I am not now nor have I ever been Glenn Beck.
Please, please believe me!
I am NOT Glenn Beck!
Such was the tone of the unintentionally hilarious article in The New Republic by contributing editor John McWhorter. Apparently his "thought crime" in the eyes of Jim Sleeper writing in Talking Points Memo was agreeing with Glenn Beck on the social toxicity of Frances Fox Piven:
One of Beck's targets is Professor Frances Fox Piven, as today's New York Times reports. When Beck started in on Piven last year, the clever, sad writer John McWhorter joined in, as did the right-wing provocateur David Horowitz.
...In March The New Republic sounded one of these alarms about the curse supposedly cast on African-Americans by the Piven and her late husband Richard Cloward, who were said to have tried to bring down capitalism by flooding the welfare rolls in the 1960s.
The purveyor of this long-exhausted half-truth at TNR was McWhorter, a young black linguist-turned-conservative racial bargainer. He cast Piven and Cloward among the crackpots he'd love to erase from public memory: "Rarely in American history have people with such a destructive agenda [as Piven and Cloward] had such power over the lives of the innocent....., helping to ruin the lives of, for example, some of my relatives."
EEK! Sleeper called McWhorter a (GASP!) conservative which caused the New Republic contributing editor to go into an absurdly funny defensive mode by establishing his liberal bona fides as well as to let us know that he is NOT Glenn Beck:
Now: Of late, Glenn Beck, for reasons of his own, has mounted a crusade against Piven (Cloward is deceased) which has resulted in death threats against her as a Marxist threat to our nation. This chills and disgusts me. I have never advocated witch hunts of this kind against anyone whose views I disagree with, and have had no interest at all in painting even openly Marxist views like Piven’s as inherently “unAmerican.” I entirely respect Piven’s right to express her views.
What chills and disgusts me even more, however, is Jim Sleeper’s claim that in criticizing Piven and Cloward I was taking a page from Beck. Sleeper has made a blithe, messy assumption on the basis of chronology: Beck started in on Piven a year ago this month, and my blurb in these pages on her and Cloward – in fact one of ten blurbs about assorted people, not a concentrated hit on Piven and Cloward alone – appeared in March. Sleeper has it that I “joined in” with Beck, then.
What Beck did to cause alleged threats against Piven, McWhorter doesn't say but Mediaite sheds some light on the matter:
...she tells the Times she is receiving death threats, and that Beck’s site, The Blaze, allegedly sports anonymous comments like “Somebody tell Frances I have 5000 roundas [sic] ready and I’ll give My life to take Our freedom back” (they are typically taken down within a short period of time). While Piven has said she has received email death threats, she has not produced them. Piven says she has taken security measures, but nothing that would interfere too much with her daily life.
And just in case Jim Sleeper or anyone else dare "tarnish" John McWhorter for being a conservative, he makes sure we know where he is coming from politically:
Sleeper’s sense of me is clearly based on not having engaged a word I have written since Losing the Race, given that he is obviously bright enough to process that someone who supports Barack Obama, reviles the War on Drugs, supports gay marriage, never voted for George Bush and writes of Black English as coherent speech would be rather infelicitously cast as a “conservative movement water-carrier.”
Okay, we got your point, John. You are NOT conservative and you are NOT Glenn Beck. However, please allow your humble correspondent to note the odd fact that you and Glenn Beck have never been seen together in the same room. Hmmm.....