Academia

Is There a Text in This Book Tour?

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Not pictured: Emily Dickinson

Sarah Palin is a pop-culture figure as much as she is a politician, so she seems tailor-made for the sorts of analysis that were popular on campus in my undergrad years, when culture wars whirled around scholars who were deconstructing sitcoms or debating the political meaning of Madonna. The Material Girl's preeminent defender was Camille Paglia, and Paglia today describes Palin as "the biggest step forward in feminism since Madonna channeled the dominatrix persona of high-glam Marlene Dietrich and rammed pro-sex, pro-beauty feminism down the throats of the prissy, victim-mongering, philistine feminist establishment." So that's one professor who picked up the thread. But the pop-curious wing of the humanities is dominated by the left, and there's something about the Palinite right that reduces liberals to forgetting everything that has happened since 1970 and sputtering about Richard Hofstadter. As far as I'm aware, the only prominent prof to join Paglia in addressing Palin's popular appeal is another academic provocateur, Stanley Fish, who Paglia once described as a "totalitarian Tinkerbell." He just published a defense of Going Rogue:

My assessment of the book has nothing to do with the accuracy of its accounts. Some news agencies have fact-checkers poring over every sentence, which would be to the point if the book were a biography, a genre that is judged by the degree to which the factual claims being made can be verified down to the last assertion. "Going Rogue," however, is an autobiography, and while autobiographers certainly insist that they are telling the truth, the truth the genre promises is the truth about themselves—the kind of persons they are—and even when they are being mendacious or self-serving (and I don't mean to imply that Palin is either), they are, necessarily, fleshing out that truth. As I remarked in a previous column, autobiographers cannot lie because anything they say will truthfully serve their project, which, again, is not to portray the facts, but to portray themselves….

For many politicians, family life is sandwiched in between long hours in public service. Palin wants us to know that for her it is the reverse. Political success is an accident that says nothing about you. Success as a wife, mother and citizen says everything.

Do I believe any of this? It doesn't matter. What matters is that she does, and that her readers feel they are hearing an authentic voice. I find the voice undeniably authentic (yes, I know the book was written "with the help" of Lynn Vincent, but many books, including my most recent one, are put together by an editor).

It's an original take on the book as a piece of literature, and while I don't buy all of it I think it does have some thoughtful things to say about Palin's public persona. That said, I was hoping Fish would take his comments in a different direction. Last month I argued that much of the attention being paid to Palin should be redirected to her fans, since the Alaskan's views and goals, politically significant though they may be, aren't always identical to the views and goals of the people projecting their hopes onto her. In Fishian terms, I wondered how Going Rogue and its author's other statements were being experienced by different interpretive communities.

At any rate, Fish's article is an interesting one, and I recommend you all read it before retiring to our comment section to have the same conversation about Palin that you have every time we mention her here. (I guess that's our band of interpretive communities at work. Is there a text on this blog?)

NEXT: The Politics of Hardcore Punk

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  1. C’mon, Jesse, Palin is a progressive left/right winger just like you.

    1. Useless as always. Bravo.

    2. Edddddward. Edddddward.

      1. Madonna is older than Sarah. That’s hot.

  2. Imagine the awesome articles Paglia could’ve written if only the Time Cube guy were a woman.

  3. ‘Stanley Fish, who Palin once described as a “totalitarian Tinkerbell.”‘

    I think you mean Paglia, not Palin.

    1. I wondered about that one to. Does Palin know something about Fish’s sexual habits that the rest of us don’t?

    2. “whom” would be even better.

  4. I recommend you all read it before retiring to our comment section to have the same conversation about Palin that you have every time we mention her here.

    You mean, “RTFA”?

    NEVER!!!!

    1. there will be a test.

  5. “GOING ROGUE” MEANS THE SAME THING AS “GOING COMMANDO” DOES, EXCEPT FOR WOMEN.

    HAS NO ONE READ PALIN’S BOOK?

  6. I sent this article to hit and run at like 7 this morning. No hat tip Jesse?

  7. Urkobold, you twit, the title is a typo. It was supposed to be “Going Rouge,” and discussed how proper use of blush powder is as vital for ex-beauty queens as it was for ex-strippers.

    1. Going Rouge

      Trust that the left has already seized any possible pun.

      1. Any possible pun is ubiquitous in this brave new and old and lame intertubes era.

  8. “Whereas people like, um, Stanley Fish–whom I call “a totalitarian Tinkerbell”–that’s what I call him. Uh-huh. Okay? How dare he? What a hypocrite! People at Duke telling us about multiculturalism–those people who have never had anyone outside of a prep school in their classes. It’s unbelievable–the preaching! That whole bunch of people at Duke–all of them in flight from their ethnicity–every one of them–trying to tell us about the problem of the old establishment. The problem with the old establishment was that it was WASP. So what’s the answer to that? Be ethnic! Okay? Every one of them–every one of them–look at the style that they write–this kind of gameplaying, slick, cerebral style. Those people have an identity problem! “–Camille Paglia “Crisis In The American Universities”
    http://gos.sbc.edu/p/paglia.html

    1. Congratulations, Morris, you’ve mastered the art of following a link.

      1. Thanks, Jesse, but what makes you think I’ve just now mastered this skill? Are you trying to be subtlely hurtful?

        1. Edddddward. Eddddward.

  9. JENNIFER! STOP DISTRACTING THE URKOBOLD BY IMPLYING YOUR SUPERIOR BOUNCINESS TO EX-GOVERNOR/STRIPPER PALIN. IT IS SELF-EVIDENT–YOU TYPE BUSTY.

    PALIN, ON THE OTHER HAND, TYPES SLUTTY. SLUTTY LIBRARIAN SLUTTY.

    1. Jennifer could rip off your taint quicker than lightning. Thankfully, she’s a lady.

  10. What comedian do you predict will be the first to snap up the title Going Rogaine?

    1. I’ve already seen that one told as a Joe Biden joke. Can’t remember who said it, though.

      1. Palin did recently, but I don’t know if she was first.

    2. STRANGE. JEFF P ALSO TYPES LIKE A SLUTTY LIBRARIAN. HOW CAN THIS BE?

      1. Well, my books are in alphabetical order, and I would put out to anyone that would have me. The problem is the only one that wants me is Jennifer.

        And her book collection is a mess…

        1. SLUTTY YOU MAY BE, JEFF P, BUT NO LIBRARIAN WOULD MERELY ALPHABETIZE BOOKS.

          PLEASE, CAN A SLUTTY LIBRARIAN EXPLAIN JEFF P’S ERROR? WITH SLUTTY LIBRARIAN PICTURES, IF POSSIBLE?

          1. TO CLARIFY, THE URKOBOLD DID NOT, IN FACT, CALL JENNIFER A SLUTTY LIBRARIAN. THAT EPITHET WAS DIRECTED AT SARAH “SEX TAPE WITH BRISTOL” PALIN. NO. THE URKOBOLD MERELY ACKNOWLEDGED JENNIFER’S BOSOMUS MAXIMUS, WHICH, OF COURSE, IS THE HIGHEST POSSIBLE COMPLIMENT ON THE INFORMATION SUPERHIGHWAY.

            BOUNCY, BOUNCY SINGS THE CHORUS.

            1. And still thrice as polite as the tripe her friends have called her…

              But since when has Urkobold felt the need to clarify anything?

              1. CLARIFY? INDEED, THE URKOBOLD DOES NOT “CLARIFY” AS HE IS CLARITY PERSONIFIED. THIS CAN ONLY MEAN THAT YET AGAIN, THE VIKING MINION HAS MISTRANSCRIBED THE URKOBOLD’S WORDS. DAMNED SHAME, TOO, AS HIS TAINT IMPLANT WAS JUST HEALING.

  11. the sorts of analysis that were popular on campus in my undergrad years, when culture wars whirled around scholars who were deconstructing sitcoms or debating the political meaning of Madonna

    The names have changed, but the quality of the analysis remains the same. Now we deconstruct Tigers Woods and fret over Frosty The Snowman.

    1. Frosty The Snowman person of snow.

      FTFY

      1. Frosty the Phase-Transition Challenged Man.

      2. and his wife, your average cold bitch.

        1. Not to mention fridgid. Poor guy.

          1. Now that you mention it, I believe he prefers to be called Frosty Snowman.
            He and Smokey Bear formed a union with Easter The Bunny.

  12. Palin should change the name of her book, because now that she is playing footsies with Washington insiders like Fred Malek, the title of her book should be “Going Beltway”

    1. It is amazing how the liberal talking points get out to the trolls. There was some troll on Althouse raving about Malek this morning. The trolls follow orders if nothing else.

      1. It’s a fucking troll conspiracy!

        1. They all come up with the same shit on the same day. Today it is Malek. So every Palin thread on every blog has a liberal troll coming out of the woodwork to rant about Malek. Now the fact that this thread is about the book and not Palin’s advisors makes no difference. The troll talking point is Malek/Palin, so that is what gets posted.

          They are nothing if not organized and dicplined. You can see it in Tony’s posts. MNG or Chicago Tom will have different thoughts on things and will have a pretty consistent objection. But Tony’s will change over time and always mirror what is being put out by other liberal trolls on other sites.

          1. John, it is apparent you have a man-crush on Tony. I fear this DX is terminal. Insurance has determined this is a pre-exist, even though there is no ICD-9 or CPT code.

            Season’s Greetings!

            1. You really know how to hit below the belt. Besides, I have always been open about my man crush on you.

              1. Heh, I would never get between you and Sarah, John.

                Though I am flattered somewhat, you have discriminating and sartorial taste.

    2. Sarah Palin says she is not aggressively seeking the 2012 presidential nomination.

      Passive-aggressively seeking it, maybe.

      1. The point of the book according to the article, imo, is that she will continue to pitch her book and live her live with her family and perhaps the nomination will seek her.

        1. live her life is what I meant.

          1. That would be the smart thing to do

  13. Goring Rogue.

    AM I RITE???

  14. Do I believe any of this? It doesn’t matter. What matters is that she does, and that her readers feel they are hearing an authentic voice.

    This is the most important part of the commentary on the book. It underscores the fact that it is an autobiography. I also found interesting the point that Palin admires Hillary Clinton.

    1. Exactly. She didn’t write it to appeal to the Jessee Walkers of the world.

  15. s I remarked in a previous column, autobiographers cannot lie because anything they say will truthfully serve their project, which, again, is not to portray the facts, but to portray themselves….

    Well, if the lie is useful

  16. Camille Paglia, a feminist who thinks with her dick.

    1. FUCK YOU. She is smarter than your entire extended family combined (which I hear they do quite often).

    2. Penis envy much, Crayola?

    3. Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure Madonna’s dick is larger than your choadoris, Crayola.

      She sure looks cut and sinewy in that picture. Almost unhealthy looking for a health nut.

      1. I would have gone with “Clichoadoris.” But to each his own.

        1. Pardon my unforgivable breach etymological etiquette Saccharin Man.

          I am not worthy…

  17. Another Jesse Walker style leftist weighs in on Palin:

    Rush Limbaugh: Sarah Palin’s Book “Is truly one of the most substantive policy books I’ve Read”

    1. Edddddddward. Eddddddward.

  18. *getting the John Signal*

    John! Someone’s talking about Sarah Palin!

  19. If I never have to hear any more twaddle about deconstructing anything again it’ll be too soon. I’m thankful I spent as little time in the Liberal Arts buildings as ABET would allow.

    1. In Fish’s defense, he has gotten away from a lot of that crap in recent years. When I was in college I couldn’t stand him. But sometime in the late 90s he started moving away from that crap and started making some sense.

      1. He’s still an irrelevant old man though.

        1. Hey, I’m NOT dead, dammit! Ask Conan!

          1. Conan! What is left of Abe?

  20. Why are Chris Matthews and most of the lefty blogosphere obsessed with the fact that Palin had a ghostwriter? Do they really think Nancy Pelosi and Obama sit down and write all their talking points from their genius brains?

    1. Why yes, yes they do.

      1. Hey. Where’s Perry?

    2. I don’t have a problem with Palin having a ghostwriter because the book is an autobiography and a reflection of her persona.

  21. I can understand Palin Derangement Syndrome in the marxist metropolitan elitist set but it sure is odd coming from a libertarian prospective? Besides being hawkish, a bit too compassionate and being a christian she is conservative (in a classical liberal sense) in many of the right ways or at the very least more so than than her contemporaries.

  22. I think Jesse needs to get a restraining order against his cyberstalker.

    It’s all fun and games until you find Edward in your backyard masturbating while encircled by a ad hoc committee of eviscerated housepets.

    1. He wouldn’t be masturbating, he’d be fucking the stab wounds in Fido.

      1. Fido? Think smaller…

  23. In Fish’s defense, he has gotten away from a lot of that crap in recent years.

    That’s not to his credit. He adopted that rhetoric without believing it or even understanding it much, and when it stopped being useful to his career as a wave-surfing media celebrity, he stopped talking like that.

    His noticing he has Palin’s memoir in his hand and not her draft Utopia is his greatest intellectual achievement so far. So I’ll give him that. He’s peaking.

    1. What? A public intellectual being a grand standing opportunist? I am shocked.

  24. According to the New York Times:
    ‘The politically perilous and emotionally charged abortion issue will probably determine if the health care bill can get the votes needed for passage. . . .
    ‘[Democratic Senator Ben] Nelson’s amendment mirrors one adopted by the House before it passed its health care bill last month. That amendment, sponsored by Representative Bart Stupak, Democrat of Michigan, is viewed by abortion rights advocates as a major threat. Liberal Democrats in the Senate, led by two Barbaras ? Boxer of California, and Mikulski of Maryland ? are confident that they have the votes to defeat the Nelson amendment. . . .
    ‘The liberals believe that as many as nine senators in the 60-member Democratic caucus, including Mr. Nelson, will support the amendment, leaving exactly 51 Democrats in favor of tabling the proposal. And some Republican supporters of abortion rights, including Senators Olympia J. Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, are expected to join in defeating it.
    ‘Still, the abortion issue threatens to cost Democrats the support of Mr. Nelson for the larger health care bill. And because the majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, will eventually need 60 votes to wrap up debate and move to a final vote, further compromise on the issue could be needed. Or Mr. Reid will have to win over one or both of the Maine Republicans to approve the bill. And that could entail tough negotiations over many other provisions.’

  25. …since the Alaskan’s views and goals, politically significant though they may be, aren’t always identical to the views and goals of the people projecting their hopes onto her.

    Considering what happened last election, that is really, really scary. I would like to say “well, she couldn’t possibly fuck up any worse than Obama”, but the politicians just keep setting that bar lower and lower…

    1. I would never have faith in any politician not fucking up. Fucking up seems to help politicians rather than hurt them. Mitt Romney was a disaster as a governor who created a healthcare “reform” that is now failing miserably and bankrupting the state. Yet, people will still list his being a governor as making him qualified to be President.

      1. But John, that was his utter GENIUS!

        He lobbied for this at the behest of the state and sign it in so he could later say, “Hey, I was being open-minded…trying to be bi-partisan and reach across (around) the aisle. I knew it was going to be a miserable failure. Some times people just have to see things for themselves.”

        Instant presidential cred.

        /end snark

  26. Fido? Think smaller…

    Edward doesn’t need an opening any bigger than a papercut. Fido might not even notice.

  27. The Paglia link is to a column from September 2008. Not very current. Paglia’s December column should come out tomorrow.

    1. She has repeated the general sentiment several times since then. I thought it best to link to the original essay.

      1. I agree, it’s just that the article says “today.” I suppose “today” could be a generality, but it seemed pretty specific.

        1. “Today” as in “nowadays.”

      2. You know Paglia is in love with Palin. Don’t tell me for a moment she wouldn’t go under the table for Palin if given the opportunity.

  28. BTW, Jennifer has a piece on Palin up at The Guardian

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/comm…..ertificate

    You may begin the “plugging his girlfriend” jokes…

    1. good article! Jennifer is one cool chick and a great journalist.

      Jeff, I hope this gets you laid.

      1. I appreciate that, Wayne, but my stunning good looks, irresistibly charming demeanor, well paying job, and freakishly thick johnson tend to be enough…

  29. John,

    How is Malek so sort of liberal “troll” issue. Palin is the one that claims she is above the Beltway and against the way Washington does business.

    1. Not “above” the Beltway, “outside” the Beltway. Fred Malek is a loyal and relatively trustworthy guy, and Palin prizes loyalty and trust. Makes sense to me.

  30. “Public Service”- my favorite euphemism.

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