Glenn Beck Plays the Long Range Con
Although the rotund Rushbo is great at self-aggrandizement, he could take some lessons from the new kid on the block – Glenn Beck – a consummate con-man who has set new standards in the art of bullshitting the public. In a much hyped Washington rally with the nebulous objective of “Restoring America’s Honor”– held on the same date and venue of Dr. Martin Luther King’s great Speech at the historic March On Washington for Jobs and Freedom – this cubby little fellow with the squeaky voice, and shaky moral foundation, somehow managed to do the impossible: make vanity look like altruism in the eyes of his followers. It was a con from beginning to end.
The con began when he claimed not to have been aware of the fact that he called his rally on the same date as the historic “March on Washington” nearly a half century ago, or that the venue he chose for his shallow diatribe was the very same venue where Dr. King presented the oration that has been voted the greatest speech in American history by a panel of distinguished scholars. My granddaddy George had a saying that expresses my feelings exactly: “That Boy’s a liar and the truth ain’t in him!”
Beck piggybacked off and exploited our soldiers sacrifices in the cheesiest way: by pretending to honor them while basking in their reflected glory. That’s really playing to the cheap seats! Everyone who cares about this issue knows that if Beck were really concerned about the vets he would be supporting our First Lady Michel Obama’s admirable efforts on behalf of military families.
Although I am inclined to be contemptuous of this delusional far right confederacy of dunces – who routinely vote against their own interest, scoff at the public interests while protecting the privileges of the Plutocrats, and get their rocks off mis-quoting the Bible spouting nonsense as constitutional dogma – I ended up actually feeling sorry for many of them. They had journeyed to Washington earnestly seeking answers to the myriad crisis’ that plague their lives…but found only a pompous little poseur spouting hot air.
I have previously described the Tea Party crowd as a motley collection of sad sacks, misfits, deluded white supremacists, misanthropes, vulgar opportunist, religeous fanatics and lost souls looking for hope in all the wrong places – with an obsequious self-loathing Negro lickspittle here and there. Nothing that happened on Saturday changed that opinion. It goes without saying that Republican political opportunists are everywhere in the mix, stirring up the pot, trying to gain personal and party support. We’ll see how that work’s out for them.
Thus far it looks like the Grand Obstructionist Party has made a Faustian bargain with the Tea Party mob and the Devil has come to claim their souls. Just look at how the Tea Party – directed by the lunatic right’s idea of a militant feminist intellectual, Sarah Palin – are knocking off the Republican establishment’s candidates, right and further right, with straight up space cadets. The most spectacular example of this is the apparent upset in the Republican primary in Alaska.
As I write the Tea Party candidate, Joe Miller, is leading the sitting Republican Senator Lisa McCulsky by 1500 votes. And you have to listen to what Mr. Miller believes to understand how Alaskans would have to be even dumber than I think – and since they voted Sarah Palin Governor, given what I’ve written about her, you can imagine how dumb I think they are! - to vote for this guy to represent them in the Senate.
The curious thing about Mr. Miller is that in spite of his excellent education he still talks as crazy as Palin, and they both talk like fools. I will have more to say about Mr. Miller in a forthcoming commentary on the new radical constitutionalists in the south in the Republican Party. But one observation will suffice here: Based on Miller’s public comments about the nature of Federalism and the evolution of the US Constitution, he is either an ignoramus or a charlatan. Should he win this primary, and I hope to God he does, the Democrats stand a fabulous chance of winning a seat that has been held by the McCulsky family, who are yellow dog Republicans, for over thirty years!
Furthermore, I can envision no scenario where there will be enough morons in the state of Nevada to elect Sharon Engle, hence the Republicans will lose a Senate seat that the establishment’s candidate was predicted to win. Notwithstanding how backwards and racist many white folks are in Kentucky – a state that, for most of it’s history, either enslaved black people or subjected them to legal caste oppression, which treated our skin color as a crime – I still cannot believe they will elect a cluless political Neanderthal like Rand Paul.
Paul is the best example why people with a broad liberal, i.e. humanist, education are better suited to the leadership of society than narrow minded technocrats, no matter how clever they are. Although political science is a real discipline in the academy – and an important one too– the practice of politics and governing is a fine art! And art is the province of the humanities!
If anything was clarified by this rally, it is that Glenn Beck’s real agenda is to replace Oprah as the #1 television talk show in America and become the biggest mogul in the media! And he intends to use this disillusioned and untutored mob to achieve it. Looking like the little poot butt boy who never got the girl, who was smacked upside the head and had his lunch money taken by school yard bullies, Glennie Boy reminds me of a slimmer version the old character Jackie Gleason used to play: “The Poor Soul.” Except in this episode the poor soul is getting his revenge against all who refused to recognize his uniqueness. He’s having a horse laugh at all of our expense – and he’s laughing all the way to the bank!
Although he is shamefully untutored in subjects like sociology, foreign affairs, political science and history – things you need to know something about in order to advance grand speculations about the direction our complex post-industrial society should take. Listening to his “speech” I fairly quickly came to two conclusions: Beck is a megalomaniacal numbskull, a deluded frog who fancies himself a prince. And his followers are the sad silly mob I thought they were!
Taking some of the grand themes in American history, Beck rambled on ad-nauseum – confusing his metaphors, posturing false analogies, profaning sacred texts, boring us with hackneyed clichés, and trying his best to play us for fools. Since his audience was basically the same crowd that turned up at the Republican National Convention I have no doubt that his message – whatever it was – resonated with most of them.
I say this with some certainty because during the convention the reporters and producers at WBAI FM took to the streets with our tape recorders and interviewed them en masse. We decided to just ask the pertinent questions and allow them to express themselves freely. No editorial excoriating them, regardless of how scurrilous, could equal the indictment they gave of themselves.
It is fair, I think, to conclude that this may well have been the dumbest group of people ever assembled any where in the world to choose a candidate who would govern a great nation. Hence although Beck went over like a lead balloon with me, I could tell from the ecstatic stares and spacey smiles on their pasty faces that he was uplifting the spirits of many in this cluless mob.
Glennie was getting off on it too. Buoyed by the good vibes emanating from the crowd, he actually started to believe he had skills as an orator – based on some of the things he said before the rally; perhaps he thought he was channeling Dr. King! Such is the feeling of omnipotence that the roar of the crowd can inspire in little men with deep seated feelings of impotence and self loathing.
This is what Whoopi Exposed about his character when he made the mistake of going on The View, after having lied about something or the other. Whoopi looked Glennie straight in the eyes and called him a “Lying sack of spit!” and Glennie bitched up on the spot! He looked like he wanted to jump up and run because Whoopi acted like if he said the wrong thing she just might break her foot off in his posterior.
Although I tend to stay away from pop-psychology, since there are others who are much better qualified to venture speculations about human character and personality. But the thoughtful observer, who understands something about how personalities are molded, need not have studied Dr. Freud to recognize that this is a little man who is having his big moment. It is enough to have read Wilhelm Reich’s “Listen Little Man” and “The Mass Psychology of Fascism” in order to have a good idea what was going on here.
However I strongly suspect that Beck cares not a fig for the goals of the Tea party buffoons or the Republican Party hucksters. And he has said as much; he has occasionally reminded people that he is an “entertainer” and his principal concern is the success of his show – Rush has said the same thing. Although he has employed racist innuendo and slander to advance his agenda – which is the means by which the Republicans mobilized white resentment into a political movement that converted the south from solidly Democratic to solidly Republican – I don’t think Beck gives anymore of a good goddam about race than he does about politics.
That’s why he declared that the rally was not about politics and expressly forbade political signs. And there were no establishment Republicans on the bill. This also explains how Beck could allow Martin Luther King’s niece to speak without a vetted script. And she shocked many of the rednecks in the crowd with her no holds barred denunciation of racism in America. The enthusiastic applause that greeted her introduction quickly subsided when she began to speak on an issue the Republican right is built upon denying. As a speaker she was mediocre alas, and her overall message was muddled without a clear direction.
Her attempt to reiterate Dr. King’s famous refrain:”I have a dream” was embarrassing. I could not escape the feeling that she is not very bright and that her main reason for appearing at this sad rally was self-promotion. After all, her cousins are certainly cashing in on the King Legacy, and her father, A.D. King, walked with his famous brother Martin….until he turned up dead in a swimming pool, with nasty rumors swirling around that he had gotten drunk, fallen in, and drowned.
But in the matter of self promotion she was typical of all who spoke at this media contrived talkfest. However she is a rank amateur compared to the grand Meisterss of shameless self-promotion, Silly Sarah, whose great contribution to American political discourse thus far is to make ignorance fashionable. The whole event, with very little teweaking, was described perfectly by Shakespeare in Act 5, scene 5, 19–28 of MacBeth: They were but walking shadows, poor players, That struts and frets their hour upon the stage, And then is heard no more. It was a tale told by idiots, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
Harlem, New York
August 30, 2010