He's just a naive kid who got caught up in a whirlwind. He's a teenager who got his girlfriend pregnant, which is hard enough to deal with. Now, he's estranged from his own child; he is massaged, paid, and goaded by clever people who've seen ways they can use him. But now he's cut off from the access to information that made him useful. And the material he's coming up with has become increasingly desperate-sounding, like the fake confessions of a tortured man. What does the boy have left? Yes, there's his genitalia. He's still got that to reveal. There will be the Playgirl spread, but then what? Is there anyone in his life who loves him, who is available to help him? He's surrounded by false friends who will soon have used up everything he had to give. What resources does he have to draw on as his fame spike plummets? We are talking about a boy who is still only 19 years old. God help him.
ADDED: When a publishing company offers me a big advance, I'm going to write a roman à clef about Tripp Johnston. It is a revealing memoir of growing up in his mother's family, where, despite the intense environment surrounding his grandmother Sarah Palin, he felt drawn into the unknown world of his long-lost father, Levi Johnston. (I'll have to change those names.) What became of that wandering soul after he was exiled from the powerful family by the woman who had a chance to become the first female President? "Tripp's Journey" is the gradual discovery of what happened to Levi Johnston after Palin's enemies sucked him dry and left him to his grotesquely inadequate devices. Tripp himself becomes a lost soul, a shell of a man, who must struggle to rebuild his identity. But he is only able to burnish that empty shell into a superficially winning personality. But in that shining surface, America could see itself, much as it had seen itself in Barack Obama, almost half a century earlier. We're reading the new edition of the memoir people found so inspiring. It has a new postscript, in which President Johnston jokes that he should have titled it "Dreams From My Father."