How ‘Precious’ Is Like Palin’s ‘Going Rogue’

Nope, I didn’t see the movie, and I’m not going to read the book. I’m tired of being played by over-hyped productions.

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But that’s just what I heard. I could be wrong because I’m not planning to waste any time on either one of these over-hyped productions. I’m tired of being played.

I don’t have to see Precious to know that it has little to tell us about how we can improve the circumstances of real-life victims of such tragedy. Many of those who are heaping praises on Precious for the unblinking eye it turns on ghetto misery were among the mob that dumped on the Washington Post for publishing Leon Dash’s down and dirty series about the underclass family of Rosa Lee in 1994. Such people would rather weep about fiction than study the facts.

So, for the most part, Precious will do what it’s designed to: move its viewers to schadenfreude—a sense of pleasure based on observing the misery of others—rather than a disciplined commitment to action on the colossal scale that uplifting the poor requires. As a moving op-ed piece by Malika Saada Saar in the Washington Post reminded us, poor, undereducated and sexually victimized girls like Precious are most likely to end up in the juvenile justice system than to be rescued from their plight.

As for Going Rogue, I don’t have to slog through its pages to know that it’s a pastiche of self-serving lies, half-lies, distortions and innuendo aimed at progressing Sarah Palin’s demented political ambitions. It would have been better as an episode on The Jerry Springer Show than as a book.

I might even have watched it.

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