September 1, 2010

Beck and Call

Oh Glenn Beck you confuse me so. You are clearly a man with an identity crisis.

It's hard to claim to be a political hero on one hand, claiming that your own event was the size and importance of "defining political moments" such as Reagan's inauguration, while telling everyone earlier in the year that you use politics as a front to gain a foothold in the entertainment industry ("I could give a flying crap about the political process," continuing on to say that Mercury Radio Arts, his production company, is "an entertainment company".) And it's hard for me to buy the "secular conservative" routine while, at the same time, you're holding a prayer vigil in Washington followed by a rally injected with religious overtones on the National Mall. ("Recognize your place to the creator. Realize that he is our king. He is the one who guides and directs our life and protects us. I ask, not only if you would pray on your knees, but pray on your knees but with your door open for your children to see." Or, later, "My role, as I see it, is to wake America up to the backsliding of principles and values and most of all of God.")

Most of all, though, you can't claim to be a supporter of diversity in the United States when you hold a politically inflammatory rally on the Mall on the 47th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's march on Washington. Especially after you've said that the country's most highly recognizable African American leader - the President - is "a guy who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture." Because what exactly is that "white culture" you're referring to? And what is this "restoring honor" thing about? One supporter and rally attendee summed it up nicely as an attempt to "get our country back to its original roots." Which is a nice idea and all until you recall that those roots grew out of a deep and solid bed of slavery racial intolerance.

A.J. Calhoun, an attendee King's march on Washington in 1963 called Beck's stunt a "rally of right-wingers, Tea Partiers, neoconservatives, fascists, the delusional and the truly wicked, (and) the New Kluxers disguised as patriots wanting something they cannot or will not identify openly." I don't know if I'd go that far, but I would call Beck's truly ardent followers misguided. Alexander Zaitchik - author and Beck biographer - backs me up. "This is the guy who has a whole history, going back in Top 40 radio, of using racist jokes, racist humor, making fun of police brutality, and with a very deep hatred for black social justice activists. Beck stood by his claim that Obama is a racist and has frequently referred to the president's initiatives – including health care – as reparations." About the event on the Mall Zaitchik had this to say: "I view this through a prism of his business – he's in a very competitive media world with many distractions and this will enable him to be the topic of conversation."

Though there will most likely never come a point at which I would agree with Glenn Beck, I'd respect him a lot more if he could figure out who he is. As it stands, he's just a fame whore with a core following of angry people looking in the wrong direction for answers and holding himself up as that answer, constantly changing with the question.

Maybe DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton said it best when describing King's march on Washington. "Our country reached to overcome the low points of our racial history. Glenn Beck's march will change nothing." Now if we could just make him go away.

Posted by Chris at September 1, 2010 6:59 AM


Today is one of the days I really think you are misinformed. I haven't had coffee yet this morning so this might not flow as will as I would like.

I attended and marched in the Tea Party 9/12 march last year. I listen to conservative radio and was interested in attending the Restoring Honor rally.

Although I am agnostic and most definitely a secular conservative, I have learned that you can be a conservative or libertarian (which is the type of government I was raised to believe in) and believe in God and not be a racist.

I live in the deep south and I can tell you I have had my butt kicked (literally) because I was white. Then had to sit in a prejudice reduction workshop and have a black person tell me that black people cannot be racist because they are the ones being oppressed.

I have friends of all races and creeds. I know more about other cultures than most people because I am truly interested in how other people live. Yet, I do not think anyone should get a handout or a leg up just because of their race or creed. When people talk about going back to the intent of the founding fathers that is what they mean. Everyone having equal opportunity, not equal result.

I work in an office where a man with less qualifications who works for me makes more money than I do. Is that fair, is that right? No. But it is reality. When the Founding Fathers owned slaves, that was the way it was at the time. Do I hope your daughter doesn't face the adversity that my grandmother, mother, and I have faced while working to support our families? No. But I have to face it so she doesn't. You know it has only been 90 years since women could not vote in this country.

Our country isn't perfect but to say that you hate someone because they don't agree with you. To make assumptions about a person without all the facts or knowing the person or "his followers" is ill advised and not the person I thought you were.

I could keep typing to make my point. Most of your readers will not agree with me but thank God we live in the USA where they have the right to say it.

Posted by: goodsnake at September 1, 2010 7:42 AM

To goodsnake, I'm interested to hear you try again once you've had your coffee. I'm trying to figure out how your comment addresses Chris's post. You talk about not being prejudiced but you sound kind of bitter.
About what is Chris misinformed? And nowhere does he suggest that he hates anyone.
Not trying to flame, just hoping for clarification.

Posted by: Sarcy at September 1, 2010 8:18 AM

Wow, I am so far removed from what is going on in the world right now. (I have been actively avoiding the news, as our constant inundation of information is making me anxious.)

So I know nothing else about this story. I cannot really comment on the content--I don't listen to Glenn Beck, and I don't know the first thing about him. Don't want to.

The only thought I had while reading: oh, the sweet irony! Holding a controversial political rally in the same location as, and on the anniversary of, the most celebrated event in the civil rights movement.... Tasteless. That's almost as tasteless as erecting a mosque two blocks away from ground zero.

It's a damned good thing we are free to do as we please in this great nation of ours!

Posted by: Sabrina at September 1, 2010 8:51 AM

Yes, but without GB, there would be no Jon Stewart impression of GB, and my life would be much poorer. So there's that.

Posted by: Julie at September 1, 2010 9:04 AM

I almost entirely agree with your comments/analysis, Chris. I think Beck is a buffoon and a self-centered egotistical man playing on and too the great dissatisfaction of people in this country. That there is dissatisfaction is without question - the roots and meaning of that dissatisfaction are up for debate. His core ability is to take advantage of those who are dissatisfied, to his own incoherent ends.

I have no use for politics through innuendo and rumor, through misguided, misinformed statements, through "entertainment." Sadly, I seem to be in a quiet majority. (I don't believe the tea party supporters are anywhere close to a majority of the people in this country, but they do see to be better able to control the media.)

Posted by: pvz at September 1, 2010 9:04 AM

I cannot fathom in this day and age that we are STILL talking about black VERSUS white issues. I cannot believe the political types of this country are trying to rehash this topic with the educated and uneducated public alike and that people are BUYING it hook, line, and sinker.

Seriously though, if we were going back to the roots of our country then the INDIANS would be taking over and running things. Talk about an oppressed and beat down people...

Glenn Beck should go sit in his underground cave counting his gold and guns and talk to his God about how wonderful he is.

Posted by: Christina at September 1, 2010 9:10 AM

He's just so loud. Too loud. Like, Rachael Ray loud.

In all seriousness, Glenn Beck is the sort of windbag I want to ignore because really, how can anyone take anything he says seriously? But then I wonder how many people thought the same way about other infamous windbags who held a similar power over angry, disillusioned, impressionable people like those who gathered in Washington for Beck's rally. And i think maybe I should be paying much closer attention than I have been.

Posted by: erin at September 1, 2010 9:28 AM

Glenn Beck terrifies me, and I try hard not to let him. When I get that prickly feeling on the back of my neck from listening to him, I remind myself that he and those who follow him are just as much zealots as those they hate. Every group has its extremes. I try to take comfort from the fact that out of a country of 300 million people, some 300 thousand attended. I suck at math, but I like my odds.

Posted by: Candy at September 1, 2010 9:45 AM

Thar's gold in them there hills. It's dangerous to think of Glen as merely a buffoon. He is of course but his followers, who have the attention span of fleas, are angry and will listen to the loudest voice. They want someone to blame and don't remember who got us into this mess in the first place. Glen has become very wealthy because he knows that.

It doesn't matter that he's wrong. It doesn't matter that he doesn't believe in anything that doesn't line his pockets. He's an opportunist who is playing to fear and prejudice. I'd like to laugh but he scares the pants off me.

He has the backing of his employer of course. He and Rupert Murdoch of unfair and unbalanced FOX News share the same goals. It's all about the money and they'll tell whatever lies they think necessary to get more and more. If they tear this country apart in the process, they don't care.

He's preaching to a crowd who longs for the good old days. They weren't all that great, believe me.

What bewilders me is that intelligent has become a dirty word; right up there with progressive.

Posted by: Ann Elizabeth Adams at September 1, 2010 10:18 AM

It's really upsetting. I mean, I can laugh at him, and laugh at Jon Stewart's impressions of him...but the people who LIKE him and FOLLOW him...that's what scares me. What's worse, it's people I know...people I have served beside in dad. They think he 'makes sense'. I think they're speaking a foreign language.

I started a shitstorm on Facebook by calling he and Rush outright LIARS. These lies are hurting our country, and it feels like no one is saying the truth - it's all LIES. And then I had someone tell me they honestly believe the President is a Muslim.

But what makes me most angry is that he's calling for a freaking revival? Bring God back to Washington? Like he's in exile? Glenn Beck - who is a Mormon, and most evangelicals don't believe Mormons even qualify as Christians, but they are high-fiving him right now b/c he knows all the right phrases and exactly what they want to hear - doesn't speak for me. It's so, so frustrating.

Posted by: Sam at September 1, 2010 10:45 AM

And to clarify: I love Mormons! I am fascinated by their culture, but I do think their belief system is a little nutty. Still, I try not to judge their salvation status.

Posted by: Sam at September 1, 2010 10:47 AM

I can respect anyone who has the courage of his convictions, who thinks hard about the issues before making decisions, even if I disagree. Glen Beck is not that guy. I do not respect him and he scares me because people take him seriously and he abuses their faith in him for his own ends.

Posted by: Brooke at September 1, 2010 11:58 AM

Amen. (Not to imply I'm a neocon Christian.)

Posted by: Heather at September 1, 2010 12:11 PM

I'm a fiscal conservative and a social liberal...and Glenn Beck makes me want to spork my eyes out. He has every right to stage a gathering but Good God, pick a better day to do it. So inflamatory and not necessary, you know?

Aside from that, he does remind me very much of a history teacher I once despised. That guy cried a lot too.

Posted by: The Stiletto Mom at September 1, 2010 4:39 PM

I can't say anything because whenever I hear these whores - er - celebrity political pundits - speak - I change the channel.

So, I have no idea what you are talking about.

Beers and brats with good friends tonight. That's what I'm talkin' about.

Posted by: Mindy at September 1, 2010 4:59 PM

I only bothered to listen to Glenn Beck years ago when he was on KC101 out of New Haven with Vinny Penn. The Glenn and Vinny show. He should have stuck to what he knows cus he sounds a bit like a person full of contradictions.

Posted by: NancyJ at September 1, 2010 8:25 PM

glenn beck and his like are the cancerous cells of society. an embarrassment in front of the world. i have to hold back wishful thoughts of him dying, because that's just not nice of me. but it's hard... and there doesn't seem to be any other way to get rid of him.

Posted by: kati at September 1, 2010 9:10 PM

Great post! I'm borrowing a smidgen of it with proper credit to you!

Posted by: Michelle at September 2, 2010 6:17 AM

Glenn Beck is a douche. And that's all I have to say about that :P

Posted by: Heather at September 2, 2010 8:25 PM

Glenn Beck represents everything that is wrong with our country right now.

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