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The Beck Week That Was; Gimmee That Old Time Religion

Reported by Guest Blogger - April 6, 2010 -

Guest blogged by Aunty Em

ou never know what to believe on the Glenn “Bait & Switch” Beck Show on the Fox News Channel. That observation is not just limited to his lies on Nixon, Father Coughlin, and his use of rubberr frogs. Nor is it restricted to the fact that there are times Beck says “just kidding” when people call him on his verbal diarrhea that has no basis in reality. No, distrust in Beck also includes promotions played within his show for upcoming segments on his show, as well as promos that play on the full network.

Case in point: As noted last week it appeared Lazy Bones Beck had discovered a new way to take Fridays off. All the week of March 22, he promoted a special Friday “Ask Glenn Anything,” when one could, er, ask Glenn anything. Anything at all. And, he provided a handy dandy Gmail address for viewers, no doubt to keep Faux Noise’s fingerprints off.

Yet, Friday came and went and Glenn Beck took no questions, from nobody, no how.

A small point, perhaps—possibly not even worth mentioning a second time—except in what appeared to be a week of repeats and guests hosts on the Glenn Beck Conspiracy Hour. I am reminded of the adage, “It’s only a repeat if you’ve seen it.” I hate to sound weary, but when it comes to Glenn Beck, I’ve seen it all.

It was hardly any wonder Beck didn’t return to work following his “American Revival” the previous weekend, which must have been emotionally draining. The Old Timey Revival-Type Meetings took place in Orlando, Florida, in the heart of Nine-Twelver-Teabagger-Beck Country.* Apparently Blubbering Boy Beck broke down more than once, at one point reduced to a sobbing heap on the stage for what must have seemed like an eternity.

On Monday, March 29, he didn’t show up for work. Instead he replayed his special, full-length, scary documentary that compared everything evil to the current White House. I decided it was time to put Beck back on the couch and connect the dots of what I figured was his most recent psychosomatic illness, even though deep down inside I suspected it was most likely a pre-planned holiday during Holy Week. As his tee vee show continues to devolve into fire and brimstone sermons, his Revivals are turning him into the next Elmer Gantry. The only thing that seems to differentiate that fictional Bible-thumper from National Priest and Confessor Beck is Gantry had a tent. Beck’s Revival Meeting and All-Day Reeducation Camp took place in the air-conditioned climes of the University of Central Florida’s basketball arena.

This Revival is to be the first of Beck’s promised All-Day Education Seminars, which will lead up to announcing his 100-year plan for ‘Merka, and his book about The Plan called “The Plan.” All of this will culminate on the anniversary of MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech, when Beck will host, publicize, and rally his Nine-Twelve Shock Troops to the feet of the Lincoln Memorial for something I’ve taken to calling “The White Persons March on Washington.”

In fact, many have compared Beck’s Revival Regrooving meeting to Billy Graham, or the fictional Elmer Gantry, and it’s not hard to understand why. Will Bunch, who obviously bought a ticket, tells us:

"Faith gives us an opportunity to start all over again," said Beck, who at one point spoke sprawled out on the floor of the stage, re-enacting his lowest moment with the bottle.

Before the lunch break, a fan - later reported to be OK - fell in the upper deck and required medical attention, and as doctors in the house raced to the spot, Beck and Buckner led the throng in a softly sung "Amazing Grace."

It was a moment he re-enacted when he took the stage for his keynote, choking back copious tears as he said, "I love you guys."

At one point in his talk, a fan hollered out from the floor seats: "Preach it, Glenn!"

Hallelujah!!! It’s a lovely image for Holy Week, isn’t it?

However, a few people noted a similarity to another, real-life, preacher, huckster-Minister Marjoe Gortner. This evangelist was the first to throw back the curtain; he allowed cameras behind the scenes to film him laughing about fleecing the flock of sheep in the front of the Revival tent. While a camera has yet to catch Beck in the act, all this “testifying” has to lead to only one place: Beck as the Anointed One of a new religion.

The funniest news out of the Orlando event was that a fraternity at the university pulled off a terrific prank on 53 Nine-Twelvers. Parking at a lot with a sign that said FREE PARKING, they came back to find the Kappa Sigma lot wiped clean of vehicles. It cost them $125 each to get their cars back from the towing company.

At least I thought it would be a week of repeats and guests hosts.

On Thursday (4/1/10), substitute Judge Napolitano said at the end of the show, something to the effect of, “And tomorrow a special Beck Friday show called ‘Ask Glenn Anything,’ in which you can, er, ask Glenn anything.” And to prove the point that this show was really, really, really going to air this time he played some clip of some guy reading some question from some woman about some census to Wise Man Beck sitting in some chair, not his grandfather’s.

When Friday 5PM EST arrived, I was ready. Clipboard in hand, I furiously took notes. It turned out that “Ask Glenn Anything” was not just a way for Beck to take Fridays off. It was a clever, new way for The Beckinator to reframe all the same old talking points from previous shows in an entirely new format, including, but not limited to, a brief appearance of The Red Phone. A question about “paradigm shift” allowed Beck to engage in his paranoia when he announced, “I [only] still trust police officers and I [only still] trust the military” and no one else, apparently.

When asked about the census, Beck said that he would only answer the question, “How many people live in your house?” That would make him a lawbreaker and subject to a $100 fine, which he can well afford to pay.

One of the questions sent in mirrored one I’ve had many times and, in answering, Glenn revealed far more than he must have intended: “Just how many Reformers you got now, Glenn?” The answer made me laugh. What a joke. After months of begging and pleading politicians to rat out their own parties, only 11 people have taken up the challenge, which Beck called “sad” and “tragic.” I agree. That’s all you can muster, Glenn? Then he lamented that only 11 people in all of official Washington will “stand with the morals? Only 11?” It almost seemed as if he wanted to cry. Maybe it’s just people just don’t like to get too close to crazy.

Some other things Beck let slip about The Refounders: they are responsible for 6 or 7 tips to the Fink Line a day. Beck still claims, as he has previously, that he doesn’t know who these 11 Refounders are, just like on those Crime Stoppers Tip Lines. Only one person on Beck’s staff knows who they really are and he can be trusted with this secret.

However, the best bit of info he let slip about his Refounders is that the “Tickle Fest was a bit too far,” which explained a whole lot. Eric Massa must have poured his heart out on the Refounders Fink Line and promised a whole lot more than he was willing to deliver once Beck got him on the air. No wonder Beck was loath to dump out of that interview early. Massa was a Refounder!!!

However, I’m so glad Beck mentioned “Tickle Me” Eric again because it allows me to share the latest episode of “Auto-Tune the News,” called “Poppycock.” It stars Joel Madden and Katie Couric, but has guest appearances by Beck and Massa singing lovingly to each other.

I’ve determined 3 things about “Ask Glenn Anything” Fridays based on this single viewing:

1). This is a format that allows Glenda to come off (for once) as reasonable, even if his non-facts and non-history lessons are full of the usual holes. He was calm and collected, without the normal fireworks, histrionics, or over-the-top hammy acting. Therefore, it’s either the format, the fact that Glenn is still losing so much sleep reading late at night that he’s somnambulant, or he’s had his meds changed again. Take your pick;

2). He’s never going to ask himself a question that challenges Glenn Beck;

3). “Ask Glenn Anything” is a Reverse Wankfest. I have previously defined a “wankfest” as a program in which Beck asks his guests many different variations of the question, “Can you tell me all the many ways you think I am right?” Not wanting to re-invent the wheel, Beck found questions from his audience that basically asked, “Could you please tell us—Oh Great and Wise Mr. Beck—in how many different ways are you right about Health Care? About Progressives? About the Census? About President Obama? etc.”

While a Glenn Beck Wankfest is generally not worth watching, a Reverse Wankfest gives him the freedom to relax and accidentally reveal too much. It might be worth watching another “Ask Glenn Anything,” even if he didn’t answer any of our questions.

With all my love,

Aunty Em

*According to the book “Common Nonsense; Glenn Beck and the Triumph of Ignorance” by Alexander Zaitchik. This book will not be released until June, but I will be reviewing it for News Hounds in the weeks to come.