The Overton Window: Chapter Eight

In my last post, I mentioned that getting shooshed by a car in the rain was a cliché. A whole bunch of readers (probably secret teabaggers, the lot of them) claimed they had had that happen in real life. So, the shooshing may be a cliché, but apparently it still happens. My apologies to the shooshed. May justice one day be yours. Now that that's cleared up...

I'm fifty pages into the book now. Fifty pages. That's a fairly big chunk of the story. Allow me a moment to sum up what's happened so far. I'll even do it in bullet points, for true Darthur Gardner authenticity.
  • Prologue: Eli Churchill makes a phone call, is assassinated
  • Chapter one: Noah buys a Tootsie Roll
  • Chapter two: Molly hangs up a flyer
  • Chapter three: Darthur plots to overthrow the government
  • Chapter four: Noah makes some phone calls
  • Chapter five: Noah walks down a hall
  • Chapter six: Noah is briefly detained by Blackwater
  • Chapter seven: Noah walks in the rain
Fifty pages and not much of anything has happened. There was a little bit in chapter three and a little in six. But mostly it's been filler. It feels to me as if Beck has maybe a 30 page story here and is desperately trying to stretch it out to 300. The two page chapters might give the illusion that the story is moving briskly along, but the truth is there's just nothing really happening here.

In chapter eight, Noah arrives at the Stars 'n Stripes, and is stunned by the size of the crowd. He thinks perhaps he should "write off this whole wretched night, and get home to that nice, hot Jacuzzi." But he heads inside.

And it's at this point that Beck really drifts into fantasyland.
Live music from inside was filtering out through the buzz of the crowd. There were so many people it was impossible to keep to a straight line as he walked. The diversity of the gathering was another surprise; there seemed to be no clear exclusions based on race, or class, or any of the other traditional media-fed American cultural divides. It was a total cross section, a mix of everyone—three-piece suits rubbing elbows with T-shirts and sweat pants, yuppies chatting with hippies, black and white, young and old, a cowboy hat here, a six-hundred-dollar haircut there—all talking together, energetically agreeing and disagreeing as he moved through them. In the press, these sorts of meetings were typically depicted as the exclusive haunts of old white people of limited means and even more limited intelligence. But this was everybody.
Look, if Beck and his teabagging buddies want to pretend their group of mostly-white, upper-middle class, racist tax dodgers are not a group of mostly-white, upper-middle class, racist tax dodgers (or whatever it is they're pissed off about), that's fine by me. But don't blame that on the press. Don't blame that on the media. And while you're at it, Beck, please stop pretending you're not part of that very American media that feeds "traditional American cultural divides."

Up on stage at the Stars 'n Stripes, someone vaguely Dylanesque sings a folk song, much to Noah's delight.
This music and the mood it was creating, it was a smart PR move if they could make it work. If their enemies were trying to paint them as a bunch of pasty-white NASCAR-watching, gun-toting, pickup-driving reactionaries with racist and violent tendencies, what better ploy could these people make than to subtly invoke the peace-loving spirits of Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi? If nothing else it would drive their critics on the left right up the wall.
I'll leave to you to sort out. I'm not even going to bother. Noah bumps into Molly, literally, and she leads him to a table near the stage. ("In a higher-class joint, seats this close would have been reserved for the VIPs.") As he orders a Sam Adams, she runs off to find him a dry shirt.

Molly returns momentarily with a friend in tow, "an enormous bearded man in jumpsuit coveralls and a Beech-Nut baseball cap." For some reason, the man, identified as Hollis [what an authentic, down home name!], has a voice like Winnie-the-Pooh. Seriously, that's how he's described. She hands him a hoodie, and tells him to change.

Noah, prima donna that he is, is aghast at the idea of changing his shirt in the crowded bar.

And... scene! Discuss.

[Note: There will be no Overton post tomorrow, as I've got plans this evening that don't include Glenn Beck.]

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