‘The plain truth about Sarah Palin’s autobiography—it is ridiculous and it is awful’

Once you get past the exhilaration of the rusty-bladed disemboweling of one of America’s most loathsome polititainment figures, you realize that this is actually a really interesting review:

Something has happened to American culture that is even more worrying than a loss of literary discernment, and that is a loss of irritation with the sound of clichés.

and later:

The healthy desire for one’s leaders to empathise with ordinary people has been conflated with the desire for a leader who is an ordinary person.


What’s really interesting is that the reviewer, before going all ‘Finish him!’ on Palin, feels the need to state:

I have no quarrel with the values Palin claims to hold dear. I am all for fiscal conservatism, hawkish defence, free markets, tax cuts and patriotism. God knows I am in favour of God.

My objection is otherwise. The book is artless; it is juvenile; it is dull; it is vulgar; and it is above all phony. It does not seduce; it is not a guilty pleasure; it does not succeed in conveying universal experiences or emotions; it does not elevate. No character in it comes alive. Indeed it is so awful that it is almost impossible to find a single sentence in it that is not awful. […] It is neither trivial nor elitist to point this out.

You wonder how much criticism of ignorance doesn’t get written or said because the author is afraid of being accused of snobbery.

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