sense than Palin's entire book did.

PS - my all time favorite Beatles quote, btw! The year Abby Road came out I used it as my yearbook signature.

PSS - YES, dammit, I AM that old!

Janiece Saturday, December 5, 2009 at 6:02:00 PM EST  

Eric, I made the Dunning-Kruger comment as an explanation for why Mrs. Palin will not be eligible for the 'Tard of the Week Award moving forward. As Chez notes, the pickings are just too damn easy.

Thanks for taking the time to do this (so none of us have to). As a gesture of good will, you will receive a shipment of homemade jam for your trouble. Please let me know what flavors you would like, my friend.

Eric Saturday, December 5, 2009 at 6:43:00 PM EST  

Janiece! You're too kind and you really don't have to!

(But if I couldn't stop you, anything except strawberry...?)


Mrs. Bitch Saturday, December 5, 2009 at 8:13:00 PM EST  

Eric, glad you survived your ordeal with only minor emotional scarring. Thank you for taking this bullet for us. You actually made hearing about the book enjoyable -- and your posts were as close as I was ever going to come to reading the thing.

Janiece Saturday, December 5, 2009 at 9:53:00 PM EST  

Eric, I can do that. No strawberry (which I don't like either).

I have the usual suspects on hand, which you'll get. Do you like apple butter and cranberry walnut? I can include those if you're so inclined in addition to the others.

Eric Saturday, December 5, 2009 at 11:08:00 PM EST  

I LOOOOVVVE apple butter. Just sayin'. But you really don't have to. Unless you want to. Which would be undeniably awesome.

(Etiquette always seems to fail me at thimes like this. Sorry! :) )

Janiece Sunday, December 6, 2009 at 10:27:00 AM EST  

Eric, the correct response is usually, "Yum! Thanks!"

I wouldn't offer if I didn't want to do it. I'm too old for that particular flavor of shit.

Eric Sunday, December 6, 2009 at 10:53:00 AM EST  

Yum! Thanks!

(I'm just terrible about getting gifts. I oughta be too old, and I'm better than I used to be, but some ancient habits die hard...)

Jim Wright Sunday, December 6, 2009 at 4:10:00 PM EST  

Speaking from experience, you'll probably need to get PTSD counseling sooner rather than later.

As NTSC said, thanks for taking the bullet, you fool.

Oddly though, I notice that Leanright is strangely silent on this review. Why is that?

Leanright,  Sunday, December 6, 2009 at 11:02:00 PM EST  

And I get free beer.

Honestly, I feel like the one taking you for a ride, Dave. I'll be shocked if the book is anything more than the usual banal, superficial political bio or if it takes more than a few hours to read.

October 27, 2009 1:05 PM
The above was your quote, Eric. I can't believe you tortured yourself for over a week for 9 bucks and a six-pack of beer. You are an honorable liberal. I could start talking about how oxymoronic I feel about that last sentence, but you did keep your end of the bargain, and for that I commend you.

I'm glad you liked the IPA. That's just one of may others I'd love for you to try. I would have felt terrible if you didn't at least like ONE of the items that came in that box.

As they say on MY side of the aisle:


Eric Sunday, December 6, 2009 at 11:11:00 PM EST  

I suppose, as well, you can take a certain amount of satisfaction in the fact that I was wrong, Dave--it was indeed something quite less than the usual banal political memoir, and quite a bit more painful.

Tom Monday, December 7, 2009 at 11:50:00 AM EST  

Eric, heartfelt thanks.

You continue to demonstrate that you are who you are, and I hope there is an eventual meat-up in the future for us.

Good job!

Janiece Monday, December 7, 2009 at 9:51:00 PM EST  

Your jam is on its way.


Leanright,  Wednesday, December 9, 2009 at 3:38:00 PM EST  

Tom: Explain what "Meat Up" means.


Random Michelle K Wednesday, December 9, 2009 at 4:10:00 PM EST  

Explain what "Meat Up" means.

All I can tell you is that there is sausage involved.

Leanright,  Wednesday, December 9, 2009 at 5:33:00 PM EST  

Eeeeewwwww! Michelle!

Dirty girl.

Carol Elaine Wednesday, December 9, 2009 at 6:29:00 PM EST  

Michelle, reading your comment in association with Tom's makes me think, "Dude, this is such a sausage-fest."

Yeah, I know.

Leanright,  Thursday, December 10, 2009 at 2:15:00 AM EST  


Dirty Mid-Atlanticers!

Carol Elaine Thursday, December 10, 2009 at 1:14:00 PM EST  

Leanright, I'm a California girl. (Though I did spend several childhood years in Rhode Island and Virginia. That might explain a few things...)

Leanright,  Thursday, December 10, 2009 at 6:24:00 PM EST  

Wow Carol Elaine! I thought I was the only Californian posting here.

And, Rhode Island is wonderful. My father is from Cranston, and as a child, we would camp at Burlingame State Park, and sail over to Block Island.

I miss the northeast. Except of course for the politics ;). I get enough of that here in Blue Cali.

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