Friday, July 30, 2010

My open letter to Glenn Beck

Dear Glenn,
'Sup.  Me?  Just getting ready to head out to visit my Grandma for a few days.  It's her birthday, y'know.  I'm taking a look at the comics and science fiction novels I'm going to take with me.  I know, I know, I've several pages to still slog through in Timothy Good's Above Top Secret (I think you'd like it, it's all about conspiracy), but that tome is far too bulky to pack.  I'll probably bring Dune, even though I've read it before.  For one weird reason or another, I always read Dune when I'm there.  Have you read it?  No?  Give it a whirl sometime.  Maybe I'll bring Perry Rhodan along as well.
What's that?  My Grandma?  Oh, she's great, thanks for asking.  Yep, the big nine-oh. And she's still healthy and vibrant.  Hope I've got those genes in me, y'knowwhatImean?  She's one of the dearest, sweetest women I've ever known and I pray she's around for another 90 years. 
But she did say the oddest thing to my mother the other day.  "So, are you buying gold?"   Now I've never seen your show, but the talk of you hawking gold has been all over the news.  I'm no Columbo, but it wasn't hard to make the connection.  I've not had quite the same antipathy for you as others have.  Your show was one I had long since written off as "infotainment," someone saying shocking things that they don't necessarily believe, but it brings attention and attention makes good bank.  I get that.  Plus, I heard you were having thriller writers on your program.  'Bout time we had our own "Oprah book club" leader.  As for your political views, well, I just figured you were more of a shock-jock version of Rush Limbaugh (by the way, didn't you start in shock radio?)  Case in point, this gem of yours: "'The most used phrase in my administration if I were to be President would be 'What the hell you mean we're out of missiles?' '' (You, January 2009)
Then my Grandma says we should buy gold.  I must question that advice if it's meant to prepare us for the collapse of civilization.  Gold won't be worth much then.  In fact, it will be about as useful as a writer like me will be.  Weird thing though, Glenn, the strange comments from Grandma didn't stop there.  She started talking about "Nazis" in the White House and a supposed confirmation of that from my aunt who works at an area air force base.
I decided to unpack all that for a bit.  This base in question has long been a hub for air force research and design.  Back in the 1950s, the place was lousy with Nazis...Nazis brought over here by the good ol' U.S. of A. in Operation Paperclip.  There were also alien bodies and technology, but that's a whole other can of tuna.  So I suppose my aunt could've seen a Nazi, but he had to have been pretty old.
Pressing further, I followed this "Nazi" thread within the context of the previous comment on gold.  I came up with this clip.  
As I elaborated earlier, my Grandma is a wonderful person, but she was not blessed with the same kind of education I was fortunate enough to have in critical thinking and especially in the methods of rhetoric.  Additionally, she lived through the Great Depression and through World War II when she was but a new mother, scared that her husband would have to go off to fight.  Any time you say "Nazi" or "Communist," she naturally gets concerned as I'm sure many of her generation do.  
Lucky for you.  No, you never came out and called the Obama Administration "Nazis."  You let context do that for you.  You never called the health care bill a "eugenics program," you did it with visual aids.  Nice "rhetrickory."  By the by, not sure the Nazis would be big buddies of Obama.  He's got a bit too much of a tan for their tastes.
Sad thing is, I once saw you as harmless political entertainment, someone with no real political agenda to push forward and really all about making good bank (and you are.)  That's before I saw that people would actually start believing in you.  If my Grandmother thinks you a prophet, I have to ask, how many others are thinking the same?  How many elderly, sick, or disenfranchised are you preying upon by manipulating their fears with a "shock and awe" campaign?  It's amazing the kind of hateful things one can say in this nation so long as they are behind a shield imprinted with a cross and draped in red, white, and blue.  The more I look into you, the more the harebrained, crockpot conspiracy theories of the Internet become sane and lucid by comparison.  I mean, do you actually read history?  Keith Olbermann zinged you pretty good on that point.  You make me frightened not just for the future of civilization but for homo sapiens in general.
Yes, I once thought you harmless.  But if we're making Nazi comparisons here, I'm certain people thought the same of Goebbels at one point, people who were so poor and so down that they didn't know any better.  So if you think that Obama is out to communize our Nazism or something like that, that's fine.  Just find another way to express it that won't do any damage.  A cartoon, maybe, or silly political satire done with puppets like the British did with Spitting Image.  I don't wish to curtail your right to free speech or amputate your moneymaker (and that is after all what this is about, isn't it?)  No, why that would make me a Nazi.  But I do want you to show responsibility and accountability for the perceptions that you create...or fabricate.

And don't frighten my Grandmother again, you son of a bitch.


Follow me on Twitter: @Jntweets

1 comment:

  1. Ghost Dogg posted from Facebook:

    Oh yeh? Well, daisylover93 sez this you COMMIE BASTARD

    "Glenn Beck U r amazing!!! U kno middle schoolers who think he's an idiot or wutever why don't u refute the facts he gives!!! Hmm interesting the white house has not called yet!!! thanks... Glenn for teaching americans and getting down 2 the facts about everything!! Ur haters r just scared because they kno wut u say is true and makes sense!!!!!!!!!!"

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