Washington Post book critic Ron Charles made a confession the other day. “I banned a book,” he wrote. “Or at least I helped get it banned, which makes Banned Books Week a little awkward for me this year. Like celebrating Arbor Day by cutting down a tree.”
Dan Brown, the author of The DaVinci Code, is back with another blockbuster anti-religion novel, and CBS Sunday Morning rolled out the red carpet on October 1 to honor him and his massive commercial success. The segment began with what he called his “fortress of gratitude” – his house loaded floor to ceiling, over several stories, with bookshelves....stuffed with copies of Dan Brown’s own books.
So we know who Dan Brown worships.
On Wednesday, Washington Post book editor Ron Charles raved over a French novel called The Age of Reinvention. The headline on the front of the Style section was “A French tale of Islamophobia and deception that feels eerily timely.”
Charles explained “it has taken more than two years for Karine Tuil’s sensational tale of Islamophobia to drift across the Atlantic. Now, though, in a horrific coincidence, her novel arrives as Paris is bleeding and the Republican presidential candidates are giddily stringing barbed wire along our borders. If I didn’t know better, I’d guess this story had been written within the past 24 hours.”
The Washington Post has assigned reporter Jenna Portnoy to follow Republican nominee David Brat's campaign for the U.S. House seat for the 7th District of Virginia. In Portnoy's latest story, published in Friday's paper on page B4, the staff writer slammed Brat for having "largely ducked media exposure since his [primary] win," noting that after a brief press statement on Thursday which lasted eight minutes, he "retreated inside" his campaign headquarters, "ignoring questions shouted by reporters." A few days earlier, Portnoy insisted that an unprepared Brat had "stumbled" during a phone interview with MSNBC's Chuck Todd
Of course, as Politico's Sarah Wheaton has noted, Brat's Democratic opponent, fellow Randolph-Macon College professor Jack Trammell, "offered few policy specifics during his first public appearance as a candidate on Saturday." Last Friday, Wheaton reported that "Trammell has declined multiple interview requests" and that "[l]ike Brat, who virtually no one thought had a shot at toppling Cantor, he’s gone into something of a lockdown." Yet a search for "Jack Trammel" on the Washington Post website reveals no such critical reporting about the Democrat's unwillingness to have free-wheeling interactions with reporters. What's more, Trammel received fawning coverage in, of all places, a June 16 Style blog entry by book reviewer Ron Charles. The topic was Trammel's yet-unfinished vampire novel (excerpt below, emphasis mine):
The Washington Post is promoting Amazon.com today – a new series of “trim biographies” called “Icons.” The list of subjects includes Stalin and Hemingway, Poe and Van Gogh.
The Post is also bashing Fox News again today. The first “Icon” biography is about Jesus Christ. Post book reviewer Ron Charles surely caused a few coffee spews by suggesting that Christians typically threaten the lives of people who write about Jesus in a bad light:
A Christian can be crushed gazing at the picture of Mary standing at the foot of the cross, watching her beloved son suffocate, and die. But in that vision she stands there for hours, patiently enduring her suffering. For two millennia, she has been a role model for Christians, a woman who practiced obedience in the most difficult of human circumstances, with fervent hope for what this sacrifice will offer all mankind as it struggles with sin.
This is why it seems so hard to reflect that vision of patience when black-hearted “artists” practice character assassination on the Blessed Virgin Mary to strip her of every virtue: her patience, her obedience, her courageous love, and her prayerful faith in God. On November 13, Simon & Schuster launched a vicious little 96-page novella titled “The Testament of Mary.”
"To passerby" the Occupy D.C. protest at McPherson Square "is a jumble of tents and blue tarps," but to the Washington Post's Philip Kennicott, the Occupiers "have 'activated' the urban core," with "a living exercise in do-it-yourself (or DIY) urbanism, a trendy movement that strives to engage ordinary people in a hands-on approach to shaping and claiming public space."
And that's just the tip of the iceberg as Kennicott and his comrades commandeered 3.5 pages of the Style section to puff up the left-wing squatters' camp.
"A Square Gets Hip: In Gen. McPherson's park, the Occupy D.C. encampment improvises a vibrant urbanism," reads the headline on the front page of today's Style section. In a cutesy tip-of-the-hat to the Occupiers, the Style section's header is emblazoned with a red-lettered "OCCUPIED" tag to render today's section as "Occupied Style."
"[F]or all its satanic fanfare and heretical rejiggering, 'The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ' is -- God forbid -- kind of inspiring," Washington Post book reviewer Ron Charles proclaimed in today's review of the latest novel by avowed atheist Philip Pullman.
Charles began by suggesting that Pullman's publication was a veritable act of courage -- "if you fiddle with Jesus, people begin collecting dry sticks" the book review quipped. That may have gotten chuckles in the newsroom, but it's not all that amusing when you consider that it's radical Muslims, not devout Catholics or evangelical Protestants, who have threatened edgy taboo-shattering atheists like the creators of South Park.
Of course, attacking orthodox Christianity is always in season among the secular literary elite as well as their friends in the mainstream media. Charles himself cheered on Pullman's fictional take on Christ by equating it somewhat agreeably with the strain of liberal Christianity that has for centuries attacked such central elements of orthodoxy as Jesus's divinity and virgin birth, his miraculous earthly ministry, and his bodily resurrection from the tomb:
Just in time for the Christmas season, the Washington Post's "Book World" editor Ron Charles gave readers of the December 2 Style section front page a look at "Reading Jesus: A Writer's Encounter With the Gospels."