Incorporating Washington Post Book World.It is summertime, is it not, fellow Wonketeers? And summertime means summer reading: a mystery on the beach, occasional dips into the new Ecco Anthology of International Poetry while you’re on a bus or train to somewhere interesting, or perhaps The Charterhouse of Parma in the shade of a poplar tree. Then again, books and travel are both perilously expensive these days, and neither is particularly American. Not to mention the beach is now smothered by oil-waves and strewn with the inky corpses of pelicans and sea turtles. Maybe it’s better to read something from the Discount stack, something that suits the atmosphere of a foreclosed meth-stained bathtub at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. The debut novel from promising young wordsmith Glenn Beck is just the thing!

As you can see from that terrifying literary trailer, Beck’s first novel is titled The Overton Window, and judging from the name I expected a tale of middle-aged marital angst in a Connecticut suburb. IN FACT, it’s an attempt to breathe new life into the mostly-dead art of the political thriller. So is Glenn Beck the new Graham Greene or Joseph Conrad? Let’s find out, together:

Like Greene + Conrad x Infinity.The plot of this thing is hard to summarize, because it’s awfully … complex? Yeah, let’s say “complex.” There is a hero, Noah Gardner, who works for his father’s PR firm and has “all the bona fide credentials for a killer eHarmony profile.” There’s a brave Teabagger-esque group of rebels called Founders’ Keepers, whose main spokesman is charismatic YouTube presence Danny Bailey, who wears sunglasses at night and — for all his courage and insight — is easily duped. There’s Molly Ross, an earnest and idealistic Tea Bagtress who would do anything for the cause.

There are plentiful references to the Bilderberg Group, the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Club of Rome. There are agents provocateurs from the FBI, a minor nuclear explosion in Las Vegas, repeated references to a despairing Kipling poem, and a romance between Noah and Molly that could be straight out of a teen novel, minus the sex.

My favorite character is Noah’s wealthy father Arthur Gardner, a misanthropic PR billionaire who quotes Saul Alinsky and strives to institute a one world government. Probably the most interesting character in the book, and certainly the most plausible.

The most inspired part of the story is when Danny Bailey recalls the time he dressed up as Colonel Sanders and arranged a “state visit” with the president of the UN General Assembly, forever exposing the hollowness and bankruptcy of international institutions. Because any idiot knows Colonel Sanders had “been dead for almost thirty years at the time.” Ha, stupid foreigners!

So, no worse than Tom Clancy or Dan Brown, and an intriguing mix of political thriller, action-movie-in-waiting, and Colonel Sanders hagiography, with solemn dollops of Paulite/Bagger sermonizing.

Oh yeah, for an actual political thriller, try Kipling’s Kim or Orhan Pamuk’s Snow. Better than Beck, but just as easy to prop up on your bathtub-spanning Freedom Tray.

Greer Mansfield reviews the world’s finest books for Wonkette’s new literary supplement. He lives a secretive life of red-eye flights and foreign hotels, just like what’s his name, Graham Greene or Jason Bourne.

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  1. Disclosure: I review books for the paper where I live (wish it was full-time work) and I fought so hard to get this one, but I’m officially the non-fiction politics/history reviewer, so no dice. My consolation prize was the next Stephen King book, but I want this thing so bad.

    If Beck doesn’t create a brigade to fight the Founder’s Keepers called the Loser’s Weepers, I’m going to be very angry.

  2. Apparenly he mentions Orson Scott Card’s Empire as some sort of influential book among the Teabagger groups in this book. Empire was alright I guess…if you like books where righteous centrists win the day and the militarist right fights a guy who’s obviously George Soros and his Silicon Valley Latte Liberal High Tech Army in rural Washington state.

  3. “By Glenn Beck, as told to…” whom? Wonkette readers want to know the name of the ghost writer who took Beck’s illiterate word salad and turned it into something arguably printable.

    Also, Colonel Sanders is not dead — he lives within me — at least until the next time I need to use the loo.

  4. But does it have the hilariously lurid and poorly-written sex scenes of Bill O’Reiley’s or Lynne Cheney’s books?

    [re=605539]PabaBritannica[/re]: Well, Beck and Card are both Mormons and both are far-right lunatics, so they do fit together.

  5. I’d have preferred The Overton Widow by Robbe-Grillet.

    It begins with the 18 February 2008 defenestration of a “Glenn Beck”. Too late!

  6. [re=605539]PabaBritannica[/re]:
    OSC only had one good book and even then it was pretty fucked up with descriptions of young male nubile bodies soaping in the shower… er, it was called Ender’s Game.

  7. [re=605546]UncleTom[/re]: That jumble of words looks like the Colbert opening, only done seriously.

    [re=605558]bureaucrap[/re]: [re=605559]JMP[/re]: Guess the joke was more obvious than I realized.

  8. Sounds to me like that announcer fella could use a cough drop.

    And – wasn’t it great the way Glumm Bleek credited R. Kipling for that poem?

    “Do you like Kipling?”

    “I don’t know, you naughty boy, I’ve never kippled.”

    – Donald McGill

  9. I can’t wait for the audio book and we can listen to Bleek read the sex scenes. Al Franken used to play Bull O’Really? reading his sex scenes with all the emotion of a fourth grade history teacher and that was some funny, funny stuff!

    Oh – wait – Bleek can read, can’t he?

  10. [re=605571]ManchuCandidate[/re]: Hm, Card’s extreme (even for a Mormon) homophobia would make a lot more sense if he’s a self-loathing closet case.

  11. This falls far short of Beck’s poetic achievements back when he was drinking and doing coke. I am especially fond of this effort, inspired by Robert Frost:

    “Passing Out Drunk on a Blurry Evening”

    Whose puke this is I think I know.
    His head is in the toilet though;
    He will not see me lying here
    To watch his vomit ooze and glow.

    My little date must think I’m queer
    To lie here after drinking beer
    And downing drinks the barmaids make
    With tangerine and everclear.

    She gives my harmless balls a shake
    To ask if there is some mistake.
    The only other sounds the sweep
    Of breaking wind and cocaine flake.

    The spew is pungent, dark and deep.
    But I have promises to keep,
    And cookies to toss before I sleep,
    And cookies to toss before I sleep.

  12. [re=605563]President Beeblebrox[/re]: From what I hear, a thinly-disguised yearning for erect penises. Which could explain some of the psychopathology that drives such terrible, terrible writing.

  13. “the overton window.” sounds like a title from an edward gorey book.

    thanks for reading that for me, mansfield person, now i don’t have to. not that i ever would.

    wonder who wrote it.

  14. Best book since Lolita. Actually I think it technically qualifies as a sequel. If he had printed it out in index card format he probably could have got Nabokov’s estate to sign off on the thing.

  15. I just watched the trailer, god help me. What are they even talking about? I pity the poor voice over dude and the college kid 3D compositing whiz who had to design the layout and animate it in the hopes the viewer would not literally expire from the suffocating ennui of it all.

    I did not like it.

  16. “Greer Mansfield”? Yeah, like I’m so almost sure!

    [re=605589]Chain Tattoo[/re]: Yikes. Bit early in the day for that sort of thing, but thanks, sort of.

  17. From another review I read, I understand that there is a pointless cameo appearence by Eliot Spitzer that does nothing to further the plot. It simply serves to paint him as a shameless horndog which has been well established. John LeCarre would never have wasted a reader’s time with such stupid crap.

  18. BTW, I attended a speech by Orson Scott Card in 2003 where he actually said that, even if the Iraq war was for oil, that was still ok because “we need oil” and wouldn’t you be willing to fight for water? Why not oil?

    He is a Democrat though. He believes in all the welfare crap…and dropping bombs to protect our ability to offer them. Basically a Mormon Joe Lieberman.

  19. That the dog returns to his vomit??? Am I hearing things? WTF does that mean? My dog doesn’t need to return cause she just eats it, and I’m pretty sure it’s better than this book.

  20. [re=605534]PabaBritannica[/re]: But I thought the Loser’s Weepers was the name of Beck’s actual brigade of followers.

    Wait, no, that was Weeper’s Losers.

  21. So, who in Hollywood is right wing loony and/or desperate enough to play the characters in the movie adaptation? Kelsey Grammer? Gary Busey?

    Please, oh, please let Victoria Jackson get to play the female lead.

    Actually, it would be awesome if they filled all the roles with Fox News anchors. Beck could play the lead, of course. Coulter could be Molly. O’Reilly could be the grouchy old billionaire, and there’s plenty of blonde bimbettes to go around.

  22. Man, it must be so hard being a right-wing proto-fascist, having to invent all these Byzantine conspiracy theories! The rest of us only have to live through them.

  23. [re=605641]Katydid[/re]: “as a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.” it’s in the book of proverbs somewhere. hang on.

    proverbs 26:11, that’s where it is.

  24. Usually, one can judge a book by its cover.
    If Glenn Beck’s name ran sideways, it could get even bigger. His name just isn’t big enough.
    There, that’s my critique.

  25. [re=605596]Greer Mansfield[/re]: I’d like to read it, but $98.26 a copy seems a bit steep. Why doesn’t K.L. arrange for it to be re-printed by one of those on-demand publishing houses?

    Meanwhile, you can be the first to review it on Amazon! What fun!

  26. [re=605674]Tundra Grifter[/re]: Funny, when I clicked on that link, Amazon gave me some really weird suggestions – or maybe it was because I had just examined Mr. Beck’s new opus:

    “Molon Labe” by one Mr. Boston T. Party. It looks like Teabagger pr0n… I mean, what the fuck, we don’t already have the freedumb to eat deep-fried fat and shrimp nachos and all that shit, and kill whales, and drill for oil miles underwater – we need MOAR freedumbs!

    After a decade of retaking their stolen freedoms, the people of Wyoming (many of them newcomers) are forced to finally confront their jealous masters in the U.S. Government. Can a lone, courageous state successfully resist federal tyranny, or has the Bill of Rights been reduced to a myth? Can an allegedly free people act free, or is our liberty just a 4th of July farce? These issues weigh heavily on the shoulders of Governor James Wayne Preston, a decorated Desert Storm Marine helo pilot. Elected in 2014 on the Laissez-Faire Party ticket, he enjoys nearly full support of the legislature to return Wyoming to a long-lost era of liberty. But how far can he and the people of his state go before Washington, D.C. feels compelled to act? Will Wyoming’s free and independent course reach actual secession? Will President Melvin Connor suppress the maverick Western state with federal troops? Will anybody come to Wyoming’s aid? Molon Labe! is a fictional account of a real-world blueprint for a free state initiative focused on Wyoming. If enough freedom-loving individuals will relocate there under a useful pattern, they can “liberate” the Cowboy State on many levels. In Wyoming we could truly enjoy our rights of gun ownership, privacy, schooling, health and diet, unrestricted travel, and property. Boston shows us how it actually can be done!

  27. [re=605596]Greer Mansfield[/re]: Oh, Ken, why all this “Greer Mansfield” business? We’ll buy your book without any need for a nomme de plume.

  28. First I’m looking at: “no worse than Tom Clancy or Dan Brown, and an intriguing mix of political thriller, action-movie-in-waiting” and I’m all, like really? WTF? This is the considered opinion or our reviewer, a guy who obviously reads a lot of books and knows good from bad? This is a Glenn Beck book?

    Then I’m looking at: “By Glenn Beck, as told to…” and the world is in balance again.

  29. [re=605681]President Beeblebrox[/re]: So they dream of the day when they can own guns, go to school, eat what they want, and travel anywhere within the state of Wyoming? They certainly know how to set goals.

  30. [re=605607]Elephants Gerald[/re]: I liked the part in Automatic Transmissions where the protagonist finds out that the radio signals are coming from a chip implanted in his butt.

    Oh, sorry, shoulda included a spoiler alert.

  31. [re=605571]ManchuCandidate[/re]: OSC lives here and writes a column for a local newsrag so of course I emailed him once to take issue with one of the idiotic things he writes. His reply was as incoherent as anything Glenn Beck has ever said or written. And of course his website is full of swoooning teenage boys. Fuckers are everywhere.

  32. [re=605681]President Beeblebrox[/re]: So the baggers in this version want to take over Wyoming? Usually it’s Idaho, so this counts as novel thinking for them.

  33. I bet it’s a mob scene at the Tea Party Bookshop right now.

    [re=605740]Elephants Gerald[/re]: The protagonist later learns that the Rev Haggard wasn’t really trying to get the chip out all that time.

  34. The new Graham Greene or Joseph Conrad? Beck’s aspirations most likely lie somewhere more along the lines of being the new Daniel DaSilva, which means about the best one can hope from this novel is that some smart, left wing film director with an acid sense of humor will come along and do to it what King Vidor did to “The Fountainhead.”

    Speaking for myself, may I congratulate Wonkette on the new literary feature? One post in, it’s already better than that one on Huffington Post.

  35. Danny Bailey? The Danny Bailey? The It’s all over Danny Bailey, Danny Bailey? And the harvest is in. Dillinger’s dead. I guess the cops won again….

  36. [re=605699]gurukalehuru[/re]: According to Merriam-Webster Online, it’s a “variant” of “wobbling.” God, I learn something new on Wonkette every day!

  37. “Overton Window” is an anagram for “buy gold ingots”. You have to add some Gs and a B and a Y, also remove some other letters, but trust me it’s the truth.

  38. Greer Mansfield? Sounds like a nom de plume, an anagram suggesting …
    Free slim danger!
    Dense, firm, large.
    Dang slim reefer!

  39. [re=605652]slappypaddy[/re]: OK, maybe I’m stupid, but when does a dog return to his vomit? I get what it’s implying, but they shouldn’t just make shit up to make a point, should they (they being the Bible writers)? And, it’s disgusting to boot.

  40. [re=605718]DoktorZoom[/re]: I don’t think you people are paying attention. Obama is going to fundamentally change America and EVERYTHING will be illegal. We will all be slaves to the blacks and illegal aliens that voted Obama High Lord Emperor and President For Life.

  41. Do the pages in the Glen Beck tome come covered with the dried tears of real murikans, such as Glen Beck.
    Also, I can’t wait to see the movie, I Jon Voight and Victoria Jackson with major roles.

  42. [re=605813]Katydid[/re]: I wondered that myself. In order to be accurate (at least here) it would need to be “As surely as a dog returns to the cat’s vomit…” but that would be a gross metaphor.

  43. I can’t even laugh anymore. Yesterday my brother in law, lost long ago to this bloated sideshow pony, told me he was sending words of encouragement to his friend who was fighting back because he’s “tired of being marginalized because he’s a white male.” I think the “fighting back” means he’s just going to try and claim his 1/12309280381 Native American heritage on his tax forms? But whatever, I’ve lost, I see that now.

  44. [re=605589]Chain Tattoo[/re]: WIN! How scary is the idea of a Glenn Bucky book? How can anyone find an iota of redeeming thought in anything that nimrod says or writes? Tea baggers scare me a lot.

  45. [re=605995]edgydrifter[/re]: It’s an exciting story, yes. Or so I think. Aura of mystery and doom and ennui, with political and religious fanatics and the occasional gunshot, etc. Good stuff!

  46. Anyone who would refer to “the mostly-dead art of the political thriller” must not have been in an airport newsstand any time recently. Books with covers like Beck’s are lined up in long red, white and blue rows. And most feature a frightening female villain modeled on a certain someone who ran for president in 2008 and a very secret society that is either going to save or ruin the country.

  47. Damn. I guess I was wrong when I thought The Overton Window had to be a Peeping Tom slashfic. Oh well, you are a better man than I, Gunga Greer.

  48. “So is Glenn Beck the new Graham Greene or Joseph Conrad?”

    Has he had anything like the life experiences of Graham Greene or Joseph Conrad?

  49. [re=606232]zhubajie[/re]: Well, Conrad wrote about the rape of the Congo and Glenn Beck raped and killed a young girl in 1990, so there’s that.

  50. [re=605563]President Beeblebrox[/re]: “hm, could there be a connection? I mean, Beck converted to Mormonism. WTF?

    Right. His maiden cherry name was Fuquad Koranhole. “WTF” is an ordinal characteristic, like George II, or Henry XIII. Glen WTF, is indeterminate in number. He might be the 12th Imam of Salt Lake City. Drank himself to death for more than 1000 years, without dying, Allah willing.

  51. Seems like most people on this site are patting themselves on the back for coming up with the same lame conclusions. Blah.

    Oh and for the record, Orson Scott Card is a Democrat. He just happens to not go along with every scheme the Looney Left cooks up.

  52. [re=606681]Ryano[/re]: Trust me, I live in Greensboro and Orson’s a columnist our hometown conservitard newspaper. He’s a “Democrat” in the same way that Sarah Palin is a “feminist” or Lindsey Graham is a “confirmed bachelor”.

  53. I like this Amazon review:

    “This is an excellent read if you are suffering from insomnia, or need to purge your stomach. A combination of mind-numbingly stupid and vomit-inducing stupidity. Save your money and just drink some Drain-O. You’ll actually feel better than if you read this excretion.”

  54. Just for the sake of pointing it out… ‘a dog returns to his vomit’ and ‘wabbling back to the fire’ are lines from the Rudyard Kipling poem The Gods of the Copybook Headings. Actually the entire trailer is. The book is heavily based on the poem.

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