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To Sarah Palin: 10 reasons why you shouldn't sue Joe McGinniss

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Stephan Savoia/AP

(Read caption) Advice to Sarah Palin: The book critics will condemn Joe McGinniss's "The Rogue" for you – litigation will only waste your time.

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I wouldn’t mind having a beer and a caribou-burger with that Sarah Palin.

If Governor Palin would share a table with me, before I’d ask her about 2016 and 2020, here’s what I would say to her about 2011: Go rogue, but not to court. Don't bother suing Joe McGinniss.

And here are 10 good reasons why you shouldn't waste your time:

1. For a few more weeks, probably no more, Joe McGinniss’s book “The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin” will make the rounds of some news-and-views shows; and the book’s most titillating lines may hang on as fodder for a few late-night comics, for just a few more late nights. Why rekindle and fuel inflammatory “conversations” by filing a libel lawsuit – a public proceeding that would engrave the alleged “wishful fantasies of disturbed individuals” into the public record, forever?

2. How many of these “real story” books defy publishing’s “mortality” tables and continue to be featured in bookstores struggling to maintain volume? Are cash-strapped public libraries likely to make the book a priority purchase?

3. Is the book likely to win literary awards? public-service awards? tributes for its contributions to scholarship?

4. Is there any chance that the book will be optioned for a major motion picture, with a cast of AAA-movie stars who are destined to be scripted and directed to Oscar-winning performances that will surely enshrine the film in the Academy’s pantheon of cinematic greats?

5. Before filing a lawsuit, get a sense of the reviews that the book garners. Is the book being praised and recommended? Look especially at the reviews published in newspapers and magazines and websites that have not been favorable to you. If these reviews are tepid – or if the reviewers express qualms about the writing and the reporting – doesn’t that lack of enthusiasm provide you with some vindication, of a sort? Isn’t that kind of judgment to be savored? Aren’t such critical dismissals more immediate, and thus conceivably more significant, than any judgment that might be realized after years of protracted litigation?


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