Glenn Beck, Thespian

Photo used under a Creatives Commons license by Flickr user Max Wolfe

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

If you skipped last night’s Glenn Beck holiday special, The Christmas Sweater: A Return to Redemption, you had company. The live event, beamed into 475 movie theaters nationwide, sold 17 tickets apiece in Boston and New York, and 30 in Washington, DC. At the downtown cineplex in San Francisco, a brisk walk from Mother Jones headquarters and the only theater in the city to air the program, the crowd could be counted on just two fingers—three, if you include this reporter.

The program revolves around a pre-taped, one-man stage production of Beck’s semi-autographical novel, The Christmas Sweater (now available in children’s book form), in which a young boy, Eddie (played by Beck), rejects his mom’s knitted gift, only to watch in horror as she dies in a horrific accident that evening. Eddie runs away from home and hits rock bottom—which a teary-eyed Beck illustrates by collapsing to the floor into a fetal postion—before finding finding salvation and discovering the true meaning of Christmas. It’s a real heartwarmer.

Following Eddie’s redemption, the event switched to a live forum profiling figures with stories a lot like Beck’s. As the sympathetic testimonials pour in—from a cancer survivor, a recovering drug addict, and a young man who says Beck’s novel brought him back from suicide’s edge—the lone constant, (other than Beck choking back tears, of course), is a barn-sized book jacket for The Christmas Sweater. For all the emotional rhetoric, A Return to Redemption is really just a big-budget infomercial.


Beck laments at one point that 2009 has been a year to forget, which is partially true, but not for him. Between the 9/12 project, his forthcoming plan to overhaul American democracy, and his movie, he’s become conservatives’ most versatile pitchman, a one-man WalMart for political outrage, literary grace, and, should you need it, a shoulder to cry on.


Sad you missed out on A Return to Redemption? Fear not. Beck will be back for an encore on December 10. Good seats are still available.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend