Yeah, It Reminds Me of the Olden Days, But Not in a Good Way

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I don't plan to make a habit of embedding Glenn Beck clips on my blog, but this one--it's a doozy, and I just have to comment.

This man is so intellectually and artistically impoverished that the best he can come up with when he wants to evoke an earlier, simpler time in US history is A COUPLE OF ADS. That's right: to Glenn Beck, what represents America in its best incarnation are advertisements, which are as manipulated and crafted and unreal as anything can be in all of US culture.

It makes sense, though: Glenn Beck works for an ersatz news organization, and his whole agenda is to manipulate. Most of his emotions, even if real in themselves, are caused by something unreal--a past that never existed, a future that can never exist, a present that bears no correspondence to truth.

His whole shtick is as realistic and likely as a little kid offering a football player an ice-cold, opened, unsipped-from bottle of Coke in the passage to the locker rooms in a major league football stadium--but hey, it chokes people up, so it's all good.

I'll admit that this clip did take me back to an earlier time in my life. It took me back to my childhood, to testimony meetings in a ward with a decent share of crazy old people. Baffled and horrified as I am by this strange tirade, at least I can put it in a context: Beck is crying and emoting because he's "feeling the spirit." He invokes a mundane, didactic, adolescent analogy (staying out past curfew and knowing you'll get in trouble when your parents find out, but having to tell the truth because that's what people in good families DO) because Mormons perennially cast themselves as adolescents, as that is the best way for them to relate to their authoritarian god, and one more reason it's difficult for them to achieve spiritual or moral adulthood.

Also present in this clip is a good dose of the crazy factor. Beck is bearing a totally wacky testimony because he's totally wacky.

Beck has been Mormon for, what, a decade or so? And in that time he's become a kind of uber Mormon, out-Mormoning even lifelong Mormons in his weepy weird delusional didacticism.

At times I fear the church of my childhood. But when I see Glenn Beck doing this, I fear FOR the church of my childhood. I hope his approach remains what it was for ages: a wacky performance you just roll your eyes at and endure.

7 Comments

Wonderful commentary, Holly. I am also floored at how Glenn Beck - Glenn Beck! - laments the lack of unity in America. And who, exactly, has worked tirelessly to divide this country, stirring up racial resentments and encouraging gun-toting extremists to intimidate their fellow citizens? Could it have anything to do with him and his fellow Faux News pundits? Nah ... It's those liberals who've been out too late at the party. You can tell because they smell like pot.

WTF, Holly? I was prepared for something really stupid and bad, but there was more wisdom in here than otherwise. Yeah, the commercials were pretty dumb, but the message is a good one: America has been on a decadent path and needs to repent. Our nation is at a crossroads now, where we either change our ways or get ourselves even deeper in dog shit down the wrong path. It's the same choice I faced as an adolescent when I faced my big crossroads moment, and luckily I chose to get off the wrong path. Frankly I think you're fairly spiritually immature yourself for pretty much having become a "religion" unto yourself and totally not getting the Mormon understanding of spiritual reality and eternal reality, even though you had it given to you on a silver platter. I don't really know where you get the balls to think you know so much better than so many people, including God and angels. (Sorry to rip you a new one, but you've done the same for me at times. And I'm sure you'll rip me one back, even bigger.)

Hi sungold--yes, Glenn Beck is an expression, product, and purveyor of evil.

Chris--to rip me a new one, you'd have to at least be in the neighborhood. Your head is so far up your own ass that you can't find anyone else's.

Remember this comment, Chris? Where you admitted that you could never come up with anything as original and independent as a clear statement of what you yourself actually believe?

I was stunned. It's not that hard. All you have to do is examine your own heart and mind.

But you can't do it. You are incapable of independent thought, because you are, from start to finish, spiritually immature.

I thought of pointing that out to you, as it might be useful information, if you had the wisdom and the courage to do something about it. But then I decided it would be not only undiplomatic but pointless, because you DON'T have the requisite wisdom or courage.

As for thinking that I know more than "God"--well, the "God" you worship is a complete fabrication. Of course I know more than that figment, that fiction. I know more than Santa Claus too. Doesn't take balls, 'cause I ain't got any, you nasty sexist pig. Just takes an actual functioning brain, which you don't have.

god, you're pathetic.

Holly, I feel sad that Chris feels a need to be so mean-spirited. I'm disturbed at his new voice. I think he thinks he is speaking with some kind of spiritual authority brought about by his perception that he is "right" about the imminent collapse of society--and that he has bravely adopted all the right viewpoints despite his core enlightened, liberal sensibility that should have kept him from ever adopting such radically conservative viewpoints in the first place.

He seems to think that having embraced all that entitles him to rebuke people in the nastiest of ways. To which I say: bull crap.

I actually really like Chris and find him to be a real interesting thinker and a great writer. He can be refreshingly soulful and real and funny at times. But I think he's got a lot to learn about meekness and true spiritual authority.

I used to think how cool it was that you two were friends. It was inspiring to see a bridge between people with such clear differences. I hate seeing him pound away at that bridge with such unseemly self-righteousness. I think he will live to regret it.

I hope your exchange may be a little exaggerated for show and that you two retain some vestige of affection and connection going forward. It would be a shame if his antics resulted in a full falling out. But if it has, so be it. He will be the poorer for it, in my opinion.

I think you're a pretty nifty person. You woke me up to the goodness of "Glee." Though it has not sustained my interest as much as I had first hoped, that initial episode was pure magic just like you said. The final scene made me cry and smile and sent chills up and down my spin even on several repeat viewings. I have you to thank for that. Thank you.

Hi Anonymous--

I gave up trying to figure out Chris a while ago. He has become so virulent in his homophobia that I just don't know how to deal with it. And his blind spots are so stunning! He condemns me

for pretty much having become a "religion" unto yourself and totally not getting [Chris's] understanding of spiritual reality and eternal reality, even though I had it given to me on a silver platter. He doesn't really know where I get the balls to think I know so much better than so many people

And he doesn't realize that Joseph Smith became a religion unto himself, and that he presumed to know more than most other people, and that even today, Mormons constitute very small religion, and have the nerve to imagine that they know so much better than everyone else in the world?

Sheesh.

All I'm doing is putting my Mormon training to good use and taking things to their logical conclusion. There's a HUGE difference in where I put other people in the equation, however, in that I don't believe people who disagree with me are going to be judged and punished by god. I just think that if they retain certain very dogmatic beliefs, they're not all that smart.

Pretty mild, really, compared to the way Chris considers HIS views superior to mine. But hey, in his little mind, he's ENTITLED to think his views superior to mine, because HIS VIEWS ARE BASED ON WHAT SOMEONE ELSE HAS TOLD HIM TO BELIEVE, NOT ON WHAT HE HAS DISCOVERED ABOUT THE UNIVERSE FOR HIMSELF.

Which in his case is probably true, because he hasn't seemed to learn much about what the universe is really like.

I really think that all the drugs Chris took as a teenager warped his brain, and that all those years worshipping Satan (and I'm not exaggerating; he used to worship to Satan, or at least, he has said he did) impaired his grasp on reality.

He has also hinted that he did engaged in some pretty kinky sexual experimentation as a teenager; it's not hard to wonder if some of that involved gay sex, and if he's not remembering certain personal experiences when he inveighs against the temptations gay sex poses.

Anyway.

I'm glad you enjoyed the first episode of Glee; I also agree that the show has lost some of its luster for me. But yes, that first episode was magic! I had the very same reaction to the final scene.

That's interesting back story information about Chris. It helps explain the dramatic shift I've noticed in his voice and his rhetoric.

Glee was better for me tonight. It regained some its luster and I'm again excited about what's to come. You are right, where Glee is concerned more glee is better than less.

Hi Anonymous--yes, this week's Glee was better. I Hope the trend continues.

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This page contains a single entry by Holly published on October 17, 2009 8:42 AM.

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