Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Water Into Whine
The Washington Post's Dana Milbank is currently hawking a book, which means that, provided you run in certain highly insulated political media cicles, you're likely to hear a whole hell of a lot over the next couple of weeks about how Glenn Beck is practicing mind control with the goal of creating an army of Hoveround-riding septuagenarians to help him enslave the human race. While it concerns me a little that some of Milbank's claims and theories, at face value at least, sound as far-fetched and conspiratorial as Beck's own lunatic ravings, Milbank has the benefit of being an actual journalist as opposed to, say, an ex-Morning Zoo DJ now doing Kaufmanesque performance art because it's made him obscenely wealthy. So when Milbank says that it's entirely possible Glenn Beck is using coded language to pitch an obscure Mormon end times prophecy -- as opposed to the not-at-all-coded language he uses to pitch Goldline's horseshit scam -- I at least give it some consideration.
This is the kind of thing I can only recommend reading for yourself, so you can come to your own decision about whether you think it's legit.
The Huffington Post: "Mormon Prophecy Behind Glenn Beck's Message" by Dana Milbank/10.5.10
One thing, though, that can't be argued with is the all too real bukkake of crazy that regularly comes out of the giant fleshy pink knob that is Glenn Beck's head. Milbank has taken it upon himself to document in admirable detail -- admirable because I don't know how the hell he sat through hours and hours of this nonsense -- some of Beck's most absurd conspiracy fantasies.
"Beck explained -- without benefit of actual fact -- that Obama's advisers favor health-care rationing and sterilants in drinking water, and then he went on to endorse Sarah Palin's allegations that Americans would have to stand before Obama's 'death panel' so bureaucrats could decide who was worthy to live."
Ignore the death panel gambit, because by now that particular scare tactic is practically a classic. Hearing some tea bagging idiot bring up death panels is almost kind of satisfying at this point. It's like hearing the opening guitar riff of Satisfaction at a Stones show; you can't help but go, "Oh, fuck yeah! I know that! Woooo!" No, what's actually far more impressive is the whole "sterilants in the drinking water" claim. That's genius in that it fires on all paranoid cylinders at once: there's the eugenics implication, the fear of infestation, abjection and body horror, the rise of an authoritarian state and eventual dystopian future -- it's a veritable dumb-ass DSM IV.
But as I've mentioned before, like the rest of Beck's unoriginal shtick, the panicked warnings of an inevitable threat to our water supply, well it just sounds so familiar -- like I've heard it someplace before.
Be honest, how much do you feel like Mandrake in that first scene every time Beck figuratively puts his arm around you as an American and unleashes a torrent of delusional paranoia as if what he's saying is somehow completely rational?