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A blog that takes a look at West Chester area government, politics, and community events.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The normal-shaped pyramid

Newspaper journalists write (or claim to write) their articles in a format called the "inverted pyramid."

I once told a Jung scholar this. He got excited. He thought the inverted pyramid was some sort of mystical concept.

He was disappointed when I told him that, when you write in the inverted pyramid, you simply put what you believe to be the most pertinent facts first, and then work your way down in order of decreasing importance and/or urgency.

I and a few of my colleagues were in a Friday mood today. We wondered what would happen if we composed an article in the inverted pyramid format and then rearranged it so that the last paragraph would come first, the second to last paragraph would come second, and so on. I tried the experiment with my recent article on the Exton Barnes and Noble Glenn Beck book signing. Here, for your weekend reading enjoyment, is the result: an article in the "normal shaped pyramid" format. It's kind of funny, and surprisingly readable.

“This was a once in a lifetime chance to meet Glenn Beck,” Goodman said. “I don’t watch his show all the time, but I’m a fan. He puts politics in a way that I can understand, and then I can agree with him. Or I can disagree with him.”

The line went fast, he said.

After getting his book signed, Ben Goodman, a Sophomore Pastoral Ministries major at Valley Forge Christian College, sat at a table on the second floor, telling his friend about the experience.

The book store had a holiday feel, as if it were Christmas Eve and the fans were excited, last-minute shoppers. But among them were customers who, either unaware of or unconcerned with Beck, shopped as if it were any other day.

At 7:30 p.m., hundreds of fans lined the perimeter of the Barnes and Noble while Beck stood at a table, greeting them and signing their books.

“I feel his fans are ill-informed, or uninformed, about what Glenn Beck is really advocating,” Kivlin said. “He is using the media to advance his own career through divisive political tactics such as hate speech. And that’s what sells.”

Mary Kivlin, of West Whiteland, said she believes Beck is willfully misleading his fans in order to advance his own career.

“I’m here because I want Beck and others to know that his message of misinformation and hatred is not acceptable and is un-American,” said Fran Pierce, of West Pikeland.

Fifteen minutes before the signing was to start, only 8 protesters were present.

The signing attracted a small group of liberal protestors. They stood on a small concrete island at the exit to Main Street and held signs that read “Glenn Beck has no respect,” “Hate Speech is bad news,” and “Hatred is anti-American.”

Beck was promoting his book “Arguing with Idiots: How to Stop Small Minds and Big Government.” The book, which is illustrated and printed on colored paper, is intended to provide readers with arguments they can use to counter supporters of liberal policies.

She said she has been following on the radio and on television for two years. She came to see him, she said, because he is “quite a patriot.”

“I’ve never done anything like this in my life,” Weber said. “I’ve never seen a politician. I’ve never waited to see anyone.”

Helen Weber, of East Goshen, stood near the front of the line. She had been at the store since 2 p.m., though the signing wasn’t to start until 7 p.m. Near her was a folded up lawn chair.

Many of the Beck fans said they are concerned about the way their opponents have labeled them. A few even mockingly referred to themselves as “the angry mob.”

“I challenge you to find one person in this line who is ignorant and uneducated,” Reber said. “Glenn Beck speaks for us. We’re not mad boobs. We know what we’re talking about, and we care.”

Reber said he believes Beck offers intelligent and devastating criticism of liberals and the Obama Administration. He added that he takes issue with critics who try to brand Beck fans as irresponsible and sub-par thinkers.

“I’m tired of big government, high taxes, politicians stabbing me in the back, a media that lies, Nancy Pelosi calling us maniacs; I’m tired of being told evolution is the only way to think, because there are other ways; I’m tired of government-run education, of homeschoolers being mocked,” said Jonathan C. Reber, Sr., of East Lampeter Township, Lancaster County. “You want me to keep going?”

As they waited, they praised Beck, echoed his criticisms of liberals and President Obama, and added some of their own.

An hour before the signing started, nearly 500 stood in a line that wrapped around the book store and continued all the way down one of the blocks of Main Street at Exton.

The book signing that conservative television and radio host Glenn Beck held at the Barnes and Noble on Wednesday evening attracted throngs of outspoken fans.

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