Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Life, Character & Career of Glenn Beck: Common Nonsense

I have yet to read Common Nonsense: Glenn Beck and the Triumph of Ignorance, but I will. In the mean time, this interview by AlterNet blogger Sara Robinson, with author/journalist Alexander Zaitchik, is just amazingly astute and you can get a real sense of the analysis you will be recieving when you fork over your hard earned dollars for the book.

Here are a few nuggets from the article:

"What makes that founder appropriation possible is relative ignorance on the part of his fan base. The only books on the subject they read are these religious psuedo-histories that Beck recommends to them. Also: Beck himself has only recently started to learn about this stuff, and he's really not a scholar on early American history, to put it mildly."

"But he [Beck] does seem to see himself now as not just a movement leader, but actually, if his words are to be believed, a conduit for the Word of God itself. The idea that God is giving him this plan for the saving of the Republic..."

"He's constantly talking about his personal redemption narrative, which begins with the tragedy of his mother, and continues through this sort of 700 Club arc through a valley of depression and despair before he finds Jesus. This isn't exactly how it happened, but it's the story he's always run with, for good reason. He knows his audience."

"So it seemed that he sort of absorbed and adapted that aspect of Mormonism to his entertainment purposes, and uses it to bond with religious conservatives who respond to that kind of non-logical messaging. It's part of what accounts for the chasm of understanding between his fans and critics. Liberals just have no idea what's going on when Beck tears up. But his fans often see it as a sign of sincerity, even authority."

"It's important to keep in mind that it's only a very small percentage of the country at large that's watching this guy, and those people tend to be the more hardcore, less-educated conservatives."

"It's certainly important that his statements—and those of his peers, like Rush Limbaugh—are taken seriously and debunked. I'm glad there are organizations like Media Matters out there doing real-time fact-checks on these guys."

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