17 November 2009

"Going Rogue"

Yeah, it's pretty much exactly what one would expect.  It contains most of the features of the modern political memoir:

  • It begins in media res, generally at a transformative moment in that person's political career; in this case, when Palin was asked to be the vice-presidential candidate.
  • There's a whole lot of humble ethics-driven confrontation, when the politician comes up against the malevolent forces she had oh-so-surprisingly been too naive to see before and must reluctantly go to battle.
  • There's at least one "into the lions' den" scene, when the politician walks into a meeting room of wily and corrupt  politicians.  That scene occurs numerous times in Going Rogue.
  • Careful message control spins any widely-known scandals.  This is pretty understandable and expected, and Palin makes sure to hit all of the big ones.

Aside from the above, there are also specifics on some of the most intriguing aspects of her career.

  • She explains that she didn't name any books or magazines for Couric because she was just so stunned that she was being asked about it again; Katie Couric is portrayed as some manner of hard-ball journalist combined with a foolish tabloidist, and it's hard to believe they're even talking about the same interviews.  I went back and watched them again, and saw once more the softest softballs imaginable.
  • She lost her race for lieutenant governor because she was just unable to bring herself to go ask people for money, but some unspecified polls of unspecified people on unspecified issues meant that the people really did want her to win anyway.
  • Everyone on the McCain campaign team stopped her from speaking her mind and speaking to journalists and they are terrible people.  One gets the impression that they took turns dousing her with chloroform, from how she spins a tale of being penned away from the press.  She describes how, unaccustomed to national races, she acquiesced.

Overall, I think she does a great job of explaining away a lot of the damaging stories that have defined her since her introduction to the world stage, but she generally does it by making herself seem... well, incompetent.  She seldom admits fault, but because a lot of things didn't go right in spite of her Perfect Republican Ideology she has to instead ascribe blame to her naivety, inexperience, or the like.  This is probably the right move at this time, since she has years more to keep making Facebook posts to keep herself in the national consciousness and acquire the aura of experience.  But ultimately, this is not going to do her any favors in the future, when she has lost her excuses.  She's quit a lot of jobs and has an appearance of incompetence, and when she runs in 2012 (as she thankfully almost certainly will) she's not going to have done herself many favors with that aspect.

On the other hand, she is earning millions and she has no chance of winning anyway, so maybe preaching to the choir like this is the right move for her.

10 November 2009

From Gibson's "History of Napoleon Bonaparte"

There was, however, one person who appealed to the Emperor on other grounds. His uncle, the Cardinal Fesch, had been greatly afflicted by the treatment of the Pope, and he contemplated this new war with dread, as likely to bring down the vengeance of Heaven on the head of one who had dared to trample on its vicegerent. He besought Napoleon not to provoke at once the wrath of man and the fury of the elements; and expressed his belief that he must one day sink under the weight of that universal hatred with which his actions were surrounding his throne. Buonaparte led the churchman to the window, opened it, and pointing upwards, said, "Do you see yonder star?" "No, sire," replied the Cardinal. "But I see it," answered Napoleon; and abruptly dismissed him.

02 November 2009


I took up barefoot running a few weeks ago, and so far it's going well. But my feet are becoming simply gruesome as calluses build up and skin gets torn. And last week I stepped on a piece of glass and had to pry it out of my heel.

It may be easier and more fun to run barefoot, but I'm starting to doubt the assertions that it's safer.