Thursday, July 26, 2012

Snake Oil Salesmen

I read the first chapter of Glenn Beck's Cowards out of curiosity.  I no longer get appalled by such ramblings.  Actually, I find them quite amusing, especially when he holds up Harding and Coolidge as "true conservatives," while admonishing Hoover for trying to fight the Depression, which these swell guys wrought, with "stimulus plans."  One chapter was enough.

Another book making the facebook rounds is The Communist, which embellishes the relationship between Obama and Frank Mashall Davis,  The "brilliant" historian, Paul Kengor, suggests that young Barry, who affectionately called Davis "Frank" in his memoir, Dreams From My Father, did so in a conspiratorial sense, implying a deep-seated Communist plot here.  The Manchurian Candidate all over again.

I would have thought after all the attempts to paint Obama as a radical Socialist, and Progressives as Communists, that we would see an end to these conspiratorial themes, but apparently there is a very hungry market for these books and guys like Beck and Kengor are all too eager to feed it.


  1. This brief commentary puts Kengor and Kincaid in perspective:

    You gotta love The Love Boat connection.

  2. I'm sure I have told this story before, but when I first saw Glenn Beck on t.v., not really understanding what Fox t.v. was, I thought he was a comedian. The over the top language was sort of weird, but his use of a blackboard made it clear he was trying to be a humorous send up of the college professorial class -- just not very good at it.

    I also had the same feeling when I stumbled on a guy with a 30s fedora with a press pass tucked in the band and an old typewriter. Again, very bad humor and in bad taste at the time (this was late 2001) -- that I found out later was Matt Drudge.

    Very, very weird feeling to find out they both were serious and, worse, taken seriously by people who watch/read them.

  3. Great piece, Rick. More like a Ship of Fools. It seems that Kengor doesn't go quite as far as Kincaid, noting that Davis and young Barry first met around 1970. I guess this allows him to maintain the birther argument as well.

    It is disquieting, av, but fortunately these kooky theories are pretty much confined to fringes. But, alas, they seem to have an inordinate amount of buying power on amazon. Beck's book is ranked #35 in sales among history books.