In Which I Play the Touchy, Thin-Skinned Author

So far there haven’t been many negative reviews of The Faith and Values of Sarah Palin.

The one that has received the most linkage around the Interwebs was one by a guy named Bill Berkowitz who cleverly  titled his review, “Mansfield’s Mission: Mainstreaming Sarah Palin’s Faith and Values.

Berkowitz spends the first 1300 words outlining some mundane facts about the book and going over our biographies as authors and throwing a few stones at Stephen in the process. Then we get to the final paragraph:

Not having read the book, I am not sure how deep Mansfield/Holland delve . . .

Wait  . . . wha??? Now, after 15 paragraphs, you mention not having bothered to read the book? Hilariously, this “review” has attracted links from all over the lefty blogosphere and Twitterverse.

A much more malicious and dishonest review was posted today by “Kim” from Alabama. It’s on an insignificant little Blogspot blog (as opposed to this insignificant little WordPress blog) and I wouldn’t even bother to mention it except that it serves as a great example of an increasingly common form of smear.

That is, carefully excerpting and rearranging someone’s words to make them seem to be saying precisely the opposite of what he or she actually said. You may recall that happened to a Republican congressional candidate in Florida recently.

In this case, “Kim” begins her review by stating:

“Shame is at the foundation of all religion.” ( p 188)

“…Palin lied about Trig, and this is what people of faith do.” (p. 188)

Okay folks, this is the second book I’ve read about a national figure written primarily by Stephen Mansfield. The first was “The Faith of Barrack Obama” and now the second, “The Faith and Values of Sarah Palin.” The comments that I opened this review with give you a good idea of the tone of this book. Mansfield does not understand the meaning of the word faith. AT ALL. If you want to understand Sarah Palin, don’t read Mansfield’s work.

When I read those two quoted snippets, I literally asked myself, “Did we write that? We couldn’t have because that’s not what we believe.”

So I grabbed a copy of the book and turned to the cited page 188.

It turned out to be a section in which we debunk many of the lies and smears that have been thrown at Palin since she became John McCain’s running mate. We take particular aim at the conspiracy theories surrounding her son, Trig. We pretty much obliterate them. Actually, it’s more like we yank their pants down, paddle those theories bottoms, and then parade their theoretical pants around on a long stick.

Indeed on page 188, we wrote:

The lie about Trig Palin being Bristol’s child rather than her mother’s draws strength from a vile assumption about people of faith. It is a lie rooted in the ideas of Sigmund Freud and developed by philosophers like Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach and Karl Marx. It is that shame is at the heart of religion, that religion is a man-made device for ameliorating the guilt that human beings feel when they commit acts for which they feel guilt. This is the belief that has moved so many Trig Palin conspiracy theorists to rush to judgment in the face of overwhelming facts to the contrary.

The theory is simple: Sarah Palin is religious. Shame is at the foundation of all religion. Palin found her daughter to be with child. Rather than acknowledge the truth and face the shame of her daughter’s misdeeds, Palin perpetrated a massive fraud. This is the manner of the religious.

It could not be that a mother was devastated by the news of being pregnant with a child with Down’s syndrome and needed time to adjust. It could not be that this was a private business and the out world could wait. It could not be that Palin needed the news to remain between her and her husband for a while longer before she had to help her wider family adjust. No, Palin lied about Trig, and this is what people of faith do.

Thus the conspiracy theories. Thus the allegations. Thus a portrayal of Palin that American culture could easily believe.

Now my assumption is that “Kim” is not an imbecile, and therefor deliberately clipped those two sentence fragments in order to give unsuspecting readers who might otherwise be interested in the book a very wrong impression of its contents.

Why would “Kim” do that? I suppose Freud had a theory about that, too. I have one of my own.

UPDATE: The reviewer has now removed the misleading quotes from the review and deleted all the comments, including mine. She leaves unchanged her negative assessment of the book, which is her prerogative. At least she is no longer dishonestly distorting what we said in it.