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December 19, 2014

Good Tidings & Great Pain – The End!

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I finished Sarah Palin’s Christmas book. I started it on November 19. It took me 49 days to read a 6″x8″ book with 209 pages of text, not including recipes. I admit, I’m not the fastest reader in the world, but bear in mind that I wanted to finish this book. I committed to reading the whole thing, and so completing it was the only way to make it stop. And now I have, and I can confidently say that Good Tidings and Great Joy is the most powerful misnomer for a book title I’ve ever encountered. It’s also the most bewilderingly long and most painful 4.3 pages a day I could ever have imagined. But I finished it on the 12th day of Christmas. Keep your drummers drumming. Finishing this project was the best Christmas present EVER.

Chapter 6, which we explored last time, was a fanciful romp of Christian martyrdom as Palin daydreamed about the year 2028 in Anchorage, Alaska, “if the militant atheists, and secular liberals have their way.” Strangely, Palin’s imagined atheists and secularists seem to embrace Paganism, and Islam because they are scary to middle-America. Because if we’ve learned nothing else by slogging through this morass of words, venom, and narcissistic daydreaming, it’s that this book is about very little that has to do with Christianity. It shouldn’t surprise us coming from someone who is inherently suspicious of that new Pope and his liberal ways. (Nobody tell her about Jesus, she’ll totally lose it!)

It is, instead, a Dear Diary of personal Christmas tradition, which at its best is a remotely nostalgic view of holidays past, and a glimpse of Alaska that might feel familiar to anyone who lives here. But these stories only serve to pepper a stew whose meat and potatoes is not Christian charity, tolerance, forgiveness, kindness, and turning the other cheek, but a thinly disguised treatise on modern Christian political conservatism. “Preserving the Heart of Christmas” the subtitle of her book, apparently includes abortion, Islamophobia, aggressive jabs at liberals, atheists, Democrats, city-dwellers, and those who wish to offend the fewest number of people. Those bastards.

At the beginning of this chapter, Palin includes a picture of the “Alaska governor’s Christmas cards.” It’s her then newborn son Trig in a Santa hat, by a decorated tree, surrounded by wrapped gifts. There’s a stuffed elephant (get it?) and a stocking ornament on the tree. The message reads, “With special, child-like faith…”

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Now, while you may look at this and think “Christmas card,” let me remind you that using Palin’s own criteria, this is nothing but a cop out. Nowhere does it say Christmas. Nowhere does it mention Jesus.  Ornaments, stockings, a Santa hat, a tree, presents… these are all, by her own description in the current book, simply secularized adornments there to distract us from the true message. “What are they afraid of?” she asks while pondering stores that sell “holiday ornaments” or proclaim “Season’s Greetings” in the tree lot without using the word “Christmas” or featuring virgin birth scenes. So, what was she afraid of?

My speculation about the governor’s “Christmas” card is probably the same as yours. It’s Christmas-y to anyone who actually lives in this country and pays attention. But it stops short of wishing everyone in Alaska, “Merry Christmas.” Why? Because the governor of a state, whose job it is to act in the interests of everyone, shouldn’t be using their elected office to promote their own religion; and they should be mindful of the many non-Christians who will receive the card on the state’s dime. Did Palin fall on her Christmas sword and demand a Merry Christmas message? No. Did she tell the state of Alaska that Jesus is the reason for the season? No. And the Sarah Palin of the past probably knew that was OK… to everyone except the Sarah Palin of the future who would indirectly call herself a giant wuss for not being an unapologetic theocratic governor.

But now that she’s safely in the public sector, everyone else should be acting like she didn’t, including individuals, private businesses, large corporations, the people who choose the music in the mall, and government. Rip down the Happy Holidays signs over aisle 5, Walmart! Put a nativity scene on the lawn of the municipal building! Don’t allow some checkout person to say “enjoy the holidays” without correcting them. What’s Christmas without having people at which to be pissed off? Jesus forgave those who put him to death, and those who betrayed him, but the message trumpeted from Palin’s angels give a smack down to public school teachers, liberals, non-Christians of all stripes, and those who wish to be politically correct. Inoffensive thoughts are in themselves offensive. Thine enemy shall be known by the Birkenstocks they wear. Except Jesus. His Birkenstocks were OK.

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And when her aggression is couched in passivity, we get a variety of “I wanted to say something rude to the liberal, but I took the high road and kept my mouth shut” attempts to appear the bigger person. She “inaudibly gulps,” she silently gasps, she thinks up snarky rejoinders in her mind, she rolls her eyes when people aren’t looking, she “gags.”

Chapter 7 pivots away from persecution fantasy, and focuses on a scare in which her father was hospitalized on Christmas Eve. It reminded everyone about what’s really important. As they race to his side, unsure of the circumstances of his hospitalization, they suspect a heart attack. Todd had stopped by earlier in the day to deliver some smoked salmon, and noticed him napping looking “terribly uncomfortable with his arm and head dangling straight down in front of the chair.” But despite concerns, he dare not have awakened his father-in-law to make sure he was alright because he “could be packing.” This, of course, proves how much safer we all are when gramps exercises his second amendment rights as he snoozes while watching the game. Don’t disturb his nap or you might get shot. Good thing the grandchildren weren’t there, I guess. And it turns out grandpa just had a bad case of food poisoning from eating bad fish.

Later, during the annual tradition of reading the Guinness Book of World Records, Willow discovers that her mom is the most searched internet name of the year. “Oh, hush,” Sarah tells the giggling children. “Honestly, it freaked me out a bit,” she confesses, to have the memories of her VP nomination infiltrate her Christmas celebration. The trauma of the event, and her own humble and modest nature were uncomfortable with all this attention, and she’d  just as soon not think about it at all except to recall it and retell it in a book. (I inaudibly roll my eyes, and think up snark in my head)

She leaves her readers with the comforting words that they shouldn’t worry about having a picture perfect holiday, and that “Christmas gently encourages you in your weakness… [Jesus’] life and death free you from others’ expectations, from cultural decay, and even from your own inadequacies.” Nobody’s perfect, dear reader. Now if you’ll excuse her, she’s going to go put on a fur parka, and join mittened hands with her perfect husband, and walk down the winter wonderland lane of snow-covered spruce bowers to go warm herself in her home on the lake, with alcohol-free beverages and homemade baked goods in front of the huge fireplace she made herself, and exchange non-materialistic and meaningful Christmas gifts with her huge extended family.

My solace came from believing that the people who bought this book far outnumber those who actually read it. Stilted unbelievable dialog, the gratuitous use of inane adverbs, and contradictions in logic often occurring in the same sentence made huge parts of the book both enraging and giggle-worthy – not unlike the author herself. I call her the “author” because even though the acknowledgments seem to indicate she had help, the book reads like Palin was put in a room with a laptop and left to her own devices. And that pretty much tells you all you need to know.

Compared to the rest of the book, the final chapter was blissfully easy – almost… nice at times. After our captor tortured us, and beat our pre-frontal cortex senseless for six chapters plus an introduction, her final approach as we huddle in the corner, hand over our collective face is kinder. This time she puts down the bullhorn of hate screech, and holds out a cup of hot cocoa. But first, she gazes into the cocoa at her own reflection and smiles. The worst sin of this chapter is contrived not-so-subtle political messaging, and narcissistic story-telling. Now that we’ve been pummeled into submission – it feels like a token of friendship. I think it’s how the Stockholm syndrome is supposed to work.

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Rice Krispy Treats – You can find the recipe at the end of the book.

The tome finally, and blissfully ends with 20 pages of recipes. Because after a crap sandwich, you want a little something sweet.

Peanut butter and sugar rolled into balls and dipped in chocolate sound pretty darn good. And so do “Juanita’s Soft, Gooey Oatmeal Raisin White Chocolate-Chip Heaven” cookies. But don’t tell Sarah’s friend Juanita where you got the recipe, because she was sworn to secrecy and promised never to divulge it. You can find it on page 225 of what is now a New York Times best-seller. Oops.

Happy Holidays.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go repurpose this bound stack of paper and turn it into something useful.

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Blogging Good Tidings and Great Joy – the rest of the series:

Part 1 – The purchase and Introduction

Part 2 – Ch. 1  The Angry Atheist Goes to Bethlehem

Part 3 – Ch. 2 Creepy Christmas Teddy

Part 4 – Ch. 3 Wasilla nativity scene and its defense against a hypothetical threat from an imaginary person

Part 5 – Ch. 3 Part 2  In Praise of Offensiveness

Part 6 – Ch. 4 and the Top 10 Atrocities (Recommended by Dan Savage)

Part 7 – Intermission, and my Christmas night road trip to the nativity scene in Wasilla

Part 8 – Ch. 5, You are Bad.

Part 9 – Ch. 6, When Muslims Attack

Comments

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Comments
37 Responses to “Good Tidings & Great Pain – The End!”
  1. mike from iowa says:

    Earth to Alaska-can you read me? Seems to be nothing going on at your end,no signs of life,no pulse,no blood pressure,nothing. Everybody got the flu? Will try once more tomorrow to find life. Over and out from iowa.

    • benlomond2 says:

      Hang in there, mikey.. everyone is in culture shock from having to go back to work after the holidays…

    • Alaska Pi says:

      mikey- I think a bunch of us are hanging out waiting for AKM to recover from this nasty whatzername episode and get her strength back.
      Myself, I’m riffling through piles of seed packets and planning what I can start in March outside under double cover. It’ll be almost a whole nother month before there is a long enough day with the sun high enough on the horizon to shine in my windows (if it is clear ) so I’m having the worsest part of the cabin fever blues right now…
      Session starting soon isn’t making that easier either… bleah.

  2. JHypers says:

    This whole series (along with the comments from the ever faithful) gives off a strange Lord of the Rings vibe. It’s as if Sarah Palin (the name which cannot be spoken) represents Sauron and the One Ring, with Jeanne taking on the burden of Frodo. Has the little tome been cast into the fires of Mount Doom (the burn barrel) yet? Apparently the black speech of Mordor had to be heard in every corner of the leftist realm.

    But I digress to some post-x-mas facts on the book…flown in by a few ravens to me Beyond the Wall (sorry to mix up two different epic fantasy series)

    – Two weeks on the NY Times bestseller list (hardcover nonfiction), holding at #9 (…ring wraiths!) through Dec. 8.

    – Dropped to #16 for week of Dec. 15

    – Plummeted to #24 for week ending Dec. 22

    – As of this week, no longer on the list…during a time when a book titled “Killing Jesus” has almost exclusively occupied the #2 slot.

    I’m not much of a political book reader these days….but it seems to me that folks are getting their fill from more talented authors. This article series may end up being the best press Sarah Palin’s Christmas book ever gets.

    Alas…don’t be shocked if the last Targaryen and her dragons cross the Narrow Sea to reclaim the Iron Throne…with a fiction title for the next go-around (or a Senate run). You may have to ally with some of the more moderate Republicrats from the Riverlands in order to repel that usurpation.

    Keep on having fun…

  3. Once again, I’ve escaped a fate worse than anything I can imagine. Thank you, Jeanne, for reading it for us. I’m not sure why I still want to know what the quitter is doing these days. Maybe it’s because I don’t trust her to stick with her current activities, which for the most part don’t affect most of us anymore. But just in case she gets the notion to be more visible once again, I want to know what she’s been doing so I won’t be caught by surprise.

    Thanks again, and now you can really get on with having a Happy New Year.

  4. mike from iowa says:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/utah-avalanche-was-largest-in-modern-history/

    Here’s to shutting down Pebble Mine permanently.

  5. Alaska Pi says:

    Yay AKM! You did it!

    Boo! whatzername!
    You did it …again. Pffft!

  6. carol says:

    Jeanne, please don’t read any of her future books for us. I feel an obligation to read what you write and I can’t even slog thru her garbage after you’ve done as much fixing of it as possible.
    You’ve sacrificed enough.

    • slipstream says:

      She’s not doing it for us, Carol. She’s doing it for humanity!

      Wait a minute . . . then who the heck are we?

  7. I do believe that Jeanne is now the only person who has actually read the whole book.

    That takes guts! And lots of wine.

  8. Wallflower says:

    “…Jesus’s life and death free you from others’ expectations…” etc, etc.

    Funny, I always thought that the resurrection part was the big plot twist in this story.

  9. Ivan says:

    Thank God.
    I can’t take it anymore, I stopped reading after the first post.
    Let’s just ignore her, I suspect she gets just as much pleasure out of people talking bad about her along with the adulation.

  10. mike from iowa says:

    On a lighter note,maybe themudflats can get back to the task at hand and that would be beating Parnell and wingnuts over the head with their stoopid ideas about giving Alaska’s resources to out of state conglomerates.I trust I won’t have to play the Gene Pitney card on my friends here. Huddle up,everyone. We are going to run left on every play and leave the passing to nutjobs,because they pass on everything,especially debt to their children and your children,too.

  11. mike from iowa says:

    On the homefront-is Bif or Buf or whatever,walking around wearing garlic necklaces and making the sign of the cross in your presence? That could be bad. Has he/she offered to take you snipe hunting? Dogs know,you know. Our Ms Jeanne has got brain ulcers and will forever suffer from chronic Palinacid reflux disease. I’m gonna start an on-line petition to the W H to get Obama to award you a Presidential Medal of Honor for meritorious service in exposing a fraud and waste named Snowdrift Snookie. Jeanne-take a bow or two.

  12. Jeanne Devon says:

    Thanks all for hanging in there with me, and for your nice comments. She’s done her biography, then Amurrika, then Christmas… I’m hoping she has nothing left to say. But I’ve been hoping that for five years now. Maybe she’ll at least give us a long break. :)

  13. CorningNY says:

    I don’t ordinarily recommend burning books, but I’ll make an exception for anything written by the Narcissist Queen. Do you have a nice fireplace or perhaps a woodstove where this little tome might find a cozy home?

  14. CorningNY says:

    I don’t ordinarily recommend burning books, but I will make an exception for anything that $arah Palin has “written.” Do you have a nice fireplace or perhaps a woodstove where this little tome might find a cozy home?

  15. Zyxomma says:

    Jeanne, you did it! Epiphany!! We three drag kings of sexual orientation are, or however that goes. Congratulations on a thankless task well and truly done. I know an artist who uses books as her materials, fashioning them into hanging sculptures. Another artist takes book covers and turns them into purses. A coaster seems fitting, somehow. Thanks for taking one for the team (again). You rock!

  16. lovemydogs says:

    A recipe for rice krispies treats….seriously? What is remotely original about that?

  17. dowl says:

    Thanks AKM. You’ve done it again; dissecting the craptastic so that we don’t have to. Happy 2014!

  18. psminidivapa says:

    Jeanne, your synopsis of entire book was hysterical and, I’m sure, accurate. Enjoy your “balmy” weather in the next 24 hours. We in PA are facing -40 tonight and tomorrow. Even too cold for “Skidoos.” HAHA

  19. Krubozumo Nyankoye says:

    Well at least you didn’t quit half way through the book! It might have been more fitting and saved you a few atrophied neurons. I am a voracious reader, with a regrettably long supply line. It would be long still even if I was fluent in Portuguese which I am not because there is a dearth of bookstores here. So my supply line is
    at best two stage and can take months. Never the less I read about 4 books a month if at all possible. Even
    egregiously bad books get read if they fall into my clutches. I can’t recall any but there must have been a very
    few that I put aside never to be cracked again. Others. I have read multiple times finding new currents of
    thought and coming at the ideas from different directions and with different biases. I can’t imagine ever reading a book by Palin. It is hard enough to partake of the little side salads left at random intervals in the road of the internets.

    Heartily, well done.

    Anyone care to speculate if this will be the last “literary” foray of the Banshee from Wasilla? I would think that even Murdoch after a few loss leaders such as these ‘books’ and reality shows would beging to cast about for some alternate means of exploiting the Banshee’s appeal to the intellectually impaired. I have it,
    tent revivals. Though it might be a little difficult to churn up a good turnout in the sub-zero cold. Then again I suppose it is possible that Palinbots have no peripheral sensations, their miniscule cognitive abilities would be sorely over-taxed with sensory input from ten fingers let alone an entire organism.

    You sad Alaskans immersed in long hours of darkness. Not that darkness of itself is a bad thing – just that it can get depressing , wearisome..To some I guess. I like the evenness of days we have here. Fairly well balance hours of light and dark. It tends to make for just two seasons, dry and rainy, but the rains are late.

    Just as in physical sports, you should always challenge yourself instead of taking advantage if you have usperior skills by playing against those better than you – reading Palin is dangerously equivalent to knocking off punters . It dulls the edge.

    There is a duty I suppose to absorb the drivel before you name it for what it is but to do so is a sacrifice and a risk. Reminds me slightly of a very tense and dramatic PBS program from yeas ago called UXB which stands for unexploded bomb. One day, Palin will explode. There will be a lot of collateral damage.

  20. benlomond2 says:

    .. Todd drops off fish.. Gramps goes to hospital from eating bad fish…. hhhhhmmmm … :)

  21. AlaskaCodPiece says:

    The hypocrisy and stupidity … the horrible writing …. My eyes are melting….

    The fact that $arah is oblivious to how phony and hateful she is, and how awful she sounds and writes is downright scary.

  22. Dagian says:

    ” the book reads like Palin was put in a room with a laptop and left to her own devices.”

    The chimps will still outpace her with their highly readable creations.

    “The tome finally, and blissfully ends with 20 pages of recipes. Because after a crap sandwich, you want a little something sweet.”

    No, no, no. Even if you roll a cat t^rd in sugar, it’s still not Turkish Delight. Sorry. Not even decent recipes can make up for the damage. You don’t mention any decent alcoholic beverages included with the other recipes and that’s just cruel!

  23. Beaglemom says:

    Congratulations on finishing the book! Maybe she’ll write one about getting ready for Easter next.

    • Dagian says:

      Stop that! Jeanne shouldn’t be asked to undertake still more godless heathen fertility rites, err… holy sacrifices on our behalf. ;-)

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