Todd Purdum's much-heralded Sarah Palin piece for Vanity Fair contains little in the way of news or insight. He was clearly hampered by the reluctance of McCain's loyal staffers to make strong criticisms of Palin, for fear it might reflect badly on their boss. Even more importantly, his lack of sympathy, or just empathy, for his subject means that he hasn't found anything interesting or new to say about her character. As a result the piece just reads like a string of cuttings.
He has, however, turned up one rather excellent anecdote I hadn't seen before:
More than once in my travels in Alaska, people brought up, without prompting, the question of Palin’s extravagant self-regard. Several told me, independently of one another, that they had consulted the definition of “narcissistic personality disorder” in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders—“a pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy”—and thought it fit her perfectly. When Trig was born, Palin wrote an e-mail letter to friends and relatives, describing the belated news of her pregnancy and detailing Trig’s condition; she wrote the e-mail not in her own name but in God’s, and signed it “Trig’s Creator, Your Heavenly Father.”