Apropos of Nothing

The Party Line

Number-one bestselling New York Times author Glenn Beck brandishes a new money rake.

Book Cover One of the more poignant scenes in Bernardo Bertolucci's film The Conformist (based on the Alberto Moravia novel of the same name) has the character Marcello Clerici (Jean-Louis Trintignant) recalling his father's account of living in Munich in 1923 and encountering a diminutive, mustachioed man who would get up on the beerhall tables and harangue the besotted celebrants. This display, of course, amused the mug-klinking revelers. You can guess who that public speaker was.

Speaking of the Know-Nothing Party, rabble-rousers can be amusing, I suppose, until they are not. Glenn Beck falls into that niche, and as far as I can see the only useful service he provides is as a goad target for the acerbic wits of the likes of Jon Stewart and Keith Olbermann. Or this beauty.

All of which is maybe beside the point, which is that Beck has published another title under his name, Arguing With Idiots: How to Stop Small Minds and Big Government (Threshold Editions), again in collaboration with Kevin Balfe, who happens to be senior VP of publishing at Threshold.

The book as well as the marketing campaign is eerily clever, and illustrator Paul E. Nunn and designer Timothy Shaner have created and assembled an entertaining graphic presentation with whoever does Beck's ghostwriting (Balfe?). Here's the publicity schtick:
Glenn Beck...has stumbled upon the secret formula to winning arguments against people with big mouths but small minds: knowing the facts. And this book is full of them... Idiots can't be identified through voting records, they can be found only by looking for people who hide behind stereotypes, embrace partisanship, and believe that bumper-sticker slogans are a substitute for common sense. If you know someone who fits the bill, then Arguing with Idiots will help you silence them once and for all with the ultimate weapon: the truth.
And if you accept that, welcome to the Know-Nothing Party.
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