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Chasing Glenn Beck: A Personal Experiment in Reclaiming Our Hijacked Political Conversation Paperback – December 16, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Riddle Brook Publishing LLC (December 16, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984792708
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984792702
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,134,464 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Chasing Glenn Beck is a unique memoir from Michael Charney, a Republican who believes that the fear-driven hardcore right-wing fringe is destroying his party. Chasing Glenn Beck is a fascinating discussion on today's political climate. Highly recommended." --Midwest Book Review

From the Back Cover

Is Glenn Beck a liberal?

Perhaps not, but when Michael Charney decides to plant that idea out in the "Twitterverse" some interesting conversations begin. People shout at him (MORON!), block him (SCUMSUCKER!), and belittle him (WAKE UP, IDIOT!). Eventually, though, some people start to listen.

Today's political dialogue has been stolen, hijacked from us by those with the loudest voices. Until we begin to take that conversation back for ourselves, we remain at the mercy of those with the most radical agendas, the most extreme visions, for our country.  The risk is great: a country run by a vociferous minority that just happens to scream louder than the rest of us is NOT what democracy is supposed to be about.

With discussions about politics, education, national security, manifestos, the Pledge of Allegiance, the Flag Code--and the Senate Candy Desk--Charney cuts a wide swath through the issues facing our country, a country he claims has a serious case of "Electile Dysfunction."

More About the Author

Michael Charney is a New Hampshire-based writer and publisher with an interest in narrative non-fiction, politics, music and reading. He counts among his friends several people who can quote whole passages from Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Red Dwarf, and spends a great deal of time outdoors with his wife and two dogs. A graduate of the University of California, he has, in addition to his book-length work, also published award-winning short stories, essays and business articles.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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The book is very well-written and engaging--I recommend it highly.
C. W. Sherwood
Mr. Charney's book presents a unique take on the subject, through the use of his Twitter experiment as a narrative thread.
J. C. Bourque
Michael Charney is chasing more than Glenn Beck in this engaging book.
john cooker

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gregory P Russak on December 18, 2011
Format: Paperback
Reading about what motivated Michael Charney and how he went about immersing himself into the Twittersphere as a way to understand the dynamics of political discussion in present-day America was truly enjoyable.

An unexpected benefit was how it helped to increase in my understanding of Twitter. Make no mistake, though, this is no dry read of definitions for things like hashtags and common Twitter abbreviations. It is a very witty but also serious and reflective treatment of how people communicate - and often fail to communicate - within and beyond the limitations of a tweet.

I lost count of the times I laughed out loud, as well as nodded my head in acknowledgement of a sad truth and then glimmers of hopefulness for a society that often seems to drift toward the gravitational pull of whomever is the loudest and most hyperbolic. (That's a hint, but doesn't give anything away. And don't let the title fool you. Thankfully, this is neither an attack nor a worship of GB.)

For me, this is a book about us as a society and what blind faith and extremism is doing to erase what little civility, rational thinking, and reason is left in American politics and the discourse surrounding it.

Buy it! Buy it for your Tea Party uncle and your Occupy Wall Street nieces and nephews. Buy a copy for yourself, too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. C. Bourque on June 25, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have experienced a growing frustration with the rancorous nature of political discourse and have watched with great distress as reasoned, respectful debate has been buried under invective, distortions and flat-out lies offered by the extremists of both parties. These people dominate the media and, to a great degree, control the debate. Often they are professionals whose income depends on how nasty they can make it. And the worse they get, the more people I meet who feel like they no longer have a voice.

This rancor is nothing new and has been taking place since the origins of politics, yet somehow it is beginning to feel more dangerous. Perhaps it is the amplification level of people like Glenn Beck and Keith Olbermann-- who I, like Mr. Charney, suspect are actors who don't actually care about policies and outcomes. They are just getting rich.

Mr. Charney's book presents a unique take on the subject, through the use of his Twitter experiment as a narrative thread. As we follow his progress building a Twitter following, we learn about all sorts of other stuff that helps make the current state of nastiness both possible and desirable for so many people. Along the way he covers such territory as the cognitive processes that allow people to believe utter nonsense in the face of overwhelming contradictory information; how the anonymity of online discourse spurs personal attacks in lieu of reasoned debate; why it's too risky for politicians to actually try to fix things; and one of my favorite subjects-- how the pundits, media and the online screechers constantly present every issue in black/white terms, when all I see is shades of grey (not the erotic novel series, gawd.).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Terry Sunday TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 9, 2012
Format: Paperback
"Chasing Glenn Beck" is far more than its title implies. Within the structure of the informal Twitter-based on-line social experiment that author Michael Charney describes in his fascinating, well-written and important book is a broad, sweeping and insightful examination of politics in America today. In fact, there's relatively little about Beck here. Biographical snippets scattered throughout provide a cursory overview of Beck's rise to prominence as the darling mouthpiece of the extreme-right-wing, ultra-conservative political fringe. But that's not Mr. Charney's focus. Neither is the on-line experiment, really, although he does describe in detail how he used Twitter to plant the idea that Beck is really a liberal whose outrageous antics are simply an act. Rather, he shows, with dry humor, unassailable logic and illuminating examples, and with sweeping scope that touches on many "hot-button" issues of society today, what is wrong with modern-day political dialogue.

And a compelling story it is. Considering the controversial subject, Mr. Charney expected the deliberately provocative tweets from his @BeckIaALib Twitter account would spawn derogatory, uncivil, even profane responses from Beck's fawning followers. There were a few of those, of course, but, surprisingly, he reports--and quotes--that the majority of responses were thoughtful, reasoned and civil. There could be many reasons for this, of course, and without a double-blind scientific test, it's probably impossible to determine. I'll hypothesize that this proves the far-right fringe element of ultra-conservative Americans is an almost vanishingly small segment of the population, and that, despite all the "sturm und drang" around ideologues like Beck and his ilk, their real effect on the nation's future is insignificant.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael R. Pointer on January 17, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Mr. Charney has crafted an entertaining yet also a poignant ride on the roller coaster of our political discourse in the age of social networking. He weaves autobiographical strands with the threads of his experimental odyssey through the "Twitterverse" in a well-paced, well-written text that gave me renewed hope that the "political" can still be "politic."

I learned a lot about Twitter, about the fact that it's still possible to be a moderate Republican, and that disagreement over how to implement the laws and institutions of this great nation need not be divorced from reason. Why? Because there are still many out there in the Twitterverse, in your office, in your neighborhood bar and grill, that have different views without treating them as received on divinely inscribed stone tablets.

Still, the book also has a certain poignancy in that the often fact-free discourse that passes for political debate is observed repeatedly, and that the inertia holding entrenched views in place and invulnerable to fact, argument, and scientific discovery, is immense. At the end of the book I was hopeful yet concerned: hopeful that Mr. Charney's appellation "consiberal" might take hold, bridging the gap between people whose views on policy are not as far apart as they appear, yet concerned that today's political disfunction is an omen of what is to come, and that moderates, consiberals, etc., are engaged in a heroic, yet ultimately doomed, last stand at Thermopylae.
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