Before this weekend I thought of Glenn Beck as another loud mouth TV pundit. In a few occasions I found him mildly and perhaps cheaply entertaining. I did not agree with the way he uses and manipulates the fear and insecurity of his audience for the purpose of gaining larger and larger audience. It is the audience choice to tune him in or out. I Gave him no importance.
In the last few days I have been bombarded with so much opinions -pro and con, some admiring and even idolizing him, others hating and even demonizing him, that I had to hear for myself his already famous or infamous speech given in front of one of our greatest National Monument-Temple. I really wanted to read it, to be able to ruminate it easier. No where in the red of web was I able to find a written transcription. Even the magnificent-omnipresent later-days Deity Google couldn’t help me. If there was no choice but to watch the speech, my next task was to find it in its totality -unedited, uncommentarized. Where could I find such an eccentric and exceptional video? Then I thought: where do exceptional programing can usually be found on TV? Only two network came to mind. PBS didn’t broadcast it -I know its schedule. The other was C-SPAN. Yes they had it, all three and a half hour of the main-event.
My first and lingering impression of the speech: cliché after cliché – a string of clichés we’ve heard before again and again; on the street, at the neighborhood bar, at church, at political rallies, at the city corner from “end of the world is near” nay Sayers. We have heard and read those great phases from great minds from the past and present. We have read them in books from Mark Twain’s humor to the Bible’s wisdom and redemption… Great, solemn, meaningful words transformed into clichés by the abusive and repetitious misuse through time.
He could have adorned these clichés by quoting some poetic verses from Emerson or Salomon here and there. He could have thrown some accurate references to Franklin (and I mean Benjamin), Adams or Jefferson. To be fair he does try to do that, but his quotations and references still sound clichéish. I am not a speech writer, as you know already by reading this, but those ideas seem simple enough. But no he insisted on platitudes (by the way, his speech illustrated, for the first time, the real meaning of that word). It seems designed to sound ignorant and illiterate enough to be understood by his audience. I wonder if some of the audience felt offended by been treated that way.
If I was writing an essay I would have to give examples of at least some of these clichés, and expand on how I arrived at the above conclusion, but I am not writing an essay or an academic paper that would require it, so I will skip that process.
The thought that keeps coming back is that maybe the whole show was an introduction to his next best selling book: The Glenn Beck Unabridged Encyclopedia of Clichés – From Abraham to Reagan.
Then there is the question: what is the meaning, the real objectives of the whole show? To delve into that would be judgmental and self-righteous. To judge his motivation would be unfair. But this is a journal to express my thinking and to write whatever is in my mind.
I was born and raised in Cuba until I was sixteen years old. I have spent years studying its history and how and why a rich country with industrious people can decline into total deterioration. The study hasn’t help much to clarify these questions, but… (That is a subject to expand in another occasion) The point is: I have a fairly good idea of the characteristics of a megalomaniac, egocentric, absolutist person and how to recognize one. The political power acquired by of the most successful of them have shaped my life, the life of my family and the life of every single Cuban for over 50 years. Therefore, I must say: Glenn Beck is a self-serving, self-promoting, narcissist -characteristics of a megalomaniac-who is building an economic empire exploiting the hopes and dreams of gullible, fearful, insecure God loving religious people. His radio show wasn’t enough, his popular TV show wasn’t sufficient, his best selling books didn’t satisfy the insatiable appetite for grandiosity. Now he is metamorphosing as the new unsurpassed tele-evangelist, a new Moses leading the lost people “back to God.” He is using the name of God as a banner to be waved so others can follow and his empire can grow. Some might call this behavior sacrilegious –by using the name of God in vain, remember, “Thou should not…” (My mother probably would have describe it as such, I am not sure, but I can not ask her, she is where she had the conviction she would be through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross)
A brief visit to his website will provide a glimpse into his empire: http://www.glennbeck.com/
Glenn Beck is manipulative and deceptive. For instance, there is the question of the money raised at the rally on the 28th. Beck promised to contribute all the money raised to SOWF (Special Operations Warrior Foundation), a very worthwhile organization that help children who’s military fathers die in the current wars. Beck’s website claims: “With your support and help we were able to raise more than $5-million dollars for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.“ Oh! really Glenn? That is nice. Your patriotic organization is going to contribute all that money to SOWF. Well, not so fast. At the bottom of Beck’s 8/28 website, in small letters of course, there’s the following disclaimer: “All contributions made to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF) will first be applied to the costs of the Restoring Honor Rally taking place August 28, 2010. All contributions in excess of these costs will be retained by SOWF.” So, how much was the contribution?
(It has been a week since I began this post. I have wonder if I am too harsh on poor Glenn. Maybe I have been too radical, exaggerating a bit, or a lot. It might be so, but I am convinced that the truth is somewhere in the perimeter of my opinion)