Opportunist, false prophet, charlatan and self-styled messianic figure Glenn Beck has completely fooled a good chunk of the evangelical voters of the United States. He is, if none of the above, a great promoter.
Never mind that he's a Mormon, a religion most often referred to as a cult by most Christian theologians, but he's preaching an anti-gospel, one that teaches that if you support the troops, "freedom," prosperity and the Founding Fathers (peace be upon them) then you're on God's side.
I don't think I need to write a lengthy post on the messianic delusions of Mr. Beck. We'll let this defacing of the painting by one of his fellow Mormons say it all. (Hey, original artist, you left out George Washington's Masonic regalia.)
A long time ago I gave Dennis Miller a hard time. I still believe that the "Just For Men" thing in the beard was bad and made him look like a Saudi royal walking through a flowerbed holding hands with George W. Bush, but I have adjusted my views on his talents. I thought of Miller in the same way you think of a washed-up rock act that turns to country music because it's easy money; kind of like what Skynyrd is doing hanging around with Hannity. I thought, "Oh, failed comedian turns to the right wing for an audience that will lap up some easy jokes and give him a paycheck."
He didn't work out on Monday Night Football, where his obscure cultural references and intellectually-tinged asides were lost on his co-hosts and most of the audience. He didn't work out in his own late-night TV talk show. So it seemed like Dennis was grabbing for whatever he could when he showed up as a right-leaning talk-radio host.
But I've been listening to him every day during "exercise time" on the Blowflex out in the garage, and the guy - as he himself might say - "has some chops." He still has that funny habit of referring to men as "cats" and addressing women as "doll-face," but those idiosyncrasies are as endearing as they are goofy and they're part of the Miller shtick. What makes his show unique is that he (for the most part) refuses to tow the party line. He still comes from a conservative POV and is as critical as any pundit on the right of the administration and its allies in Congress, but he won't do the knee-jerk thing, and more importantly, he doesn't stoop to the demonizing rhetoric so popular among his right-side cohorts like Hannity, Crowley, Levin, Ingraham, Savage, Beck, Bortz or Limbaugh. I think that's because he's smarter than them and can actually think through an issue or the daily talking point issued by the spin firm of Gingrich, Rove & Associates. What's more, he hasn't lost the cutting-edge humor that made him popular years ago on SNL. He's almost like a Jon Stewart for the right, where politics and entertainment meet at that great intersection called comedy.
There need to be more Dennis Millers. He can make you think, and he will engage someone with an opposing viewpoint without calling them names or labeling them insane. It's a shame his show isn't more popular. It sure should be.
I keep the feed of one of the local TV stations in my RSS reader. I'm not sure why I keep it there because they piss me off more than they give me news. They tell me about teachers having sex with students way too often. They love to inform me of a Disney character that allegedly groped someone at the park. They treat the Casey Anthony child murder story like they are producers for Nancy Grace. But worse than their appetite for the salacious and ridiculous is their constant publishing of stories that don't deal with their coverage area. Yesterday a headline appeared "Surfer killed in shark attack." You don't find out until clicking on the story that it was a surfer in Western Australia. (And herein lies another thing I hate about their feed - they only tease the story with the headline in the body copy.) They wrote "Woman faked drowning after suffocating kids." You think to yourself, "Damn! This happened in Orlando?" No, it was in South Carolina. But they need readers.
This made me think about other events and how so many news stories lately, which are really local issues, have become stories in which the entire nation, if not the world, feels the right to weigh in on, starting with the TV and radio pundits who make a living fanning the flames of rage.
The Mosque at Ground Zero:Do you live in Manhattan? Then shut up. Nobody outside of the immediate area should have any say on what gets built there.
Proposition 8: Do you live in California? I don't care if you're gay or straight, but if you don't live in California, you should shut your mouth about what Californians do regarding gay marriage. So you're outraged that a judge overturned the people's decision? Then become a resident of California and go march in protest.
Arizona's Law on Illegal Immigration:Again, if you don't live in Arizona, shut up. I don't care if you're Mexican lawyer with the ACLU or a militia member in Montana, until you live there and experience whatever it is that prompted Arizonans to pass this measure, you have no say in the matter. That includes you, Attorney General Holder.
The list could go on; these are only the recent ones that have drawn the world into conversations they know little about. The Internet has made us all amateur experts on just about everything, but nobody seems to know their place anymore and we all walk around with very few facts and way too much outrage. Do you appreciate outsiders being bussed into your locale to voice their opinion on your issues? ( I suppose it depends if they're on your side or not.) Yes, it's a smaller world now, for sure, but what happens in one state or country will not necessarily happen in yours - if you're informed and active. Pay attention to what's happening in your city and state and please vote if you're such a concerned citizen.
One of the troubles with our democracy is that everyone gets to vote, and most everyone is completely ignorant about the issues and the candidates. The only people who can't vote are convicted felons and children, which is kind of stupid because people in prison have time to learn about the issues and sift through the promises and lies of the various candidates - and children are just wiser than adults about most things.
In a nearby district there is a slew of Republican candidates vying to be the one to take on Democrat Representative Alan Grayson, the "colorful" lawyer who took his seat two years ago and promptly made a name for himself by being outrageous. The people vying for his job include one Todd Long, a trail lawyer and frequent advertiser on right-leaning AM radio stations. One of Mr. Long's ads says that he is running because he "believes in the Constitution and the great Founding Father's and Ronald Regan values that this country was built upon." He lets you know in his radio ads that he's a buddy of "Sheriff Joe," which the conservative crowd will recognize as Arpaio of Arizona, as well as Michelle Bachmann. He drops these names to let you know he's got some major backing from the biggest names in Angry Citizenry. Here's Todd to give you the straight talk on how to run a country.
(Note to Mr. Long: invest in a wireless microphone next time.) In Mr. Long's defense, he is no different from any of the other hopeful Republicans wanting a shot at Grayson. It is now almost required that you start with a flag image, invoke the Founding Fathers, the Constitution and veterans, speak of the importance of children, energy independence and the porous southern border that is ruining the country, then mention the Sainted Ronald Reagan (a scripted and teleprompted President if ever there was one) as you solemnly state that you simply to want to serve out of your desire to change things. "The country isn't broken," you tell us, "Washington is" - and you're going to fix Washington. Sure you are, buddy. Do you know how many people before you said that? Probably as many as have served in Congress since it began, which is over 11,000. But you'll be The One.
Here is one of Mr. Long's opponents vying for the right to fight Grayson, and he is bringing in bigger guns than Long's as he makes the "Washington is broken" statement. He's "Inspired by Reagan - Endorsed by Jeb Bush."
With a name like Daniel Webster, how can you lose? One of Mr. Webster's radio ads features his wife, who is, as you might guess, a huge fan of Dan's. She is convinced that he can change Washington. One of the things Webster has going for him is he's not a lawyer. That's another big problem with our democracy. Most lawyers suck to begin with, but then we elect them to office and wonder why "Washington is broken"?
So if you're Joe Voter headed to the polls on August 24th, who among the seven candidates in the Republican primary do you vote for? The one who's going to fix Washington? The last one you saw or heard a commercial for? The one whose name sounds nice? The first one that appears on the ballot? And then when you get down to school board candidates and judges, are you voting wisely or are you just picking any circle to color in?
We are a stupid country. Thankfully the stupidest among us don't even bother to register to vote and if we do, we don't turn out for mid-term primaries. But even those few who do show up will be sadly ignorant of the candidates, their histories, positions and capabilities. They will remember the yard signs they saw the most or the name they heard the most on TV and radio. Or they'll simply vote against someone, because a candidate kept calling that person a "carer politician" in his ads.
I don't have a dog in this race. I'm not a registered Republican and Florida's primaries are closed. (And it's not even my district.) But as an ad and marketing guy, I'll be watching this particular contest closely. We all know that politics has come down to image and a simple message. (And I guess endorsements.) The guy with the winning smile and the catchy slogan usually comes out on top. While Webster isn't too good at the smiling thing, I would still bet that Todd Long is going to lose this race.
It was as though she were discovering for the first time the interior of the enormous continent on which she had elected to live. America had been Charlie, it had been New England; through books and movies she had been aware of the wonders of nature like some great cineramic film with Lowell Thomas cheapening the Painted Desert and the Grand Canyon with his clichés. There had been no mystery anywhere from Miami to Niagara Falls, from Cape Cod to the Pacific Palisades; tomatoes were served on every plate and Coca-Cola in every glass. Nobody anywhere admitted failure or fear. They were like sins 'hushed up' - worse perhaps than sins, for sins have glamour - they were bad taste. But here stretched on the bed, dressed in striped pyjamas which Brooks Brothers would have disowned, failure and fear talked to her without shame, and in an American accent. It was as though she were living in in the remote future, after God knew what catastrophe.
Right Wing AM Radio Station Website: Standard Issue
If you operate an AM Talk Radio station website, please copy the above image and include it as the link to your live stream. It has everything you want to say in three simple images: flag, eagle, lady liberty. I suppose there could be room for a soldier in there, but for now, this is what your listeners expect.
Personally, I think this image of Ms. Liberty is far more evocative. Don't ask me what it means because I will only piss you off.