Friday, August 28, 2009

Give Me a 'Y'

I bring you this video from the alternate reality channel:

(YouTube video)

Give me a "Y"? Or is it a "why," as in "why is Glenn Beck still on TV?" We already know that calling President Obama a racist is not particularly good for business. That is why 33 advertisers have dropped their sponsorship of Beck's show. I hope that list will grow.

Because race baiting isn't the only scary thing going on here. Beck's show is turning into the worst possible reality show I could imagine -- a show where the sole contestant goes insane for our viewing pleasure. I don't need to be a psychiatrist to believe the man has some kind of disorder. Making up a word like "oligarhy" is either a serious thought disorder or hilarious illiteracy.

But even more obvious is the paranoia. In 1964, Richard Hofstadter noticed the paranoid style in American politics:
As a member of the avant-garde who is capable of perceiving the conspiracy before it is fully obvious to an as yet unaroused public, the paranoid is a militant leader. He does not see social conflict as something to be mediated and compromised, in the manner of the working politician. Since what is at stake is always a conflict between absolute good and absolute evil, what is necessary is not compromise but the will to fight things out to a finish. Since the enemy is thought of as being totally evil and totally unappeasable, he must be totally eliminated—if not from the world, at least from the theatre of operations to which the paranoid directs his attention. This demand for total triumph leads to the formulation of hopelessly unrealistic goals, and since these goals are not even remotely attainable, failure constantly heightens the paranoid’s sense of frustration. Even partial success leaves him with the same feeling of powerlessness with which he began, and this in turn only strengthens his awareness of the vast and terrifying quality of the enemy he opposes.

The enemy is clearly delineated: he is a perfect model of malice, a kind of amoral superman—sinister, ubiquitous, powerful, cruel, sensual, luxury-loving. Unlike the rest of us, the enemy is not caught in the toils of the vast mechanism of history, himself a victim of his past, his desires, his limitations. He wills, indeed he manufactures, the mechanism of history, or tries to deflect the normal course of history in an evil way. He makes crises, starts runs on banks, causes depressions, manufactures disasters, and then enjoys and profits from the misery he has produced. The paranoid’s interpretation of history is distinctly personal: decisive events are not taken as part of the stream of history, but as the consequences of someone’s will. Very often the enemy is held to possess some especially effective source of power: he controls the press; he has unlimited funds; he has a new secret for influencing the mind (brainwashing); he has a special technique for seduction (the Catholic confessional).
It's like Roger Ailes read that essay and used it as a blueprint for his Republican spin channel. And 25% of Americans think that channel is credible for whatever reason I don't know. But for now, it's still home to Glenn Beck, and ignoring him won't make him go away.


Trung said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trung said...


fabutastic said...

Wow, that rant reminds me of Dr. Gene Scott, the televangelist. Maybe Glenn needs more mechanical monkeys on his show.

Kristen said...

Wow, that Dr. Gene Scot video is some kind of crazy! If Glenn Beck ever brings out the mechanical monkeys, we'll know where he's getting his material.