Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Partisans and Punditry

At work we have a big-screen TV set to CNN, and sometimes I catch glimpses of something called Glenn Beck, a show featuring the eponymous Glenn Beck. I had never heard of this show before I started working; but now that I've seen it, I'm not sure how I lived without it all these years. It's very Jonathan Swift for the 21st century. "Let's eat the babies!" Whenever I'm taking a break and the TV is muted I feel sad, because how else am I supposed to learn what to think?

Here are some of the things I enjoy about Glenn Beck and his show:

"G is for German..." The logo for his show is a giant G, which confused me before I realized he was so important (or his art department was so uncreative) that he should be identified only by his first initial. At first I thought he was just obsessed with the Packers.

Preaching to the choir. Most of the show is spent explaining why liberals and the people who vote for them are stupid, much of it done under the headline "Liberal Fascism," or sometimes under the more restrained "Liberal Fascism?" This is invariably followed by the "interview," in which Mr. Beck talks with a guest who completely agrees with him. It usually goes something like this:

Glenn Beck: Isn't it absolutely ridiculous that No Country For Old Men won Best Picture? Can you imagine anything more ludicrous? Isn't this just undeniable proof - UNDENIABLE PROOF - that our country is spinning out of control because of Hollywood liberals?
Rachel Smith, President of the George Clooney Fan Club: Oh, absolutely, Glenn. No Country had no business winning the Oscar for Best Picture. It was a terrible movie. I can think of far superior nominees who should have won.

I want you to hit me as hard as you can.
Something about this face just makes me want to punch it. You feel it, too, don't you?

The Reel America. My favorite part of the show is a segment called Real America. This is the part normally referred to as the "human interest" story, which is sort of misleading, since, while they are usually about humans, they are rarely particularly interesting. At the end of each segment Glenn looks into the camera and tells us, "This segment of Real America was brought to you by [corporate sponsor]," which always makes me feel good inside knowing that Shell Oil and Blackwater aren't really the evil corporations they're sometimes portrayed as. They're responsible corporate citizens. They care about you and me.


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