[This is the extended version of the preface to Sunday's Firedoglake Book Salon, which was limited to about 1,000 words.]
I. Longtime journalist and award-winning author Joe McGinniss’ newest book, The Rogue, is the latest – but by no means last – book about Sarah Palin. Palin is not only the most famous Alaskan in history, she has uniquely combined political activity, celebrity, motherhood, grandmotherhood, a spousal relationship, borderline religious beliefs, professional victimhood, the American gossip universe, pop culture, legal obfuscation, new media and social networking. Increasingly known for being thin-skinned and somewhat lacking in spatial awareness, Palin, more than any American politician in a generation or so, almost begged McGinniss – or any investigative author – to move next door. As I wrote here last year, a couple of days after McGinniss was able to do just that:
[A]uthor Joe McGinnis, who is writing a critical book about Sarah Palin, was looking for a place in Wasilla to rent this summer, as he continues his research. He was offered the house next door to the Palins’ Lake Lucille cult compound-in-progress. He wasn’t looking for the place. It came looking for him. What would you do?
Having spent time with McGinniss at the crucial point between when he moved in, and the Palins’ reaction to their new neighbor set in concrete the scene for how the book played out, I can say that Joe really was hoping to be able to just be their next-door neighbor. He did not want to make waves, and was hoping to sit down with Sarah and Todd socially, perhaps professionally, and go through notes with them as work proceeded. I’m not kidding.
What ended up happening was another over-reaction by Sarah, similar to many those of us who had been watching her for a long time had witnessed before. Her facebook people went all professional victim for her and, to quote Palin in another context – “Game on!” Read the rest of this entry →