I have been tasked (ok, I volunteered) to read Sarah Palin’s memoir Going Rogue: An American Life (not to be confused with Going Rouge), and unlike lesser news outlets such as Washington Post I did that for my review. After getting to Borders in Palo Alto right at opening time, I spent the day reading the book in its entirety and will provide some of stats, facts and things I’ve learned from each chapter in this post. I will use exclamation points because it’s all very exciting.
The Reaganometer (measuring how frequently she mentions Ronald Reagan): 31
Sarah’s playlist: “Tie a Yellow Ribbon,” “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” Toby Keith Big & Rich, Martina McBride, Travis Tritt, Black Eyed Peas, LL Cool J and Gretchen Wilson
Rogue – a term originated in East Palo Alto, CA, akin to scoundrel; also a term to replace someone’s name like buddy, or pal. Often used in the phrase “Wow, that’s shady, rogue.”
Baleen etching – A native Alaskan way of putting the otherwise useless baleen to artistic use. Valued at $150.
Fireweed – a perennial herbaceous plant in the willowherb family Onagraceae. Used in Alaska in candies, monofloral honey, syrups, jellies, and ice cream.
Ptarmigan – Alaska’s state bird, not to be confused with the Rock Ptarmigan.
Alaskana – artifacts, or a collection of artifacts, related to the history, geography, folklore and cultural heritage of Alaska.
Culvert – a conduit used to enclose a flowing body of water.
Flatlanders – people from New York and Washington who were going around to stores in Wasilla asking if Sarah Palin bought liquor there. Or a band from Lubbock, TX.
Toodle – to ride around in a casual manner
Chapter 1 (opening quotation by Lou Holtz):
This book has a map that marks eleven cities in Alaska and five in the rest of the United States! Her talent at the Miss Wasilla competition was the flute! She quotes Blaise Pascal! She scored one point in the Alaska state title game! She doesn’t believe in coincidences! The Lower 48 are alternately referred to as “Outside!” Best sentence: “‘Normal’ is a subjective concept.”
Chapter 2 (opening quotation by Aristotle):
Alaskan politics aren’t very compelling! Best sentence, about Wasilla: “We are extremely independent, no community organizers necessary.”
Chapter 3 (opening quotation by John Wooden):
This chapter is much more interesting! Trig’s full name is Trig Paxson Van Palin! Some journalist called her self-absorbed for writing a letter from God to give her family the news that she was pregnant! Alaska has exactly one professional hockey team! She has a niece or nephew named McKinley! I am a member of the second greatest generation! She quotes Pearl Buck! Best sentence: “If God had not intended to for us to eat animals, how come he made them out of meat?”
Chapter 4 (opening quotation by Charles Swindoll):
Sarah’s college roommate was gay! The Obama camp had a “‘Blame America First’ impulse”! Katie Couric is pitiable and a terrible interviewer! She asked about abortion and birth control 12 times! Sarah has much love for Hillary Clinton and Geraldine Ferraro! She was reminded to “think ‘hair plugs’” before debating Biden! Joe Biden stretched rigorously before the debate! Elisabeth Hasselbeck is “bold and talented”! Best sentence: “Kid Rock, for instance, is very pro-America and has common sense ideas.”
Chapter 5 (opening quotation by Dave Barry)
Sarah doesn’t like to hear people complain! Bristol is a barista with dreams of founding a coffee shop! The stimulus was terrible! Liberals file ethics complaints to destroy conservatives! Levi Johnston is a liar! Anything other than resigning would have been selfish! Best sentence: “We issued an open invitation to the press (except CBS).”
Chapter 6 (opening quotation by Chuck Heath, Sr.)
Man, she loves her some Reagan! The New Deal caused the Great Depression! Stanford’s own Thomas Sowell quoted at length! New term: Commonsense Conservative! She uses the phrase “environmentalist Ponzi scheme”! Best sentence: “It doesn’t matter whether you grew up in Skagway or San Francisco, you’re an American.”
Epilogue (opening quotation by Mark Twain) & Acknowledgements
That Piper Palin is adorable! Facebook’s existence proves Obama wrong! Don’t give up on Michigan! Also, no bailouts, even you, Michigan! Lynn Vincent’s thanks get jammed in the middle of a paragraph! There still is no such thing as coincidences! Best sentence: ”I’m very glad this writing exercise is over.” And I’m very glad this reading exercise is.
Andrew Halcro, Frank Murkowski, Lisa Murkowski, her high school coaches, Alaska gubernatorial debate moderator, John Binkley, William McKinley, ACLU activists, those who criticized her for taking 5 years to graduate, Jimmy Carter, Nick Carney, liberals, regulators, Alaska GOP establishment, John Stein, Wasilla city council, good ol’ boys network, police chief, librarian, librarian’s Berkeley hippie friend, rumor spreading old lady, the Frontiersman, Big Oil, Bill Clinton, Karl Marx, Marxists, Randy Ruedrich, Mike Wooten, Andrèe “the falafel lady” McLeod, Tony Knowles, the media, vegetarians, vegans, Hollywood (particularly gun and hunting banners), Ashley Judd, those who claimed Todd Palin was the shadow governor, Alaska Senate Rules Committee chairman (who hates puppies), lobbyists, Walt Monegan, Bill Allen, her legislative director (a messy Blackberry games addict), Chuck Schumer, Frank Murkowski’s jet, Kim Elton, Frank Murkowski’s chief legislative aide, Hollis “Gunny” French, politics-as-usual, Rex “T-Rex” Tillerson, the legislator who voted against AGIA, society, John “elitist loon” Kerry, state Senate President, the guy who criticized her letter from God, unions, Vogue Magazine, Vogue Magazine’s readership, Sinopec, Katie Couric, Steve “the Bullet” Schmidt, Nicolle Wallace, Barack Obama, “headquarters,” the Atlantic Monthly, Anchorage Daily News, “Trig-truthers,” The Huffington Post, pundits, the other ticket, community organizers, Tucker Eskew, hackers, Michelle Obama, Joe Biden, pretty much the entire Washington-New York media constellation, Mark Wallace, Bill Ayers, Jeremiah “God Damn America” Wright, New York stylists, a Los Angeles Times fashion critic, Canadian radio hosts, CBS, KTUU photographer, AP reporter, David Letterman, FOIA requesters, Don Mitchell, disgruntled political operatives, Saul Alinsky, Pete Rouse, Democrats, environmentalists, the unconstrained, and unprincipled Republicans