Thursday, September 22, 2011

First Impressions: Joe McGinniss' 'The Rogue' has arrived! -- UPDATED

Here is the obligatory photo of my book. The inside of the jacket begins with a definition from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary:

"rogue (rōg), n: An elephant that has separated from a herd and roams about alone, in which state it is very savage."

"Very savage" might have been emphasized, but what is there is what is there. The definition is printed in attention-getting red ink. The jacket material, which is promotional material, also says, in part:

... '"On Election Day 2008, McGinniss began his on-the-ground reporting that culminated, famously, in his moving next door to Sarah Palin in spring 2010. The Rogue is the eagerly awaited result of his research and writing: a startling study of the illusion and reality of Sarah Palin -- and a probing look at the Alaska and the America that produced her. Sometimes funny, sometimes frightening, always provocative and illuminating, The Rogue answers the questions "Who is she, really?," "How did she happen?," and "Will she ever go away?"'

"In all his books, McGinniss has scrutinized the mysterious space between image and reality -- how that space is created, negotiated, and/or manipulated. Now, with The Rogue, McGinniss combines his deep appreciation of the place Sarah Palin comes from with his uncanny ability to penetrate the façades of people in public life. The result is an extraordinary double narrative that alternately traces Palin's curious rise to political prominence and worldwide celebrity status and recounts the author's day-to-day experiences as he uncovers the messy reality beneath the glossy Palin myth." ...

That may be a better review of the book than I'll ever be able to write. In the book's first chapter, Joe McGinniss explains how he came to live next door to the Palins. In the parts that I've read, he often explains how he got the information he has and tells about the people he met. Honestly, it will take me several days to finish the book. It is certainly an engaging and well written book, and I may write a review in a few days.

Something I've been particularly interested in was how Joe McGinnis came by the story of Glen Rice and Sarah Palin, and how he confirmed it. McGinniss writes, in part, beginning on page twenty-four:
... In 1987, one of the top squads to visit Anchorage was the University of Michigan, led by six-foot-eight junior Glen Rice, number 41. ...

... Whether in her professional capacity as a sports reporter or simply as a basketball groupie who'd begun to find black men attractive, Sarah linked up with Rice during the weekend tournament [Great Alaska Shootout]. One friend recalls, "They went out. I suspect it was more than that. I can't say I know they had sex, but I remember Sarah feeling pretty good that she'd been with a black basketball star."

In one version of the story, Sarah's encounter with Rice took place in her sister Molly's dorm room at the University of Alaska Anchorage. "She hauled his ass down," a friend says, "but she freaked out afterward. Hysterical, crying, totally flipped out. The thing that people remember is her her freak-out, how completely crazy she got: I fucked a black man! She was just horrified. She couldn't believe that she'd done it."

Glen Rice remembers the weekend quite differently. ...
I've omitted some contextual and scene-setting information that comes before and during the part of the Rice/Palin story that I've excerpted. I'm not interested in trying the definition of "fair use," so you'll have to read the book to get Glen Rice's take. I am convinced, however, that it happened. Sure, some may say that Joe McGinniss didn't ask Glen Rice directly whether he had sex with Sarah Palin, but a good journalist may be a good one because he knows how to ask probing questions rather than direct questions.

The Rice/Palin story isn't just a story about sex. Sarah Palin reported about the tournament, Glen Rice and Michigan while she was working at an Anchorage TV station. The story has implications for her sense of ethics and her qualifications for leadership. "Waiting for 'The Rogue' -- Sarah Palin to 'clean up' Journalism?" can be read to learn more about that. It includes video of Sarah's appearance on the sports news segment, a link to a Washington Post story confirming when the segment aired and a link to a humorous Houston Press story "confirming" the Rice/Palin tryst.

The book does not contain an index. The last printed page of the book has "Illustration Credits." There are sixteen illustrations. One is a photo of a Sports Illustrated cover from 1989 with -- Who else? -- Glen Rice on the cover; another is a photo of Sarah Palin pregnant with Track Palin, taken when the wind had come up and billowed her shirt out like a sail.

I am aware that others have spun that photo differently, and I thought that I could review Chapter 19 as a standalone chapter, but after seeing that photo, early in the book, I realized that Chapter 19 may not be a standalone chapter. My interest in Chapter 19 is how Joe McGinniss broached a story that Sarah Palin may have faked a pregnancy and his rationale for doing so.

Well! Those are my first impressions. I may have hoaxed you about having the book, huh? That photo, above, which can be magnified with a click, was photoshopped. At 184 KB, it's considerably smaller than the 25 MB that came out of the camera. The metadata is gone, so no one may be able to know anything about the camera, its lens, their settings, or when and where the photo was taken. A lot of image subtlety was lost in readying the photo for publication. The book is tilted back at a little angle, and you may be able to see that it's not two dimensional, but do ignore the bottom of the book, where it looks awful thin. The book really has 321 numbered pages and is slightly less than an inch thick. Prove that it isn't so. By the way, the photoshopping didn't involve making the bottom of the book look thin. The only way anyone may be able to be sure about how and why it was photoshopped may be to get the pixels that came out of the camera for comparison with the published pixels. No! You can't have them. Am I hiding something? My refusal to give up the pixels must be proof of that, right?

None of the pregnancy comparison photos that some claim are proof of the sarah-faked-it story appear in Joe McGinniss' book.

The book is a good read and was worth buying. The book is Joe McGinniss' “The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin.” At that particular Amazon link (it is the Washington Post's link), the book is priced at $13.99 with free 3-5 day shipping. The book may also be available from your library, or from a library with which your library has an inter-library loan agreement. Some libraries may have an audio version of the book available.

An excerpt from Chapter 1 of the book can be read at the New York Times' "'The Rogue'."

Update: The photo of Sarah Palin, "big as a whale," some say, when she was pregnant with Track Palin is on page 49. It is not listed in the "Illustration Credits," page 321. Joe McGinniss writes, on page 49:
THERE HAS BEEN been much speculation that Sarah was pregnant with Track when she and Todd married in 1988. "It was essentially a shot-gun-type wedding," a friend of Todd's confirms. ...

... Sarah's pregnancy proceeded uneventfully, though -- in contrast to her 2007-2008 pregnancy with Trig -- quite noticably. "I've got pictures of Sarah being very, very, very pregnant with Track," an old friend says.
Some photos are credited on page 321. That the one on page 49 isn't credited may be a simple oversight, but we don't know what criteria determined which illustrations required credit. By my count -- I didn't count twice -- there are twenty "illustrations" in the book, with an "illustration" considered to be anything of a pictorial nature -- non-text, although some contain text. I didn't count a portrait of Joe McGinnis that appears on the inside, back of the dust jacket.


Anonymous said...

I keep checking my library acct and it's still not there. I'm 1st on getting it but dont know why it's not there yet. Can NOT WAIT. Thanks for your rundown.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the details on the book. Can't wait for my copy to arrive. Don't forget to put up a review on Amazon where it will widely reach the public!

ja.thought said...

I think you are skeptical that Palin faked her pregnancy. If that is not so, my apologies. If that is so, then please consider the following.

I live in Juneau. I saw her within days after her announced pregnancy. She was not pregnant.

I do think several of the photos stand on their own without magnification, enhancement, etc., and all this extra attention with the bells and whistles is an unnecessary distraction from what is blatantly obvious.

A single verified and validated photo of her during that time with no baby belly is 100% proof of no 7 month or more fetus in her belly. You can't take a real baby out and then put back in! Adding a fake belly for a few days is a piece of cake, or styrofoam, or whatever.

For the no-baby-belly photo skeptics, there are the photos and video of her with crossed legs and bending far down at the waist while sitting down at a public forum with Janet Nepalitano - like she had zero obstruction in her belly. An impossible position.

Many who think Sarah might have covered up for Bristol are unlikely to speak up. Others don't speak up because of Palin's vindictive trolls. MORE OFTEN people don't speak up because in many office and work areas you will find at least one nonviolent yet passionate Palin believer whom you need to work with daily and who will think you are utter slime for saying such a thing. And unless you really, really throw yourself into public light, it will not make a dent given that valid photos and postures have yet to make a dent.

I don't know how many times one can read the quote from people around her at the time that "she simply did not look pregnant" (at 7 month or more) and not find that the simplest reason (i.e. she was not pregnant) is in fact the most valid and logical reason. You cannot hide 7 month fetus.

For my money, photos of her impossible positions absolutely cannot lie.

McGuinness book did have to go through publisher's legal staff. At some point, one has to chose. What he did include were her words of what she did and also others words of what she did not do during the 24 hours or so leading up to Trig's birth. That is another approach to draw questions to verity of her story.

Joie Vouet said...


You should contact the authorities with your story. If it checks out, it will be newsworthy.