Thursday, November 19, 2009

Palin: Best Fiction Writer of 2009?

The Palin Train just keeps rollin' along! As a DNC memo said yesterday: If Republicans want to anoint SP as their standard bearer: "God bless." Although, my own personal patriotism and love for this beautiful country should preclude too much glee here, since anytime someone runs for something, they might actually win. And a Sarah Palin win for any office, much less the Presidency, would be a catastrophe unlike any before in our history. Here's a link to the first TWENTY-TWO fabrications in her book (half-way down the page):

As much as I have shredded John McCain in these pages for his choice of Palin, I was glad to see him yesterday finally come to the defense of his staffers who have been the victims of career assassination at the hands of Palin. I mean, if Palin is to be believed, Nicole Wallace convinced her to do the infamous interview with Katie Couric because Katie had "low self-esteem." If true, Ms. Wallace is unemployable in electoral politics. Having seen Ms. Wallace's work and seeing her appearance on Rachel Maddow's show where she called Palin's account, rather credibly, "fiction," I'm inclined to believe her.

In my writing class we talked at great length about the difference between non-fiction, creative non-fiction and fiction. We were to write non-fiction. If you could not remember a detail you were not to make it up; you were to find a way to make the lack of memory work in the story: "I don't recall the way she said it, but I left with the impression that I was to..." It lets you continue with YOUR truth, your memories of the event, without inventing quotes for others and without putting the veneer of fact on what is only a spotty memory. It respects the genre, and it respects the people in your story.

Compare Going Rogue to George Stephanopoulos' All Too Human. At the time ATH came out I was outraged that a White House staffer would reveal his conversations with the President. I refused to buy the book and cursed Georgie S a blue streak. But if you read the book (it fell open off my Republican colleague's desk one day...) you will see that it is based on his copious daily notes and his memos from the time of the events. It is a well-sourced book. Most importantly, where relevant, Stephanopoulos goes to great lengths to say, "These are my recollections of the conversation/the meeting/the argument; xy may disagree." So even though I was mad that he wrote the book (which now seems quaintly tame in comparison to other people's works published in the past decade), I was heartened to see that it was not a hatchet job, a score-settling or a work of creative non-fiction in which embellishments to the truth were acceptable. He was trying to be truthful to the events, the moments, and the people insofar as any human writer can do.

Going Rogue is its own animal. Why I think I find it so interesting, to be honest is that it puts Palin's political career and writing/TV appearance career on a collision course. If she runs for office, she will have to defend her record--which now includes this book. It's just rather breathtaking, is what I'm saying, for a person who seems to have aspirations for higher office to write a book whose facts are so easily discredited, and whose idea of interesting anecdotes includes this very classy nugget:

All I'm saying is that maybe the book will fall open off the shelf at my local bookstore today...


Tom Degan's Daily Rant said...

From reading excerpts of the book, one conclusion that is unavoidable is the woman's jaw-dropping shallowness. When telling the story of how she was confronted at one point with news reports that she and her husband Todd were going to divorce, one would think (indeed one would hope) that she would offer for the reader's contemplation a heartfelt description of her abiding love for her husband; how their union could not be tossed aside like some disposable camera - that she and Todd took their wedding vows seriously. No, there was none of that....

"Dang, I thought. Divorce Todd? Have you SEEN Todd???"

TRANSLATION: If Todd gains fifty pounds, he's toast.

Thirteen years into their marriage, Eleanor Roosevelt was confronted with her husband's affair with her social secretary (and distant relative of mine - I come from a long line of home wreckers) Lucy Paige Mercer. After contemplating divorce, it was decided that they would continue their union. Years later, she confided to her friend, Joesph Lash, the reasons for saving their marriage. They were many and complicated. This, I can assure you, was not one of those reasons:

"Dang, I thought. Divorce Franklin? Have you SEEN Franklin???"

Ah, substance!

Tom Degan
Goshen, New York

Julie said...

I also heard that she claimed that Nicole Wallace gave her the impression that Katie Couric was just going to do a light-hearted interview -- just two women gabbing about the challenges of being working moms. I really just find that story hard to believe.

Richard Meyer said...

America has survived many disasters - Katrina, Iraq, George W Bush and I'm sure they will survive Sarah Palin, provided too many dumb voters don't put her on a pedestal and elect her to be in charge. What a joke that would be. I might add, there's no such thing as a working mum. While they are working, someone else acts as the mum

St said...

Richard, does that mean dads who work aren't really dads either?