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Keeping it in "The Family"...
June 24, 2008 11:12 AM   Subscribe

Diane Rehm talks to Jeff Sharlet

Sharlet and his book, "The Family" have been discussed previously here on the blue, but he was interviewed this morning by Diane Rehm on WAMU, here in D.C.

(And no, this isn't a self-link, just a follow-up to a couple of interesting threads that have gone up in recent months.)
posted by vhsiv (27 comments total)

 
Jeff's an interesting guy. I think it's unfortunate how he has really taken over The Revealer to sell his book. I worry that he's just trying to be Peter Manseau, but he hasn't really got such an interesting or compelling personal story.
posted by parmanparman at 11:20 AM on June 24, 2008


I worry that he's just trying to be Peter Manseau..

First Amazon review:

Important now, and for years to come, June 1, 2008
By Peter Manseau

Heh.
posted by DU at 11:40 AM on June 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I worry that he's just trying to be Peter Manseau...

Well, if it's any kind of consolation, they seem to be good friends.
posted by vhsiv at 11:56 AM on June 24, 2008


I heard the Rehm interview this morning and was very unimpressed, frankly.
I had heard of "The Family" and their connection to the National Prayer Breakfast but, other than a lot of shadowy inferences and anecdotal stories, Sharlet really didn't come across with anything revelatory in the interview. Maybe there's meat in his book and he didn't want to reveal it all for free?

It probably didn't help my opinion that one of the first call-in questions involved the Bilderbergs. It sort of capped the whole "conspiracy" vibe I was getting.
Not to say that there isn't a conspiracy at work, of course...
posted by Thorzdad at 12:04 PM on June 24, 2008


I also heard the interview and was unimpressed because it was plainly clear that Diane Rehm had again let someone else read the book and then worked off of notes to do the interview.
posted by parmanparman at 12:08 PM on June 24, 2008


She always seems to have interesting guests and topics, but she's impossible to listen to. Sorry if I'm violating the ADA or being predjudiced here, but I have no idea how a woman who speaks like that gets a job in radio.
posted by nevercalm at 12:10 PM on June 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Diane Rehm's vocal cords are damaged. She gets periodic treatment. I sometimes feel like that, then she will tear into some Lying McLiar Pants on the air and all is forgiven.
posted by mecran01 at 12:15 PM on June 24, 2008


nevercalm, the thing is that Rehm had the job in radio before.

I know what you mean, though.
posted by fiercecupcake at 12:16 PM on June 24, 2008


Our local NPR affiliate just started carrying her show, and I hafta admit that I had the same reaction as nevercalm. What an annoying wheezy rasp that woman has.

Plus, fundamentalist Christian cabals rule the world. Well, duh.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:20 PM on June 24, 2008


Rehm has Spasmodic dysphonia. She's also the hottest woman alive that was born during the Roosevelt administration.

/not hottist
posted by psmealey at 12:25 PM on June 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


2d link should have gone here.
posted by psmealey at 12:26 PM on June 24, 2008


I had no idea. Now I feel bad. :(
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:27 PM on June 24, 2008


Let's just all say I win before this goes completely off the rails.
posted by parmanparman at 12:37 PM on June 24, 2008


I love Diane Rehm's voice. If you want everybody on your radio to sound like the goddamned Big Bopper, listen to Clear Channel.
posted by box at 12:38 PM on June 24, 2008 [9 favorites]


I like the Big Bopper!
posted by Mister_A at 12:49 PM on June 24, 2008


Hey, nothing against the Big Bopper, may he rest in peace. I was just using him as an example of that radio voice. Wasn't he a deejay before starting his singing career?
posted by box at 12:52 PM on June 24, 2008


Diane Rehm seems to do a great job of making her voice the least of my complaints. She gets such amazing guests and asks them such insipid, useless questions. Her show is NPR's Today Show and everybody knows it.

The only thing making it listenable is that sometimes the guests will talk enough that she doesn't have to ask them anything.
posted by abulafa at 1:17 PM on June 24, 2008


I recall listening to Diane Rehm interview Fred Rogers once upon a time. At one point she interrupted him and politely asked if he would mind being patient for a moment while they went to station identification. He agreed, of course, but that request has stuck with me, because asking Mister Rogers if he would mind being patient is tantamount to asking the ocean if it would mind being wet for a change.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:35 PM on June 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


#:I heard the Rehm interview this morning and was very unimpressed, frankly.

Thorsdad and parmanparman, I have to agree -- we got redder meat here on Mefi with the implications of Sharlet's book. The Family amounts to nothing more than a religious cult that's been allowed to thrive in the very halls of Congress. In his 2007 Mother Jones article, Sharlet makes pretty clear his regard of the prayer group as a cult.
Through all of her years in Washington, Clinton has been an active participant in conservative Bible study and prayer circles that are part of a secretive Capitol Hill group known as the Fellowship. Her collaborations with right-wingers such as Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) grow in part from that connection. "A lot of evangelicals would see that as just cynical exploitation," says the Reverend Rob Schenck, a former leader of the militant anti-abortion group Operation Rescue who now ministers to decision makers in Washington. "I don't.....there is a real good that is infected in people when they are around Jesus talk, and open Bibles, and prayer."
[...]
Clinton's prayer group was part of the Fellowship (or "the Family"), a network of sex-segregated cells of political, business, and military leaders dedicated to "spiritual war" on behalf of Christ, many of them recruited at the Fellowship's only public event, the annual National Prayer Breakfast. (Aside from the breakfast, the group has "made a fetish of being invisible," former Republican Senator William Armstrong has said.) The Fellowship believes that the elite win power by the will of God, who uses them for his purposes. Its mission is to help the powerful understand their role in God's plan.
Once all this was said and done, I was curious about the effect this book might have had on the Presidential race if Hillary had chosen to stay in it -- would this book cause her to lose so-called feminist votes or gain cachet among the Religious Right?
posted by vhsiv at 1:42 PM on June 24, 2008


Diane Rehm seems to do a great job of making her voice the least of my complaints. She gets such amazing guests and asks them such insipid, useless questions. Her show is NPR's Today Show and everybody knows it... The only thing making it listenable is that sometimes the guests will talk enough that she doesn't have to ask them anything.

What you describe is exactly my take on Fresh Air (except the voice thing... Terri Gross's constant up talking drives me up the wall). I'm not sure how you arrive there with Rehm. I only listened to her for about 6 months last year when I was driving to work, and while she was uneven, she seemed pretty good at asking tough, probing questions when the moment presented itself.
posted by psmealey at 1:44 PM on June 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Once all this was said and done, I was curious about the effect this book might have had on the Presidential race if Hillary had chosen to stay in it -- would this book cause her to lose so-called feminist votes or gain cachet among the Religious Right?

That is the dumbest question I have ever seen in my whole entire life.
posted by parmanparman at 1:46 PM on June 24, 2008


Sharlet also published this Harper's article on the same topic a while back.
posted by box at 2:02 PM on June 24, 2008


I regret Ms. Rehm's affliction, but I agree: she is unlistenable, whatever the cause. So, despite the many interesting luminaries that dot her program, I cannot listen for fear that I will hear her. Narrow of me, I suppose. However, I wouldn't pay attention to Ghandi, either, if his voice had the cattle-prod suppository affect on me that hers does.

Basically being one myself, I feel comfortable asking: must liberals actual sound spineless? Has it reached that point? She and Harry Reid could have a vocal wimp-off that would soften the bones of He-Man.
posted by umberto at 2:48 PM on June 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


In a way, umberto, I think so; a strong, assertive voice with strong opinions might offend someone, and offending people is not done.

Disclaimer: I am a liberal.
posted by sonic meat machine at 5:32 PM on June 24, 2008


"Religion distracts people from Jesus, Doug said, and allows them to isolate Christ's will from their work in the world."

Yes, I think that's part of the problem here, but almost certainly not in the same way Doug Coe thinks it is.

"As if Jesus doesn't know anything about building highways, or Social Security."
"“He excelled in every activity. He was a great teacher, sure, but he was also a real guy's guy. He would have made an excellent athlete.”

Maybe all of these things are actually true in some way, but drawing these conclusions from the Bible requires an awful lot of interpolation, so much so that it seems to me these people are creating God in their image, rather than the other way around.

I'm trying to imagine a Jesus who led a group of people into positions of political power and influence within the state in order to teach and effect political change, and it really doesn't square with my reading of the New Testament.
posted by weston at 8:30 PM on June 24, 2008


(And I keep going through this, and I can't believe the conclusions David Coe's drawing out of the story of King David's transgressions, and following it up with appreciation for Genghis Khan's methods of disposing and torturing the conquered.)

I regret Ms. Rehm's affliction, but I agree: she is unlistenable, whatever the cause.

Hmmm. I don't find her voice the least bit problematic, and most days, I really enjoy her show. The line of conversation doesn't always go where I'd like to, but I usually find I learn something.
posted by weston at 8:50 PM on June 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


I felt the same way about Diane, but I've found (through her being on the radio just as I had to go to school over the last year) that she does give a pretty good interview.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 11:14 PM on June 25, 2008


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