OK, inflammatory title, I know. I just needed to blow some steam of because I have – once again – come face to face with the extent to which bigotry causes people to be stupid.
The case in point involves the Huffington Post and Glenn Beck, so you know it’s got to be good. (And, for the record, my wife brought this one to my attention).
The narration of the teaser is as follows:
As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;
And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!
Here’s what the H-Po has to say about those lines:
Needless to say, it’s just as crazy and ridiculous as you’d expected it to be.
The content of said trailer ups the ante with each over-the-top line. Upon hearing that Beck had written a thriller, it’s easy to assume it’s a thrill-ride about a chalkboard who was kidnapped because it loved America too much. Obviously.
But that’d be wayyyy off. With lines like “The dog returns to his vomit” and “The burnt fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the fire,” it’s very clear what this book is about. Nothing.
So first of all, “dog returns to his vomit” is a phrase I thought anyone should be able to recognize as coming from somewhere. That’s because it’s Proverbs 26:11: As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.. The burnt-finger line is along the same thing: people do stupid things even though it is stupid to do those things.
That’s not meaningless. It’s not vague. It’s not unclear. It’s a simple observation of fact.
Here’s what else I noticed about the voice-over: it was pretty damn fine writing.
Now so far you could argue that what we’ve got is just subjective. I like Glenn Beck, the H-Po does not so we’re just mutually biased. After all, the “Copybook Headings” means nothing to me, and so you could argue that it is vague/unclear in total, and liking writing is just that: a matter of taste. But – as I said – you’d think that someone would recognize the line from Proverbs as being from somewhere else and maybe take 2 seconds to google some of the other lines to see what’s up.
If they’d done this they would have learned something: Glenn Beck didn’t write these words.
Rudyard Kipling did. Yeah, some genius at the H-Po is so blinded by their hatred of Glenn Beck that they just wrote off a poem by one of the world’s most famous authors – and recipient of a Nobel Prize in literature – as a raving buffoon.
Here’s the complete poem, if you’re interested.
Now look, I haven’t read Beck’s book. I’m actually a little nervous because I like Glenn Beck but he does tend to go round the bend on a fairly regular basis, and so this book could be huge hit or terrible miss. Who knows?
All I do know is that looking down your long nose at some idiotic buffoon who turns out to be one of the most respected writers in the world makes you look like the biggest idiot of all. Way to go, H-Po. Way to go.
(I suppose the follow up will be: Glenn Beck plagiarizes!)