Sam Stein of the Huffington Post thinks “progressives” (liberals) are positioning themselves to challenge the conservative book movement, thus influencing the culture even more.
The good news for conservatives is that Howard Dean is in charge; he now chairs the Progressive Book Club. With Al Franken now perched in the Senate, can Secretary of State Bill Murray be far behind?
“Progressives” recognize – per Stein’s June 5 post – that Democrats can “close one of the few remaining institutional deficits they have with Republicans.”
They’ll have to work to close the book gap.
According to the Drudge Report (August 2008), “The most powerful woman in the history of American politics is suffering a humiliating defeat at the nation’s bookstores, sales figures show. In her first week at market, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi sold just 2,737 copies of her book “Know Your Power,” according to Nielson Bookscan. The Doubleday release was launched with a full media push, featuring high profile interviews on ‘Today,’ ‘The View’ and ‘This Week.'”
Two minutes before I wrote this sentence, Pelosi’s book ranked No. 93,993 on Amazon, with an average customer review of two stars (out of a possible five). And that’s the paperback version, which came out at warp speed following the hardcover edition. The first few reviews are so dreadful, they call to mind Stan Laurel’s look into the camera when something fell on Ollie.
Of course, this is circumstantial evidence, but one can surmise that conservative books sell in much larger numbers because people don’t like “progressive books.” They get “progressive” views 24 hours a day from the networks, mainstream newspapers and propaganda organs like National Public Radio.
Leftwing influences are also realizing that they can effect real change by infiltrating evangelical Christianity. Part of that strategy includes presenting liberal Christians as evangelicals. The results have been mixed.
Doug Pagitt, a leader in the so-called Emergent movement, has announced that his bid to become a state legislator in Minnesota has been pushed off for a couple years. The reason? A lack of financial support. “Emergent” is generally a coalition of leftwing Christians who focus on environmentalism and social justice, rather than the traditional focus on evangelism espoused by conservative groups and denominations.
Pagitt has been published by Christian houses like Zondervan, WaterBrook, Baker and most recently by Jossey-Bass. Publishers are notorious for keeping sales figures close, but one can assume Pagitt’s books are reasonably successful (which can mean almost anything in book publishing). Still, it would seem that a worldview that moves left does not resonate with the majority of Americans, yet.
In the Christian industry, a blurring of the lines has occurred, since some houses are adopting a more centrist position when spotlighting issues. This has extended even to politically correct stances on the environment.
In a recent article at Christianretailing.com, we learn that “going green” is now a priority for some publishers:
“The retail giant’s insistence that publishers use paper made from trees harvested in ‘sustainable forests’ – younger-growth forests where trees are responsibly harvested and replaced – has helped get publishers’ attention, according to Dwight Baker.”
Perhaps I digress, but this latest infiltration of the liberal mindset – Wal-Mart is now “insisting” that publishers add sustainable forests to their crowded lists of priorities – indicates that there are multiple ways for the liberal community to interfere in what have traditionally been conservative reading communities.
More on this later, but the irritation of some customers at a CVS store in New York (they thumbed-through a selection of books from a Choice Books display and were disgusted by the “bigotry” in some of the titles) is another indication that if liberals can’t gain traction through the sale of their own books to Americans, they will attack in other ways. Already, there is plenty of buzz in the conservative book industry that “hate-crimes” laws might seriously impact us all in the near future.
These examples of liberals working on the periphery of conservative publishing remind us that if Nancy Pelosi can’t influence through presenting her own worldview in book form, she’ll work to have a hand in legislating what we all see and read.
It’s enough to make Howard Dean shout for joy.