When the final Harry Potter book was published, many wondered what author could follow J.K. Rowling and stoke such rabid anticipation for every release among her readers. The answer: Sarah Palin. Palin's book, America by Heart, is in stores now and pretty much everyone is writing about it, though in the Alaskan's case, many have to hold their noses to do it.
One of those brave reviewers is Slate's Dave Weigel, who promises that if you set "your expectations for the new book low and they will be met."
The Palin of Going Rogue was a mystery, emerging from a quasi-hiatus in which she communicated online and in infrequent Fox News interviews to tell her life story. The Palin of America by Heart is the Palin who appears on Fox News from her home studio overlooking Lake Lucille, who gives lengthy speeches about freedom at Tea Party rallies, whose tweets get more attention than entire books by Mitt Romney.
A lot has happened since 2008, but that doesn't seem to have had much of an impact on Palin, Weigel writes. Palin frequently "sets a scene, describes how she got there, and then—moves on. ... 'We've visited Walter Reed Hospital to meet mighty warriors,' writes Palin, 'and I've twice visited Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, where wounded troops from Iraq and Afghanistan receive treatment.' The reader knows what's coming next. Palin, the world's most famous holder of a degree in journalism, will introduce those warriors." Right? Wrong. Palin says that before her trip, "my brother sent me a description of the American military man that I think is spot-on—with the exception that it doesn't include American military women." Weigel explains, "There follow 19 paragraphs reprinting the entire letter, versions of which can be found in any number of places online. The mighty warriors retreat into the scenery, but Palin really, really appreciated them."
- Sarah Palin Jumps in Time Machine, Hates Murphy Brown, Mediaite's Tommy Christopher writes. Palin condemns the '90s sitcom character for having a baby out of wedlock in her 40s. "You’re probably wondering why Palin, who laudably admitted to agonizing over whether to terminate her own over-40 pregnancy, would chide a fictional character who decided to keep her baby. Like [notorious Brown-hater Dan] Quayle, it’s possible that Palin glossed over the fact that the fictional father wasn’t willing to help her fictionally raise the child. Palin certainly isn’t suggesting that Brown should have had a fictional abortion." Interestingly, Palin says her unmarried teen mom daughter Bristol is a better role model than Brown.
- Palin Is an Unlikely Fan of Juno, Karl Frisch notes at Media Matters. "Yep, you read that correctly. It is as if Palin is saying, ”to hell with a woman actively choosing to be a single mother, this is a great opportunity to score points on abortion!” " (Just don't tell her the screenplay was written by a former stripper. Or do? It's hard to keep these real/fake American categories straight.)
- Here's How She'll Run in 2012, Michael D. Shear writes at The New York Times. The book "is also a road map to the kinds of political attacks that Ms. Palin would most likely use against President Obama should she decide to run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. ... But it remains far from clear from her latest literary endeavor whether Ms. Palin truly wants to campaign for office again, or whether she is more interested in the political commentary that she offers in the book and on Fox News."
- Palin's Attack on Hollywood Is Unsettling, Weigel writes in a follow-up post. She attacks films like Rendition and Green Zone for being released during the war, and thus undermining the troops. "Rendition, sure, okay. But Green Zone is a re-imagining of the first days of the post-victory occupation of Iraq. And it really doesn't 'undermine our troops.' In it (spoiler!), Matt Damon plays a chief warrant officer who is leading men on dangerous missions to recover WMDs, only to discover that there are no WMDs..." The film features a duped journalist and a lying bureaucrat. "The undisputed hero of the film is a soldier who's defending the lives and missions of his men against bureaucrats and journalists who put them in danger. If Palin saw this and considers it anti-'war,' that's sort of disturbing."
- Palin Puzzles Because She Puts It All Out There, Tunku Varadarajan observes at The Daily Beast. "But the truth is that Palin disconcerts us because she seems to have no mask at all, no change of gear. She’s utterly forthcoming, even regarding her family, which is normally a sacred preserve of privacy. Perhaps it’s frightening to meet such people for those of us who value propriety and discretion first of all. So we don’t like her because we are afraid of that level of openness. It just terrifies us. Could we endure a president who is mask-less?"
- Explaining Palin's Allure Is Simple, So Stop Trying, Elizabeth Wurtzel writes at The Atlantic. Palin's flawed character doesn't matter, Wurtzel writes. "It will never matter and I bet it never has mattered, because Sarah Palin is hot. She has sex appeal. That's why people like her. That's the whole story. Everyone has to stop trying to deconstruct and decode it, because there is no accounting for chemistry, and Sarah Palin has lots of it going on with her public."
- One Person Not Thinking About Palin? Barack Obama, he told Barbara Walters at ABC News. Sarah Palin has said she could beat Obama in 2012, Walters told Obama. Does he really not want to say he can beat Palin? "What I'm saying is, I don't think about Sarah Palin," the president replied.