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Chris Kelly

Chris Kelly

Posted: July 7, 2010 06:43 AM

I've been living in a fool's paradise. I've been walking around for three weeks unaware that Glenn Beck says I say he's a plagiarist. He's mistaken. I said he was a sucker.

Back in June, I posted something here about a novel with Glenn Beck's name on the cover called The Overton Window. I pointed out that it shared a lot of pretty tired plotting with a sad, self-published piece of jerk-off fan-fiction called Circumference of Darkness. And I pointed out that the similarities were hardly surprising, since a man named Jack Henderson was both the author of Circumference and the ghostwriter of Overstock, or Overweight, or whatever Beck's awful book was called.

You don't even have to look it up. Here's what my post said:

So why -- except for the completely inverted politics -- does The Overton Window read so much like Circumference of Darkness? Because they were written by the same guy, a 52-year-old computer programmer named Jack Henderson.


He gets sole credit on Circumference. (And why shouldn't he? He published it himself.) On Overton, he gets thanked by Beck for "pouring his heart and soul into this project."

And, apparently, his leftover plot.

My point was that Beck, a lazy chiseler, had done the literary equivalent of buying a term paper online, and that the bottom feeder who'd sold it to him had sold it elsewhere before. I don't know how much clearer I could have been.

It wasn't, as it turns out, clear enough for Glenn Beck. He says I've accused him of plagiarism.

Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha... ahh... ha-ha-ha-ha. I'm sorry (gasp) I am sorry (gasp) Media Matters is reporting today, uh, and the Huffington Post is reporting today that "Beck's book..." I'm quoting from the Washington Post... "Beck's book.... the ah, uhm, ah, Overton Window, resembles a 2005 techno-thriller by a 52-year-old computer programmer named Jack Henderson. Chris Kelly points out that Beck's book is very much like Henderson's Circumference of Darkness...

Why the laughter? The Washington Post had panned Overdone, and that, for the purpose of the Beck program, makes the very mention of its name ipso facto hilarious.

That's weird.

Uh-oh. Sarcasm.

They're saying that I plagiarized Jack Henderson's book, because it's very similar. Stu, could you do me a favor. Could you o... (wheeze... heh-heh...) could you open the ah, the ah Overton Window for me... (babble from fluffers) No, I think it's right under my name... whose name is there? (unintelligible sycophancy) Jack Henderson! I selected Jack Henderson to help write this book because I read Circumference of Darkness!

Your guess is as good as mine about what point he thinks he's proving. But it's killing his employees.

Only about four people read it and it was BRILLIANT. IT WAS BRILLIANT.

No, Smiley's People was brilliant. Circumference of Darkness is so sad it gives you Contact Loser.

I wrote it...

He means "I read it," but I swear he says "I wrote it."

.. and I called Kevin while I was on tour and I said, "Kevin, uhm, I need someone to help me write this story... and I told him the story over like a three day period and he said, "Ach, I know who can help." He said, "I'm going to send you a book."

If you've lost the thread of this narrative, it's because Beck has jumped back in time, not unlike Martin Amis's Time's Arrow. Another book Beck didn't write.

While I was on tour I started to read Jack Henderson's book. And I said, "Well let's see if we can get him to write." Jack has been working on this... it's pretty hard to steal from someone you employ.

Tell that to Rush Limbaugh's maid.

I'm in genuine awe of Beck's ability to get self-righteous about paying someone else to do his work, so he can put his own name on it and foist it on rubes. But the problem is I never said Beck stole anything. I said Henderson stole from him. By selling him a used book.


You know (wheeze) and who helped write and who you credit, but there. There's the Huffington Post... GOOD JOB.

Thanks?

You could have figured that out by reading his name underneath mine.

But I did figure it out by reading his name underneath yours. That's what I wrote.

Yer smart. Unbelievable.

Oh for heaven's sake.

I don't want to get in a pissing match with Glenn Beck, but I also resent being pissed on by Glenn Beck. So let me be as clear as I can possibly be:

I never said Glenn Beck stole The Overbite Window. He is just as much its author as Sarah Ferguson is the author of Budgie the Helicopter. He bought it, fair and square.

The only people from whom he's stolen anything are his readers.