Over the Christmas holidays, we caught an episode of Beck’s tv show. He was interviewing a fascinating guy, a billionaire businessman with a highly evolved sense of ethics. Very inspiring stuff.
So inspiring that Beck started crying. You know how Jerry Lewis cries when he sings “You’ll Never Walk Alone” at the end of the telethon? That.
Arnie groaned, “Holy crap” and left the room.
I subscribe to Beck’s radio show because when I had an actual job, I needed 8 hours of talk on my iPod to get through the day without smashing a chair over somebody’s head. (No doubt it’s impossible for a lefty reader to believe, but for some of us, listening to Rush Limbaugh is a calming experience.)
I haven’t listened to Beck’s show in a while, therefore, so I missed all the recent weirdness.
Is Glenn Beck a nutty guy? You bet. The show veers from laugh out loud funny to maudlin to bizarre, like Alex Jones for rightwingers. He is convinced, for example, that Muslim terrorists are planning to hijack school buses en masse sometime in the near future, on what he says they call “The Perfect Day.” (Sounds like one of the Zodiac’s later messages warmed over to me…)
The guy’s a recovering alcoholic, too, so I have plenty of first hand experience with that craziness you never quite shake, no matter how long you’ve been sober. It’s embarrassing stuff. I will never be a normal person. So when you’re Beck and millions of people watch and listen to you every day, the idea that you might do something uncontrollably insane at any moment — unlikely though that may be — just adds to your pre-existing twitchiness. Vicious circle stuff.
So I guess I’m reacting to the Radio Equalizer post with a warped sense of loyalty. Stupid but true.
Talk of the “conservative movement” always sets my teeth on edge, anyway. Ann Coulter is “bad for the movement.” Now Beck is too, apparently.
Funny how collectivism rears its head when the so-called “rightwing” gets nervous. We’re all rugged individualists — until “the movement” or “the election” makes us wish this embarrassing eccentric or that principled yet ill mannered genius would quietly disappear.
There’s also a double standard at work, the source of which I can’t quite suss yet, but which seems to have something to do with how popular a figure is. “Popular” not just in terms of numbers of fans, but in personal style, profile and medium of choice.
Ann Coulter says things that wouldn’t look out of place in a P.J. O’Rourke or John Derbyshire column, but she’s a liability because, I suppose, she has a much larger readership. Paul Johnson is an adulterer who likes being spanked, but his standing in the movement hasn’t slipped an inch. If he was a tv host instead of a serious author, though…
The very idea that someone won’t vote GOP because Glenn Beck said something stupid is absurd. And frankly, who needs a supporter than shallow and stupid anyway?
If you don’t like this or that conservative’s personal style, by all means say so. But don’t couch your criticisms in phony (and not very conservative) concerns about whether or not so and so is making “us” look bad. Just a bit too “purge-y” for my taste.