There's a small war breaking out in the comments to my post Dream On.
So here's a small contribution to that debate, courtesy of Media Matters.
Paging Father Coughlin…
I listen to Beck pretty often (a long commute in interior Alaska, where radio is not good) and think he’s potentially a serious problem. He’s unquestionably a fear monger and a huckster (helloooo, Goldline), but aside from his mangling of American history and his near total ignorance of the intellectual history of the left (which matters because he discusses it fairly often), his recent focus on religion deserves more attention than it’s been getting from lefty bloggers. He’s been getting some callers who treat him as a prophet, including one NYC cop who claimed that Beck worked a miracle and reunited him with his dead father in a dream. Anyway.
When he goes on and on and on and on and on and on and *on* about progressives being a threat to, well, pretty much everything, how they’re going to force you in front of death panels and take away your children and control the food supply and put the United Nations in charge of federal policies and so on, he’s making anything resembling actual discourse completely impossible. And when he puts a religious framing on it, it moves it beyond the realm of the rational – where it’s a matter of faith, not reason.
Up here, Palin’s a joke for the most part, but people listen to Beck.
As I’ve said all along: I agree Beck’s a blowhard.
Sometimes he takes a kernal of truth and blows it up to absurd levels, sometimes I think he’s just making up his kernal before he blows it up. But he’s not ALWAYS completely wrong, any more than anyone else is. He’s a Radio/TV personality. More people worry about the contestants on American Idol than what Beck is doing. Beck’s JOB is to interest people in what he is saying. In that, he is doing his job. His job is not to be right. His job is not to agree with YOU. His job is to get people to tune in his shows so that those who advertise on them keep sending checks. He does this by a combination of truth-telling, fib-telling, overdramitization, saying what he thinks his listeners want to hear, etc.
In short, he’s doing exactly what your politicians do when they court your vote every few years.
The difference is, for politicians, that’s not their job – they don’t get paid to court your vote (but we keep paying them for it anyway, for some reason).
So if you are mad at Beck – turn him off. Who you SHOULD be mad it is people who spend one plus out of every two years in power trying to trick you into keeping them there. THEY are the people whose statements we should be parsing, whose hypocrisy we should be exposing, whose jobs should be currtailed.
Being angry at Beck is just a distraction; a copout. It’s a way for the mentally and politically lazy to feel like they are participating in their country’s Democracy. Stop worrying about Beck – he’s of no import when you have your own viewpoint. START learning about issues, start thinking about long-term realities, start examining your political leaders, the ones who can ACTUALLY affect your life, not in terms of who has a D or R next to his name, but in terms of doing what you think is best for the country. It’s much more difficult, but at least you can hold your head high and say that YOU did what YOU thought was right.
I watched the Chris Wallace tongue-job, I mean interview with Beck yesterday.
The pivot from Obama being “racist” to being a Liberation theologian was just bizarre, but I admit I couldn’t stop watching……
ha…”liberation theology.” Haven’t heard that in a while. First encountered it in high school. I went to a local fancy-schmancy catholic school attended principally by the sons of republicans. In senior year I had a theology teacher (a Jesuit priest) who announced one day in class that loving thy neighbor and following Jesuss teachings in modern America necessarily entailed advocating for universal healthcare, a social safety net (a/k/a welfare), a progressive tax system, greater regulation of financial giants, and possibly even compulsory profit sharing to all employees of any company.
At the end of his lecture there was a borderline riot in our classroom. Students openly defied the teacher accusing him of being a communist and un fidelista. Parents heard about it and went nuts (they wouldnt stand for that heresy being taught to their children). It was wild
one of the single most enlightening lectures I have ever heard.
Vic, that’s so not interesting that it’s hard to know where to start. Strike that – here’s where to start: it’s “kernel.” But aside from that, you’ve built a structure out of platitudes, and that structure is built around the fallacy that there are no overarching trends, that there’s no national dialogue, that there’s no coalescing around ideas or people or parties or movements. That’s obviously not the case. The extent to which Beck is shaping the national dialogue is the extent to which we should be paying attention.
He’s doing exactly what your politicians do when they court your vote every few years.
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