On his radio show, Glenn Beck responded to Washington Post book critic Steven Levingston’s audacious claim that Beck’s new novel The Overton Window may be a terrorist’s inspirational handbook. Beck objected to the idea that it’s ridiculous that Tea Party protesters would be nonviolent. "Show me the violent Tea Party, Washington Post. Show them to me."
Levingston wrote: "Molly and her crowd assert their Second Amendment right to bear arms and are well stocked with weapons. They even make their own ammunition. Their insistence on nonviolence appears as disingenuous as anything out of the mouth of their nemesis, the insidious manipulator of reality Arthur Gardner."
In response to Beck on his Political Bookworm blog, Levingston weirdly claimed Beck had taken his review out of context:
Most serious among his off-the-cuff language this morning was: "The Washington Post writes as future fact that [the book] will be found in a bag of ammunition at some point after a violent shooting." Please read the review again, Mr. Beck.
Here's what I actually wrote, as a conditional statement -- not as a future fact: "If the book is found tucked into the ammo boxes of self-proclaimed patriots and recited at "tea party" assemblies, then Beck will have achieved his goal." And where is the mention of a violent shooting?
This complaint is more disingenuous than Beck’s fictional characters. Levingston’s entire review implies repeatedly, from the "ammo boxes" line forward, that Beck’s "goal" is a violent uprising. (See previous sentence about "disingenuous" nonviolence while making their own ammo.)
Levingston’s somehow overlooking that he concluded the review by mentioning a violent terrorist bombing:
"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.
Levington cannot be sincerely outraged that he was misinterpreted, that he didn't insist that it's likely (and intended) that Beck's book will lead to dead people.
PS: Time book reviewer Alex Altman also panned the Beck book, but contained his conservative-bashing within more civil boundaries:
For Beck's millions of acolytes, however, the one-dimensional characters and half-baked plot will be less important than his message, which will channel their anxieties about perceived assaults on our freedom.
"Perceived" assaults on our freedom? As if conservatives are merely imagining massive government spending increases, the federal takeover of auto companies, the top-down reorganization of the health sector, and other allegedly fictional happenings.