Sunday, November 29, 2009

Am I my crazy politician-author's keeper?

Sullivan links to "an interesting and intellectually honest" post about Palin's book by some kind of Christian winger. The winger thinks the book gives no indication Palin has a "political or governing philosophy." After reading it, in fact, he's pretty sure the ex-gov is minus "the intellectual skills needed to be an effective President." The fellow adds, "Most important, she does not seem to recognize this and shows no sign of getting them." Poor Palin is "sensitive to the charge she is 'dumb,'" he tells us, "but has not been given the tools or the teachers who can help her." He tacks on this troubled parenthetical: "(Has she sought them out?)"

Yet the man still digs the lady: "She seems a splendid person who has lived a remarkable life ..." So the winger must be classified as a critical Palinite, which is quite different from a non-Palinite. The identifying mark of his kind shows up in the "has not been given" comment. Lovers of Lady Dynamite think that not much actually depends on this vigorous, stand-up, take-charge leader of guys and gals ("an effective mayor and governor," says the winger, "an excellent chief executive in Alaska"). For anyone else, the standing assumption would be that intellectual development is impossible without some voluntary seeking after knowledge and understanding; we call it curiosity and having a mind of your own. To a Palinite, this consideration can be at best an afterthought, a dull twinge that shows up in parentheses. Nothing is up to her, no matter how close to home it may lie.

Dig this:

Her publisher did not fact check this book well (if at all). She was badly served by her publisher and editor. People who criticize me for nit-picking her use of quotations miss the point. I am a fan . . . though now a weary one . . . and I found the errors. The publisher had to know that her critics would check every fact.

In short, he found out that this "splendid person," in giving "her side of things," could not be trusted to tell the truth. And he decides that this is the fault of her publisher, who should have hired someone to take the lies out of her mouth like an orderly taking sharp objects away from a mental patient. And why should the publisher have done this? Because otherwise Palin's enemies would have more ammunition to use against her.

Why is that HarperCollins's problem? They're not in charge of her political viability or personal reputation. She is. But a Palinite knows only love, not reason. Sarah is the sun, and her shortcomings are clouds imposed on her radiance from without.

update, I must disclose that Andrew Sullivan also feels that HarperCollins is at fault for not requiring the use of a fact checker. But I think he just has it in for Adam Bellow.

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