Going Rogue, Sarah Palin’s memoir, has been on our book shelves for five months, and “Yet even now, few Americans know who this remarkable woman really is”. Palin’s book was published by Harper Collins, and available in November of 2009. Game Change, also published by Harper Collins, made its debut shortly after Going Rogue, in January of 2010. Game Change devotes two entire chapters, and over 50 pages, to Sarah Palin. Obviously the two books both deal, at least in part, with Palin. Going Rogue describes Sarah Palin through her own eyes. Game Change describes Ex-Governor Palin through the eyes of the “McCainworld”. Palin’s book characterizes herself as “refreshing” and “honest”, whereas Game Change describes her as an “unstable, ignoramus”. Palin tells us that while she had many supporters and opponents, “none of them knew the real Sarah Palin.” Who is the real Sarah Palin, and is there any connection between Going Rogue, Game Change and other books published by Harper Collins?
In Game Change Palin is described as:
- “unflustered” and “totally unruffled” in regards to being John McCain’s running mate (Heilemann and Halperin 364)
- “obsessive” (371)
- “exhausted, distracted, would not engage” as “McCainworld” worried about her ability to focus, her character and her knowledge level (395)
- refusing to read lines for a campaign ad concerning stem cells (396)
- having severely constricted “bandwidth” (397)
- believing the Alaskan media was “turning against her” (398)
- being one of “two Sarahs. One minute, Palin would be her perky self; the next, she would fall into a strange, blue funk (398)
- being in a “pink bathrobe, her eyes glassy and dead (398)
- “unresponsive” (398)
10. sitting in silence while Nicole Wallace read newspapers to her (398)
11. prior to the Katie Couric interview, proclaiming that, “I hate this makeup” – smearing it off her face, messing up her hair and complaining that she looked fat” (398)
12. questioning the McCain team’s devotion to helping her (398)
13. providing “halting and incoherent” answers to Couric (399) and after the interview shouting, “what are you guys trying to do to me?”
14. appearing to be “a total train wreck. Never before had Palin’s team seen her so profoundly out of sorts for such a sustained period of time” (400)
15. eating a few small bites of steak a day and drinking a half can of Diet Dr. Pepper at most (400)
16. “mentally unstable” (401)
17. “irrational” (401)
18. appearing “dazed” (402)
19. looking “thin and drawn” as if she had not been sleeping (402)
20. “maniacal about monitoring her media coverage” (409)
21. while aboard a flight with staffers, dropping her head and refusing to respond (414)
22. appearing as a “whack job” (415)
23. not speaking more than a few words to politicians and donors traveling with her (415)
24. being “unfit for high office” (415)
25. “troubled and troubling” (415)
Living Well with Depression and Bipolar Disorder was published by Harper Collins in paperback in 2006, before Going Rogue, or Game Change had been written. Harper Collins will be coming out with a new book in September of this year, A Promise of Hope: The Astonishing True Story of a Woman Afflicted With Bipolar Disorder and the Miraculous Treatment That Cured Her. Perhaps this book will confirm what others have found, which is that bipolar disorder often includes symptoms such as fatigue, delusional thinking, irritability, aggression and even catatonic states. Each was described directly, or indirectly, in Game Change.
Harper Collins publishes a lot of books, so maybe the fact that these books were published by the same publisher in this particular order is purely coincidental. I am certainly not an expert in mental illness. It is interesting to me that Harper Collins has or will be publishing all of these books, and I assume they have some control over the date the books are made available to the public. It is also interesting to me that the same publisher who made money off Sarah Palin’s famous book tour also published a book afterward, which refers to her as a “whack job.” Now that same publisher stands to make even more money from a book about a “Woman Afflicted with Bipolar Disorder” Another curious thing is that Alaska seems to have a high incidence of mental illness and the highest rate of suicide in the country. Do you see any connection between the three books other than the publisher?
I know that writers of various blogs have suggested that Palin exhibits “classic symptoms of bipolar disorder.” These blogs are not written by expert psychologists. While many women are concerned with their weight, I read that one of the most common side effects of medication given for bipolar disorder is weight gain. Didn’t Sarah complain that she thought she was gaining weight? Any single observation, by itself might be easily dismissed. However the sheer number of observations of unusual behavior by
Palin would certainly give the disinterested observer reason to question her mental stability. When something happens once it is thought to be an accident. If it happens twice it’s considered a coincidence. The third time is a pattern. What would it be called if something happened 25 times?