Has Glenn Beck Jumped The Shark?

I’m a big fan of Glenn Beck.  His show has the most cutting, spot-on satire in news commentary today.  I only catch the show when I happen to be driving when it’s on, and I’ve only seen the TV shows in the form of YouTube clips.  Beck speaks to me, and my students have even said that I remind them of him.  However, what I’ve heard in recent weeks makes me worry.

This came most forcefully to mind just within the last several days, as my wife and I were driving home and caught the last few minutes of one show.  Beck was ranting about the coming political apocalypse and doing so with phraseology deeply steeped in LDS doctrine.  Now, I don’t mind that his commentary is infused with language based on beliefs that he and I share, and by no means was he explicitly promoting his sectarian beliefs, but I still found his references to a plan for us to prove ourselves in a life of enduring good and evil to be, in this context…over the top.  Frankly, he was getting a little hysterical.  Suggesting that people, for instance, save some food is perfectly rational (even the Wall Street Journal has done so), but I don’t know that it does our political or our religious beliefs any good to frame them together in breathless doomsday scenarios. 

And make no mistake about it: Beck has become a Malthusian through and through.  I’m also a libertarian-leaning conservative, and as such see our society in desperate straits, but Beck’s clarion call lately has been “depression and revolution.”  An economic depression is a very real possibility, but…revolution?  I get the impression he isn’t talking about peaceful “tea party” protests. 

Beck’s also taken to citing the “we’ll save the Constitution when it’s hanging by a thread” prophecy, but I’m not sure how he sees that happening.  I mentioned that line to a friend in conversation once a few years ago, and he opined that we’re already fulfilling it now, not by dramatically seizing the reins of public policy somehow, but by being a significant community that lives the ideals of the Founders. 

And that appears to be the impetus behind another of Beck’s new fetishes: the 9 Principles and the 12 Values (of Highly Effective Citizens, perhaps?).  If this is a grassroots effort to reinvigorate America by promoting traditional living, then great.  But in light of Beck’s other obsessions these days, I wonder if this is an effort towards a quasi-secession (another radical idea that seems to be enjoying burgeoning support). 

Pseudo-scriptural language + seeing one self’s movement as fulfillment of prophecy + obsession with imminent revolution = jumping the shark.  You’re a brilliant guy, Glenn, and your perspective is appreciated and necessary.  But, please, try to reign in the fringes of your ideas before you make the good stuff look crazy.

3 comments on “Has Glenn Beck Jumped The Shark?

  1. You must not live in a state under Democrat Party control. Things do not appear to be nearly as desperate to those that live in states with reasonably well-managed state governments (which means a conservative/republican governor and majority conservative control in the state legislature). For those of us outside of Utah, Texas, Mississippi, and Alaska, Glenn Beck’s gloom and doom resonates strongly.

    By revolution, I don’t think of the violent jihad or coup d’etat – I consider the idea of another American “revolution” to refer to the people of this country rising up to reclaim the Constitution and compel change from the business-as-usual politics in Washington and some state capitals. I also envision a revolution among the state legislatures and governors – rising up to re-take state sovereignty and slap down the Democrat congressional leadership’s ham-handed mandates and micromanagement tendencies. I don’t buy Beck’s idea that we’re about to become another Mexico, but I do believe that the Democrat’s mass spending/borrowing and social policies will lead to disaster for our country unless the people rise up and say “NO!”

    Having said that, I can only take Beck in one segment at a time. It takes me several days of watching bits of his show here and there to get through one episode….

    More at http://dcon2012.wordpress.com..

  2. DC, as a matter of fact, the state I’m in–Nevada–used to be a conservative paradise (see this link–you’ll love it!), but as people have flooded here fleeing the collapse of California for the last twenty years, they’ve ironically brought their misguided philosophies with them, and now Nevada is suffering, too.

    The title in my post had a question mark for a reason. I’m not saying that Beck’s ideas are all wrong, but he’s certainly cranking up the rhetoric to an irresponsible level. True, so did the Founders as they fomented their revolution, but is that really what’s called for here?

    You know what, maybe it is. I’m just worried about a cultural leader running ahead into doom-mongering with such rash enthusiasm. I certainly have a history of such conspicuous negativity myself (exhibit A and exhibit B).

    I appreciate that Beck tries to ground his predictions in history and research, but I find it off-putting that his show is becoming a 24/7 “the end is nigh” channel. Do we really need to hype it so much? Don’t you catch more flies with honey than vinegar?

    I hope I’m wrong about where this seems to be heading, but if Beck and some listeners end up on a fortified commune in Montana…I may not be surprised.

  3. Did up that interview with Al Sharton several months ago. That was the Beck ‘jump the shark’ moment for me. I’ve barely watched his show since.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s