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Culture & Religion

Talk Jocks

The thriller genre is more and more dominated by conservative ideology and plugged by talking heads like Beck and Limbaugh.

“Politicians and pundits may argue about whether Limbaugh, Beck, and their ilk have real pull at the polls, but, when it comes to selling thrillers, those who work in publishing agree: Right-wing talk jocks deliver. Beck, in particular, has become a make-or-break blurb for thriller writers, with The New York Times recently hailing him as the genre’s Oprah. Brad Thor, who writes political thrillers about an ex-Navy seal battling Muslim terrorists and is a frequent guest on Beck’s radio and TV shows, says, ‘Glenn has been one of the three best things to happen to thriller books in the last fifty years’–right up there with John F. Kennedy including Ian Fleming’s From Russia with Love on a list of his favorite books and Ronald Reagan plugging Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October. The phenomenon isn’t just about Beck or Limbaugh, however. Thriller writers also show up as guests of other right-wing talking heads, such as Sean Hannity and Hugh Hewitt. And a number of conservative pundits, from Rich Lowry to Oliver North, have recently tried their hand at thriller writing. This convergence of two worlds undoubtedly says a lot about the state of contemporary conservatism. But does it also say something about the state–and future–of the thriller?”


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