At 2009's National Book Awards we honored Sarah Palin's Going Rogue as 2010's frontrunner for the NBA Fiction Prize by getting it signed by the gathered literary luminaries. And now, it can be the best charitable, tax-deductible present ever.
Realize: this is the best copy of this book in existence. Period. Bar none. And at a ceremony when the books and authors being honored have the sales of their books disproportionately inverted by their quality, it only seemed appropriate to get everybody in on The Big Joke of the evening: that more people would read Sarah Palin's Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Bullshit than any of the nominees' and winners' books, combined.
We offered the book up to some of our favorite literature and media luminaries that were in the house that evening. Dave Eggers—that asshole!—was very nice about refusing to sign our book, probably because it wasn't for his 826 charity. But he was kind. How's that for an endorsement?
Not good enough? What about super awesome sleepy Columbia MFA graduate and Freaks and Geeks actor James Franco signing our book?
Yes, this man signed our book. Okay, Jim. Maybe you made our photographer cry. But you did this one for the children. You're okay, today. Also, the nerds at Slate think you're The Sexiest Man With A Pulse, for what it's worth (read: the most ostentatious pillow talk ever). Congrats. But what if an awesome hunky dreamy movie star with an MFA from Columbia isn't enough reason to spend lots of money on a book people drew on?
Maybe 2009 National Book Award winner Colum McCann signing this bad boy is! YES THAT IS COLUM MCCANN SIGNING THE PALIN BOOK. This took a lot—a lot—of convincing. Charity, huh? But it's Sarah Palin's book! Sarah Palin! I can't put my name on anything of hers! Are you sure this is for charity? What charity?!
Funny you should ask, Mr. McCann. I've picked a charity so great, you can't even say their name out loud without feeling awful for never having done something for them until now: Save The Children. Yeah, you're gonna stiff these guys?
They've done great work bringing literacy programs to kids in need across the country, among other great things they've done for kids that otherwise don't get things done for them that should be. If I were running these programs, I would have them all reading Gawker Weekends and Calvin and Hobbes, because that's what I grew up on, but I'm not, and these people are, and we're all better off. You don't have to buy the book to give a buck. Oh, and if you complain about the charity I picked, I'll come to your house and personally beat you with an unsigned copy of Ms. Palin's 2010 NBA Fiction Winner. But yes, people actually signed this thing.
You want proof?
2009 NBA Fiction Prize winner Collum McCann (fourth page, center) really, actually did take this much convincing. He wrote: "'For we must love this poor earth, for we have not seen another...' Go Obama!" Awesome.
Jeff Bercovici signed the book as Dave Eggers, since Dave Eggers doesn't care about Saving The Children so much as making them read George Saunders or whatever.
Here're the first two pages:
And here're the second two:
And here's the full list of who we know we got:
2009 NBA Fiction Winner, Let The Great World Spin author Colum McCann.
Spider Man 2 actor and recent Columbia MFA graduate James Franco wrote (third page, top-right): "FUCK YEAH!" with a strange vampire-smiley face.
2008 NBA Fiction Finalist Salvatore Scibona (second page, middle-right) gave her "hugs."
2008 NBA Fiction Finalist Rachel Kushner (second page, bottom-left) offers her insight on context clues regarding snowmobiles.
I Was Told There Would Be Cake author by night and Random House book publicist by day Sloane Crosley offered her encouragement "storming the castle." True story: Sloane had no idea what she was signing.
The Seymore Hersh of the Sunday Styles, New York Times writer Allen Salkin took up the entire bottom-third of the fourth page ensuring that I wasn't conning him. He also drew a fairly accurate drawing of himself.
Dave Eggers! As performed/signed by former Portfolio and current Daily Finance media columnist Jeff Bercovici (fourth page, top-right).
Columnist Katie Bakes tried to start a #hashtag, while the New York Observer's publishing beat gangsta Leon Neyfakh wrote...something.
New York Press writer Jamie Peck (second-page, bottom-right, I think) talked to her about wolves.
Someone who isn't Vice writer Jamie Peck, apparently, talked to her about wolves. Claim your identity here!
College Humor founder Ricky Van Veen gave Sarah a big CHILL, BABY, CHILL while Former Radar, Gawker, and Page Six writer Neel Shah got tactful.
The Awl writer Alex Balk.
Flavorwire's Kelsey Keith had more sage advice for Palin's future career aspirations.
Cartoonist Laurie Sandell drew a woman holding a smoking gun on the third page. Get it?
Gawker Past and Present: Media Overlord Nick Denton and current Gawker Editor-in-Chief Gabriel Snyder both thanked her for pageviews—heh—while founding Gawker editor Elizabeth Spiers wished her luck, and Gawker J²-era/New York Magazine editor Jessica Coen gave her hair tips.
Oh, and me, lending to this the extent of my own profound, political insight.
We also got Gawker's Altarcations writer Phyllis Nefler. and some guy who looks like Dave Eggers brother, who turned out not to be Dave Eggers' brother after I thought he was Dave Eggers' brother. His name is Alec Friedman.
[Alas, because we were drunk, there may be signatures in here we missed. Seriously! If you see your John Hancock—heh: cock—please email me with it. It's for charity. You don't want children growing up to one day actually think that was funny, do you? Right. Neither do I.]
The book's sanctity has been preserved by only having been signed on the night of the 2009 National Book Awards, by attendees of the ceremony. That said, if you win it and want to have anybody else in the Gawker Media offices sign it, sure, fuckit, I'll get them to sign. Hell, we know people who are experts on books that are imaginary that are supposed to be real, and I bet we could get them to sign if that's what you wanted. Or I could eat the book, or I could drop-kick it, or I could detonate it with whatever fireworks you send us, or I could read it, but who's that awful? Not you, potential charity-giver. Anyway. You could do any of those things, or none of them, and just keep it as one of the most awesome literary collectibles ever. You know? You know.
Because one day, you can show this to your children's children, and tell them: I bought this so you could see how happy the people were before it was like this. Now that James Franco is the new Daniel Mendelsohn, and every book published is full of shit, and they all come from blogs, and they're the only things that sell, and they are read on calculators, there was this. There was this night. There were these drunk people signing Frau Palin's book.
And then you can blame it on this guy:
But seriously, it's for charity. Buy the goddamn book. Now. Please. Our auction is here.
[Photographs via Gawker Party Crash photog Mo Pitz.]