Yesterday, we were among the nine million blogs that couldn’t believe that insanely hostile interview on Fox in which Fox’s Lauren Green kept badgering author Reza Aslan to explain his audacious act of being both a Muslim and a person who wrote a book about Jebus. Well, here’s some nice news: now that the video has gone viral, sales of the book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, have gone through the roof. The New York Times reports that Aslan’s publisher, Random House, says that sales have increased 35% in the two days following the video hitting the webospheres. We will just go out on a limb and guess that very few of those purchases came from Fox News viewers; the literate ones seem mostly to have been spamming the book’s reviews on Amazon.
The Times piece notes that while the book had already been selling well, the explosion of derp pushed it from “well-received” to “controversy-driven bestseller”:
On Friday, “Zealot” was in the No. 8 spot on Amazon.com, the nation’s biggest seller of books; by Sunday, it had hit No. 1.
Random House is rushing to meet the surge in demand for the book. On Monday, the publisher ordered 50,000 copies, bringing the total to 150,000 copies in print by the end of the week.
All this suggests that we have finally found a useful purpose for Fox News: If idiots on Fox condemn something, this might become a formal barometer of the work’s value. The downside is that authors on book tours will now be pushed by their publishers to go on Fox in the hope that they too will generate a publicity-generating stream of abuse.
Also, in answer to the question everyone had when they saw the video, no, Lauren Green did not feel compelled to grill a Southern Baptist professor about why he felt the need to write a book about Islam. It just never came up, for some reason. And Media Matters has a nice compilation of the many times that Green, who identifies herself as an evangelical Christian, has done some pretty contentious stories on an Islam, a religion that she does not even believe in.
And finally, we wouldn’t dream of closing without sharing the Absolute Best Tweet we’ve seen on the whole sorry mess:
@rezaaslan I have a PhD in oceanography, I study the ocean." "But you live on the land" "Yes, but my area of study is the ocean."
— Contra la Maquina (@lamaquinapls) July 28, 2013
By Doktor Zoom
[NYT / Buzzfeed / MediaMatters]