Tag Archives: Glenn Beck

The Most Challenged Books of 2010: Proof we need our libraries

15 Apr

The Most Dangerous Book In America?

As National Library Week draws to a close, it is important to celebrate one of the most critical roles of the library: to provide all kinds of information to everyone who visits. Intellectual freedom is a cornerstone of the mission of the library.

Sadly, library materials are challenged every year in every part of the country. Regular TSM readers may remember our celebration of Banned Books Week last fall. That week recognizes all of the materials challenged in libraries. As part of this week’s recognition of library service, the American Library Association releases the annual list of the most-challenged books in America’s libraries over the past year. This year’s top 10 were:

  1. And Tango Makes Three –– Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson.
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian –– Sherman Alexie.
  3. Brave New World –– Aldous Huxley.
  4. Crank –– Ellen Hopkins.
  5. The Hunger Games –– Suzanne Collins.
  6. Lush –– Natasha Friend.
  7. What My Mother Doesn’t Know –– Sonya Sones.
  8. Nickel and Dimed –– Barbara Ehrenreich.
  9. Revolutionary Voices –– edited by Amy Sonnie.
  10. Twilight –– Stephenie Meyer.

This is a typical list, focusing on blocking free access to reading of children’s and young adult materials. It also includes an old standby (Brave New World) and another less-recent book that is targeted by the Tea Party (Nickel and Dimed) for its supposed leftist bias. Two books on the list are of particular note this year.

Revolutionary Voices is a multicultural anthology of works by radical queer youth designed to empower the young LGBTQ community. The award-winning book was published in 2000 and is out of print, selling for $50.00 or more online. This makes library access all the more critical for people who cannot find or afford a copy for purchase. How did a 10-year-old, relatively unknown book wind up at #9? We can thank Glenn Beck. Members of his 9/12 Project targeted the book in several communities, successfully removing it from at least two communities. (It is rare that challenges result in removal, so this is a notoriously notable achievement.)

The most-challenged book is And Tango Makes Three, which has been in the top two every year since it was published in 2005. This sweet, fact-based story of two male penguins who live as a mated pair and raise a chick together failed to melt the Antarctic hearts of dozens of “family values” organizations which have mounted incessant campaigns against it. Fortunately, the absurd uproar has also kept this book a bestseller. Thanks to the Unshelved guys for this perfect analysis of the absurdity of these challenges:

Books are for reading, and libraries are for everyone. Celebrate National Library Week by reading a challenged book today! If you are interested in this year’s books, here’s a convenient list of the Top 10 with links to local libraries.

The Bully Beck Batters Benevolent Bubbie

28 Feb

I like to beat up old ladies and the poor.

So how much of a sociopath do you have to be when you start threatening and beating up 78 year old Jewish women?  Really? For those of you that hold up Beck as some type of hero, I’m scared of you! His reputation as a bully continues to hold true. Can we please focus on facts here–I grow weary of those people that have chimed in on the blog with just “this is how I feel.”  Beck has repeatedly incited violence for those that disagree with his “poor, hetero, white boy perspective.”

In 1966, Frances Fox Piven and her late husband wrote an article for The Nation outlining a plan to help the poor of New York and other big cities to get on welfare.  While writing the article they realized that not all the poor who were eligible to receive welfare actually did. Like any good social reformer (FDR), Piven and her husband started to advocate for the poor and disenfranchised.

For about the last three months, Beck has been hammering away at Piven and her husband. He has dug up the 45-year-old article, and says he sees a vast conspiracy to overthrow the American financial system. He says, their article intends to “overwhelm the system and bring about the fall of capitalism by overloading the government bureaucracy with impossible demands and bring on economic collapse.”  He has been well educated by Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin.

Unfortunately, our Frances Piven has since received hundreds of death threats from conservative blogs. Things like, “‘May cancer overtake you soon!'” Piven says. She ended up asking the FBI and state police for help.

Am I the only one that finds Beck and Faux News absolutely culpable and despicable? Click here to see the full article.


Glenn Beck/Mel Gibson: Twins Separated at Birth

5 Feb

at Birth

Twins Separated

I have tried very hard NOT to do any more stories on the racist bigot, Glenn Beck, thus abiding by the Bachmann Line.  However, when I saw this article in ReadersSupportedNews, I had to make a comment.  His anti-semitism has gone too far.  Beck’s venom on Jews, gays, and anyone t

hat does not agree with him, reminds me of the “white boy” tantrums of Mel Gibson. How bizarre that NBC let Keith Olbermann go, but Fau

x News has opted to retain Beck.  This last incident pushed me over the edge with Beck. On Holocaust Remembrance Day,  400 rabbis representing all four branches of American Judaism took out an ad demanding that Beck be sanctioned for what quotations in the ad called his “monstrous” and “beyond repugnant” use of anti-Semitic imagery in going after Holocaust survivor George Soros.

On July 13, Beck told his Fox viewers: “Jesus conquered death. He wasn’t victimized. … If he was a victim, and this theology was true, then Jesus would have come back from the dead and made the Jews pay for what they did.”  Really?  Really? Beck is paid by Faux News to spread this kind of hate?  This tirade sounds like something right out of Mel Gibson’s drunken mouth.

Beck also promoted on air the work of a Nazi sympathizer, Elizabeth Dilling, who had, in writings Beck didn’t mention, referred to Dwight D. Eisenhower with a particularly vile anti-Semitic slur.  How does this man have a job?  What is next? Will we see him on Faux News wearing his KKK hood?   Click here to see the full article.

How Many Wrongs Make You Right(-wing)?

30 Jan

The Querulous Quartet Try to Trump Truth

Just saying something doesn’t make it so. Unless, apparently, you bloviate from the Right wing. Don’t get me wrong, there are idiots and fact-averse blowhards left, right, and center. It is particularly creepy, however, to see the culture of “don’t bother me with facts” that has become a replacement of logic on the Right. This culture started with the bumblings of Reagan and the insidious architecture of Gingrigh. It perpetuated through the pseudo-christian machinations of Dobson and Buchanan. Today it is exemplified by that Querulous Quartet: Beck, O’Reilly, Limbaugh, and Palin.

I had an embarrassment of riches when choosing examples:

  • First, there’s the recent Bill O’Reilly hypocrisy over the use of Nazi rhetoric (good summary here). If anyone else does it, it’s abominable. If Bill does it, he’s taken out of context. If people don’t buy that, he just repeats it REALLY LOUD. That’ll make it true.
  • Republican leaders in Congress maintain that the Affordable Care Act is Socialism while gladly accepting their own generous government-sponsored health care.
  • How about the invention of the phrase “activist judge” to describe anyone who does something the Right doesn’t like, going to such extremes as ousting judges for doing their jobs. Of course, pretending that corporations are people isn’t activist at all.
  • A great non-fact is the myth of the leftist media. The pundits cry “First Amendment” when Juan Williams is fired for violating his contract and shriek ‘BIAS” when Katie Couric actually dares to interview Sarah Palin. Meanwhile, FauxNews dominates in the ratings and corporate-owned news outlets put profits ahead of stories.
  • Of course, the good old First Amendment doesn’t matter if you want to censor an art exhibit. It’s especially handy if you can pretend that it was publicly funded (even though it wasn’t). That’s right out of the “public broadcasting is all government funded” playbook of lies.
  • It’s also fun to argue that “homophobia” isn’t a real word, unless, of course, you can take a test online that proves you aren’t a homophobe when you spread lies and vicious invective against the LGBT community for a living.

Pundits and politicians on the Right are happy to create these deceptions to reinforce their worldview. If questioned by anyone, they scream about the left trying to silence them, which would be laughable if it weren’t so tragically, transparently false.

Ask for a fact, get a talking point, never a simple response or an honest “I don’t know.” Sadly, the American public are more and more like Yahoos, snatching up the non-facts like they were the last McNugget in the box.

This is especially apparent when you look at public responses in online forums of any sort. Leftist commenters are capable of being strident and rude just like anyone else, but they tend to at least try to make a supportable point. The rightward comments come straight from the great bible of non-facts.

A great example pops up any time a forum starts dealing with gay rights issues. A simple kiss on a popular television program turns into an opportunity for a screeching double-standard about affection. A conversation about the wrongful dismissal of a gay student teacher summons up the old “why must the gays always bring up the bedroom?” canard, ignoring the fact that it’s the Right that seems strangely obsessed with sex whenever the word gay pops up. More insidiously, playing the bedroom card skirts the central fact that the agenda is control over civil rights, not real concern about propriety.

Right-wing bloggers are as prone to play the “because I said so” card as the pundits and the prowlers. Recently, the blog NW Republican took exception to our Bigot of the Week award. The thrust of the initial post was that the word “bigot” is loaded and mean-spirited. When commenters pointed out that the word was used in context and with substantiation, the reply of the blogger was quite telling:


That’s right, the context and the issues aren’t relevant. All that matters is that the blogger found the certain words “loaded” even though they were used in contexts that substantiated them, linking back to the words and deeds of the people who were discussed. Ironically, he simultaneously labelled the bigot award as fascism, quite a loaded word in itself. The whole comment thread is a great case study in the Right-wing approach to argument. Point your finger, scream a label and a talking point, and ignore any facts that are presented. Those who debate you are mean-spirited fascists who use loaded language. The actual issues at hand are not relevant.

Arguing with someone who takes the non-fact, because-I-say-so approach to discourse begins to feel like Heinlein’s quip:

“Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.”

Bonus points to our regular readers Jan (PenguinLad) and Lex (WebWordWarrior) for offering the singing lessons in this particular sty.

As futile as arguing with the unreasoning may be, we must not lose heart. In fact, we cannot afford to do so. Although we might prefer not to, we must gaze into the darkness presented by the non-facts. We cannot stop the Right from playing the “because I said so” game, but we can counter it by making sure the facts are out there. If we give up, the narrative is theirs, and we cannot afford to let them decide what rights we’ll get to have if everyone begins to believe that the can choose their own facts.

Beck Benefits by Bellicose Bombast

23 Jan

The Face of an American Terrorist

The new Republican Chair of New Hampshire, Jack Kimball, said that his hero was Glenn Beck.  This gives me great worry and should also worry the rest of the country that Kimball’s hero is, by all accounts, a terrorist!  Yes, Beck and those promoting violence are nothing less than terrorists. I think we see concrete evidence of this in the tragedy that is Tucson–thank you Beck, Palin, Brewer, and Angle. I received a great comment from a fellow blogger yesterday and now I would like to share this link to his blog.  He does a great job of exposing Beck for the terrorist he is. So how do we stop these American Terrorist?  Well, we take their voice away.  We stop watching Fox News. We stop listening to functioning illiterates like Sarah Palin. We stop listening to the lies and the anti-woman, anti-gay, and anti-poor rhetoric.  This Klan of white angry folk breed fear and earn a great fortune from instilling fear.  Here is a link to the definition of terrorist: click here.

Angry White Man Takes Over New Hampshire With His Tea bag…

22 Jan

Angry White Man at War with the Democrats

Really?  Really?  Jack Kimball is the new Chair of the Republican Party for New Hampshire?  I’ve always known New Hampshire was conservative, but I never regarded the state as crazy.  Now they are giving voice to an angry white man that says Glenn Beck is his hero.  What kind of morally bankrupt state are we in when a comment like that gets you votes? “Hi, I’m an angry white racist who loves Fox News and loves Glenn Beck–wow, look at me.  I’m the new Chair of the Republican Party for the state of New Hampshire.”  Kimball says “we are at war.”  His exact words: “We are in a war and we are going to win it,” Kimball said. “We are going to pull ourselves from the brink. We are going after the Democrats the whole time.” Unfortunately, the “war” he is referring to is a war against Democrats.  This man is not concerned with the war in Iraq, or the war in Afghanistan, but he is declaring war on the Democrats–wow! Lovely language of violence in the wake of Tucson.  Where is the concern for the poor, the homeless, the people without jobs?  Really?  This is the best you could do, New Hampshire?  Click here for the full article, if you can stomach it.

Honoring Dr. King

15 Jan

Remembering Dr. King

Happy Birthday, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  I have been thinking of Dr. King more than usual in the wake of the tragedy in Arizona, or when I think of the travesty that is Glenn  Beck–what a sad excuse for a human being.  When I get into these dark spots, I try to think of people like Walt Whitman and Dr. King.  How we so desperately need the leadership of Dr. King right now.  In all my readings and listening to Dr. King, never did I hear him talk about shooting people, or physically hurting people that disagree with you.  As a gay man, he earned my respect for appointing Bayard Rustin, an openly gay man, to organize the March on Washington.  I often wonder what Dr. King would think of the culture of violence that has been promoted currently, given that King was a pacifist.  Happy Birthday, Dr. King.  You are loved and missed.  Click here to see his I have a Dream Speech.  As many times as I have seen and heard it, it always makes me cry.

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