An Inconvenient Book by Glenn Beck

Title:  An Inconvenient Book:  Real Solutions to the World’s Biggest Problems

Author:  Glenn Beck

Hardback:  295 pages

Published:  2007

ISBN:  9781416552192

“Although [political correctness] arises from the laudable desire to sweep away the debris of racism and sexism and hatred, it replaces old prejudice with new ones.  It declares certain topics off-limits, certain expressions off-limits, even certain gestures off-limits.

“What began as a crusade for civility has sourced into a cause of conflict and even censorship.  Disputants treat sheer force – getting their foes punished or expelled, for instance – as a substitute for the power of ideas.

“Throughout history, attempts to micromanage casual conversation have only incited distrust.  They have invited people to look for an insult in every word, gesture, action.  And, in their own Orwellian way, crusades that demand correct behavior crush diversity in the name of diversity.”

An Inconvenient Book by Glenn Beck, page 151

The above quote begins chapter 12: “You Can’t Say That!  The Politics of Correctness” in An Inconvenient Book by Glenn Beck.  The shocking thing about this quote is that it was delivered in a 1991 commencement speech given by former President George H. W. Bush.  1991 was just the beginning of the PC movement, and at that time, it felt more like a passing liberal fad than the enslaving censor that it has become.  Bush’s speech now seems oracular.

I found this book to be very intelligently, and often funny, written.  It wasn’t just a bunch of right-wing rhetoric slapped on pages and tossed out to the public.  On occasion, Beck even agrees with the left,  often the right, but mostly he lands somewhere in the middle with his own well-researched thoughts and ideas.  It is set up in textbook style, with inserts and graphs and illustrations to further make his points.  With the chapter on Child Molesters, he makes it a point to say that this is a subject in which all political lines fall and we become just people, fathers and mothers, who desire to protect our children.  With each chapter, Beck offers a solution to the problems he addresses. 

I believe that political correctness is the biggest threat this nation faces today.  Sure, you won’t see newspaper articles about the nuclear program it’s working on, but it’s an enemy nonetheless.

Think of it as a poison that was dumped into our water supply years ago by our enemies.  They knew that it would take time for the entire country to be affected, but they were patient, and now the entire country has been poisoned, and most don’t even know it.

The only antidote for this toxin is for everyone to stop sitting down and taking it like French soldiers at war.  We all have to start being open about the fact that political correctness not only exists but is killing us.  The first small step in doing that is becoming aware and suspicious of the people and groups who are always trying to ban certain words or otherwise restrict your freedom of speech.  Let’s call them the linguistically intolerant or the opposing-viewpoint-averse.

When you see them, stop and ask yourself a simple question:  Why? … It’s time to take back the First Amendment. -page 160

Not only does he say, “Here’s the problem and here’s how we can solve it,” but he also explores the history and thinking behind the problem and how we got here.  His chapter on the UN is particularly acerbic, his solution to the problem a bit shocking.

I read this at the very end of 2009, when I was reading nearly a book a day to make my 75-book goal, and therefore some of what I read went in one eye and out the other.  I do plan to re-read it again, this time with highlighters and flags in hand, and a notepad and pen to my left.  There is just far too much info crammed in the book to just leave it with one read.

I give An Inconvenient Book by Glenn Beck 4 out of 5 stars.

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Confessions of a Contractor by Richard Murphy

Title: Confessions of a Contractor
Author: Richard Murphy
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Publish Date: August 14, 2008
ISBN-13: 9780399155079

The first thing a woman needs to know about renovating a house or apartment is simple: do not, under any circumstance, sleep with your contractor, no matter what your husband or boyfriend is doing to you, or not doing to you. Some people in the building trade will consider this statement a direct violation of the Man Code, and you won’t find additional information on this subject at Home Depot -even though it should be there, in its own department, right between electrical and plumbing, managed by a woman who has made this very mistake.

The first line of this book competes with Tan Lines in shock value, though the use of the word “clitoris” clearly gives Tan Lines the win. However, where Tan Lines was dirty and gritty, totally lacking in emotional value and real character, Confessions of a Contractor is Tan Lines opposite.

To steal borrow from Traci over at Traci’s Book Bag, if I were to give a one word review of Confessions of a Contractor, that one word would be: Pleasure. This book is fun and sexy, but without all the filth found in Tan Lines. Henry is a likable narrator, and Murphy writes him with a self-deprecating humor that most of us can appreciate. Confessions is more than the sexual romp it appears to be in the first few paragraphs (which was all Tan Lines ever was), it is much deeper –but still fun! It’s no Oprah book. It’s a story of a man trying to do right by his standards, bumbling it often, but still getting up and trying again, and it is a story of friendships. It’s about the sometimes misguided things do to help their friends, like threaten your friend’s fiance’ with a salad fork and promise to be his worst nightmare if he hurts your friend, or like taking a cordless drill and saw and going after the self-important ass who causes your friends and their families a great deal of grief and trouble.

As Henry is remodeling the homes of two women who used to be best friends, both withholding why they are no longer friends, he finds himself falling for them both. One of whom, Rebecca, is married to a turd with whom Henry had dealt with years before when he worked on a house owned by the husbands mistress. The second woman is a bit on the wild side, with whom he gets involved after she holds a “dark” dinner where everyone’s blindfolded. At this dinner, he finds himself in a human sandwich with the hostess and an unknown second woman. The search for the identity of the second woman leads him to take jobs for the other women who are at the party… more work he has no time for.

Also plaguing Henry’s life is Gia, his ex-girlfriend who’s engaged to the man she had an affair with and shows up on Henry’s front door step to demand ask him to go to couples therapy, even though they’re not a couple anymore, so that she can move on with her life and marry Mr. Terrific with a capital T.

Throw into the mix Bill, Henry’s friend who goes to dinner parties to eat everything and stuff what he can’t into his pant pockets, including deviled eggs. Bill is the opposite of a germ-a-phobe: he pursues germs in order to build up his immune system for the coming man-made Apocalypse. Bill is the guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who’s the right man for whatever less-than-legal thing you need to have or have done.

My only complaint about this book is that it ends. Thirty pages from the last page, I’m tearing up… not from the story, but from sorrow that my time with Henry and Bill, et al will soon end.

I give Confessions a 5 out of 5 stars, and recommend it to anyone wishing for a fun, breezy book that still has depth without the teary Oprah moments. 😀