Legendary Masterworks: Matthew Continetti’s Review Of ‘Going Rogue’

  partisan literary criticism

Commenters, enjoy!Now that the Washington Post no longer practices journalism, it can eschew standard editorial practices, such as having its staff book critic review a new book, for wackier PR flourishes, like having one semi-famous Democrat and one semi-famous Republican each write very predictable reviews of an insanely polarizing Republican politician’s new book. Today, the Post‘s “liberal” review of Going Rogue came from Ana Marie Cox, who “cannot claim to have completely read ‘Going Rogue,’” but still thought it sucked. It’s more than understandable. But the Weekly Standard‘s priggish Matthew Continetti did read the book for his conservative review, which is brilliant beyond all measure.

Each of Continetti’s first four paragraphs deserves its own Pulitzer, in every category:

Like a lot of people, as soon as I got my copy of Sarah Palin’s “Going Rogue,” I immediately thought of the German literary critic Hans Robert Jauss.

Jauss is known as the father of critical reception theory. According to Jauss, every book is read in a social context. In his view, the reader’s attitudes, beliefs, values and judgments are just as important as the text. Sometimes more.

Palin probably didn’t set out to write a book that tested Jauss’s thesis. But, in so many ways, the reaction to “Going Rogue” is as interesting as its content.

 
Related video

Palin’s memoir is everything you’d expect from a politician who has no intention of leaving the national scene. With the aid of Lynn Vincent as her ghostwriter, she tells homespun stories, cracks a few jokes, provides juicy campaign gossip and lets the reader know where she stands on issues such as the right to life, government taxes and spending, health care and climate change. Like a good Republican, she invokes Ronald Reagan’s name at every opportunity. The book is so packed with facts, history and encomiums about her state, she’s practically a one-woman Alaska Division of Tourism: “We have the highest number of pilots per capita in the United States.”

*clap, clap*

(He wrote “encomiums,” in a Sarah Palin review!)

Between this bit of heavy-handed Palin fappery and the other one he wrote last week — which, like this one, was met with relentless Internet mockery — Matt Continetti is now our official Favorite Palin Writer. Move over, Suzy Welch.

Continetti [Washington Post]
AMC [Washington Post]

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About the author

Jim Newell is Wonkette's beloved Capitol Hill Typing Demon. He joined Wonkette.com in 2007, left for some other dumb job in 2010, and proudly returned in 2012 as our "Senior Editor at Large." He lives in Washington and also writes for things such as The Guardian, the Manchester paper of liberals.

View all articles by Jim Newell

Hola wonkerados.

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162 comments

  1. Paterlanger

    Referencing Jauss in a review of Sarah Palin’s memoir; that’s the literary equivalent of fucking an apple pie isn’t it?

  2. Barrelhse

    I was going to say something snarky/funny, maybe about his face, but I’ll just leave it with the (painfully obvious) comment: he can’t write.

  3. shortsshortsshorts

    “Like a lot of people, as soon as I got my copy of Sarah Palin’s “Going Rogue,” I immediately vomited on the grave of the German literary critic Hans Robert Jauss.”

  4. RobPetrified

    I haven’t read Ana Marie Coxs’ review yet, but I know its amazingly brilliant.
    And sexy.
    Unlike the “author” of the “book.”

  5. Joshua Norton

    Something about that pic just screams “closet case”. It must sound like Riverdance when all these repugs get in the same men’s room.

  6. memzilla

    Despite the shameless gushing of Lapdog Continetti, nothing will prevent this putrid agglomeration of self-serving craptitude from hitting the remainder bins in time for mulching season.

    Oh, the tree-manity!

  7. Mapmonger

    Ever since I learned that they could even exist, back in the eighties, young republicans have always made me very sad. That kid doesn’t even look old enough to vote, much less have an opinion about, well, anything. What a weenie. Where is he, I want to give him a wedgie.

  8. Tundra Grifter

    Now that The Gov’nor’s book is out the happiest person on the planet must be Carrie Nojeans, as she is mercifully yanked off the national stage like a dieing comic getting the hook.

    Meanwhile, isn’t “encomium” the fancy name for a baby’s first poop?

    Those two things just sorta tie together, wouldn’tcha say? You betcha!

  9. Mahousu

    [re=460396]you cannot be serious[/re]: … and Matthew Continetti’s writing makes me think said diapers need to be changed.

  10. Joshua Norton

    “We have the highest number of pilots per capita in the United States.”

    Only because that’s the fastest way to get the hell out of there.

  11. bitchincamaro

    “The book is so packed with facts, history and encomiums meconium about her state…” -fixed

  12. Gopherit

    “Like a lot of people, as soon as I got my copy of Sarah Palin’s “Going Rogue,” I immediately thought of Seth Wheeler, father of modern toilet paper.” /Fixed.

  13. RobPetrified

    “encomiums”
    Didn’t Palin use that in her Oprah interview, when she suckingly praised Opras Book Club for raising the level of latercie in America?

  14. SayItWithWookies

    What’s the hardest part about writing a gushing review of Going Rogue while invoking an obscure literary critic?
    Telling your parents you’re gay.

  15. Bebe Loves You

    It reads like a freshman exposition assignment: thesis; point one, support. Point two, support, et cetera.

    If it isn’t a freshman exposition course, he should totally take one, because he has the first assignment done already.

  16. pampl

    Isn’t Continetti writing his own Palin book? Whoring for the competition is a pretty bad marketing tactic I.M.O.

  17. Servo

    We have the highest number of pilots per capita in the United States.
    Kinda necessary when you don’t have roads, dingbat.

  18. Click

    [re=460409]CrunchyKnee[/re]: I’m waiting for the point where there’s so much coverage I won’t even be able to see the tip of her up-do.

  19. ManchuCandidate

    So the only way I can critique Going Rouge is to put in it’s social context.

    Um, okay.

    Removal of all Logic and replace with Lojik. Done
    Removal of self awareness. Done
    Removal of hypocrisy detector. Done
    Removal of 50 IQ points. Done
    Removal of knowledge… all knowledge except stealing. Done
    Add sense of self entitlement. Done
    Remove any mental endurance/coping mechanism. Done
    Add Xtian sophistry. Done

    My god, it’s full of starbursts!! FAP FAP FAP FAP FAP

  20. thefrontpage

    This is basically another in a recent long line of stinking piles of rotting shit that the Post has lobbed onto its Style pages–an increasing embarrassment that just about everyone with a brain is noticing across the country.

    Ding dong, the Style section is dead.

    Dead, all of us who read the Post tell you—dead! This just proves it!

    The Palin piece of crap today is just today’s daily dose of disappoinment.

  21. norbizness

    [re=460409]CrunchyKnee[/re]: When they went 31 minutes without a Palin post earlier, I nearly died. Then came the 60-minute wait for this one, and I think I hallucinated Begbie trying to stab me.

  22. AbstinenceOnly Ed

    [re=460378]Gopherit[/re]: Incontinetti— HA! Wot a pee brain!!

    No, Maffew, Sarah-bear willn’t give you Ricky Hollywood’s phone # just for cunnilingilizing her in print.

    MOAR PRZ FAIR AND BALANZED MEDIA!! ME NEEDS READ BOTH SIDES, FOR FAIRNESS K? CAN’T JUST CALL ARCTIC CYBERTWAT A DUMB CUNT AND BE DUN WITHIT. MUST PRETEND LIKE CARIBOOB BARBIE ISN’T FUCKTARDED. YAY~! DEMOCRACY lol.

  23. Senile Agitation

    I read a book once. It was good. I didn’t need some Kraut to tell me sitting in a comfy chair with a glass of Jim Beam added to my enjoyment. But I can see why Matt, like a lot of people, thought of Germany when he got Sarah’s book. It’s a zeitgeisty schadenfreud Mein Kampfire defining moment type of thing for everyone. And no, I don’t care if I spell all the German wrong. Ich bin ein Americano, afterall.

  24. Serolf Divad

    The opening sentence is the best thing ever written in any language. Shakespeare would literally kneel down and lick Continetti’s sweaty balls if he read it.

  25. user-of-owls

    You are all missing the real point here. As our brilliant critic rightly notes, none of us know for certain that Palin DID NOT set out to write a book that tested Hans Robert Jauss’s critical reception theory.

    You didn’t consider that, did you? Did you?

  26. joezoo

    [re=460407]bitchincamaro[/re]: Damn, you beat me to a meconium joke. Mine was going to work in a Trig reference, though.

  27. queeraselvis v 2.0

    “Priggish” must be code for “has taken it up the ass so many times that his bunky-hole looks like the Lincoln Tunnel.”

  28. Extemporanus

    “The book is so packed with farts, history, and meconium…”

    I wrote that exact same fucking thing three days ago, Matthew!

    Stop plagiarizing my comments right now or I’m going to tell your mommy that you’ve been visiting naughty places on the Internet and she will probably take away your modem or even worse, cancel your AOL account, and then what will you do? And then what, Matthew?

  29. binarian

    [re=460402]freakishlystrong[/re]: I was thinking 14, he looks like he’s just entered puberty and isn’t quite sure what to do with it yet. He also looks like the kid that used to get jammed in his own locker in school and left there.

  30. Gopherit

    [re=460443]Serolf Divad[/re]: Coincidentally, you have almost certainly described one of Incontinetti’s favorite reoccurring dreams.

  31. Joshua Norton

    [re=460448]queeraselvis v 2.0[/re]: No. It’s code for doing all that and still being able to cross your legs.

  32. V572625694

    [re=460433]Servo[/re]: Roads: socialist. Air traffic control by the federal government, and big FAA subsidies to shitty little podunk airports: Freedumb!

  33. mardam422

    [re=460404]Tundra Grifter[/re]: Wondered how long it would take for someone to make the meconium/encomium connection.

    This place always makes me proud.

  34. geminisunmars

    [re=460446]user-of-owls[/re]: If this proved to be the case, I would vote Repub for the rest of my life. We are probably pretty safe.

  35. Sleeves

    Ass******* Quote:
    One of the few surprises of the book: For a frontierswoman, Palin really doesn’t like smokers — especially if they’re men working for John McCain. She describes the “jaded” “professional political caste” of the McCain campaign as “tumbling out of the bus in a pack, lighting cigarettes as they went so it looked like a walking cloud of smoke with legs,” and, later, she gets a nasty jab in at senior adviser Steve Schmidt, who, she says, “used nicotine to keep . . . his cognitive connections humming along.”

    At -10 HP a being is officially dead.

  36. Gumboz1953

    He has one little lock of hair falling, right on the side of his forehead. When he is good he is very very good, but when he is bad he is horrid. Like, maybe, now.

  37. Redhead

    Well to be fair, it’s all in how you read it. “A Million Little Pieces” is actually pretty interesting when read as fiction. If you really try to read it as a memoir, however, you quickly grow incredulous and frustrated. See what I mean? All in the perspective of the reader.

    However, that does remind me – Really Oprah? Didn’t you learn your lesson with James Frey?
    “I feel duped,” she said Thursday on her syndicated talk show. “But more importantly, I feel that you betrayed millions of readers.”
    Winfrey said: “Did you cling to that image because that’s how you wanted to see yourself or because that would make a better book?”
    “As an editor, do you ask someone, ‘Are you really as bad as you are?’ ” Talese said.
    “Yes, yes, yes! Yes, you do,” Winfrey said to loud applause.

    Think we’ll see a repeat performance soon?

  38. bfstevie

    Shouldn’t the Post reveal somewhere that young Master Douchebag is the author of a scholarly tome called, “The Persecution of Sarah Palin: How the Elite Media Tried to Bring Down a Rising Star”? Or is it just me?

  39. Botswana Meat Commission FC

    Like a lot of people, as soon as I got my copy of Sarah Palin’s “Going Rogue,” I immediately thought of jumping in front of a train like German goalkeeper Robert Enke.

  40. Mahousu

    [re=460438]thefrontpage[/re]: I’m going to have to disagree slightly about the Style section. Sure, a lot of it is trash, but that Sudoku puzzle is reaching new heights. I mean, the one last Friday did things with the number 7 that I didn’t even think were possible.

  41. PickneyPinchback

    Like a lot of people, as soon as I got my copy of Sarah Palin’s “Going Rogue,” I immediately thought of the classical theologian Augustine of Hippo and his dream in which he was admonished “Tolle, lege.”

    Oh dear, what’s wrong with me? Sarah Palin makes everybody else think of Hans Robert Jauss? I am so out of tune with those smarty-pants teabaggers.

  42. slappypaddy

    bad things have happened to matthew in the dark. he won’t tell you about them–sometimes words fail him–but you can see them written in his face, a pool of quiet sadness.

  43. Next Great Pwndit

    All kidding aside, running these “she said, he said” reviews is a chickenshit way to avoid having a Post writer deliver a judgment on this piece of crap.

    Cowards. Katherine Graham would be so proud.

  44. Come here a minute

    My Jaussian critique of “Going Rogue”: I have not read this book, but I am awesome, therefore this book is awesome.

  45. AxmxZ

    “Like a lot of people, as soon as I got my copy of Sarah Palin’s “Going Rogue,” I immediately thought of the German literary critic Hans Robert Jauss.”

    Five bucks says Sarah Palin didn’t.

  46. The Cold Sea

    [re=460495]PickneyPinchback[/re]: No, Matthew simply has his first crush. She looks like his naughty librarian porn.

  47. comicbookguy

    I’m just glad I finally know where she stands on issues such as the right to life, government taxes and spending, health care and climate change.

  48. AxmxZ

    Like a lot of people, as soon as I got a look at the fapper reviewing “Going Rogue” for Washington Post, I immediately thought of the German song by the punk rock ensemble Die Aerzte “Backpfeifengesicht.”

  49. proudgrampa

    Frankly, people like this Young Republican scare the crap out of me because when they get older, they end up in positions of power.

    He reminds me of Karl Rove. Scary.

  50. AxmxZ

    [re=460533]comicbookguy[/re]: I wonder if she’s even cracked it open or just used it to even out the legs of a particularly stubborn rickety table. If she did the latter, the woman has more sense in her than I gave her credit for.

  51. DoctorCulturae

    Alright smarty pouty mouth. Kudos for bringing in reception theory, but an incomplete for not moving beyond it to critical thinking and theory. It explains the activity, but fails the analysis. Sorry, the moon is not the sun, despite the fact that it might be bright.

  52. snideinplainsight

    Couldn’t they have gotten some tail-kickin’ manly man to be the righty reviewer? Like say Chuck Norris? He could deliver a round-house monkey kick to his word processor. Or Toby Keith?

    Or say Charlton Heston? NO, wait – William F. Buckley, Jr?

    You know what William F. Buckley, Jr, would think about GOING ROGUE? NOTHING, because William F. Buckley, Jr’s ALREADY DEAD!!!

  53. PsycGirl

    When I “got” my first copy of Going Rogue, I immediately thought of the brilliant psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. He too said a lot of provocative things that got people all shouty but then people treated his idea as though they were completely factual and now we know a lot of them are completely untrue.

  54. AKAM80TheWolf

    [re=460485]Botswana Meat Commission FC[/re]:

    I am a bad bad boy for laughing at that. Our young douchenozzle probably spent a lot of time on the bench too.

  55. Ducksworthy

    Und “at Nuremberg, Jauss was judged “not [to have] participated in criminal actions,” was released” so he’s not like Sarah in that way alzo.

  56. snideinplainsight

    Though I have to ask, is that the entirety of Ana Marie Cox’s review? It looks like someone took a scissors to it in the middle. I see five paragraphs total (both in IE and when I view it in Firefox.) WTF?

  57. snideinplainsight

    “”Going Rogue” won’t do much to change any minds. But for what it reveals about our current political culture, Hans Robert Jauss would say it can’t be beat.”

    No he wouldn’t, because Hans Robert Jauss is ALREADY DEAD!!!

  58. comicbookguy

    [re=460580]snideinplainsight[/re]: The entirety of Ana Marie Cox’s review is this: “Really? Seriously? You’re kidding right?”

    And it’s the most thoughtful review of the book I’ve read so far.

  59. McDuff

    Fixed: “Like a lot of people (who graduated from Columbia in 2003 and took a critical lit course while there but who, like my boss Bill “Blue Blood” Kristol, are always condemning the Ivy League and its professors and graduates as un-authentic un-American liberal shit-for-brains moon-beamer hate-the-troops commie nazi socialist hippies), as soon as I got my copy of Sarah Palin’s “Going Rogue,” I immediately thought of the German literary critic Hans Robert Jauss.”

  60. SwanSwanH

    “Palin probably didn’t set out to write a book that tested Jauss’s thesis.”

    No, I suppose she *probably* didn’t.

  61. Terry

    [re=460443]Serolf Divad[/re]:

    That’s what Continetti’s prep school English teacher said before he did that very act.

  62. Click

    [re=460618]Buzz Feedback[/re]: “The Cox Review”? Hey are Blechh and O’Rileme still looking for a tour name?

  63. Redhead

    [re=460657]SwanSwanH[/re]: I didn’t think Sarah Palin set out to write a book at all.
    Have a ghostwriter write the literary equivalent of Sarah patting herself on the back for creating puppies and unicorns and rainbows (and then shooing all the puppies and unicorns from the rainbow helicopter) so Sarah could be on the teevee some more, yes. Actually write a book testing ANYONE’S thesis? Meh.

  64. Extemporanus

    [re=460457]Click[/re]: I can’t believe I didn’t remember this until right now!

    Q: What do you call the little pieces of toilet paper that get stuck to a woman’s private parts when cleaning up after a long night of messy sex?

    A: CUNTFETTI!

    It’s like CLITTER LITTER, only pithier and party-er!

  65. Snarkalicious

    A thin veneer of big words and pseudo-intellectual flourishes overlying a general lack of substance and rhetorical skill. Hmm. GEORGE WILL PSEUDONONYMOUS SELF-REINVENTION FAIL.

  66. the problem child

    That’s funny, I thought of Ezra Pound’s “Cantos”. Is it the fascism or the detachment from reality or the egotistical wanking? Perhaps Continetti didn’t take the second semester of that course.

  67. Carson

    “According to Jauss, every book is read in a social context. In his view, the reader’s attitudes, beliefs, values and judgments are just as important as the text. Sometimes more.’

    Isn’t this basically what Sotomayer said about being a “wise Latina”? Will Glenn Beck’s head explode over this, too?

  68. lawrenceofthedesert

    Matthew thought he would impress us by dropping the name of a proud veteran of the Nazi army and visiting professorships to Ivy League schools (the two experiences may be parallel), but just as the old stormtrooper had predicted, the reception to his prose was entirely different than what Matty had been led to expect. As Patrick Henry Nabakov once yelled, “Give me solipsism or give me death!”

  69. sezme

    Little known fact: Lynn Vincent also ghost-wrote Continetti’s column as well as the entire works of Hans Robert Jauss.

  70. PickneyPinchback

    “Like a lot of people, as soon as I found myself alone in the men’s room and feeling a bit horny, I immediately thought of the German literary critic Hans Robert Jauss.”

    Oh come on, like you don’t.

  71. chascates

    I’d prefer a Marxist interpretation but will consider analysis vis a vis the theories of Lacan, Derrida, or Foucault.

  72. germansteel

    [re=460433]Servo[/re]:

    Not to mention the record she set for Earliest Quit of a Sitting First Term Governor in U.S. History.

    (I really don’t know if that is true, but who cares when were talking about the Biggest Liar in U.S. Presidential Political History?)

  73. The Unfairman

    “The book is so packed with facts, history and encomiums about her state…”

    Shouldn’t it be encomia?

  74. Darkness

    (He wrote “encomiums,” in a Sarah Palin review!)

    We can only hope that this book is Sara Palin’s political Eulogy.

  75. Mrslulu

    [re=460835]The Unfairman[/re]: Yes. He probably thought it sounded too pretentious.

    Oh, wait — he opened with a reference to Jauss….

  76. EggplantParm

    [re=460485]Botswana Meat Commission FC[/re]: Too soon… but I still laughed. I’m a horrible person.

  77. comicbookguy

    [re=460657]SwanSwanH[/re]: Jokes on you because that is exactly her thesis. As we speak she is compiling google wordclouds for a thorough statistical analysis and then she’s defending in front of the PhD board. Expect a facebook update with her new bona-fides.

  78. imissopus

    “Palin probably didn’t set out to write a book that tested Jauss’s thesis.”

    Probably??!!??!!1!?

  79. Extemporanus

    [re=460755]Click[/re]: Is “cat tongue” what one gets from giving some beachhead?

    I suppose that if I’d said “a long night of messy sex on the beach,”i> then sand paper would’ve been more appropriate.

    [re=460786]Gopherit[/re]: [re=460805]Click[/re]: It’s rubs the Gopher on its skin or else it gets the hose again!

  80. imissopus

    Between this guy, Neck Beard, and Megs McCain I’m thinking the Republican Party’s future just looks that much bleaker. The combined intellectual power of those three couldn’t light a match.

  81. proudgrampa

    Have I mentioned my four-year old granddaughter?

    Well, when she got her copy of Going Rogue, she said, “You know, this reminds me of the Jaussian horizon of expectations. Our interpretation of Palin’s book will depend on our experience.”

    Wow. I am really proud of that girl.

  82. CanadianBacon

    Okay, so this review is written about a book with such gems as “… how come He made them out of meat?” and ” … room for all Alaska’s animals – right next to the mashed potatoes.”
    “Like a lot of people, as soon as I got my copy of Sarah Palin’s “Going Rogue,”I immediately thought…” What he was really thinking was ” I got his book for free and it still isn’t worth it.Some people are actually going to pay for this literary equivalent of a steaming cow pie.It’s like a tax on the stupid. Oh no, I can’t write that,I’ll just get out that university text book from my old roommate who left me for another man and a thesaurus and I’ll write something that sounds intelligent to stupid people.”
    I bet the ghost writer changed the sentence from “We have the highest number of dogsleds per capita in the United States.” to “We have the highest number of pilots per capita in the United States.”

  83. MGBYG

    [re=461154]JooJoo Bee[/re]: “The Critique of Pure Reason” is in my library tucked up under the spare rolls of t.p.

    And here I thought a ‘Continetti’ was marking the “recipient” of gay phantasy jailhouse bukaki…or someone once wrote it on my dear Wonkette so it must be the Truth.

  84. largefoot

    Do they have campaign staffers in Alaska? I mean, I’ve never been in an campaign office without at least 1 smoker, and almost everyone I’ve ever met will smoke at least some of the time. Its just what people in our business do. Its like wall street brokers and murdering street orphans, it goes with the job.

  85. rottenart

    [re=461010]proudgrampa[/re]: I tell you what, I’m on the verge of asking you to ask her if she might be interested in helping with my thesis. Sharp little whipper-snapper! Has she published?

  86. cashaholic

    Like a lot of, well, _smarter_ people, Going Rogue immediately brought to _my_ mind Saussure, Fassbinder, and Soupy Sales. Jauss, indeed! What a tool!

  87. Monsieur Grumpe

    I honestly don’t know anything about this Jauss person, but if he’s known for something that involves thinking, Palin is no Jauss.

  88. 5erfun

    Two gems that relate from the 1933 film Dinner at Eight:
    Kitty: I was reading a book the other day.
    Carlotta: Reading a book?
    Kitty: Yes. It’s all about civilization or something. A nutty kind of a book. Do you know that the guy says that machinery is going to take the place of every profession?
    Carlotta: Oh, my dear, that’s something you need never worry about.

    (Of course you miss the visual of Marie Dressler swaying backwards in surprise at Jean Harlow’s character reading)
    ——————————————————————————–
    Kitty Packard: Politics? Ha! You couldn’t get into politics. You couldn’t get in anywhere. You couldn’t even get in the mens’ room at the Astor!

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