An Open Letter to Deseret Book

December 10, 2009 | 102 comments
By

Dear Deseret Book,

If you are going to remove the Twilight books from your shelves because “when [you] find products that are met with mixed review[s], [you] typically move them to special order status,” then you should also remove titles by Glenn Beck, given this not-quite-so-mixed review. Particularly in light of Beck’s recent comments mocking India, Indians, and their religious beliefs, I question the propriety of DB continuing to carry his books.

Sincerely,
Julie M. Smith

102 Responses to An Open Letter to Deseret Book

  1. Naismith on December 10, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    I wrote them a while back asking them to remove Dr. Laura from their catalog. I am not near a store so don’t care about the shelves, but I can get secular books like that anywhere, I want to read about LDS stuff in their catalog.

    As well as the seeming endorsement of anyone who is as sophomoric and mean to parents as she is.

  2. meems on December 10, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    You are brilliant, Julie. I second your letter wholeheartedly.

  3. queuno on December 10, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    I think that Twilight and Beck are/were ways for DB to boost their financial performance.

  4. Jacob J on December 10, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    Really? That press release was a review of Glenn Beck’s “The Christmas Sweater”?

  5. Tim on December 10, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    A few months ago I sent them an email, stating:
    I write to express my disappointment that Deseret Book still sells certain books by Glenn Beck. Elder Wood, in the April 2006 conference, warned “beware of those who stir us up to such anger that calm reflection and charitable feelings are suppressed.”
    Many of Glenn Beck’s books are of that nature. If nothing else, the title of one of his books that Deseret Book sells, “Arguing with Idiots,” should make that clear.
    I ask that Deseret Book consider removing Glenn Beck (with the possible exceptions of his Christmas Sweater and his conversion story) from Deseret Book stores and from DeseretBook.com.
    Thank you

    They responded:
    We appreciate your feedback regarding the author Glenn Beck. Deseret Book does not endorse any specific political viewpoint. As a retailer, it is our effort to provide a variety of product choices that are of interest to the majority of our customers.
    While we acknowledge that books of a political nature invite a wide range of opinion, we of course believe that all of our customers can and should choose for themselves which products fit their needs and interests.
    We thank you sincerely for sharing your concerns with us. They will be carefully considered.

    Sincerely,
    The Retail Category Management Team

    For some strange reason, I don’t feel that they addressed my concern (or even read my letter). I can guarantee that they don’t have Becks’ liberal counterparts (Bill Maher, for example) on their shelves.

  6. Benjamin on December 10, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    I’m fairly conservative, but nevertheless I’m embarrassed that Beck that a Mormon.

  7. topher on December 10, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    that they don’t have Becks’ liberal counterparts (Bill Maher, for example) on their shelves.

    I agree how can a company like DB claim political neutrality and only stock conservative political titles. Either stock a few liberals or don’t carry current political titles at all. I really wish they would stock some politically liberal Mormon titles as it might get a little variety of perspective that is sorely lacking in LDS circles.

  8. Dan on December 10, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    I was in the This is the Place bookstore in DC with Glenn Beck’s newest piece of garbage prominently located in the new books area and I asked for the manager. I told the manager that I was offended by that and didn’t think that that book deserved to be in such a bookstore as This is the Place. Beck’s book was not about religion, and it’s purpose, clearly defined by its very title, is to sow division. It is meant to purposely offend. I told them that was unacceptable for a bookstore like This is the Place. I don’t know if they did anything about it.

  9. Rick on December 10, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    I couldn’t agree more. I only wonder if they would have applied the same “policy” to “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them” had Al Franken been LDS.

    Which reminds me… does anyone know of a political book written by an LDS liberal?

  10. MarkP on December 10, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    If all you know about Glenn Beck is what you read in media matters, you might feel this way.

    His points about India are valid. The Ganges river is indeed an open sewer in many places, with bodies floating down it. The belief that bathing in it will cure many things is dangerous and unscientific.

    But then the vitriol towards Mormons is often empty of fact, whether they are named Beck or not.

  11. Emerson on December 10, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    “If all you know about Glenn Beck is what you read in media matters, you might feel this way.”

    I was waiting for a Beck-defender. I had the over/under at 7.

  12. Mark Brown on December 10, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    Deseret Book is a lost cause and an embarrassment. I’ve stopped going there because it is so discouraging to me to walk through the store and see shelf after shelf of nothing but kitsch and crapola and to then realize that this is apparently what sells.

  13. jsg on December 10, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    I was waiting for someone to belittle the Beck-defender

  14. Dan on December 10, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    I was waiting for someone to belittle the Beck-defender attacker. I had it at about 13.

  15. Frank McIntyre on December 10, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    “I agree how can a company like DB claim political neutrality and only stock conservative political titles. ”

    If you read the letter, they caveat that they will stock stuff that will sell. I think one could make a reasonably prinicipled stance that one is less willing to unstock “mixed review” items that are political, on the grounds of letting many voices be heard. Whereas Twilight would not get that attention because it is not part of the political discourse.

    That said, I have no dog in this fight. I don’t care if DB stocks or does not stock Twilight or Beck.

  16. Jacob F on December 10, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    I listen to Beck. I listen to NPR. I enjoy both. I don’t understand the vitriol directed at Beck.

    That being said, I don’t think Deseret Book should be claiming political neutrality if it is carrying Beck’s political titles. The fact they are owned by the church only lends gravitas to the company’s actions, including its hypocrisy.

    (Separately, I’m a little sad that DB decided to gobble up most of its competition through acquisitions in the past decade or so. I know they’re in the business for profit, but wouldn’t the church benefit more by having more–not less–diversity in the LDS book market?)

  17. Jacob F on December 10, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    Also, ditto Mark Brown (#12).

    My wife and I were leaving the Mesa Temple last week when we drove by DB. Neither one of us could remember the last time we had gone in. We have no desire for the same reasons you cited.

  18. Marc Bohn on December 10, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    “I listen to Beck. I listen to NPR. I enjoy both. I don’t understand the vitriol directed at Beck.”

    How is NPR, a pretty middle-of-the-road-broadcast, somehow the ideological mirror to an ultra conservative like Beck? “I listen to Beck. I listen to Oblermann/Shulz/Moore/Rhodes/Etc.” would have been more apt.

  19. Dan on December 10, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    Marc,

    Heh, at least he didn’t say “I listen to Senator Reid and I listen to Glenn Beck.” That’s a fairly commonly used supposedly ideologically equal comparison…

  20. Jacob F on December 10, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    Marc,

    I wasn’t trying to set up an ideological mirror.

    But since you broached the subject (at the risk of a threadjack), whether NPR is middle-of-the-road is a subject that has sparked some navel gazing by NPR itself.

    You can’t seriously argue that “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me,” for example, isn’t left-leaning. I know, it’s an entertainment show. But in the end, isn’t that what Beck is too?

  21. queuno on December 10, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    How financially successful would DB be if they *didn’t* stock this stuff…

  22. Peter LLC on December 10, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    Now I’m curious to see what Brother Beck has to say about giant missile parades. Looks like Amazon has it cheaper.

  23. MarkP on December 10, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    I continue to be amazed at how easily Mormons accept a conclusion about someone based solely on what his critics say. Good thing you don’t follow the same process with Joseph Smith (and no, I’m not calling Beck a prophet, or setting him up as an equivalent–I hope other readers will understand such a comparison).

    Beck is a Mormon, and many Mormons agree with many of his opinions–I’m not shocked that DB carries his work. His personal redemption story is compelling and his Christmas Sweater is all about redemption, nothing about politics.

    That being said, I agree that it’s silly to remove Twilight from their product line. However, I think Julie’s assessment of “why” is just as silly as DB’s decision.

  24. Velska on December 10, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    I don’t care about Beck’s ideological foundations. They don’t concern me. But his commentary does violate the very basis of this idea:

    living “together in communities with respect and concern one for another” is “the hallmark of civilization.” That hallmark is under increasing threat.
    LDS Newsroom; Mormon Ethic of Civility

    I don’t know how anyone can possibly say that Beck’s “commentary” isn’t pretty vitriolic. And I’d say the same about Maher, too. I don’t like when anybody uses belittling, berating and disparaging commentary.

  25. Velska on December 10, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    And I don’t like it either, when you’re called that ugly word, elitist, if you use three-syllable words and have your grammar and spelling right.

    Grammar and spelling is definitely not the measure of the value of someone’s comments, but it does help getting the correct idea of what’s being said.

  26. John Hamilton on December 10, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    Selling Glenn Beck at DB is simply a business decision. Bill Maher’s or Al Franken’ books would not sell. It’s as simple as that.

  27. Tim on December 10, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    That’s a valid point, but read the original post here. They removed Twilight because of mixed reviews, but they continue to sell Beck? I know Beck’s awfully popular in Greater Utah, but so is Twilight. And the church’s stance on Beck’s method of discussing politics is clearly stated–“Furthermore, the Church views with concern the politics of fear and rhetorical extremism that render civil discussion impossible. As the Church begins to rise in prominence and its members achieve a higher public profile, a diversity of voices and opinions naturally follows. Some may even mistake these voices as being authoritative or representative of the Church.”
    DB carrying Beck’s political books is part of the reason “some may even mistake these voices as being authoritative or representative of the Church.”

  28. Ugly Mahana on December 10, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    I am surprised to read that people are “embarrassed” that Beck is a mormon. I have also read comments (not here, obviously) from people who wished that Beck was not mormon. I for one am grateful that Beck is mormon, and wish that those who oppose his political views were also mormons. For better or worse, I count him as a brother. This does not mean that I agree with his political opinions. But he is entitled to them, and should not be shunned for holding them forth, however inartfully.

    That said, I think the open letter here is appropriate. It takes on Beck at a commercial and political level, and does not attempt to call into question Beck’s religiosity. Bravo for engaging without denigrating.

  29. Chris Henrichsen on December 10, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    I only go to DB to buy Very Berry Pie from the Lion House Bakery. Yummy. DB sells Beck. Mormons buy Beck. Shocker.

    In my experience, most Mormons are not all that different than Beck. They also drive me crazy. I am okay with that.

  30. John Hamilton on December 10, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    Okay, I guess they should just put Twilight back on the shelves.

    BTW: Has anybody thought that maybe they continue to carry Beck because he’s right? Just a thought. :P

    Sorry, my bad.

  31. Sam B. on December 10, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    Jacob F (20),
    “You can’t seriously argue that “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me,” for example, isn’t left-leaning. I know, it’s an entertainment show.”

    Absolutely true. Why, they’d never let a conservative comedian like P.J. O’Rourke on their panel.

  32. Brian Irwin on December 10, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    Personally, I don’t care if DB carries either of the authors’ books, but they really aren’t very consistent. I just wish they would carry more academic titles. I rarely find anything I’m interested in anymore. The Joseph Smith Papers being an exception, but then again, they are academic titles…

  33. Mark D. on December 10, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    NPR is not exactly middle of the road, not historically at any rate. I would call it center-left establishment liberalism, sort of like Bill Moyers or (somewhat less so) Frontline on PBS.

  34. S.P. Bailey on December 10, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    Dear Deseret Book:
    This is bigger than Glen Beck or Stephanie Meyer. Because all of your decisions about content imply church approval. Or disapproval. And everything that actually merits such approval (e.g., the Scriptures) is already available through other church channels. And making money off the stuff that doesn’t merit such approval is better left to private parties for a variety of reasons. Finally, online booksellers are better and less expensive than you. In closing, (it is nothing personal I assure you), I just want to say that I think you should be spun off from the church. Sold like ZCMI. And the church hospitals. Think about it!

  35. Chris Henrichsen on December 10, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    “Because all of your decisions about content imply church approval. Or disapproval.”

    If we are that simple minded, the problem might not be with Deseret Book.

  36. Rebecca J on December 10, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    I find most Deseret merchandise embarrassing and wish they would stop selling it.

  37. John C. on December 10, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    Julie didn’t imply anything about DB’s decision to stop selling Twilight stuff. She linked to their statement regarding it. It ain’t that ambiguous.

  38. Garrett on December 10, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    DB shouldn’t have been carrying twilight nor glenn beck in the first place.

    In my opinion, they both make us as mormons look bad.

  39. sister blah 2 on December 10, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    Amen, SP Bailey.

  40. Jana H on December 11, 2009 at 12:24 am

    I can’t be the only one weary of Bloggernacle discussions about how awful GB and Twilight are, am I?

    Deseret can carry whatever it pleases on the shelf, and serve up whatever reasons they wish for doing so. Their job is to make money, and maybe GB does it better than Meyer. Maybe not, but hey, it’s their business decision — maybe it’s a good one, maybe not.

  41. camay on December 11, 2009 at 1:10 am

    Amen.. Seeing How to Argue with and Idot, next to Broken Things to Mend by Jeffrey Holland made me a bit squeamish. He also called a Democratic senator a whore on his radio show and suggested that the was involved in prostitution. For a church that speaks out in conference on civility and Christlike behavior displaying his book in a church run store really makes me squirm.

  42. Lupita on December 11, 2009 at 1:30 am

    Amen, Julie. The DB catalog never ceases to disturb me.

  43. Alison Moore Smith on December 11, 2009 at 6:10 am

    Whatever. If you don’t like what DB sells, start your own bookstore and stock it how you like. Then we can all talk about how we wish you weren’t Mormons because you’re such a freaking embarrassment. (Which I also heard about T&S the other day, btw.)

    All this “Deseret Book makes me embarrassed to be a Mormon” or “I’m embarrassed Glenn Beck is a Mormon” or “the stuff at Deseret Book is an embarrassment to Mormons” or “Mormon (movies, fictions, art) is so embarrassing to Mormons” is all just weirdness to me. Or arrogance. Or finger pointy. Of something. (Wow, we’re back to Max Hall.) There’s probably not a one of us who isn’t an embarrassment on some level, even if it’s just in sitting around thinking about how embarrassing everyone ELSE is. Including, apparently, bookstores and other inanimate objects.

    So here goes:

    I like some of the stuff in DB and some I don’t. Pretty much like any other bookstore.

    I like Glenn Beck most of the time. And tonight with John Stossell and the scooter I replayed it three times and thought I’d need a Depends.

    I like Dr. Laura most of the time. She’s very complimentary of Mormons. And if being a straight talking, educated women, who believes people should have standards and would rather be plain spoken to people WHO CALL HER FOR ADVICE rather than pitter around worrying about self-esteem is “sophomoric” then hand me some of that.

    Jana H and Ugly Mahana, you rock.

  44. Alison Moore Smith on December 11, 2009 at 6:29 am

    camay #41

    He also called a Democratic senator a whore on his radio show and suggested that the was involved in prostitution.

    This is what happens when you read too much HuffPo without hand sanitizer.

    No, Beck didn’t call Landrieu a “whore,” nor did he suggest that she was involved in prostitution in the way you’re implying. When she changed her position and voted for health care — after proudly wrangling up $300,000,000 for her state — he likened the vote for a price to “hooking.”

    Was she giving sex for pay? No. Was Beck implying that she was? No. But was she engaged in “the corrupt use of one’s position for the sake of financial gain”? A whole lot of people think she was. “Prostitution” happens to be the correct word for that.

  45. Dan on December 11, 2009 at 7:07 am

    the real Beck defender has shown up and she is mad as hell

  46. John Mansfield on December 11, 2009 at 9:12 am

    An Open Letter to Times and Seasons

    Dear Times and Seasons,

    A comment at your web site by one of your writers, Frank McIntyre, filled me with disappointment, but not so full that there wasn’t room left for disgust. [more . . .]

  47. Naismith on December 11, 2009 at 9:38 am

    And if being a straight talking, educated women,

    She is educated, but she wasn’t good enough to find a permanent job in her field of training (physiology) so she turned to other things such as talk radio instead.

    who believes people should have standards

    Oh, yeah, apparently she believes other people should, not so much herself. She was an adulterer in her first marriage, had an affair with a married man with three children, got pregnant out of wedlock, and so on.

    I prefer the examples of women like Sheri Dew and Ardeth Kapp, who walk the walk as well as walking the talk.

    and would rather be plain spoken to people WHO CALL HER FOR ADVICE rather than pitter around worrying about self-esteem is “sophomoric” then hand me some of that.

    The “sophmoric” comes from the fact that she had one child. One. And I have often heard her give advice that starts, “When I was raising my son….” As if that would work with every child. Those of us with more than one know that each is different, and what works for one may not for the other. And that part of our challenge is in trying to triage the needs of the various kids.

    A sophomore is a person with one year behind them, who thinks they know all as a result. It fits her very well.

  48. Christopher on December 11, 2009 at 9:39 am

    Allison, you might want to go back and listen to that clip. You’re right that Beck was using “prostitution” as a metaphor for what he sees as the selling of her principles, but he and his buddies described it all in very very sexual terms, discussing hotel rooms, dressing “like a slut,” calling her “a high class prostitute,” and so on.

  49. Alison Moore Smith on December 11, 2009 at 11:18 am

    Christopher, I did. He didn’t call her a whore and he didn’t imply that she was involved in sexual prostitution.

    She is educated, but she wasn’t good enough to find a permanent job in her field of training (physiology) so she turned to other things such as talk radio instead.

    Yea, she stunk on ice as a therapist so she HAD to write a pile of best selling books and HAD to have a hit radio show where a gazillion people line up to get her opinion. If only she’d been “good enough” to work nine to five in an office with the real successes.

    apparently she believes other people should, not so much herself.

    Knowing Schlessing well enough to condemn her, I’m sure you already know of her discussion about her past. She was not only kind of scummy, but a screaming, anti-religious, pro-choice, man-bashing feminist. (Wait, are those the same thing?) And she grew up. She changed her mind. She saw the error of her ways. She repented.

    Here in the church we’re kind of into that.

    I prefer the examples of women like Sheri Dew and Ardeth Kapp, who walk the walk as well as walking the talk.

    Well, maybe you can get them to take over all of talk radio. And the senate while you’re at it. Or maybe President Monson will do it. Or Joan of Arc.

    But wait, doesn’t Saint Dew have a teeny bit to do with Schlessinger’s and Beck’s books being in Deseret Book in the first place? She better start walking that walk a little closer to the party line!

    The “sophmoric” comes from the fact that she had one child. One. And I have often heard her give advice that starts, “When I was raising my son….”

    Yea, that Ardeth Kapp. She had zero children. ZERO. And yet she gave advice about TEENAGERS!!! WHAT????

    Note: Unless you are the Duggars, DO NOT get all uppity with parental advice. Even if someone asks you for it.

  50. Chris Henrichsen on December 11, 2009 at 11:28 am

    “She was not only kind of scummy, but a screaming, anti-religious, pro-choice, man-bashing feminist. (Wait, are those the same thing?) And she grew up. She changed her mind. She saw the error of her ways. She repented.

    Here in the church we’re kind of into that.”

    So, let us hope that all you liberals will repent for being pro-choice and feminist. Wait…that is me. Dang it.

  51. CS Eric on December 11, 2009 at 11:47 am

    AMS,

    It’s funny–your defense of Dr Laura could be identical to a defense of Glenn Beck. He’s had several books at number one on the New York Times Bestseller list, has a very highly-rated and successful radio show, and also has a successful television show. Dr Laura’s television show was cancelled the first or second week because of complaints about “hateful speech.”

    Glenn never cheated on his wife, or left one wife for another one. Yeah, his first wife divorced him because he was a raging alcoholic, but he repented and joined the Church. He speaks openly about attending Church and going to the temple.

    Comparing the two using your criteria, I’d say Glenn Beck is as qualified to be on Deseret Book’s shelves as Dr Laura is, maybe more so.

  52. RoAnn on December 11, 2009 at 11:48 am

    I’ve been away from blogging and commenting for a long while; it was such great fun to read this thread and laugh with delight at the sparkling interchange.
    Carry on, T & S!

  53. Alison Moore Smith on December 11, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    CS Eric, good on you. I have no problem with either author’s books being on the shelves. Or even Al Gore and his inconvenient fantasies. It’s not my bookstore — even if it’s run by other Mormons.

    FTR, it’s not a defense of Schlessinger, it’s just career fact. To try to impugn her by saying she wasn’t “good enough” at counseling in her cubicle that she HAD to go on to counsel millions and millions with books and radio is wonky.

    ****

    What is markedly different about Mormons screaming bloody murder about excessive, lethal embarrassment imposed by successful, conservative Mormons (Romney and Beck and Hall come to mind) or conservative Mormon-run institutions (Deseret Book, Larry Miller, etc.), and getting all icky and scooting to the end of the pew when someone walks into the chapel with cigarette smoke on their clothes? Other than the obvious unprogressive conservative part.

  54. Naismith on December 11, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    Yea, she stunk on ice as a therapist so she HAD to…

    It is NOT true that her doctorate is in therapy. She did complete the minimum courses to be a licensed marriage and family therapist, but her doctorate is in physiology, and she couldn’t cut it in that competitive environment (which is what I was referring to).

    Had she been an actual psychotherapist, it is likely that she would be censured by professional organizations or had hearings about her unprofessional behavior on air, but since she is not of their ranks, she can get away with it.

    Knowing Schlessing well enough to condemn her, I’m sure you already know of her discussion about her past. She was not only kind of scummy, but a screaming, anti-religious, pro-choice, man-bashing feminist. (Wait, are those the same thing?) And she grew up. She changed her mind. She saw the error of her ways. She repented.

    For some years, she refused to acknowledge her own past. Has she actually repented? Did she apologize to the wife and children who she hurt by stealing their dad away? I’ve never see where she actually admitted and apologized for those things, but since I am not a fan, I could easily have missed it.

    There’s a difference between repenting and simply singing a different tune that can be sold for a high price.

    I admit I am not an expert on her. I haven’t listened to her in some years because I can commute to work by bicycle nowadays. But when my husband and I shared a car, he’d leave the radio on that station and in the morning I found myself hearing her berate parents.

    Just because she is popular does not make her right.

    I prefer the calm and considerate voices of Rick Steeves, Joy Brown, or NPR.

  55. Tim on December 11, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    Deseret Book is owned by the church. Larry Miller Auto, Mitt Romney, and Glenn Beck are not.
    Some of us are disturbed that a church-owned enterprise sells books like “Arguing with Idiots.” Larry Miller can employ shady salesmen, Mitt Romney can change political views to fit whatever position he’s running for, and Glenn Beck can spew out his anger. These may be members of the LDS church, but they are not the LDS church itself.
    Deseret Book, widely known to be owned by the church, should set itself to a higher standard because it’s owned by the church. Apparently they felt an obligation to set a higher standard with regards to the Twilight books, written by an LDS author and widely popular among members of the LDS church. They should set a higher standard in regards to books like “Arguing with Idiots” as well.
    This isn’t some guy that smells like cigarettes. A more apt comparison would be a General Authority stamping out a cigarette he just smoked before walking into a church building.

  56. Tim on December 11, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    On a side note/threadjack, because #54 mentioned him, Rick Steves (besides writing the best tour guides out there) did his first real tour of Europe with a Mormon kid, his best friend, as his companion.

  57. Ida Tarbell on December 11, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    Leftist Mormons should value Glenn Beck for the contrast he provides them. After all, now I can tell my friends that while I’m a Mormon, I’m not a Glenn Beck Mormon…

  58. Christopher on December 11, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    Alison, “Christopher, I did. He didn’t call her a whore and he didn’t imply that she was involved in sexual prostitution.”

    Have one more listen. It seems you’re referring only to his comments made on his TV program, which were actually a follow-up to a rant the previous day on his radio show. Listen here. He calls her a “high-class prostitute,” “a whore,” and “a hooker.” He talks about men taking her to a high priced hotel room instead of a back alley, and there was this zinger: “She’s the one when you say, ‘You’re a hooker! … you’re like having sex for a hundred bucks!’ Then she says, ‘It’s not a hundred bucks! It’s five thousand bucks!'” Now you are correct that he uses all of this delightful language as a metaphor for the senator trying to protect the interests of her constituents. But does that language bother you even a little bit? Perhaps if not as a Mormon, then as a woman?

    Tim (#54), just as an fyi, Larry Miller passed away earlier this year.

  59. CS Eric on December 11, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    I don’t want to put words in Naismith’s mouth, but I think part of the objection is that by calling herself “Dr. Laura,” she intentionally gives the misleading impression that her degree is related in some way to what she does. If she were in physical medicine, her calling herself “Dr. Laura” would make sense, because that’s where her expertise is. Somebody calling herself “Dr. Laura” and giving family-counseling related advice gives the misleading impression that her PhD is related to her day job. LaVell Edwards got a doctorate, but he never called himself “Dr. LaVell.” Boyd Packer has his EdD, but doesn’t call himself “Dr. Boyd.”

  60. Naismith on December 11, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    “On a side note/threadjack, because #54 mentioned him, Rick Steves (besides writing the best tour guides out there) did his first real tour of Europe with a Mormon kid, his best friend, as his companion.”

    Omigosh, I heard a show where he was a guest and wondered if he was LDS! Thanks for the confirmation. Rick talks about him and that experience A LOT. I believe it is still available via podcast if anyone is interested.

  61. Naismith on December 11, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    I don’t want to put words in Naismith’s mouth, but I think part of the objection is that by calling herself “Dr. Laura,” she intentionally gives the misleading impression that her degree is related in some way to what she does.

    Of course anyone who earns a doctorate is entitled to use the term Dr. for the rest of her life. I was merely trying to address Alison’s comment that she wasn’t good enough at counseling. Rather, she wasn’t good enough as the scientist she was trained to be.

  62. JimD on December 11, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Niasmith, what source do you have for asserting that she “wasn’t good enough as the scientist she was trained to be” (as opposed to “didn’t enjoy it”, “had conflicts”, or one of the thousand and one other reasons that people often wind up in careers that are only semi-related to their academic training)?

  63. Naismith on December 11, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    Niasmith, what source do you have for asserting that she “wasn’t good enough as the scientist she was trained to be” (as opposed to “didn’t enjoy it”, “had conflicts”, or one of the thousand and one other reasons that people often wind up in careers that are only semi-related to their academic training)?</blockquote.

    That's a good point, Jim. I believe that being willing to keep going when you don't enjoy it and resolve conflicts is part of being a good scientist. But sure, we can just say that she doesn't work in the field in which she was educated.

    (My suspicion is that part of the issue was that nobody wanted to hire her since she had proven to be a homewrecker in her last job in that field. I though I was being more polite to say that it was entirely professional.)

  64. Crick on December 11, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    In Defense of Deseret Book:

    I just walked out of DB in SLC five minutes ago. No I don’t work there.

    Titles/things I found include:
    -The Audacity of Hope –Obama
    -Change We can Believe In—Obama
    -Rescued by Mao—William Taylor
    -American Sketches—Walter Isaacson
    -All the David McCullough Books
    -The Picture of Dorian Grey—Oscar Wilde
    -All of Jane Austen Books
    -Books by Robert Louis Stephenson, Herman Melville, William Defoe, Charles Dickens.
    -Homer’s Iliad.
    -Scholarly works including the Joseph Smith Papers (#3 or 4 on their best sellers list).
    BYU paraphernalia
    UofU paraphernalia

    Yes, I also saw plenty of buttoned-down romance novels, kitschy Christmas trinkets, books for teenagers and other items your grandma might get you. There were hundreds of CD’s and DVDs as well as art work that ranged from kitsch to well done to famous.

    It seems that there are three distinct criticisms here. The first is that folks are embarrassed because the stuff is kitschy and lowbrow and somehow embarrasses the Church. I would argue that in this respect Deseret Book is quite average (did you see the other brainier titles I listed above?) and that this is something of a snooty complaint. One who thinks that Deseret Management Corp is going to run your or my definition of a perfect bookstore (just because its affiliated with the LDS Church) is mistaken. They don’t run perfect bookstores anymore than they run perfect restaurants.

    The second criticism is about the fact that DB should cut Glenn Beck since it cut Stephanie Meyer for mixed reviews. Some have argued that these are simply business decisions. Actually, they are partly business decisions and partly based on reputational considerations. Meyer has brought a lot of $$ to DB and they still sell her books online but opted not to have them on their shelves. Believe me, no matter how they decide these issues, people will find fault with them. No one would care if it were Costco, but anytime the Church involves itself in temporal matters (think BYU) people are bound to either 1)assume that the Lion House’s menu must be the word and will of the Lord or 2)try to save the Church/ignorant people from causing/making those ridiculous assumptions. My own opinion is that it’s not a big deal but that the Church has been wise to create and manage for-profit, temporal businesses during the 20th Century. It has helped the Church in ways I won’t get into at this moment.

    The last criticism is a political one. I admit that I get bugged sometimes when I see the Glenn Beck titles in DB. I actually complained once about a title that was along the lines of 9/11 Conspiracy theory and another book about the Dream Mine that was borderline apostate. I found out that DB has reps who choose what goes on the shelves and that the decisions about what to stock are not [all] made by Sherri Dew (and are definitely not made by the GA board of directors who set general policy).

    So ultimately, my defense of Deseret Book is that they are doing the best they can and of course they don’t represent a Church endorsement of Glenn Beck. Who knows, maybe they will yank his stuff too if they get enough complaints or they feel that having his titles appears to be an endorsement. But I doubt it.

    The reason you will find 5 conservative titles for each liberal one at DB is because it takes two months to sell two liberal books along the Wasatch Front and 1 day to sell 10 conservative ones. But I think they probably fancy themselves 70% an LDS bookstore and 30% as a regular bookstore slanted to an LDS audience (and for the most part I think that is accurate).

  65. DB on December 11, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    Dear Times and Seasons,

    Who are you, and why should we care what you think?

    Yours very truly,

    Deseret Book

    PS thanks to Velska for the best comment ever.

  66. Scott B. on December 11, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    This post has inspired me. I’m going to get all of my co-bloggers at BCC a gift card for DB this year for Christmas.

  67. Drew on December 11, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    Where’s the problem? Deseret Book is a bookstore. Deseret Book has a particular policy regarding books that receive a lot of complaints. Apparently, and sadly, Deseret Book has received a lot of complaints regarding the Twilight series. So, in accordance to said policy, they remove the book from the shelves. Where’s the problem?

    Perhaps they haven’t received the same number of complaints regarding Beck’s books as they have for Meyer’s books. I certainly wouldn’t consider Beck’s books, or idelogy, ‘filth’ or ‘smut’. It’s just, oftentimes, different than mine. Trust me, Deseret Book could do much worse.

    One other thing. I’m happy Glenn Beck is a Mormon. I’m happy Harry Reid is a Mormon. I’m happy that everyone who is a member of the Church is a Mormon. Why should anyone be embarrassed that anyone is a Mormon? The problem is that people take Beck’s opinion/political ideology and automatically assume that it is what all Mormons believe or think, or that it is what the Church teaches. And should Beck or any other member do something inappropriate, we shouldn’t be “embarrassed” that that person is Mormon, because the Church doesn’t promote such behavior. We’re human.

  68. Velska on December 11, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    It is too bad that the best way to get heard is to use extremist rhetoric.

    It is a bit like the wheel that squeaks the loudest that tends to get oiled first. It may not be the one that most needs it, though.

  69. John Hamilton on December 11, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    Crick #63: Great post! You said it all right there. I can now move on to more important stuff. Thanks.

  70. Douglas Hunter on December 12, 2009 at 12:20 am

    What is so astonishing to me about Beck is that his conversion narrative includes a deep need for repentance, and real healing, and a moment of spiritual insight when he realized how complete the love of another human being was for those around him. How does someone who has that kind of conversion, go on to so throughly devalue and ridicule others based on ideological difference? The mind boggles. Even if one were to argue that his public persona is an act, a character he has created, and therefore is not really “him” the mind still boggles.

    #63- Let us know when DB starts to carry Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky.

  71. Gentle Critic on December 12, 2009 at 10:40 am

    This is a minor threadjack, for which I apologize in advance. But I noticed something about one of Alison Moore Smith’s dismissive comments above–where she suggests anyone that doesn’t want Beck’s books to be sold in DB is embarrassed to be a Mormon. The hyperlink connected with her name wasn’t for T&S or Mormonmomma. It was for a commercial website, http://win-with-1.com/, which is supposed to help you set up your new blog for a low low price (but definitely not lower than blogspot). This really might have been inadvertent–a quick look showed that other hyperlinks directed me to Mormonmomma. I’m also reminded of a recent occasion when she linked to a t-shirt she designed to feed on the BYU-Utah rivalry.

    I don’t think this is the worst thing in the world, but with T&S’s refusal to sell ads and blunt rebukes of commenters who have used T&S as a commercial platform, I would have thought T&S bloggers wouldn’t do this sort of thing.

    I think Alison is a faithful, thoughtful person, if overly strident for my tastes. This isn’t an attack on your person or your worth; more of a policy question.

  72. oudenos on December 12, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Gentle Critic,

    I don’t think the hyperlink was accidental in that I don’t think it was just one random hyperlink out of all the many hyperlinks out there. If you click on the hyperlink and scroll down a bit you will see on the right hand side a box that says ‘NetworkedBlogs.’ In this box are a few Facebook picture/profile thingies, of which one is Alison, and if you click on it and follow the link to the profile, you will discover Alison Moore Smith’s Facebook page complete with a link to the hyperlink in question under her contact info. You may draw you own conclusions (none of which, I should add, for Alison Moore Smith’s sake, should be seen as sinister or maliciously sneaky).

    But I think that your gentle criticism is not without merit.

  73. H. Bob on December 12, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    It occurs to me that an open letter to DB to apply the same standard to political books as it did to the Twilight series might instead invoke the law of unintended consequences. Because you know that for every Julie Smith who writes a letter, even an open letter on a blog, calling for DB to not stock Glenn Beck anymore, there are 10 to 20 members of the Eagle Forum who are shocked and appalled that DB carries Dreams of My Father and Senator Reid’s autobiography. Holding DB to the Twilight standard would, I fear, result in all Glenn Beck all the time (and new reprints of Skousen to boot).

  74. Julie M. Smith on December 12, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    H. Bob, just to be clear: I do not object to DB stocking Beck because of Beck’s political content, but rather because of Beck’s treatment of those who disagree with him. I didn’t see anything in _Dreams of My Father_ that treated Obama’s political enemies as, well, enemies. On the other hand, I haven’t read _Rush Limbaugh Is A Big, Fat Idiot_, but I’d guess from the title alone that the attitude would be equally inappropriate for DB.

  75. Alison Moore Smith on December 12, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    It’s going to be a long day, I see!

    Naismith #54:

    It is NOT true that her doctorate is in therapy.

    I didn’t say anything about what her doctorate was in. She was a private family therapist. I don’t know how successful she was at that or anything else. (Do you?) But it’s still odd that your unsubstantiated complaint is that she wasn’t “good enough” in something so she had to go be uber-successful elsewhere.

    For some years, she refused to acknowledge her own past.

    Are you suggesting that anyone who ever has any public presence (say, posting on blogs?) is required to make a formal pronouncement explaining any and all past bad behaviors? OK. You start. I’ll go when the rest of you are done.

    I prefer the calm and considerate voices of Rick Steeves, Joy Brown, or NPR.

    Whenever I hear NPR I think of, what was it, Squash Talk?

    Of course you are free to prefer whomever you choose. But that doesn’t make another voice illegitimate. I’ve never heard Steeves, but I heard Brown a lot in Florida. While “calm and considerate” would accurately describe her, at the time at least (haven’t heard her since about 2000), “without principle” would also be close. It didn’t matter what the caller said was going on in his/her life, her response was clinical and rarely every addressed moral issues clearly impacting the situation. I didn’t like my kids to hear the show because of the absolute acceptance of what I would call “deviant behavior” was prevalent.

    “Well, if your teen daughters are disturbed when your boyfriend sleeps over and walks around in his underwear, make sure your girls sleep in and stay downstairs until he goes to work.”

    Where, yea, Schlessinger would say, “You’re presenting a horrible example for your children by engaging in immoral behavior. Tell your girls you’re sorry. Stop sleeping around. [And she might throw in “and acting like an unpaid whore.”] Save yourself for marriage like you’d want your daughters to do.”

    But note that Schlessinger’s entire show is based on the resolving or MORAL DILEMMAS.

    One of the things that bothered me about Schlessinger was her use of what I’d call vulgar or at least course language. She would say “screwing around,” “knocked up,” “shacking up,” etc. Later I heard her explain her device and while I don’t use it myself, it makes more sense. She said that when people approach sacred things like sex and pregnancy in an appropriate way (within marriage, etc.) she uses the sacred terms. When they approach it irresponsibly, cavalierly, recreationally, she uses the vulgar terms because the behavior is vulgar. That’s an interesting idea to me.

    Just because she is popular does not make her right.

    Neither does it make her wrong.

  76. Ardis Parshall on December 12, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    (Intermission: Some of you are referring to previous comments as #12 or #54. I can’t find any numbering of comments in T&S’s new format. Surely you aren’t manually counting the comments? How are you determining the number? Thanks.)

  77. Julie M. Smith on December 12, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    Ardis, the numbers are displayed to the left of the comments for me. I am not sure why you are not seeing them.

  78. Alison Moore Smith on December 12, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    Christopher, good grief. Did YOU listen to the link you provided? Here’s a transcript of that portion. (There are THREE people taking here.)

    Beck: “There’s nobody that’s going to look at her and say, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s a tramp!'”

    Burguiere: “That’s a whore!”

    Beck: “No, no!”

    Not only was Beck not the one who used the word “whore,” but the actual statement was that they would NOT call her a whore.

    But even though Beck did not call her a whore (at least not in the sources provided thus far), it’s still incredibly clear that the implication was NEVER that she gets paid for sex. The entire discussion, obviously, was an analogy between selling your body for cash and selling your principles/vote for cash/payouts/bribes. (And you’ll note Landrieu was pretty darn proud of it.)

    So to make the claim that Beck “called a Democratic senator a whore on his radio show and suggested that the was involved in prostitution” is misleading at best.

  79. Ardis Parshall on December 12, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    Hmmm. Thanks, Julie. The numbers appear there in Firefox but not in whatever version of IE is being used by AOL.

  80. Dan on December 12, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    Alison,

    http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/200911230008

    “We’re with a high class prostitute.” Those are his words. No analysis needed.

    “This one comes to your Four Seasons hotel room and does it right. This one doesn’t dress really slutty….There’s nobody that’s gonna look at her and say oh my gosh that’s a whore. You’re gonna look at her and say… oh wow she’s classy. And somebody whispers ‘she’s a prostitute’. But you’re gonna think, yeah, she’s not cheap. You’ll dismiss it because ya she’s not getting $20 bucks an hour. No a thousand bucks a night. You say ‘you’re a hooker!’ you’re having sex for a $100 bucks. She says ‘It’s not a hundred bucks, it’s five THOUSAND bucks!’ And then you respect her. Then you’re like oh oh. It’s a type of high class prostitute that actually purchases a wedding ring. When she’s walking through the plaza, people actually think that she’s married to the person she’s walking in to. That’s how classy she is. You don’t sell your principles for $50 bucks on a street corner, no no no, $300 mil in a 3 page definition……”

    Surely, Alison, as a woman, you would be offended by this kind of remark towards an otherwise respectable woman.

  81. Alison Moore Smith on December 12, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    Crick, that was a great post. Amen.

    #70: “Gentle Critic” aka “Observer”

    This is a minor threadjack

    Really? With just a little “gentle” ad hominem thrown in for good measure?

    …above–where she suggests anyone that doesn’t want Beck’s books to be sold in DB is embarrassed to be a Mormon.

    To be clear, I did not suggest, nor did I say, that anyone who doesn’t want Beck’s books sold in any venue embarrassed to be a Mormon. You can read my actual comment above if you care to.

    The hyperlink connected with her name wasn’t for T&S or Mormonmomma.

    I am not aware of a policy that requires URL name links to go to either T&S or MormonMomma.

    It was for a commercial website, http://win-with-1.com/, which is supposed to help you set up your new blog for a low low price (but definitely not lower than blogspot).

    And the point of that statement is to show what? That a free subdomain doesn’t cost as much as paying for your own domain, hosting, theme, and setup?

    This really might have been inadvertent–a quick look showed that other hyperlinks directed me to Mormonmomma.

    As a regular commenter I’m sure you have probably noticed than when you comment on most blogs there is an optional line for a URL to be entered. If you are logged in to that site, this option isn’t available. If you are not logged in, it is open. If filled in, it links with a no-follow. Some browsers fill in those labelled fields based on various criteria, generally, I think, last entered on any similarly labelled field. I have a number of sites, so what that defaults to can vary.

    I’m also reminded of a recent occasion when she linked to a t-shirt she designed to feed on the BYU-Utah rivalry.

    “To feed on”? I love the “gentle” rhetoric! (If I was Pelosi, I’d cry and tell you I remember such rhetoric from a football game in the 70’s. :) ) Yes, I did. It related to the topic and, if I recall, someone else had linked to something similar. And someone above linked to Media Matters, which is also a commercial site. And people often link to books on commercial sites, etc. And non-commercial sites still benefit the owners in various ways.

    I don’t set policy here, but to me it’s pretty obvious if a link is spam or just comes up in the course of conversation.

    This isn’t an attack on your person or your worth

    Whew I’m relieved. We strident folks can’t handle personal attacks.

  82. Dan on December 12, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    Alison,

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHpe2fapREA

    Not offended yet?

  83. Alison Moore Smith on December 12, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    Dan, I know you’re a good democrat, but did you really miss the conversation? I said he didn’t call her a “whore.” He didn’t. I heard the entire thing. He didn’t call her a “whore.” Your quote simply confirms that. What is your contention?

    OF COURSE “analysis is needed,” given the fact that some (you?) continue to falsely imply that Beck’s statements accused the senator (also a good democrat?) of being involved in SEXUAL prostitution. It’s obvious that was never stated nor implied, but it sure makes a better smear of Beck to let it stand that way.

    Why would I be offended “as a woman” about something? And don’t call me Shirley. :)

  84. Dan on December 12, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    Alison,

    Are you dense or something? Beck called her a prostitute, a hooker and a whore. All three words are there, from his own lips. He’s saying that her actions are like a whore. But not just some slut around the corner. Oh no, she is a high class whore, with a diamond ring and all.

    There’s nobody that’s gonna look at her and say oh my gosh that’s a whore. You’re gonna look at her and say… oh wow she’s classy.

    Those are his words. Do you see that word 15 words in that is in bold. That’s w h o r e. It’s there for you to see.

    I have no beef with whether you think he should be in DB or not. I don’t care. I made my comment about that earlier. But I do care that you defend him like this when this is a very reprehensible man who says very reprehensible things and somehow you think we should think he doesn’t.

  85. Mark Brown on December 12, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Although this constitutes a minor threadjack, I think it is relevant to the direction this post is going.

    I think it is important to understand that senator Landrieu’s action has probably saved the medicaid system in Louisiana. The health care system in Louisiana has been in bad shape ever since Katrina, when several hospitals closed and still haven’t reopened. This includes Charity hospital, the largest hospital in the state, which served not only as large teaching hospital but was also the primary provider for the poor and indigent.

    On this vote, at least, sen. Landrieu has nothing to be ashamed of. She has served the interests of her constituents. Sen. Hatch has consistently voted in the interests of Hill AFB in Utah, but if Beck has implied that Hatch is involed in prostitution, I guess I’ve missed it.

  86. Julie M. Smith on December 12, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    Dan and Alison,

    Please stop. You have now provided the available evidence and your interpretations; there is nothing more to be gained from your exchange.

  87. Alison Moore Smith on December 12, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    Julie, I apologize. I want to clarify because Beck’s words are misrepresented. (Yes, Dan, I am dense.) I don’t think it is fair to anyone to leave the last comment with erroneous information impugning someone.

    Dan, I provided the transcript above. You are mistaken about what “his own words” were.

    No, Beck isn’t the one who used the term whore in this exchange, unless he was simultaneously imitating Stu AND superimposing his real voice over his fake voice. You’ll note that the “whore” statement was said AT THE SAME TIME his own statement was made. It’s Stu, not Glenn.

    And when you say, “Beck called her a prostitute, a hooker and a whore” it is utterly misleading until you include the anaology “he’s saying that her actions are like a whore” (and maybe even then) — as the first quote I responded to left out. His statements had nothing to do with her selling sex, which IS obviously what people think when you use terms like prostitute or hooker or whore.

    You blogged that Catholic church leaders are whores. Does context matter?

    I don’t understand your last sentence, but I have no beef with YOU (or anyone) disliking him. (And I don’t care what DB stocks, either.) I have a problem people saying he said things he didn’t say and with misleading others by leaving off context that is actually relevant. If you know me at all, you’d know that I’d defend a liberal on the same grounds if I knew about the erroneous statements. Differing opinions are fine, making up stuff isn’t.

    Mark, IMO the “shame” comes from the framers trying to hide the intent. SOMEBODY had a problem with just outright saying “we’re going to give Louisiana x” and instead couched three pages of qualifiers that would magically only leave Louisiana as the beneficiary. (And Landrieu admitted it.) At least be up front about what you’re doing and let citizens honestly debate about the legislation that’s passed.

    And I do think the dealmaking in congress is appalling. By Landrieu, Hatch, or anybody else.

  88. Jonathan Green on December 12, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    Alison, I don’t think that’s what Julie meant by “stop.”

  89. Mark B. on December 12, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    Better, the scripture says, to live in the corner of a rooftop . . .

  90. Teaneck, New Jersey on December 12, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    The DB site sells /The Good Fight: Hard Lessons from Searchlight to Washington/ by Harry Reid and Mark Warren (as well as Stephenie Meyer’s /The Host/).

  91. Teaneck, New Jersey on December 12, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    @ Allison: Beck’s chatter partner in the broadcast audio wasn’t his producer Steve “Stu” Burguiere, it’s Beck’s sidekick (and fellow Latter-day Saint) Pat Gray.

  92. Teaneck, New Jersey on December 12, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    Both sides:

    Random snippet from Nancy Franklin’s Dec. 1st The New Yorker magazine piece on Beck:

    “[…]when, from his bottomless grab bag of fearmongering and inciteful comments about the coming ‘redistribution of wealth,’ and the revolutionaries who want to take away our freedom, and the apparently satanic form of capitalism called eco-capitalism, and Mao-loving politicians, he pulled out a doozy. It was a couple of days before the ‘beer summit’ at the White House—the sitdown that Obama arranged for Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and the policeman who had arrested him outside his house a few weeks earlier. Beck said, on ‘Fox & Friends,’ ‘This President, I think, has exposed himself as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people, or the white culture, I don’t know what it is.’ It’s not a logical impossibility for anyone, even for a person who is half black and half white, to make a racist statement, but Beck’s act of malice was, to say the least, stupid—and, it could be argued, not without its own whiff of racism. Although a number of advertisers subsequently boycotted the show, Beck did not retreat, and the media emperor Rupert Murdoch, who owns Fox News, supported him, saying in a recent interview that Obama ‘did make a very racist comment, uh, about, you know, blacks and whites and so on.’ (In the same interview, Murdoch defended Fox News’s prideful characterization of itself as ‘fair and balanced.’)”

    (Plus Dec. 2nd blogpost by Emmy award-winning media critc Eric Burns):

    “… ¶ Actually, Beck is a problem of taste as well as ethics. He laughs and cries; he pouts and giggles; he makes funny faces and grins like a cartoon character; he makes earnest faces yet insists he is a clown; he cavorts like a victim of St. Vitus’s Dance. His means of communicating are, in other words, so wide-ranging as to suggest derangement as much as versatility. ¶ He is Huey Long without the political office. ¶ He is Father Coughlin without the dour expression. ¶ He is John Birch without the Society. ¶ He is an embarrassment to all true conservatives, men and women who believe sincerely, thoughtfully and sensibly that the role of government in American life should be limited. Of course, Beck does not call himself a conservative; he is, rather, a libertarian, which may be defined as a conservative-squared, a person who wants the feds to collect no money in taxes, spend no money on programs, but make available all services that the libertarian deems necessary for his own convenience and safety. ¶ It is remarkable that Beck has attracted the amount of attention he has. Remarkable because, every night, Fox’s Sean Hannity and MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann stage a duel of one-sidedness in political commentary that would have been the talk, and the shame, of a more civil era. ¶ Remarkable because, every night, Fox’s Bill O’Reilly stages an exhibition of contentiousness, mean-spiritedness and self-aggrandizement that would similarly have affronted civil viewers of the past. ¶ Remarkable because, every night, CNN’s Campbell Brown stages an exhibition of a different kind, one of honorable pugnacity, an exhibition that would have stimulated viewers of the past but instead makes her a part of her network’s continuing decline in prime-time ratings. ¶ Yet Glenn Beck surpasses them all. He is the talk of the talkers. It is he who causes commentators to comment, fans to swoom, foes to fulminate. And it is he who has motivated me to burrow up from my literary researches to opine on journalism one more time. ¶ …”

    Rebutted by Beck himself (in interview of him by Barbara Walters on December 9th): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPWw1oOhLhg

  93. ZD Eve on December 12, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    Better, the scripture says, to live in the corner of a rooftop . . .

    Mark B., I don’t tend to agree with most of what Alison has said here, and I’m not always comfortable with her tone, but this strikes me as chillingly sexist, in that you’re drawing on a very long tradition of stereotypes about the loud, opinionated, argumentative woman in order to dismiss her.

    Please tell me I’m misreading you.

  94. John Hamilton on December 12, 2009 at 11:29 pm

    I don’t know if this was brought up before, but the reason DB pulled the Twilight book was because it’s main character dealt with an unwed pregnancy. The Church and DB has certain gospel principles they need to abide by. Glenn Beck’s opinions may or may not jive perfectly with the gospel, but they are up for debate and varying opinions. An unwed pregnancy, however, is probably a little too blatant in the opinion of DB.

    I think this settles it now. Right?

  95. Naismith on December 13, 2009 at 12:37 am

    But note that Schlessinger’s entire show is based on the resolving or MORAL DILEMMAS.

    What moral dilemma was she addressing when she was so rude to military wives, telling them not to whine? Or proclaiming that wives are to blame when a husband has an affair?

    I agree that some of the principles that she talks (not necessarily lives) are consistent with LDS values. But she is so mean-spirited in the way she goes about it.

    One of the things that bothered me about Schlessinger was her use of what I’d call vulgar or at least course language. She would say “screwing around,” “knocked up,” “shacking up,” etc. Later I heard her explain her device and while I don’t use it myself, it makes more sense. She said that when people approach sacred things like sex and pregnancy in an appropriate way (within marriage, etc.) she uses the sacred terms. When they approach it irresponsibly, cavalierly, recreationally, she uses the vulgar terms because the behavior is vulgar. That’s an interesting idea to me.

    Exactly, that’s one of the things I don’t like about her show. I can’t imagine a disciple of Jesus Christ ever using those terms. And she often drops such judgement without having all the facts.

    I worry that new converts, seeing her stuff listed in a Deseret Book catalog, will think that behavior is accepted or normal in our church. I don’t care so much what they carry in the stores, which are all out in the West I guess. But for those of us using their services in areas far away from church headquarters, where most people are converts, such a listing in their catalog seems wasted space and leaving a misleading impression.

  96. Cameron Nielsen on December 13, 2009 at 12:48 am

    Anyone who actually listens to a significant cross-section of Beck’s radio program knows that he isn’t the crazy hate-monger he’s made out to be. Sometimes he’s too sarcastic and his latest book title is foolish and does his cause no service, but his latest book is nothing but a list of facts with citations to back them up.

    I’ve never heard anyone talk negatively about Glenn Beck and actually address his positions or assertions. They just attack the messenger.

    If there’s a reason one can’t fathom how Christmas sweater Beck and Hatemonger Beck can be the same person, maybe it’s that one of those isn’t him?

    And no, I have not sustained Beck as my inspired religious leader. =)

    That said, it is silly to have a book about arguing with idiots in DB. To be fair, though, he wanted to name it “Commies” but his publisher turned him down. =)

  97. Carl Youngblood on December 13, 2009 at 5:19 am

    John Hamilton, Twilight has no unwed pregnancies in it. Bella was married before she got pregnant.

  98. Gentle Critic "aka" Observer on December 13, 2009 at 9:41 am

    Wow, Alison. How’d you figure it out? Was it because I used the same ridiculous email? Nice sleuthing.

    Here’s my point: I understood T&S as a place for discussion, not commerce, and I thought it applied to authors as well as commenters. I like this approach–no ads, no promotion, commerce-free. I pointed out two instances where you seemed to think some minor commercial promotion that would profit you personally was fair game, including in this very post. I critique that as being against what I see as the general and laudable practice of T&S.

    But since you got angrier than me, tried to think of a way to embarrass me, and became defensive against my gentle chide, it’s obvious that you were right. I concede.

    All nonsense aside, if you did take anything I said as a personal attack, please believe me that I meant it as a gentle critique–hence the special occasion moniker. If you felt attacked, I really apologize. Not because you strident types are deep down really sensitive, but because it’s right not to attack people.

  99. Dan on December 13, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    Anyone who actually listens to a significant cross-section of Beck’s radio program knows that he isn’t the crazy hate-monger he’s made out to be. Sometimes he’s too sarcastic and his latest book title is foolish and does his cause no service, but his latest book is nothing but a list of facts with citations to back them up.

    Ah, I was wondering when the “don’t take him seriously” defense would come. I guess he’s joking about Christmas Sweater too. Don’t take him seriously there. It’s just all a big hoot.

  100. Reed on December 13, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    Glenn Beck, and Dr Laura, should be sold in Deseret Book. They both promote responsibility, conservatism and doing the moral thing.

    DB should keep on doing business promoting good, and suppressing liberalism, which liberalism apparently is the fountain you Rameumptom standers like to “suck” from.

    Conservatism is to politics what Mormonism is to religion. Liberalism “is” the great and abominable whorish attitude, a real preexistence thing.

    Julie S. and the other liberal leftists who support her views are what is wrong in Mormonism today. You lack discernment. You may be highly educated but, are apparently lacking in judgment. Your “I know best” liberal attitudes bring on punishments the rest of us don’t deserve. Your perverted logic of the way things should be is Book of Mormonesk bad.

    So, climb down out of your Rameumptom’s and change.

  101. John Hamilton on December 13, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    Well, you certainly got the guts, Reed. Although I’m in you camp, I don’t think it is wise or loving to call people to repentance when they are probably just honestly misguided. You or I don’t know another’s full history and strengths and weaknesses. When I look into the personal histories of most liberals, I find disturbing events, usually dealing with their families. (Wow, that’s gonna spark another 100 comments, I’m sure. Got to get me some popcorn.) Anyway, tis best not to judge. Gentle persuasion and love unfeigned is the motto to go by here.

    (Yeah, I gotta work on the love unfeigned part… Come to think of it, I could be a tiny bit gentler in my persuasions… Stupid family… )

  102. Julie M. Smith on December 13, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    Reed and John, you might find this interesting reading:

    http://www.utahcountydems.com/content/view/178

    At any rate, we usually shut down comments near the 100-comment mark and so I’ll do that here.