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That's a hell of a scoop, Bubba. You caught me with a google alert for the C Street House. And yeah, I think that story's important. Didn't know that I was supposed to be so high and mighty that I couldn't comment in Tennessee, "whence" not only my family came but also some much other writers -- James Agee and Peter Taylor come to mind -- who understood the use of ironic formality.
Apparently, I owe you an apology for taking up precious blog comment space. Guess defending yourself from insinuations of inaccuracy is another convention you don't believe has a place in Tennessee. I'm sorry, too, that you didn't like the book. Sounds like you read it and hated in hardcover, though -- unless, that is, you're talking trash about a book you know nothing about -- so thanks.
Frank -- thanks for your reference to my book and my work for Harper's. I look forward to Wamp's clarifications. And I agree that much of the Family's approach sounds absurd. But it's hardly the stuff of blogger conspiracy theory. The original articles for Harper's and Rolling Stone that are its spine went through extensive fact checking and legal review, as did the book with its publisher, HarperCollins. I've footnoted all the historical documents with their precise locations in archives around the country. I've a bit of academic cred, too -- I spent the last five years as an associate research scholar at New York University's Center for Religion and Media, teaching graduate seminars in religious studies and journalism. The book received one of its best reviews from the Journal of American History, the wonkiest and preeminent journal for American historians. I've written for a number of national publications in addition to the magazines mentioned above, including The Washington Post, The Chronicle of Higher Education, New York magazine, Oxford American, and others, and have never had to make a correction. Moreover, I can hardly be called a conspiracy theorist given that I argue in the introduction and throughout that the Family is not a conspiracy.
All that said, my expertise pales next to that of red-faced Wamp. His clarifications have been gems, as you suggest. I wish I could say Tennessee is well-served by this dissembler, but I've a deep fondness for the Volunteer State and for Knoxville, in particular, whence my mother came and to which I traveled all the summers of my early youth.
Last, and certainly least: You may get a giggle from the odd coincidence that you share a name with the late Senator Frank Carlson of Kansas, who in the 1950s coined the Family's motto of "Worldwide Spiritual Offensive." May it spare proud Knoxville.