Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Palin's Prize Literature?

Call me Ishmael if, on the eve of Barack Obama's getting his peace prize, the possibility of another unlikely award doesn't arise with the first academic appreciation of "Going Rogue" as a work of art.

In his New York Times blog, Professor Stanley Fish makes the case for Sarah Palin's mastery of the autobiographical form in delivering "the truth the genre promises...the truth about themselves--the kind of persons they are."

A liberal arts dean emeritus, Fish deconstructs "Rogue" for its essence, brushing aside mundane matters of fact-checking to get at the heart of the work:

"The questions to ask then are (1) Does Palin succeed in conveying to her readers the kind of person she is? and (2) Does she do it in a satisfying and artful way? In short, is the book a good autobiographical read? I would answer 'yes' to both."

As the debate begins over Palin's literary artistry, her more prosaic writings are dusting up the usual storms, this time a Washington Post Oped today, urging fellow author Obama to "boycott Copenhagen," trailing the usual quibbles about factual accuracy.

Such literal-mindedness always summons up a story about the fabled Hollywood producer of the last century, Sam Goldwyn.

A screenwriter he had hired to do a script based on a popular novel came to him after months of trying and told him it couldn't be done. Goldwyn hired another writer and made the movie, which turned out to be a disaster.

Years later, when discussing a new project, someone suggested the first writer. "Oh, no," Goldwyn said vehemently. "He was involved in one of my worst failures."

Goldwyn, who won many awards, would have been among those vying to make an epic movie out of "Going Rogue." He would have understood it perfectly.

2 comments:

Holte Ender said...

The only thing Palin contributed to Washington Post article was the By-Line.

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

I would have preferred a "bye" line.