Steve Almond, beloved DIY-publishing, bad-poetry-writing, experimental “candy freak,” is releasing a new book entitled God Bless America at the end of October of “comic and forlorn” short stories about the United States and its many delights. Much to Almond’s bewilderment--and that of many others--his book has been touted by members of the right wing extreme & Fox News pundits—most notably, teddy bear lookalike Glenn Beck. Almond explains the whole situation in the trailer video for his book.
“Why now? Why me? Why this book?”
“Do—do you guys realize that I’m basically a Communist?”
“In the end, literary fiction is like any other game: it’s about moving units—Fox News knows that, I know that and…God bless Fox News.”
However absurd and humorous this trailer is (I mean, his shirt! Come on…), Almond’s somewhat confusing endorsement brings some interesting questions to the surface. To what extent does Beck’s endorsement of a clearly satirical book say about American audiences’ ability to correctly digest such a book’s intended meaning? Does that then relate to the intelligence of American readers? More so, why should we be surprised that a man who likes to bring up Hitler and Nazism when talking about the Left be a fan of experimental literature? How much do our politics limit our reading? How open-minded is the American reader?
What I found particularly interesting about Almond’s trailer is the fact that Beck’s approval of the book led to a whole slew of Fox personalities & right wing talking heads declaring that they loved the book—sometimes rather uncomfortably, as the clip of Michelle Malkin shows. It made me think: Is Fox’s jump on the GBA bandwagon representative also of a “monkey see, monkey do” consumerism regarding literature? One would hope not; however, the world of literary fiction & its readers isn’t as ideal as we’d all like to think.
At the very least, the two seemingly opposite men agree on one thing: “moving units.” I guess we’ll just have to wait how many “units” Almond’s able to move as a result of all this free publicity when his book is released 25 October. Almond may or may not still be blessing Fox News.