I have two rules in life: I never order the shrimp special and I never buy books written by former governors who would like to be president. So it’s not really an ideological statement to say that I won’t be standing in line tomorrow for a copy of “Going Rogue: An American Life.” That Sarah Palin remains pretty easy on the eyes, but at this point I feel I know everything I want to know about her. Maybe a little more. In the parlance of our times, it’s getting late in the day and it’s time to move on, Sarah Palin-wise.
But every time such a book comes out, I always wonder: Who buys stuff like this? Who are these millions of people who immediately spring for the hardcover and propel it to the top of the New York Times nonfiction list? What do they hope to learn from people like Newt Gingrich and Keith Olbermann and Glenn Beck and Al Gore and Kate Gosselin? Do they not know that if they just wait a few months, they can acquire these tomes, unopened, for about 50 cents a copy on yard-sale tables all over town? And that the insights thus obtained will therefore be priced just about right?
I don’t know. At a time when nobody’s buying good books, it sure seems there are a lot of people buying crappy ones. They buy them despite knowing in advance, through blogs and infinite talk shows, every essential point the book might contain. In Palin’s case, we can probably reduce it to a paragraph: “I’m quite a bit smarter than I seemed just a year ago. McCain’s people and the Mainstream Media screwed me over big time. I’m an ordinary person who would prefer to remain extraordinarily famous — with my own talk show, say, or the presidency. And 2012 is coming right up.”
Then again, I haven’t read the book. And won’t. Being an ordinary person myself, I guess I don’t find them all that fascinating.