Skip to main content


Return to Transcripts main page


Miss USA Given a Second Chance; CEO Shares Rags to Riches Story; Etiquette Tips for Outlaws

Aired December 19, 2006 - 19:00:00   ET


GLENN BECK, HOST: All right. Coming up, Miss USA gets a second chance. Good thing or a bad thing? Oh, I`ll let you know in a second.
Plus, the man who is the inspiration for the No. 1 movie in the country, the "Pursuit of Happyness", is coming up. That and more next.


ANNOUNCER: Tonight`s episode is brought to you by the Miss Canada pageant. Cocaine free since `93.


BECK: Well, big news today, not out of Iraq or Iran. It`s actually happening right here in midtown Manhattan. Miss USA, Tara Conner, who allegedly tested positive for cocaine.

She allegedly stayed out all night, partying in bars, even though she`s underage and allegedly was sucking face with Miss Teen USA. She`s going to retain her crown.

Plus, the good news is she`s gone from anonymous pageant queen to household name overnight. God bless America. Where`s Kate Smith when we need her?

Here`s -- actually, I shouldn`t say -- I was going to say here`s how it went down. But that`s probably a poor choice of words. Here`s what happened today.


DONALD TRUMP, REAL ESTATE MOGUL: I`ve always been a believer in second chances.

BECK: Yes. You`re fired.

TRUMP: I`ve always been...

BECK: Uh-huh.

TRUMP: Tara is a good person. Tara has tried hard. Tara is going to be given a second chance.


BECK: OK. Here`s the point tonight.

I told you last week that I think we`ve been missing the point on Christmas, and that bears repeating tonight. The point on Christmas is not about the birth of the baby. It`s all about what the baby grew up to do. It`s about forgiveness.

But forgiveness doesn`t mean there shouldn`t be any consequences to your actions. We cannot live in a consequence-free society where people don`t learn lessons from their extremely stupid or sometimes dangerous decisions. But a consequence-free society is exactly what Donald Trump was endorsing today.

Here`s how I got there. I`m going to level with you. I don`t think there`s -- you know, OK, look. There is an actual issue here, but let`s be honest. One of the big reasons this is a story tonight on not only this show but everybody`s show is, I mean, Tara Conner in a bikini. Am I right or am I right? All right.

With that being said, is there anyone out there that even really takes Miss USA and the whole pageant seriously? It`s run by Donald Trump. It looks more like his dating pool than a pageant. Something tells me maybe it`s just me, no real nuclear physicist or Ph.D. coming out of this group. But the pageant does have rules, and this is the point tonight.

One of the rules -- I haven`t read the rule book. I think it`s -- well, it may or may not be don`t let random dudes snort coke off your belly. Just saying. Haven`t read the rule book.

But imagine if Tara Conner weren`t Miss USA but, let`s say, a kindergarten teacher. Would you want to give her a second chance to teach your kids? Now, she`s clearly not a kindergarten teacher. She`s not. But she is teaching your kids. Here`s how she took the news today.


TARA CONNER, MISS USA: I`m willing to do whatever it takes, not only given a chance to have time to better myself but to better me as Miss USA. And I plan on walking out of this the best Miss USA that you`ve ever seen.


CONNER: And I promise you that.


BECK: Oh, that`s great. She`s the best Miss USA ever. Well, that`s great. Not sure if that`s going to be true or not, but since I`ve never heard of any Miss USAs until about six hours ago, you know, that bodes pretty well, Tara. It is.

Just to be clear, I`m willing to forgive Tara Conner. I don`t care. She didn`t really affect my life. But you don`t get forgiveness without consequences.

Donald Trump didn`t fire her. She`s never going to learn that her actions can actually have negative repercussions for herself or other people. All she learned is, as I see it, one, you can break all of the rules, you know, as long as you`re hot. And two, the more you screw up, the more famous you become in America.

And that`s the issue that I think relates to parents everywhere. You know what? We`ve got to start letting our kids get into trouble. If your kid breaks a neighbor`s window, make him pay for it. Don`t get him an attorney.

When I was 16 years old, I was at a Doobie Brothers concert in Seattle at the Seattle Coliseum. Cops caught me in the parking lot with some alcohol. And I don`t want to get into specifics because, yes, it was peach schnapps, but that`s a different story.

When my father found out, he said to me two things. The first thing he said was, "You`re the dumbest kid I think I`ve ever met." The second thing is, "You`re not -- we`re not getting an attorney. You`re not going to go in with a lawyer."

I had to go down and face the music, along with my very disapproving father standing right next to me as I accepted the consequences of my actions.

Sure, I did grow up to be a raging alcoholic, but I did learn a few things that day. One, I gained fresh respect for law and for my dad. I also learned that getting hammered in a parking lot before a Doobie Brothers concert sounds just as embarrassing now as it did then.

What lesson did Miss USA learn from all of this? That not only does bad behavior have no consequences: worse yet, it can actually pay off.

So, here`s what I know tonight. One, Miss USA is hot. I also know, sadly, Tara Conner is going to make more money, become more famous than she would have ever been had she kept her nose clean. No pun intended.

We live in a society that glamorizes glamour. It also glamorizes shame. I thought shame was dead for a long time. It`s not. It`s not only alive. It is a valuable commodity for celebrities.

Here`s what I don`t know. If USA, you know, if she ever saw me in a bar, would she find me attractive? Don`t know, honestly. I also don`t know what effect this will have on a generation of kids who are already accustomed to living in a consequence-free society.

Brent Bozell, he is from the Media Research Center.

Brent, this really wasn`t even a press conference. This was a reality show.

BRENT BOZELL, MEDIA RESEARCH CENTER: Oh, gosh. You know, every time I think we`ve hit the bottom, I mean, we get out the shovel, and we dig some more.

BECK: It is amazing to me. I watched this thing. We actually -- we watched it live and TiVo`d it on the radio show and stopped it and took bets on what this guy was going to say. It couldn`t be more shocking.

BOZELL: You know, I will quarrel with something in your monologue, which I found very entertaining, but I think you said two or three times you discussed the rule book. The problem is there is no rule book. There are no rules to be followed. You can do anything you want to.

I don`t know what`s more pathetic, this little brat and her little performance or Donald Trump, who will do anything...

BECK: Oh, Donald Trump.

BOZELL: Who will do anything to get a ratings, who will do anything to get attention, anything to get hype. I mean, he really is no different than Britney Spears as far as I`m concerned.

BECK: Well, I don`t want to know the answer to this, but I believe he was probably wearing underpants.

BOZELL: You know, you took the words right out of my mouth. I was about to say that.

BECK: So, with the Britney Spears thing, you know, I actually heard some commentators say, well, she`s going out and she`s hooking up with Paris Hilton, and that`s the worst thing she can do. And I said out loud - - I was listening in the car, and I said out loud, that is exactly what they would advise her to do.

BOZELL: Absolutely.

BECK: She wants to shake that mother image. In this society, shame pays.

BOZELL: It does. It does because as you said, there are no consequences. Look at the world of sports. Look at, you know, every day there seems to be one new outrage.

I want to throw one -- one poll number out there. Young kids, teenagers, were asked to name their role models in a survey a few years ago. Not 1 percent named their parents or teachers or their religious leaders. Sixty-one percent named sports figures and Hollywood entertainers as their role models.

OK, so every day you turn on the TV and you see another basketball fight, you see another Terrell Owens stupidity. Now look at the consequences. Well, I`m going to fine you $35,000 out of that $30 million paycheck of yours.

BECK: Yes.

BOZELL: There are no consequences. So these children are watching these sports figures and they`re saying nothing happens to them, ergo nothing will happen to me.

BECK: You know, I`m trying to remember a famous eastern quote that is "that which you gaze upon you become." That is really what`s happening to us.

We are -- I just saw a poll that came out of England, and we`re going to talk a little bit about it on tomorrow`s program, that shows that, what was it, I`m not sure if I have the recorder right, but it is fame, beauty, and money are the most important things, the best things on earth to 10- year-old kids in England. We`re -- I mean, we`re turning into -- I mean, the box in our houses is reality for too many people.

BOZELL: That`s right. It is instant self-gratification. That`s the world that we live in today. And when you have instant self-gratification, there are never any consequences.

You know, you watch the show "Friends". I`m picking on a TV show and that`s unfair, but in that show "Friends", everybody slept with everyone else. No one ever got gonorrhea.

BECK: Yes.

BOZELL: That`s the world we live in on television. It`s not the real world. The Donald Trump world is not the real world.

This little brat, when she leaves her Miss USA and goes into the real world, she is going to come in for the shock of her life when they take that crown off.

BECK: Brent, thanks a lot.

BOZELL: Thank you.

BECK: You bet.

Coming up, an amazing rags to riches story. Meet the man who inspired Will Smith`s latest hit, the "Pursuit of Happyness."

Also, what do you do if your boss starts to hit on you in your office Christmas party? How to avoid the festive follies.

And in "The Real Story" tonight, we`re going to speak to Winston Churchill, yes, the grandson of the man who stood alone against the tide of tyranny. What does he think his grandfather would say about the situation in the Middle East? We`ll talk to him coming up. Don`t miss it.



BECK: They found cocaine traces in her hair. They -- no, I mean, you know you`ve got a problem if they`re taking hair samples from you. I`m just saying, that`s never a good -- to me, that`s a pure sign your life is on the wrong track.

If anybody ever come to you and says, "We need a sample of your hair," you should probably re-evaluate the direction you`re going on in your life. I`m just saying.


BECK: And I stand by that. All the movies that are coming out this week, I saw -- I`m a little late on the bandwagon here, but I saw the new James Bond. My wife and I both think it`s the best one ever made. It is really, really good. It just doesn`t stop. She actually started in on me this weekend: "Let`s go see the new Will Smith movie."

The "Pursuit of Happyness" actually is supposed to be really good. It was No. 1 this weekend. Will Smith and his son, Jaden, are in it. It`s a film about a single father who goes from living on the streets to becoming a huge success in the business world. I promised her we`re going to take the family to see it this weekend.

It is a true story based on the life of Chris Gardner. I recently had the opportunity to talk to Chris about his movie and his incredible journey.


BECK (voice-over): Achieving the American dream really isn`t easy. Case in point: Chris Gardner. Today he`s the chief executive of a multimillion-dollar brokerage firm with offices in Chicago, San Francisco, and New York City. Here he is in his office in Chicago. His desk, actually the tail wing of a jet airliner.

But success didn`t always come easy for Gardner. He grew up in Milwaukee, the son of a single mother who often wasn`t there for him.

CHARLES GARDNER, CEO: Growing up in the city itself was a beautiful thing. Everyone had jobs, but we were all poor.

BECK: Joining the Navy was his way out. Later, he worked as a medical supply salesman, supporting his wife and young son. Then fate intervened.

GARDNER: Walking over to my car, I se this guy circling the parking lot in this gorgeous red Ferrari looking for a place to park. And I struck a deal with him. You can have my parking place, but you got to tell me how you do what you do. Those were the two questions that started my pursuit of a career on Wall Street.

BECK: But Gardner`s pursuit of Wall Street hit some serious road blocks. After doing some jail time for unpaid parking tickets, he found that his wife had disappeared, taking their son with her.

GARDNER: Then having him taken away, that was the most painful thing in the world to me. So, when she brought him back to me, there was no doubt, you know, we`re going to be together. We might not know where we`re going. We might not know where we`re going to live, where we`re going to sleep, or where we`re going to eat, but we`re going to be together.

BECK: In fact, for almost a year, Gardner and his 2-year-old son, Chris Jr., were homeless. While working hard to become a broker by day, at night Gardner and Chris Jr. slept in shelters, under his office desk, and even in the bathroom of a train station. But all the while, father and son never gave up hope.

GARDNER: The big motivation was to have my child but also to fulfill a part of the child in me that wanted to break the cycle of men that were not there for their children.

BECK: Gardner was finally able to reach his goal. He tells us all about his journey in a new book, "The Pursuit of Happyness". He also tours the country, giving motivational speeches.

Now is the time to reflect on all of his hardships. Gardner says if there is one thing in his life he could take back, it would be, well, nothing.

GARDNER: I firmly believe, I do, you change one thing in your life, and that affects everything else that happens after that. So, Maya Angelou once said in response to a similar question, wouldn`t take nothing from my journey now.


BECK: From Chicago tonight, a real American, Chris Gardner.

Chris, I have to tell you that I was whining to my father, who`s watching the show -- hi Dad -- and this is about 15 years ago. I was whining to him, and I said, "Jeez, you know, I`ve got so many things going wrong in my life." This was when I was an alcoholic and I was broke and everything else.

And he said, "Yes, you know what? You are right. Boy, you know what? Tonight, son, make a list of all the bad things that have happened to you in your life."

And I started with my mother`s suicide and everything, all the way down. I got about ten on the list and I realized, "Wow, wait a minute, if that hadn`t have happened, I wouldn`t be here, I wouldn`t be here."

I mean, you hit the nail right on the head. You can`t change anything in your life...

GARDNER: Not a thing.

BECK: You can change only the way you react to it.

GARDNER: And your perception of it.

BECK: Yes.

GARDNER: People have asked me many, many times about the homelessness experience. True, we were homeless, but we were never hopeless. That`s a whole different ballgame. Glenn, I had just started my career on Wall Street.

BECK: Yes.

GARDNER: I had nothing but upside. It couldn`t have gotten any worse. I had nothing but upside.

BECK: One of the things that I promised myself that we would do on the show is try to show some of the hope. I am such a believer in the future of America. I -- if I can do what I`m doing, you can do what you want to do.

And it kills me how many bad stories you see all the time and how many people are always saying, "Oh, you can never make it" or, you know, they`re peddling misery and I`m finding story after story like yours, where all you have to do is just apply yourself.

GARDNER: Glenn, you`ve got to look for those stories. You and I will probably agree that bad news is going to sell more papers than good news.

BECK: Yes, I know.

GARDNER: And -- but I see it all around me, and perhaps it`s because I choose to look for it, Glenn, and I`m open to it.

BECK: Yes. What do you say to people, white, black, doesn`t matter what color, but I mean, I hear a lot of poverty pimps that will say you `re being held back. And I don`t care what color you are. What do you say to those people. I mean, if you were held back, you were homeless.

GARDNER: And had every excuse in the world to just throw in the towel right there. OK? Could have become -- could have hidden in an -- alcohol, drugs or anything else. But made a conscious choice and decision, Glenn.

And to answer your question as directly as possible, what do I say to those people who find themselves in similar situations to the ones you or I were in?

BECK: Yes. Yes.

GARDNER: The cavalry ain`t coming.

BECK: Real quick, did you buy the Ferrari? Did you ever get the Ferrari that you saw?

GARDNER: I got the Ferrari and got rid of it. You know what you find out man? When you get toys, you don`t have time.

BECK: I understand you bought it from someone famous.

GARDNER: Well, I didn`t buy it because he was famous. I bought it because he was tall and there was enough room in the car, for both of us.

BECK: That`s right. Michael Jordan, if I`m not mistaken.


BECK: Chris, thanks. Best of luck to you, sir.

GARDNER: Thank you, Glenn. Look forward to seeing you soon.

BECK: You bet.


BECK: Well, tonight is our company Christmas party. That`s why I`m wearing the "ho, ho, ho" tie. It was either that or it was a special just for Miss USA.

Anyway, tonight is the Christmas party, and I -- you know, I`m -- being a recovering alcoholic, I don`t mind the Christmas parties at least the next day, because I`m the one that can remember and tell all of the stories from the night before.

Rob Cohen and David Wollock are the authors of "Etiquette for Outlaws". We had some viewers write in with some questions for these guys.

How you doing?



Beck: Good. I mean, you wrote an etiquette book and yet you`re wearing a T-shirt on a TV show, which might not be appropriate.

WOLLOCK: I ironed it and I picked it out just for you.

COHEN: Situational relativism.

BECK: OK, good. Let me ask you this. First of all, I actually said to one of my co-workers, I said, you know, I don`t know if I can stay the whole party tonight, because I`ve got to get home because we`re having another one, blah, blah, blah.

And it was actually recommended that I stay home, that I don`t even go -- they`re like just show up because you`re going to make everybody uncomfortable because you don`t drink and everything else.

Is there a problem with alcoholics showing up at Christmas parties? Does it make everybody else uncomfortable?

COHEN: No, no. Never a problem showing up at a Christmas party. I mean, obviously, you probably want to show up early when everybody`s sober.

BECK: Yes.

COHEN: Because being the sober one in a room full of drunks is never a good thing.

BECK: Sure.

WOLLOCK: Bail before the party gets -- you know, really gets going because then you might sort of -- people might be intimidated or a little uncomfortable around you.

COHEN: They`d probably forget.

BECK: Yes.

And I`ll get all kinds of information out of them.

COHEN: There you go.

BECK: All right. We have a couple of questions for you. "Glenn, I want to ask out a co-worker I have a crush on at the holiday party. How do I go about this? Should I get her drunk first?"

WOLLOCK: Getting drunk is always a good first move, or getting her drunk. I probably wouldn`t get yourself drunk first. You want to try to keep the business and personal stuff separate. So you want to kind of use the office party as a segue.

WOLLOCK: Get her drunk, then take her somewhere else.

BECK: Oh, OK, so it`s not on the company dime.

WOLLOCK: Exactly.

BECK: Good, good.

COHEN: It`s not on the company web site.

BECK: This is good advice so far.

"Glenn, I want to hook up at a -- hook up with a colleague at this year`s holiday party. What excuse" -- this is actually a very long and interesting letter, but "what excuse can I give my girlfriend so she doesn`t come with me?"

WOLLOCK: This is not a situation I`m unfamiliar with. Basically, obviously, you do everything you can to dissuade your significant other from joining you: "Oh, we`ll be networking. It`s boring, blah, blah, blah, blah. I`m going to leave early. I`m out." But that said, if they absolutely insist...

COHEN: You should kind of set up a co-worker to be your booty bodyguard and sort of keep your girlfriend at bay while you go work the room.

WOLLOCK: Designate a wing man, you know, sort of an interoffice ally that can keep the two apart or that can put up a distraction so you can set up a tryst for later on.

BECK: Do you guys...

COHEN: Slip him your drink tickets.

BECK: Do you guys work for Donald Trump or the Miss USA pageant?

WOLLOCK: I wish.

COHEN: Doesn`t everybody to some extent work for Donald Trump?

BECK: I believe unfortunately, yes, that`s true. This one came in, a guy who wrote in and said that his boss really likes to party. And last time he got stoned with his boss. And he doesn`t want to think -- he doesn`t want his boss to think he`s a pothead. Should he do it this year?

COHEN: I`d say it`s always polite to take a puff. I probably would say, "Thank you very much" and that have that. I mean, anything beyond that might be a little carried away.

BECK: Right.

COHEN: I wouldn`t tell your boss about all the green that you have growing in your apartment or the bag that`s in your trunk.

BECK: OK, I got it. We got to run.

COHEN: Not polite.

BECK: David and Rob, thanks. Back in a minute.


BECK: All right. Welcome to "The Real Story."

Last week, I told you about the Holocaust conference in Iran and how their nut job leader once again openly called for the destruction of Israel. Merry Christmas, everybody. Well, today he shifted his focus back to the U.S., explaining that we`re only in Iraq for the oil and then said, quote, "Thank God today the U.S. is deep down in a quagmire in Iraq," end quote.

Yes, no, seriously, we should definitely sit down and try to work with somebody who`s literally thanking God that our soldiers are dying in Iraq. No, Iraqi Study Group, good idea, really. And no sarcasm there at all.

The real story today is there is actually some sane people in Iran. There is somebody that is just as sick of President Tom`s rhetoric as we are, and that person or people is the people of Iran.

Last Friday, the voters sent a strong message to their president by handing a big victory to moderate conservative candidates. In case you`re not an Iranian political analyst, let me translate that one for you. The moderates are the people who are tired of President Tom provoking the West while ignoring the horrible conditions inside their own country.

That is a huge slap in the face to him personally, but the best news is the results prove that the people of Iran are not buying into their leader`s apocalyptic agenda. These results show us that it really is the radical elements within the country who are pushing for the confrontation with the West, not the average citizen.

Most of us know deep down inside, in the quiet of night, that the world is in big, big trouble if things continue along the current path in Iran. I mean, I believe at this point even the French have a chance of getting that.

But the question has always been how to deal with it. A U.S. missile strike, even if it`s a successful one, would literally set the Islamic world on fire, especially in Europe where our allies would see, you know, violence that would make the Muslim riots in Paris seem like a kindergarten fight.

And conversely, sitting back and doing nothing as our sworn enemy develops and shares nuclear technology really doesn`t sound like a plan, either.

The best option and, as I see it, at least at this time our only option is for the people of Iran to change their own destiny. But if that is ever going to be even a possibility, we need the Iranian people to know that we will stand by them, no matter what it takes.

That is why the worst thing we can do right now is to abandon the people of Iraq. Not only would that be, as the new secretary of defense just said, quote, "a calamity that would haunt our nation and endanger Americans for decades to come," but it would also send the absolute worst possible message to the people of Iran: We will stand up with you if you rise up, but if things gets tough, you know, maybe you`re on your own.

Of course President Tom thanks God for our trouble in Iraq. If we win there, then the Iranian people will see the seed of democracy planted right next door, and they will rise up and fight for those same freedoms. Appeasement and abandonment will never work. They never have.

Winston Churchill was brave enough to say these things about Germany before World War II. At the time, it damn near destroyed his career.

Now, Mr. Churchill`s grandson, Winston S. Churchill, is speaking out, saying almost the same things about our situation in Iraq, and I quote, "When eventually the devastatingly high cost of the cut-and-run policy becomes evident, even to its perpetrators, it will come to be seen as incredible that the United States allowed its will and its courage to fail, to give the point of giving our declared enemies a dramatic victory while placing on the line the lives of our civilian populations at home. I pray America recovers her nerve and has the grit to soldier on to victory. How much better to fight the declared enemy on the streets of Baghdad than those on New York."

A few years ago, Winston S. Churchill put together a collection of his grandfather`s greatest speeches in a book called "Never Give In." I`m reading it now and, in fact, re-reading much of it now, because the smartest people I know, from CEOs of major corporations to leaders of countries, are reading it as well right now.

It`s not just because his words are important then; they`re important now, just as strong, maybe even stronger.

Mr. Winston S. Churchill joins me now. Welcome, sir. What a pleasure to have you on.

WINSTON S. CHURCHILL, MEMBER OF BRITISH PARLIAMENT, 1970-`97: Good evening. My pleasure.

BECK: You know, I was reading your grandfather`s -- reading your book and your grandfather`s speech. I believe it was "Save Mankind from Martyrdom," and I`m trying to find the point in history where we are. And I believe -- I put the date at September 28th at the time of that speech. Where do you think we are in history, if it is, indeed, repeating itself?

CHURCHILL: Well, I`m not sure that history is repeating itself, but there are some of the same suspects around. I mean, just last week, the British Foreign Office issued an injunction to Mr. Blair and British ministers that they mustn`t anymore refer to the war on terror, because that might give offense to the Muslims.

Now, I recall that in the 1930s, my grandfather was out front in condemning the dangers of the rise of Nazism in Germany and the threat that they posed to the whole world, and the British Foreign Office and the British Broadcasting Corporation said, "No, no, no, we mustn`t have any of this. It might make Herr Hitler angry."

BECK: See, I mean, you`re saying that history is not repeating itself, but, I mean, all of the same mistake are there. You`ve got people saying now that President Ahmadinejad doesn`t mean what he`s saying. That`s what people said about "Mein Kampf." These people are serious. It`s the same mistake all over again.

CHURCHILL: It`s the same mistake under different circumstances, that`s for sure, yes.

BECK: OK, so what happens -- what do you see, if we continue down this road, what do you see coming?

CHURCHILL: If we continue down this road, if our will fails in Iraq, first of all, the Iraqis who have committed themselves to our side, their lives will be on the line.

Secondly, all the immediate neighbors of Iraq, our friends in Saudi Arabia, in the Gulf States, and Kuwait, they will have the skids put under them. And we will see develop in Iraq the base that is being denied the terrorists of Al Qaeda. They will re-establish what we deprived them of in Afghanistan.

And all the work of the last five or six years will be out the window. And they will have, as a training base, an operational base, the country with the fourth largest oil reserves in the world. And armed with those petro-dollar billions, they will be able to foment a lot of terrorism around the world, including on the streets of the United States of America.

BECK: You being the grandson of Winston Churchill, just have a vision I think that many don`t have because of your relationship there. I`ve been asking on the radio and on television for quite a while, "Where is the Winston Churchill today?" Do you see your grandfather anywhere?

CHURCHILL: Emphatically not, only in history.

BECK: You don`t see any leader out there that you think really gets it and has the grit to stand through like your grandfather did?


BECK: Do you believe that if -- first of all, do you believe we`re in a World War III? I think we`re in World War III, and I think it is an end game that they`re trying to play, just like Hitler was trying to play an end game with the West. Do you believe that, if we lose this, this is the end of the West as we know it, or that`s at least what our enemies would like to bring about?

CHURCHILL: Well, I don`t know if it`s the end of the West, but it would be so devastating. If we cut and run in Iraq, the demoralization of the American nation, the demoralization of the U.S. Armed Forces, it will be something every bit as traumatic as the defeat in Vietnam 40 years ago.

And it will be something that will be with us for decades, and it will do untold damage to the interests of the West, to the interests of the United States.

BECK: OK. Thank you, Mr. Churchill. What a pleasure. Thank you very much, sir.

CHURCHILL: My pleasure being with you tonight.

BECK: That is "The Real Story" tonight. If you`d like to read more about this or if you`ve found a real story of your own that you`d like to tell us about, please visit and click on the "Real Story" button.



BECK: All right. Wildly popular book, now internationally successful film. The name of it is "Eragon." In it, a teenage hero soars with dragons, vanquishes evil, and his ordinary life is changed forever by one extraordinary event.

The same can be said, kind of, sort of, for the story`s author. Christopher Paolini, he is a 15-year-old kid, or was, growing up in Montana when he penned this fantasy epic, his imagination and brilliant storytelling capturing the hearts of millions.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s not too bad up here.


BECK: Welcome to the program.

CHRISTOPHER PAOLINI, AUTHOR, "ERAGON": Well, thank you for having me.

BECK: My daughters have been talking about you and "Eragon" for -- how long has the book been out now?

PAOLINI: Eragon came out August 2003.

BECK: OK. They`ve been telling me, "Read this book, Dad. Dad, read this book. You`ve got to read this book." They love it. And the more I found out about you, the more amazing the whole story is. You were 15 when you wrote the book.


BECK: You had just graduated from high school.


BECK: You are home-schooled. You`ve never had a TV, right?

PAOLINI: We have a TV now, but...


BECK: So to watch you on TV then?

PAOLINI: Yes, not growing up. We didn`t have reception in the area, so the mountains made it kind of impossible for that. So instead...

BECK: There is something we like to call "cable."

PAOLINI: Cable? You can`t get cable in the area.

BECK: Really?


BECK: You live in America, right?

PAOLINI: I believe so, yes.


BECK: That`s amazing. So tell me how the story came to you. I mean, how long have you been working on this?

PAOLINI: At the end of this year, it will make just about eight years I`ve been working on this trilogy, so it`s been a large part of my life, when you consider I`m 23 now. The story came to me because I had graduated and I was -- you know, I didn`t have a job. I wasn`t in school. My parents didn`t feel comfortable sending me to college at 15. And I think that was a wise decision on their part.

BECK: Sure.

PAOLINI: And I was growing up. And I loved reading fantasy, so I wanted to write a fantasy story using the elements of fantasy I enjoy, about growing up, and about a young man growing up. And sort of the idea of a young man finding a dragon egg was, you know, sort of the core of the book.

And then I started asking myself, well, where would a dragon egg come from? Who else might be looking for one? What land would a dragon come from? And before I knew it, I had a book.

BECK: Tell me the story -- you almost lost your house because of the book.

PAOLINI: That`s right. My parents, when I gave them the manuscript, they loved the story. And they said, "We`re going to help you self-publish this, if you want, and we`ll make it the family business." So we spent a year getting it ready for publication.

And in that year, my parents didn`t get, you know, income from other sources that they might have otherwise. So by the time we actually started marketing the book, if the book had taken another few months to start turning a profit, we were going to have to sell the house, you know, move to a regular city, all get regular jobs.

BECK: My gosh.

PAOLINI: I mean, we literally bet the farm on it, so to speak. And, I mean, it makes a great story now, but...

BECK: Did you have any idea at the time? Did your parents have any idea at the time how big this was going to be?

PAOLINI: Never. I mean, I wrote "Eragon" to please myself and to please my family, hopefully, and I never thought it was going to be published. And I certainly never thought it was eventually going to be a movie.

BECK: Are you real religious? I mean, where do you get -- this family is really just solid. Are you a religious family or just freaks that live in the woods?

PAOLINI: Family has been my parents` most important concern for a long time. I mean, my dad and my mom have sacrificed to keep us together a great deal. In fact, that was the reason we home-schooled originally, also, was so that my sister and I didn`t have to, you know, leave and split up the family.

My parents have always looked for work that would allow us to stay together.

BECK: Wow.

PAOLINI: And that`s how we fell into writing, actually, because, again, it`s something we can all do together. And to me, I think the family is the most important thing. Without my parents` support, without my sister`s support, none of this would have been possible.

BECK: Your sister is now writing fantasy fictions...

PAOLINI: That`s right.

BECK: ... herself. I mean, boy, we could spend so much time with you. Let me just ask you this. I saw a piece of the movie. I haven`t had a chance to see the whole thing yet. I saw a piece of the movie. Are you happy with it?

PAOLINI: Seeing the movie was one of the strangest and most exciting things I`ve ever experienced before. To watch, you know, the actors saying lines that are from the book or, you know, a little bit different from the book, it`s just -- it sent chills down my spine.

And, I mean, the movie reflects the filmmaker`s vision of the story, but my hope is the people who have enjoyed the book will enjoy the movie, as well, and vice versa, the people...

BECK: Did you?

PAOLINI: You know...


... I`m not sure...

BECK: It`s hard.

PAOLINI: I am so close to this, just the fact that there`s a movie at all is so amazing to me.

BECK: Yes.

PAOLINI: And I think, though, that they cast the two lead roles really well. I`m a big fan of Jeremy Irons, and I think the young man who plays the lead character of Eragon does a very good job in the movie.

BECK: Yes, we had him on last week. He was great. Best of luck to you.

PAOLINI: Thanks.

BECK: Congratulations. And please thank your parents for being good parents.

PAOLINI: Oh, I will.

BECK: Thanks.

PAOLINI: Thank you.


BECK: All right. As we get closer to Christmas or the politically correct inclusive holiday Ramahanakwanzamas, I thought we`d look at a few of the Christmas myths, the things that everybody seems to believe about the holidays that may or may not be true.

The great place to look at some of these things is at They have a whole section dedicated to the myths of the season. Oh, and believe me, you`ll get no work done tomorrow.

We`re going to start with one that you`ve heard a million times, that the suicide rate is higher around the holidays. You know the story, people get depressed because they don`t have family or loved ones around, and they decide to end it all.

Thankfully, the idea that cutting your wrists around Christmas is as trendy as anorexic socialites, it`s false. Studies have shown that the suicide rate is average around this time of year, actually lower on Thanksgiving and Christmas. So don`t hang yourself with the icicle lights just yet.

How about Black Friday, day after Thanksgiving, supposed to be the biggest shopping day of the year? You know, where Grandma wakes up at 2:00 a.m. to stand outside in the cold, you know, there at a Wal-Mart for six hours to save 30 cents on a paper shredder.

Well, the truth is, while Black Friday usually ranks among the top 10, the biggest shopping day of the year varies. It`s usually somewhere between the 18th and the 23rd of December. Honestly, America`s just too full of people like me that do everything at the last minute for that myth to be true.

Then there is X-mas. Every year we get people from e-mails saying, "Don`t use X-mas. They`re X`ing out the Christ from Christmas." And since the ACLU has banned every nativity scene in America, or at least it seems that way -- they have a gun to the head of Rudolph in every town square -- you can understand Christians being just a tad defensive on this sort of thing.

But the X in X-mas isn`t a new idea hatched by some left-wing front group. It was born a long time ago. It`s actually -- the first letter in the Greek word for Christ is actually a symbol that looks an awful lot like the modern letter X. Now, of course, that doesn`t mean people are doing it because they`re concerned with honoring ancient Greek. They just might be trying to X out your savior, but most likely they`re just doing it to save a few letters.

And finally, this myth: Glenn intentionally wore a "ho, ho, ho" tie on the evening he was interviewing Winston S. Churchill. This one is shockingly true. It wasn`t a dare or a sick kid having a dying wish or even some sort of bizarre community service. It was just sad.

You can e-mail the insults about my tie directly to, or you can love Christmas, your choice. Mutually exclusive. They are, sorry.


© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines