The F—– Up World of Glenn Beck

Posted in Extremism at 2:41 pm by George Smith


Readers may recall DD’s mention of Fox News singing the praises of the books of Ayn Rand yesterday.

It was during Glenn Beck’s show and came in connection with the host pushing his new book, The Overton Window. Rand, Beck — the same — both stalwart pushers against ubergovernments and philistines attempting to suppress truth, individuality and the creative genius that drives the productivity of America. John Galt strides the land.

Beck also went into a tizzy over a Washington Post book reviewer’s slag.

Today, Beck was absent but Fox ran a taped segment of him promoting The Overton Window again, linking it to rubbish I couldn’t follow, said concept of Overton Windowing having been allegedly invented by a think tank going by the name of Mackinac.

DD considers Glenn Beck an idiot. He immediately underlined it by mispronouncing the name of the joint he was promoting, calling it “Mack-in-Ack,” while the guest, who was actually from the place, used the customary parlance.

Since I couldn’t follow the logic of said Overton Window (discussion samples: if the socialist government continues on its current track, charity giving and private schools could be made illegal, Grover Cleveland was a great president because he hated the idea of government support, etc) except that it was invented by someone at “Mack-in-Ack,” I Googled Beck’s book and came up with this entry at the Post.

Wrote Steven Levingston:

Thriller author Glenn Beck attacked The Washington Post reviewer, er, me, personally on his Facebook page, saying he feels bad for Steve Levingston because “he soooo clearly wants to be an author, but, it seems, he just doesn’t have the talent.” He takes issue with a few other elements of the review.

Media Matters, which monitors and analyzes the conservative media, has assessed Beck’s criticism of my review, while Huffington Post reports that Beck’s book resembles a 2005 self-published techno-thriller by a computer programmer named Jack Henderson. Chris Kelly points out that “The Overton Window” is very much like Henderson’s “Circumference of Darkness,” except that “the villains planning the next 9/11 [in Henderson’s tale] are an ultra-right militia movement. In Overton Window, the right wing nuts are the heroes.” The piece notes another strange coincidence: Henderson turns up in Beck’s acknowledgements and is warmly praised “for pouring his heart and soul into this project.”

Coincidentally, Henderson asked me to provide a blurb for Circumference of Darkness a few years ago. I complied and it wound up on the back of the edition I have.

Henderson is a reader of DD blog and from time to time we’ve had friendly chats.

A year or so ago we spent some time discussing general breakdown in the US and why Americans never seemed to be up to bringing about any kind of beneficial change or improvement. Consdering the news on The Overton Window, it retrospectively generates a fairly decent “Hmmmm.”

Anyway, at the time, Henderson told me he was doing a writing gig for someone famous, a name he couldn’t disclose.

Given today’s news and what I remember about the conversation, and Jack’s comment that he hoped I wouldn’t think askance of it when I saw the eventual product, I infer he was actually the ghost-writer for Beck’s The Overton Window. Or something along those lines.

It’s no surprise.

Given what I’ve seen of Glenn Beck’s shows, the incoherent and/or
nonsensical arguments delivered daily, it would be a stretch to expect lucid print from Beck sans substantial propping up.

The final graf of Levingston’s review of Beck’s The Overton Window reads:

The danger of books like this is that radical readers may take the story’s fiction for fact, or interpret the fiction — which Beck encourages — as a reflection of a reality that they must fend off by any means necessary. “The Overton Window” risks falling into the tradition of other anti-government novels such as “The Turner Diaries” by William L. Pierce, which became a handbook of extremists and inspired Timothy McVeigh to blow up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995. As Beck tells his soldiers in the voice of Noah: “Put up or shut up . . . go hard or go home. Freedom is the rare exception . . . not the rule, and if you want it you’ve got to do your part to keep it.”

In February of 2009, I wrote briefly about Beck, his fascination with
encouraging revolution and his fondness for story lines similar to the arc of The Turner Dairies.


Regular readers will see the common themes, still touched upon weekly in the mainstreaming of extremist beliefs that the US will collapse, that the government will prove to be helpless or an enemy, that some manner of catastrophe is imminent and — ever more often — revolution, maybe violent, is the answer. (See here.)

“Maybe the Washington Post is out of line to compare it to ‘The Turner Diaries,'” wrote someone at Salon on Tuesday.

Yes, that’s so unfair.

Current Google search results for “The Turner Diaries” and “Glenn Beck.” Quite the accomplishment.

Media Matters, on Jack Henderson and Beck on the 14th, via admission in USA Today:

On the title page, Beck shares credit with three contributors. He calls the conspiracy novel “my story,” but he says Jack Henderson, one of his contributors, “went in and he put the words down.”

None of it makes Beck any less one of the bad guys in the current national narrative.

Jack, if you’re reading this, yep, I got your e-mail. And I was still dithering over a reply when this came up.


  1. Dick Destiny » Are Sales of ‘The Turner Diaries’ Up? said,

    June 17, 2010 at 11:36 am

    […] Related: 2010 comment on The Overton Window — here. […]

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  3. Dick Destiny » Recommending improved standard of living = bad said,

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