On Tuesday, a self-published sci-fi anthology called Machine of Death appeared at the top spot on Amazon's best-seller list. This was no accident: the book's editors, including the Web comic authors David Malki and Ryan North, had encouraged everyone they knew to buy the book on its October 26 release date, in the hopes of generating a one-day sales spike and demonstrating that "internet people make things happen."
It would be fair to say that they accomplished this. One person who got the message was Glenn Beck, whose new book Broke also came out on October 26. When Beck discovered that he'd missed the top spot on Amazon, this, according to a transcript at the Machine of Death Web site, is what he had to say on Wednesday's Glenn Beck Program:
And I want to tell you that, um…our books are ALWAYS #1. And I find it REALLY fascinating, FASCINATING, that if you go to Amazon.com, Broke is number THREE. And the two books that are ahead of it — one is Keith Richards' Life, which is getting a TON of — you know, that's everywhere.
But this is a book about, you know, how he snorted his father's ashes, after death ... So that… 'culture of death.' And it’s an escape into the past, of, you know, the Woodstock stuff.
And then, the #1 book — TODAY, at least — is Machine of Death. And it's a — collected stories about, you know, people who know how they're gonna die. Haowww!
So you have DEATH — I know it's called Life, but what a life it is, really! It's a culture of death! OR, 'How do we restore ourselves?'
These are the — this is the left, I think, speaking. This is the left. You want to talk about where we're headed? We're headed towards a culture of death. A culture that, um, celebrates the things that have destroyed us. Not that the Rolling Stones have destroyed us — I mean, you can't always get what you want. You know what I'm saying? Brown sugar. I have no idea what that means.
Broke has since overtaken Machine of Death on Amazon's list; they're now at #2 and #4, respectively. For the record, Machine of Death is a collection of speculative stories about a machine that can tell you the cause of your eventual death, but not the time or place. It's got text and illustrations by celebrated comics artists like Kate Beaton, Randall Munroe, John Allison, and KC Green, and does not appear to align itself explicitly with Woodstock, Keith Richards, or the "culture of death" in either the American or Japanese sense. Glenn Beck, on the other hand, has long taken pains to establish himself as an advocate of life and survival.