Of course it had to happen. He couldn’t always be my own personal pseudo-obscure funny radio guy. Even when he was on Headline News and before, say, the release of An Inconvenient Book, I could mention his name in mixed company with little or no reaction. Then the Fox News debut. Suddenly everyone knows my beloved Glennie.
Knows him, and evidently either loves or hates him (like a new FNC campaign proclaims). Or thinks he is KAH-RAZY!
Glenn Beck magically appeared on my car radio in 2003 while I was driving around San Francisco on a Friday afternoon. I remember exactly where I was (Fell St and Divisadero) and what he was playing (Frenchy Frenchman)when I had to pull over since I was crying from laughter. Until that very moment my talk radio experience had consisted of a little bit of Rush, and a whole lot of Michael Savage. At the time, I was also a Brand New Conservative. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing…COMEDY. He was beyond hysterical, he was intelligent, he wasn’t angry. He was fluffy and funny and wasn’t calling anyone a red diaper doper baby. He’s not a zombie-con, nor solely Libertarian, he’s almost his own brand. Instantly fell in love. And now the bias disclaimer begins; I find out he is from my general homeland of Western Washington, he is a Mormon, and happens to be very cute (okay, it’s a personal preference). I couldn’t get enough of him. I was swiftly gifted with the CNN show, the comedy tours, some books, and finally, his new Fox show was surrounding us.
And, all of a sudden…He’s NUTS! He CRIES! He’s an EXTREMIST! No, he’s a POPULIST! He’s on CRACK! He’s a RACIST! He’s APOCALYPTIC! But, most of all, He CRIES!!! All this at 5 p.m. Eastern! He’s not only made it onto Olby’s list, he’s also made it into Dickipedia. For all that extremist crying.
I’m not here to truly defend him, as we already know how I feel. He’s ridiculously successful, is killing in the ratings, and he doesn’t need my help. I’m just fascinated by all the outrage. Well, fascinated and confused. It is understandably part of the rising fame deal, but I’m amazed that Americans are so, um, scandalized by a man who has a personality. Is he so shocking because he appears alongside journalists and straight-news people? Is it because he gets up and moves around and talks to dead fish and eats M&Ms on air? I don’t get it. I get that he’s different. I get that he illustrates some points with a grocery-store birthday cake rather than with an All-American Panel. It’s funny. He’s different. That’s what he’s there for.
The crying? You all know he has done it before this year, right? I don’t remember a lot of noise when he sincerely sobbed over the loss of his religious leader. He tears up and cries for real. He’s an emotional guy. Maybe it only happens in my world, but tearing up and crying occurs all around me. Does the world really find this unacceptable? If it is, fine…I just haven’t been made aware. Maybe it’s just not allowed on tv…?
He doesn’t claim to be anyone he isn’t. He is a commentator and a comedian. Not a journalist. If there is something he doesn’t know he is the first to admit it. How can he be anything but refreshing? To anyone?!? I also don’t see the worry about him causing already-crazies to go nutsier with his fervor. Really? He alone is going to spark The End? Many people I respect are convinced that all his fans are batshit crazy bunker-ridden militia kids. They aren’t leaving me out of the generalization, either. His on-air antics aren’t always calm or classy, understood. Critics are convinced it’s either all an act or he’s certifiable.
I get him. I’m glad some other people out there get him. I’m also forever thankful that there is someone else out there who pretty much thinks the way I do politically and does it with humor. And yes, I DO think his mind is highly-nuanced.