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.
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.”
(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.
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