Tag Archives: William Jennings Bryan

Vanity Fair Discovers Sarah Palin is Loud and Secretive

Excellent detailed piece on Sarah Palin by journalist Michael Joseph Gross in the October 2010 issue of Vanity Fair

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Sarah Palin: The Sound and the Fury

Former Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin speaks at the "Restoring Honor" rally at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington on August 28, 2010.

Even as Sarah Palin’s public voice grows louder, she has become increasingly secretive, walling herself off from old friends and associates, and attempting to enforce silence from those around her. Following the former Alaska governor’s road show, the author delves into the surreal new world Palin now inhabits—a place of fear, anger, and illusion, which has swallowed up the engaging, small-town hockey mom and her family—and the sadness she has left in her wake.

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Palin’s Dangerous Anti-Intellectualism

Former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin signed a book outside Barnes & Noble Booksellers at Woodland Mall in Grand Rapids on Wednesday evening.

Former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin signed a book outside Barnes & Noble Booksellers at Woodland Mall in Grand Rapids on Wednesday evening.

A dangerous divide has been developing for some years in America, between those who are comfortable negotiating the wide array of knowledge and information sources now available, and those who are not. It is in many aspects a class divide, one side characterized by wealth, professional degrees, security and complacency, the other by shrinking incomes and high credit card debt, anxiety about the future, and anger at those in power.

One U.S. Senator, Jim Webb of Virginia, recently called this America’s greatest present danger, more potent than our international entanglements, the financial crisis, health care, energy or environment. The “tea party” protests over health care and immigration policy are one manifestation of that divide. Another, related, is the current response to Sarah Palin.

Palin has become the champion of a new wave of populism. People attracted to her are outraged over federal bailouts for Wall Street bankers, resentful of benefits accorded illegal immigrants, incensed over the notion of federally funded abortions, and perhaps most disturbing, suspicious of education. A fairly consistent analysis of the Palin phenomenon concludes that she is the happy beneficiary of this protest coalition, having happened into her celebrity role by the accident of timing, a willing but passive instrument. But her willing embrace of the role of symbolic embodiment of protest makes her as much a generator as recipient of it.

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The Pit Bull in the China Shop

Sarah Palin vs. Pit Bull

Sarah Palin vs. Pit Bull

At last the American right and left have one issue they unequivocally agree on: You don’t actually have to read Sarah Palin’s book to have an opinion about it. Last Sunday Liz Cheney praised “Going Rogue” as “well-written” on Fox News even though, by her own account, she had sampled only “parts” of it. On Tuesday, Ana Marie Cox, a correspondent for Air America, belittled the book in The Washington Post while confessing that she couldn’t claim to have “completely” read it.

Going Rogue” will hardly be the first best seller embraced by millions for talismanic rather than literary ends. And I am not recommending that others follow my example and slog through its 400-plus pages, especially since its supposed revelations have been picked through 24/7 for a week. But sometimes I wonder if anyone has read all of what Palin would call the “dang” thing. Some of the book’s most illuminating tics have been mentioned barely — if at all — by either its fans or foes. Palin is far and away the most important brand in American politics after Barack Obama, and attention must be paid. Those who wishfully think her 15 minutes are up are deluding themselves.

The book’s biggest surprise is Palin’s wide-eyed infatuation with show-business celebrities. You get nearly as much face time with Tina Fey and the cast of “Saturday Night Live” in “Going Rogue” as you do with John McCain. We learn how happy Palin was to receive calls from Bono and Warren Beatty “to share ideas and insights.” We wade through star-struck lists of campaign cameos by Robert Duvall, Jon Voight (who “blew us away”), Naomi Judd, Gary Sinise and Kelsey Grammer, among many others. Then there are the acknowledgments at the book’s end, where Palin reveals that her intimacy with media stars is such that she can air-kiss them on a first-name basis, from Greta to Laura to Rush.

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