On Tuesday, June 15th, 2010, Fox News host and radio personality Glenn Beck released his first political thriller, The Overton Window. It is the story of a man who is forced to confront the changing realities of a modern world that seeks to destroy the very nature of America, the Constitution, and all that they stand for.
It is the sort of book and story that will be enjoyed by the people you would expect to love it and hated by the people you would expect to loathe it. Just about every review of the book has panned it as poorly written and overly simplistic.
But I don’t think that this is entirely fair. It’s clear, as a writer myself, that nobody simply writes a book without it being a labor of love in many ways. Mr. Beck obviously put a lot of work and heart into writing The Overton Window, which is commendable. When you think of all the people you know who have been trying unsuccessfully for years to write a book, and of all the people you may not know who are stuck in the same trap, it is impressive that Mr. Beck actually got something done. Good job!
That’s not to say the book isn’t awful. It’s total schlock. I don’t know if that’s necessarily the fault of the author; I think that the entire genre of supermarket conspiratorial political thrillers is one of the banes of the literary world. The fact that books like The Overton Window are allowed to prosper and shoot up the New York Times Bestseller’s List while others never find wide circulation is more than a little frustrating. They are almost always full of awful similes, overly-simplistic love connections, and plots that reduce the complex goings-on of government and business to the lowest common “they’re all evil” denominator.
For this project, I have decided to prove myself wrong. By finding the beauty of the words hidden within Mr. Beck’s novel, I have been able to filter out the bad and leave the poetry that I can only assume was his intent from the beginning.
These “blackout poems” will be posted here in the coming days and weeks. Hopefully they will make people realize that Glenn Beck is not some hyperbolic conspiracy theorist, but rather a poet, a man in communion with the natural world around him.