Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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August 26, 2010

EGOMANIA ON AN UNHEALTHY SCALE.... Glenn Beck's "Restore America" event is itself an extraordinary display of self-aggrandizement. This deranged media personality picks the site and anniversary of the "I Have A Dream" speech to present himself as the leader of a grand movement that will save civilization. Beck even claims, out loud and without humor, to be acting as a vessel of God.

But that was before he released this video to his website, which takes the megalomania to a whole new level. It's four minutes of head-shaking entertainment, and if you're worried about your colleagues hearing you laugh out loud at the unintentional hilarity, you may want to wait until after work to watch it.

Ben Dimiero explained, "Beck humbly places the rally in the context of the moon landing, the Montgomery bus boycott, Iwo Jima, the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and other landmark historical events. It also not-so-subtly suggests that Beck is following in the tradition of Martin Luther King (which is a farce), Abraham Lincoln, most of the Founding Fathers, Martha Washington, the Wright Brothers, and other notable historical figures."

Set against music trying a little too hard to be stirring, the voiceover tells viewers, "Every great achievement in human history has started with one person. One crazy idea."

The message isn't subtle -- the one person is Glenn Beck, and the one crazy idea is Saturday's ridiculous rally.

It concludes, "It's time to restore America. Restore the world. It's time to believe again."

Atrios added, "The slightly interesting thing Beck is that he appears to be an insane megalomanic who is self-aware enough to be aware of that fact. It's what allows him to be a huckster clown on top of it."

I'd just add one related thought. I'm trying to imagine what the response would be among conservatives if, say, Barack Obama's campaign in 2008 had tried to do something similar. Imagine if the campaign had organized an event at the Lincoln Memorial on the anniversary of the "I Have A Dream" speech, and then released a video comparing the Obama-led effort to the Founding Fathers, the Moon landing, the civil rights movement, and the invention of airplanes.

Imagine if that same Obama campaign video told viewers, "It's time to restore America. Restore the world. It's time to believe again."

The right would consider this egomania on an unhealthy level, and they'd be right.

And yet, here we are, with Beck, Palin, and 300,000 zealots showing up in D.C. on Saturday.

Steve Benen 2:00 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (56)

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Comments

I'll take the under on that 300,000, Steve. Of course, Fox will estimate 300 million.

Posted by: JMG on August 26, 2010 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

This would be inappropriate for the President but it is to be expected for a self-promoting huckster whose livlihood is based on TV ratings. Who cares what Beck does?

Posted by: Clem on August 26, 2010 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Fox News will estimate that more people attend Beckstock than actually live on planet Earth. And Beck himself will speak in tongues during the rally. Of course, this will be barely discern able from his normal mode of speech, so nobody will notice it.

-Z

Posted by: Zorro on August 26, 2010 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

I never thought I'd live to see the arrival of the trut anti-Christ. Boy, was I ever wrong. Too bad. I was hoping for more of a intelligent entrance for the new "savior" and not one so nauseatingly nauseating...

Posted by: Stevio on August 26, 2010 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

Doesn't Beck know that MLK was a radical communist!?! J. Edgar Hoover proved it!

(For the sarcasm-impaired, the preceding was sarcasm)

Posted by: Speed on August 26, 2010 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

Notice that he still managed to pimp Goldline in this clip.

Posted by: Jennifer on August 26, 2010 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Beck's shtick is to think up feel-good promotional events for whatever gig he's currently performing. He did this kind of thing when he was a morning-zoo DJ back in the 80s and 90s. He's remarkbably good at it but he also overreaches and suffers an inevitable humiliation when his grandiosity becomes too apparent. I think that's what will happen this Saturday.

Posted by: walt on August 26, 2010 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Thieving someone else's creation and work: that's Republicans and right wingers in a nut shell.

And I mean NUT shell.

Posted by: jjm on August 26, 2010 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Thomas Edison... WALT DISNEY?!?!?

That has to be a wink to the insiders.

Posted by: martin on August 26, 2010 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

I also love how the clip shows those moments of glory like victory in WWII and landing on the moon ... while pretending that those things could have ever co-existed with today's GOP mantra that rich people shouldn't have to pay taxes.

Posted by: Jennifer on August 26, 2010 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

I watched the first half and started throwing up in my mouth a little and had to stop.

Posted by: AlphaLiberal on August 26, 2010 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

"It concludes, 'It's time to restore America. Restore the world. It's time to believe again.'"

Only liberals, who believe in nothing, would disagree.

Posted by: Al on August 26, 2010 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

I'm looking forward to this event so we can compare the speeches of Beck/Palin and Dr. King.

Two "stuptards" against one for the greatest men to ever live.

Can't wait.

Posted by: sharkbreath on August 26, 2010 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

I just love the shots of the "huddled masses yearning to breath free" as they came to the US without documents for the most part.

Posted by: joyzeeboy on August 26, 2010 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

I dunno, isn't it about time for some street theater to counter these morons?

What I've got in mind is for a bunch of us subversive-types to march while holding a banner, upside-down ala the Far Side cartoon it mimics, bearing the legend "Imbeciles of America Untie!"

Some posters with things like "I demand more increases in the wealth gap!" and such as would be good also. Our problem with these loons is that we try to reason with them, when we should just be showing up to point and laugh.

Posted by: Jennifer on August 26, 2010 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

Imagine if Beck, happy with the level of wealth he's garnered for himself, came out and mocked his audience for following and energetically supporting his obvious hucksterism and insane rhetoric/PoVs?

Posted by: ack ack ack on August 26, 2010 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

Beck is truly a vessel of god. To be specific, he is god's chamberpot.

Posted by: Tim H on August 26, 2010 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

Halfway through the clip I started to expect Viggo Mortensen getting crowned King of Gondor...

Posted by: Vokoban on August 26, 2010 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Megalomania is one of the late stages of syphilis. Jus' sayin'.

Posted by: exlibra on August 26, 2010 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Silly Al:

""It concludes, 'It's time to restore America. Restore the world. It's time to believe again.'"

Only liberals, who believe in nothing, would disagree."

And what, pray, does Glen Beck "believe in," but Glen Beck? A purveyor of fear, and with more bluster than bravery; a child's view of American history. Sad.

Posted by: Michael Carpet on August 26, 2010 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

Progressive should show up with signs saying "Teabaggers are KochSuckers!"

Posted by: shivas on August 26, 2010 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

Restore? Believe again?

Here's how: common sense conservatives need to take their party back from Fox "News" and the crazy fundamentalists that have infiltrated our federal government.

Beck is dangerous.

Posted by: Karl in SLC on August 26, 2010 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

""It concludes, 'It's time to restore America. Restore the world. It's time to believe again.'"

Only liberals, who believe in nothing, would disagree."

And 6.7 billion people who happen to live outside the USA and are laughing their asses off about American exceptionalism.

Posted by: Vokoban on August 26, 2010 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

The right would consider this egomania on an unhealthy level, and they'd be right.

And yet, here we are, with Beck, Palin, and 300,000 zealots showing up in D.C. on Saturday.

All together now...IOKIYAR.

(As a bonus, wait for the cries of "liberal media!" is the MSM doesn't portray this gathering of loons as equivalent to the Moon landing...)


Posted by: Gregory on August 26, 2010 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

God's vessel: the chamber pot.

Posted by: jeff on August 26, 2010 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

On his radio show this AM he darkly said that Al Sharpton was planning a counter march, and would 'release' his followers at the Lincoln Memorial.

Beck obviously (anxiously?) anticipates swarthy hordes from the part of DC the 'baggers were warned against, attacking his crowd of peaceful patriots.

Selma redux?

Posted by: DAY on August 26, 2010 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks Jennifer. I laughed through the whole thing just looking at the Goldline ad. Hasn't he been indicted for that (or about to be)? Keep in mind that Beck is a calculating con man. He doesn't believe a thing he's saying. Remember Burt Lancaster in whatever movie that was? The Rainmaker?

Posted by: smartelephant on August 26, 2010 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

Speech. Less.

A few nitpicky details here...why is the moon landing and federal humanitarian aid held up as shining examples of American-ness here? Better question why is it an example of American-ness by those who are dead set against the method and means of the policies that get us there? Don't both mean more government? Don't both mean more money spent by government? Isn't one of them an example of spending that is universally reviled, not just by Tea Partiers, but generally (foreign aid)?

What planet are these people from?

Posted by: JRinDallas on August 26, 2010 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sure some people watched that and their chests swelled with pride. Wow. All I can say is WOW. it's relly hard to fathom that anyone in their right mind could possibly take that that P.T. Barnum inspired flummery the least bit serious. But sigh there probably are a good number of people who swallow it whole.

Posted by: Gandalf on August 26, 2010 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Simple thought experiment: What would Glenn Beck be saying about Martin Luther King Jr. if he wasn't conveniently dead? Unless King suffered a traumatic brain injury or a debilitating stroke, it's safe to assume he would not be a Tea Party activist, and Fox would be smearing him shamelessly.

Posted by: Stephen Stralka on August 26, 2010 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

Well done piece of propaganda. I wonder who wrote the script, who chose the visuals and who put the whole thing together. I don't think Beck is that talented.

One thing that I noticed was the phrase "unlimited prosperity." Made me think of the group "Americans for Prosperity." Seems that if you follow Beck et al you will have a better chance of becoming rich - as soon as Beck and friends restore "honor" to America.

Posted by: sheridan on August 26, 2010 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

Thieving someone else's creation and work: that's Republicans and right wingers in a nut shell.

An appropriate receptacle...

Posted by: President Lindsay on August 26, 2010 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

Wow. That's a palingenetic form of populist ultra-nationalism if I ever saw one.

Posted by: Stephen Stralka on August 26, 2010 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

Jeepers! What a video! How could anyone outside of a nursing home take that seriously? It aims squarely at the subconscious of the get-off-my-lawn crowd. I suppose that John McCain will attend!

Posted by: troglodyte on August 26, 2010 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Glen Beck is what you would get if Huey Long hadn't actually done anything, and then started 'Share the Wealth"...

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on August 26, 2010 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

Beck is making Jon Stewart's job far too easy.

Counting the minutes to tonight's Daily Show.

Posted by: Rasputin22 on August 26, 2010 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

I can imagine Glen Beck saying to someone after playing the video for a friend. "Don't worry, those goosebumps will go away in about 20 minutes"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RV6FMKpB8Og&feature=related

Posted by: Archon on August 26, 2010 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

The inclusion of the moon landing imagery is puzzling, because Beck has to know his audience well enough to know that many believe it was a hoax, since to accept it is to accept that a government agency can literally put a man on the moon.

A rare slip-up from Mr. Beck, who seems to know his dues-paying base pretty well.

Posted by: HydroCabron on August 26, 2010 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

One thing for sure is, the conservative elite know how to make money off the idiocy of their constitutents.

Posted by: Archon on August 26, 2010 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, I didn't think you could string together so many empty platitudes. I didn't think there even could be so many empty platitudes.

Posted by: Angry Young Man on August 26, 2010 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

I'm trying to imagine what the response would be among conservatives if, say, Barack Obama's campaign in 2008 had tried to do something similar.

Does Beck have a stage set using Greek columns?

Posted by: g on August 26, 2010 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

300,000? Sure. Maybe if you count the people standing around laughing and everyone at the nearby museums/memorials.

Maybe.

Posted by: The Answer WAS Orange on August 26, 2010 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

That reminds me, "A Face In The Crowd" is on TCM tonight. It really nails Glenn's schtick.

Posted by: Fnord on August 26, 2010 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

Hmmm. just did a search on expedia, I can still buy cheap tickets into DC on any airline. For perspective, try getting an airline ticket to the Super Bowl or a hotel room in a Super Bowl City. And that's a venue of what 50 - 60 thousand?

Posted by: bcinaz on August 26, 2010 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

Hey 'g' Beck's going to use THE LINCOLN MONUMENT, I'd say that trumps a stage. (And BTW, have you ever looked at RNC stages? I know where Bleck gets his inspiration...)

Posted by: c. on August 26, 2010 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

bcinaz:

Don't worry about flying, the Beck crowd is coming in their matte/camouflage mid '70s Dodge pickups, with lift kits and Confederate flags. Or on the Greyhound, you know they don't know how those planes stay in the air, "don't trust 'em"

Posted by: c. on August 26, 2010 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Beck is consumed with interest in Nazi Germany, accuses others of being socialists or fascists, or both in the same sentence, but is obviously a Fuehrer-in-waiting, at least in his own disturbed mind. Why else would he stage a Nuremberg rally with all the trappings, presumably (flags, banners, armbands, uniforms?) on the Mall? This is a fascist rally, pure and simple, and should be seen as such, but won't be by our brain dead media.

Let them have their rally and their demagoguery, it is their First Amendment right, but unless and until a critical media exposes it for what it is such events in a dumbed-down America are very dangerous.

It has been said that Germany experienced a national psychosis between 1933 and 1945. There's no reason to believe it can't happen here. Beck would seem to be an unlikely Hitler, but his angry and gullible Lemming-like worshipers will follow him over the cliff and take the rest of us along.

Corporate America, the Koch brothers, and Richard Mellon Scaife are orgasmic at the prospect of a fascist country they can control. Just like the industrialists of Nazi Germany had what they wanted: a continuum between the state and business.

Posted by: rrk1 on August 26, 2010 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

"Conservatism is the blind and fear-filled worship of dead radicals" - Mark Twain


sounds 'bout right.
but i guess you could append "...by fucking lunatics."

Posted by: ahoy polloi on August 26, 2010 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

This is missing the point!

In this particular case, his calculation is 100 percent about walking right into controversy and generating as much hype as possible.

Much of the game here is that he's trying to launch a book tour -- you can't lose sight of this.

Even if 99 percent of Americans are disgusted by the antics, 1 percent can drive a lot of book sales.

What's even more sick is that the entire event is being financed by the same people who will likely buy the book.

However, I think it's a mistake to take Beck entirely at his word about how historical the whole thing is.

Does he honestly believe this event measures up to great historical events? My guess is probably not.

Basically the entire game is a swindle. Beck is likely fully aware of what he is doing -- he just doesn't care about the people he's using. He's creating an illusion here with an eye towards . . . selling more books!

He's a pretty typical "double-high" authoritarian type. Amoral sociopath, probably. Does he completely buy into all of the hype though? My sense is that he may be able to separate himself from the act up to a point. He probably thinks the entire thing is a joke that he's playing on his fans and critics alike.

Posted by: JP on August 26, 2010 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

We need to read more about the Beck - Koch connection.

Here's some.

http://www.outloudopinion.com/2010/08/24/schultz-guest-beck-koch-brothers-plotting-to-provoke-race-riots/

Posted by: anomaly on August 26, 2010 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

How can this clip celebrate "men guided by their own reason" while still claiming that they were guided by faith?

Also irritating:

When I click the "x" on the Goldline ad, it just redirects me to Goldline, rather than simply closing. Dirty pool.

Posted by: Daniel Kim on August 26, 2010 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

But what is the outcome supposed to be? A new political party? A new religion? Does the crowd march off to the white house with Beck on their shoulders to "restore" the white man to the presidency?
How does Beck go on after this? By claiming that some inner change has occurred in those who attend? Or by demanding that the government do something in particular? I just don't get it.

Posted by: elisabeth on August 26, 2010 at 9:09 PM | PERMALINK

Wow. Just wow.

I'm just waiting for Beck to grow a beard, dress up in a toga, and declare himself the second coming. It really wouldn't surprise me.

Posted by: zoe kentucky in pittsburgh on August 26, 2010 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

Beck wants to be Nehemiah Scudder

Posted by: vgranucci on August 27, 2010 at 12:15 AM | PERMALINK

Glenn Beck and MLK?

Uh, let me think: "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce."

Posted by: Karl Marx on August 27, 2010 at 8:31 AM | PERMALINK

It is a shame that so many of the posters miss the entire message and meaning to the planned rally. If you would stop listening to liberal idiots who are the true distorters of truth and listen and learn you'd understand the true meaning of being an American, American history, civil rights, and the difference between progressives and conservatives. Liberty means both the right to succeed and fail. It has absolutely nothing to do with redistributing wealth. Progressives would have no problem with changing test scores for college and high school students, to take the test score of someone who studied hard, did their homework, and sacrificed their time to make an "A" with the student that didn't attend, study, or put forth the minimal effort to make a good grade...i.e. give the "A" student a "C" and the "F" student a "C" as well. Our country is going down the tubes because of idiots like Keith Olbermann. BTW I watch FOX news as well as MSNBC and CNN to get my own perspective on the truth, you should try it.

Posted by: Proud_American on August 27, 2010 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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