Did the editors of New York magazine not read The Overton Window?
I mean, they can be forgiven for not reading Glenn Beck's non-thrilling “thriller” novel, which set a new, impossibly low standard for cliché-ridden, nonsensically awful writing. But they really should have before they turned their pages over to Beck this weekend so he could give his “factionalized” account of an Al Gore presidency.
For those unaware, "faction" is the clever-but-not-really portmanteau Beck employs to describe his style of creative writing, which, as you've probably already guessed, blends “fact” with “fiction.” In the pages of New York, however, Beck has tweaked the formula a bit, blending fiction with thoroughly debunked garbage:
Gore's four o'clock was another one of the bright young minds that he liked to surround himself with, a guy named Barry Obama. (Who continued to maintain that his name was Barack, leading Gore to once advise him that no one in North Carolina would ever be caught dead voting for a guy named Barack.) Barry had come to the administration as deputy attorney general via an under-the-radar deal between Gore and Jack Ryan, now the senator from Illinois. Though he had been leading Barry in the polls, Ryan didn't want to take any chances, so he called in a favor. He had information about a certain late afternoon Gore had spent in a hotel in Chicago a few years back. A trip to the day spa had turned into a second chakra-release party.
Remember that smear, forwarded by the National Enquirer and later determined to be completely and totally without factual basis? It's back! And now it's true! At least it is in Beck's make-believe world. And anyone who wants to defend Beck's inclusion of this smear in his larger fictionalized attack on Gore will likely point that out: “It's only fiction! It's not real! Lighten up!”
But that's just the thing: even within the contours of Beck's fictional world, there's no reason to include this. Beck seems to acknowledge this himself -- he writes that Ryan was leading Obama in the polls (apparently there was no real-life divorce scandal waiting in the wings to take the Illinois Republican down), but for some reason he “call[s] in a favor” with Gore, threatening to expose the president's tryst with a masseuse if he doesn't lure the opponent he's already beating out the race.
Also: we're supposed to believe that a Republican politician would sit on information regarding a Democratic president's marital infidelities so he could call in a (relatively minor) favor later on? Really?
It's completely gratuitous. Including it in the story only makes it seem less plausible. But Beck thinks it's hilarious to crack about the former vice president having affairs and (I wish I were kidding) accidentally eating polar bear meat. So instead of something interesting, or funny, or well-written, or coherent, we get Glenn Beck's latest turn at “faction,” and New York magazine inextricably links themselves to the author who brought us the timeless admonition: “Don't tease the panther.”