Going Rouge: Book Review
April 6, 2010
First of all, that’s Rouge, not Rogue. I would never give Sarah Palin money, or read Going Rogue. But I did read Going Rouge, which is subtitled “Sarah Palin—An American Nightmare,” and I think you should read it, too.
Going Rouge was the first book published by OR Books, an intriguing new company that, in its own words, “jettisons the inefficiencies of conventional publishing to better serve readers, writers and the environment.” OR Books released Going Rouge at the same time Sarah Palin’s book was released, in a clever attempt to get the business going by luring readers who wouldn’t be caught dead getting in on that excitement, but who wanted some alternative excitement of their own. It could have been just a gimmick, but it’s not.
Going Rouge is a book for the ages. It’s what you will present to your granddaughter when she asks, “Who was that winking lady, Grandma? You know, the one you said tried to turn back a century of women’s progress.” It’s a thinking person’s guide to every aspect of what is wrong with the lady in red.
The essays are deliciously intelligent. They analyze Palin’s popularity, her politics, and her impact on America with the seriousness her lack of intelligence and credibility deserves. This woman is both cultural icon and dangerous threat, and these journalists know that.
Katha Pollitt decries Palin’s cutesy dismissal of elites, declaring “I want the people running the country to be smarter and wiser and more judicious and more knowledgeable than I am. If that’s elitism, count me in.” Gloria Steinem blames John McCain for selecting Palin as his running mate and says of her, “She opposes just about every issue that women support by a majority or plurality.”
Going Rouge gives equal time to what male writers think and feel about the ex-governor and almost-VP. Jim Hightower writes that Palin “is to populism what near beer is to beer, only not as close.” Frank Rich says “She puts a happy, sexy face on ugly emotions.”
A good political essay is a deep pleasure to experience, and this book contains forty-three of them—plus a section devoted to Sarah Plain’s own fractured prose. While Palin was never a welcome guest to thinking, caring citizens like you and me, this book about her is a keeper. Get it now (wink).