Janet Maslin does not like all the "filler" about baby birds Joe McGinniss stuck in his book. She doesn't like McGinniss's faux naïveté of how he thought he'd be received when he moved into a new town. She doesn't think much of his bad manners in meeting his new neighbors. But it doesn't matter, because the new town was Wasilla, and the new neighbors were the Palins. With The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin, McGinniss has written a critic-proof book. No pan in The New York Times--especially not an absolutely predictable pan in The Times--will stop this sales machine. As Politico's Keach Hagey notes, "Maslin's disgust courses through all 1,100 words of the review." A sample bit of Maslin's revulsion:
The Rogue suggests that Todd Palin and the young Sarah Heath took drugs. It also says that she lacked boyfriends and was a racist. And it includes this: "A friend says, 'Sarah and her sisters had a fetish for black guys for a while.'" Mr. McGinniss did in 2011 make a phone call to the former N.B.A. basketball player Glen Rice, who is black, and prompted him to acknowledge having fond memories of Sarah Heath. While Mr. Rice avoids specifics and uses the words "respectful" and "a sweetheart," Mr. McGinniss eggs him on with the kind of flagrantly leading question he seems to have habitually asked. In Mr. Rice's case: "So you never had the feeling she felt bad about having sex with a black guy?"
...McGinniss reveals details of Palin's past that some will find salacious but I find run-of-the-mill. Or, rather, would find run-of-the-mill if Palin weren't such a morals-crusading conservative who shakes a finger at any behavior that doesn't harken back to a Norman Rockwell past that even she didn't live...Me, I don't care what two single and consenting adults of any color did with their time two decades ago. But I do have a burning question about that long-gone one-night stand:Did they use the top or bottom bunk? I mean, Rice is 6 feet 8. ...
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