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The Beck Week That Was; "Don’t Blame Me When the Conflagration Comes"

Reported by Guest Blogger - March 28, 2010 -

Guest blogged by Aunty Em

This was a roller-coaster week for those who believe in compassion and—dare I say it?—social justice. From the heights of euphoria after the 100-year struggle for Health Care Reform ended when it was finally signed into law, to the depths of despair every time another threat of violence against lawmakers—who practiced this quaint little thing called democracy—was reported in the media. And, through it all, Glenn Beck was using his various shows (on tee vee, radio and stage) to play some weird sort of game of opposites. On one hand his language of eliminationism never changed and yet he kept exhorting his viewers not to resort to violence.

The term “plausible deniability” comes to mind, which is kind of funny when you think about it. It’s the first time Glenn “Historian” Beck has demonstrated he truly knows some history; this is a backhanded public acknowledgement of where this kind of frenzied rhetoric has always led in the past. Before that happens, he wants you to know that he and his 3 million or so viewers are entirely blameless. Which also means he’s playing a weird sort of game of opposites with his viewers.

On one hand he’s telling his viewers that Progressives are destroying the country, are a cancer that needs to be cut out, and have to be stopped before we all wind up as slaves to Big Government. The next moment he’s telling them not to resort to violence and to pray. Yet, didn’t he also predict that Leftists would violently revolt if HRC didn’t pass, and make the historically inaccurate statement, “The Left is the only one with the real history of violence”?

First, he sets up his audience to believe their opponents are violent Leftists and they must use any means necessary to fight the Socialists with all their might, then he tells them that violence is not the answer. This “C’mere,” “Go away,” act of Beck’s would confuse sentient humans, but never shakes the world view of his audience.

It reminded me of the beginning of an old, classic Alexis Sayles video with the unfortunately violent title of “Didn’t You Kill My Brother?” Imagine The Beckerhead as the one on the bicycle and his viewers as the man standing. “I’m looking at you, mate.”

Some Beckians may not have even gotten Beck’s anti-violence message, which is probably what’s scaring him. Two Nine-Twelvers were arrested when, from the visitors gallery, they broke the decorum of the Congress of the United States of America by shouting “Kill the bill!” How did Ben Gleck respond to this outrageous assault on peaceful democracy? He didn’t, but a Fox News spokesperson had an interesting way of throwing the Nine-Twelvers under The Glenn Beck Bus. As The Hill reported:

Fox News said that Beck is not personally involved with many of the local chapters of “The 912 Project” and that he does not condone violent protests.

“Glenn helped launch the grassroots 912 movement but doesn’t have any involvement in the individual groups beyond occasionally recognizing their work,” said Joel Cheatwood, senior vice president of development for Fox News. “He routinely calls for Americans to be involved in a peaceful manner.”

In other words, “See? It’s not my fault (or Fox News' fault). Oh sure, I started the groups and handed them the pitchforks and torches, but you can’t blame me if they impale a few people and set a few houses on fire. I’m just a dad.”

Then who is to blame? Progressives, of course. “What is it that these evolutionaries want? You'd pick up a gun? You ever thought of that? These people have. Because possibly, maybe the question should be asked: Maybe they're tired of evolution, and they are waiting for revolution.” In other words, “See? If anything bad goes down it’ll be because Obama made them do it.”

This came on Tuesday’s show, which, as Ellen tells us, was another tour de force of crazy as The Beckiteer continued to try and justify his remarks about churches and social justice. She noted one quote that also jumped out at me, “Holy cow! You've broken three commandments, three of them! [Lie, steal, & cheat.] Three of them, all in one principle. That's amazing. And for those of you in the administration who are coming after me on this one, I mean, remember, you've broken three, let's not make it four: ‘Thou shalt not kill.’”

Paranoid much? Does he honestly think someone in the administration is actively plotting his murder? If not, then why is he putting those ideas in The Beckerheads?

That was also the day he delivered one of those funny one-liners he’s know for. It came near the end of the show and demonstrated both self-awareness, and absolutely no self-awareness, in the same sentence, “Jon Stewart will make fun of me, but I wish we could just have an honest conversation.”

In fact, lately Beckzilla’s rhetoric has become so inflamed, that even some Tea Parties are trying to run away from the heat. Tea Party groups in Florida issued a statement that they “stand in stark opposition to any person using derogatory characterizations, threats of violence, or disparaging terms toward members of Congress or the President.” So far they have yet to come out against Glenn Beck, but if history tells us anything, someone is going to ask the signers of this statement, “What about what Glenn Beck said?”

So it might as well be me.

Hey Florida Teabaggers, do you agree with Glenn Beck when he says President Obama is a racist? Are you aware that he has called the president a Marxist, Communist, Fascist, and worse? Do you agree that Obama is leading us to slaughter and bent on radically transforming the nation? Do you agree with Glenn Beck’s inflamed rhetoric or will you denounce him?

While we wait for an answer, let’s look at who is willing to denounce him. Step up Cokie Roberts. In her syndicated column with husband Steven she wrote that the Beckster is “worse than a clown. He's more like a terrorist who believes he has discovered the One True Faith, and condemns everyone else as a heretic. And that makes him something else as well -- a traitor to the American values he professes so loudly to defend.”

Who else is willing to denounce him? Step up James Cameron, who went off on a strange tangent during a promotional presser about the upcoming Avatar DVD release. Someone, apropos of almost nothing, asked him about Glenn Beck. Cameron blasted Beck, calling him a “madman” with “poisonous” ideas. And, just so no one got the wrong impression, gratuitously added that Beck is a “fucking asshole.” Who will denounce James Cameron?

Thin-skinned Glenn Beck, of course. After the director’s attack, he claimed he was just joking 3 years ago when he called Canadian James Cameron the Aunty Christ. The Music Critic in Beck now says he was talking about Canadian Celine Dion’s song “My Heart Will Go On.” Even funnier, he called Avatar a “Smurf-murdering movie.” I don’t think it makes sense to attack the most successful director in the world; Cameron has a lot of fans, money and clout. This little segment below needs to be seen, if not for Beck’s hammy acting wearing 3D glasses, then for the handy list of the members of the “I hate Glenn Beck Club” behind him. Roll the crawl:

Wednesday’s monologue, which preceded the Cameron bit, was another one of those that accidentally revealed more about his motives than he wanted. He starts, once again, riffing off those fake tee vee shows that played on his fake tee vee when he was growing up:

“My Three Sons,” “The Partridge Family,” and even “Laugh-In.” “Laugh-In” was the closest I ever got to being a hippie. My older sister was all “Flower Power” — a Carol King fan — that's about the most radical I ever saw someone.

I do remember though, my grandparents and my parents seeing images like these [Detroit Love In] on TV. I remember my grandfather — a staunch, FDR Democrat — talking about how they were going to destroy the country.

Then he goes off on all kinds of tangents: The Health Care sucker punch the president rammed through; how the radicals in the administration were the literal bomb-throwers in the ‘60s; the Cloward and Piven goal of collapsing the government; and how everything these days is posed as a moral argument:

• You're against health care? Why do you hate poor people? Why do you want old people to die? How can you be for the status quo? Have you seen all the children suffering?

• Against Immigration reform? Why do you hate foreigners? Is it because they look different than you do? Why are you a racist?

• Against cap-and-trade? Why do you want to harm the Earth? Why do you want to fill children's lungs with SUV exhaust? Why are you such a hater?

I showed you on Tuesday night that everything is now a moral argument. Why? Because they are trying to make you feel bad. They are pulling at the heartstrings.

They learned their lesson in the 1960s. Why did they lose? Because we used to go to church with our parents. And because The Man was in charge. The Man was respectable — he had a tie on. They lost because they were throwing bombs, smoking dope, picketing and shouting things: No one listened to them. They learned this while they were plotting revolutions.

[…]

This might be the most dangerous monologue I've ever done, because I'm telling you now: They need you to be violent. They are begging you for it. You are being set up. Do not give them what they want. I saw a report earlier today on Fox about how congressmen are getting death threats because they voted for the health care bill.

I am telling you: Do not become them! Not only is it completely nuts and wrong, it's exactly what they want. That's what they did!

They have dropped the radical pose for the radical ends. Don't play into their script: They need you to become them.*

While it’s nice to hear someone on the right decry the violence and the threats, it’s a little disconcerting when it comes wrapped in more eliminationist rhetoric. Yet, it’s another indication Beck understands better than he lets on where his type of verbal bomb-throwing will lead.

While I’m quoting Glenn I have to ask: What’s he got against cup stacking. While it’s not the first time he’s brought up cup stacking, Monday he used it to represent everything that’s wrong with this country.

I want to ask you a question: You know what's really wrong with America? When you boil it all down, do you know what our real problem is? May I? Bring it on: Cup stacking.

[…]

Cup stacking is not a sport. It is not even an activity. It is something when you were really bored as a kid, you would do it for a few minutes and then you'd move on with your life.

It's not a sport. I think it is even — it might even be something you should get an allowance for doing, you know what I mean?

Yet, if you stack cups efficiently enough, you, too, can win a fancy trophy. Yes — a trophy of a cup.

Back when I was a kid, kids had real games like kick ball or dodge ball — other sports that routinely featured someone like me getting a big red rubber ball right to the face. I mean, that's what growing up is really all about.

Now, for anybody who went to school with me, you can testify how much I sucked at all of those games. But I learned from all of my disastrous failures in sports: With failure comes consequences.

You see, I got the red rubber ball in the face a lot as a kid. I was always picked last. I got — I got hit so many times it really wasn't pretty. You know what happened after getting hit by this thing several times? I realized there is no sport in my future, really. I mean, I realized I'd better learn how to make it another way unless I wanted the imprint — the pattern — of this ball, right here on my face for all eternity.

Kick ball and dodge ball are real games? They give trophies for that? Regardless, this explains a whole lot. How many balls to the head did it take to destroy his ability to think clearly? It’s not just me wondering about Beck’s sanity. Mike Mitten, talk dee jay host of “Take A Stand” at WWNC AM was suspended for making “inflammatory remarks about another host.” That other host was Glenn Beck.

In defending himself Mitten said, “I've never attacked Glenn Beck. I voiced concern about his mental stability based on what I heard on a show this morning and what I see as a deterioration of his cognitive capacity over the last few weeks or the last couple of months.” Yet, it’s not clear whether this was a talk radio publicity stunt, or not.

To follow up on a few previous topics:

The Phony War Against Social Justice continues. Just as I predicted last week, this tempest in a tea bag has grown exponentially as more and more people want to tell Beck how silly he is. To spread the Good Word even further Thursday The Washington Post printed a guest editorial by Jim Wallis, whom Beck has compared to Father Charles Coughlin, the demagogue that “many people say” more resembles Beck.

Wallis begins, “Glenn Beck has picked a fight with me, but he recently started a more troubling battle with the nation's churches with his criticism that "social justice" is "code" for "communism" and "Nazism," and that Christians should leave their churches if they preach, practice or even have the phrase on their Web site.

Wallis makes a fair and balanced argument in favour of social justice, so fair, in fact, that he even notes Beck’s back-peddling after the firestorm broke. He also explains why Beck was still wrong after back-peddling. It’s a well-written essay which lays out why the social justice messages from Martin Luther King, Jr. and Jesus resonate with young people of faith today. He also found that—oh noes!—even The Heritage Foundation has a video about social justice on its web site. Wallis ends with what has been obvious to Beck watchers for a long time now:

But I've learned that to merely challenge Beck's attacks leads to being called "Marxist," or to hear warnings that "the hammer will fall" on you or to face threats that he will devote a week of shows to your demise. My offer of a personal invitation to a respectful and civil conversation was met with more threats and name calling. Jesus said that we should love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. So whatever Beck does, Christians who want to follow Jesus should not personally attack Beck but, rather, should pray for him, for the poor and for our country, which is being harmed by an increasingly poisonous public discourse.

This is the right way to stand up to Glenn Beck. Who knows; it may be the moment to launch a new movement of Christians for Social Justice.

The best thing that’s come out of this controversy is the web site Haik U Glenn Beck where readers are invited to submit a haiku to Glenn on the issue of social justice.

As always, it will be interesting to see where this goes as Wallis has joined all the other pictures on Beck’s chalkboard and the story will continue.

Speaking of chalkboards…

When Glenn Beck left CPAC after delivering the keynote speech he left behind his chalkboard as a gift to Grover Norquist and his think tank Americans for Tax Reform. But after reading an article in the Washington Examiner, the question begs itself, “When will Beck’s blackboard come out of the closet?"

With all my love,

Aunty Em

* Transcripts are from Fox News and are notoriously inaccurate.