Glenn Beck is a Dangerous Nut-Job

There’s a guy in my neighborhood who was always known as being the sort who went all in on things. If it was worth doing it was worth overdoing. Hobbies became obsessions to the point of distraction. When he discovered alcohol it was the same pattern. Drinking quickly went from social to a lifestyle. Then came drugs and the party life was an all consuming thing for him. The gonzo party guy was the over the top drug and alcohol guy to the point where his life was at risk.

Just like with all of his obsessions, he suddenly stopped drinking and using drugs. He quit the lifestyle and quit drinking entirely. Unlike most people who struggle with quitting, sobriety became his obsession. He was not going to be just another former addict. He was going to be the ultimate former addict. In short order he went from gonzo party guy to gonzo sobriety guy, lecturing everyone about the ills of drugs and alcohol, preaching the good news of sobriety to everyone.

Like a lot of former drunks, he drifted into religion. Maybe its the obsessive compulsive behavior or something else, but former addicts often find Jesus. It could simply be that many therapy meetings are held in churches. This guy got into religion and soon became the most devout person possible. He talked about maybe becoming minister. Instead of preaching the good news of his sobriety, he was now preaching the Good News.

Since religion always bumps up against politics, his religion led him into various causes that brought him into contact with politics. The familiar pattern started all over again. He threw himself into the topic, reading and studying everything he could about history and ideology. Being a religious guy, he naturally gravitated to causes and politics that were anti-Progressive. The gonzo party guy was now the gonzo political guy. His life was now politics and everything that came along with it.

By now you can probably figure out that I’m not talking about a guy in the neighborhood. I’m describing Glenn Beck, the deranged radio and TV host. I describe him as deranged because he has always existed on the edge between over the top political commentary and Jim Jones People’s Temple madness. It was never said explicitly, but the reason he left Fox was that the people in charge were a bit worried that he was descending into madness. Despite his ratings, they were glad to see him go.

Beck, of course, has done a lot to prove that Ailes was right. Beck has gone off and created a little media empire of his own out in Texas. From time to time he has claimed to have talked with God and claimed to have been struck down with a debilitating disease. Half a dozen years ago the Lord was taking his sight. A few years later he was claiming some sort of vocal chord issue. These maladies are highly dramatized and then disappear.

Those familiar with radio preachers recognize this act. Back in the old days, radio and TV preachers would claim God was going to take them if the audience did not raise money for the new school or the new Mercedes or whatever the preacher wanted. In Beck’s case, it’s possibly just attention seeking, but there’s a strong case to be made that he is as nutty as a fruitcake. He never attaches a money making effort to his mystery diseases so it appears he really thinks he is Job.

In this election, Beck has eliminated any doubt about his mental fitness. He was telling audiences that Ted Cruz, of all people, was the Lord’s messenger sent to save humanity. Even more absurdly, he claims Donald Trump is the Anti-Christ. Presumably the Ted Cruz – Donald Trump campaign in the primary was some sort of post-modern version of the final battle between good and evil. The final battle would happen in a TV studio rather than a hilltop in Israel.

Beck has now been suspended from his radio show for teaming up with another howling lunatic to encourage the assassination of Trump. I’m unfamiliar with Brad Thor, but my guess is he is a dickhead. I’ve yet to meet anyone named Brad who was not an asshole. I’m told he is a popular pulp fiction writer, but I don’t read thrillers so I cannot comment on his work. He stalked me on twitter for a few days for some reason, but I don’t use twitter enough to care.

One of the problems that fringe movements always suffer is that they attract a lot of nuts. The reason is the nuts are free to join a cause that will have them. The mass movement that is just getting started needs people so it welcomes all comers. The result is a fat naked guy doing the boogie at your big convention. It’s why all successful mass movements enter a period where they deal with their loons. This is either a purge or a marginalization. Take note alt-right.

In the mass media age, a similar problem infects the media outlets. There is the gaping maw demanding to be filled with content. There is a finite amount of sensible writers, speakers, performs and so forth. The demand quickly outstrips the supply so that means weirdos and lunatics are invited into fill the space. Technology now makes it easy for every nut-job in America to reach a broad audience. An obsessive nut-job can mange to get quite good at it.

Glenn Beck should not have easy access to a large audience. He should be broadcasting over short wave or handing out hand written flyers on street corners. But, satellite radio needs content. Media investors want a vehicle to exploit the audience a Beck attracts. Cable shows need a reason for people to watch so inviting an unhinged loon is a quick way to create content that creates interest. Unlike the political movement, there’s been no way to purge the dangerous loonies from mass media.

I mentioned the other day that intolerance is wildly underrated. Much of what ails the West is due to the people in charge failing in their basic duties. Instead of enforcing the codes and customs that keep society on an even keel, they have found excuses to tolerate all sorts of bad behavior. It’s how we ended up with hip-hop music and talking hemorrhoids like Al Sharpton celebrated in popular culture. That may seem harmless, but it’s also how you end up with nutters like Beck and Thor encouraging people to shoot Donald Trump.

This will not end well.

44 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Casius Lucius
Casius Lucius
4 years ago

Don’t forget Beck’s epic hemorrhoid adventure!

LetsPlay
LetsPlay
Member
4 years ago

Somewhere along the line, Beck did go off the rails for sure. But in his early days on Fox, he was a wealth of relevant information on American History and led, I believe a sort of revival in that area. He was also a fount of knowledge on Alinsky, Cloward-Piven and associations with leftists and communists were instrumental in forming the mind of this guy in the Oval Office. A lot of people picked up on that and started to “counter” the MSM and the constant negativity of our country. The kind of negativity just demonstrated by our Clown-in-Chief Obozo… Read more »

GlennDC
GlennDC
Reply to  LetsPlay
4 years ago

Precisely, Infidel… A little armchair psychology… I wonder if we are observing a variant of Munchausen’s Syndrome,expressed as serial mono manias, as in z-man’s examples above. The occasional bouts of medical illnesses that manifest and are resolved (miraculously) would be consistent with this diagnosis. I also think that his condition may be worsening, and is pitiful to watch..

Tdurden
Tdurden
4 years ago

I used to watch beck’s tee vee show for one reason: I wanted to see him go full Howard Beale and see if beck’s producers would deal with him the same way Beal’s handled him once he went off message and his ratings tanked. It could still happen.

I’m surpised more people haven’t seen the 1977 movie “Network.” Anyone who has can see the part beck is playing.

Karl Horst (Germany)
Karl Horst (Germany)
4 years ago

When I was in the Bay Area, I followed an interesting local talk show host out of San Francisco named Michael Savage. He seemed very knowledgeable about many subjects and was interesting and entertaining to listen to while sitting in traffic. But when the calls died off during his show, I noticed he would spark things up with some off the wall comment clearly intended to get people’s attention. He would even contradiction his own previous positions, obviously as bait to the listeners. I’ve never followed Glen Beck so I can’t speak about him. But having said that, and with… Read more »

LetsPlay
LetsPlay
Member
Reply to  Karl Horst (Germany)
4 years ago

Herr Horst, first let me say that I disagree with your assessment that Bill Whittle falls into the same category at the Beck of late. Bill Whittle is in a class of his own. A patriot, a scholar, and a gentleman. I encourage you to watch his videos, listen to his facts, logic and the point of view that he speaks. Certainly he cannot present all aspects in such a short time but he is but one of a handful of “effective” speakers for conservatives and patriotic Americans who want to raise the awareness and consciousness of people who are… Read more »

Karl Horst (Germany)
Karl Horst (Germany)
Reply to  LetsPlay
4 years ago

@ Infidel – As I mentioned below, I’m trying to establish where the line is drawn between conservative commentator and entertainer. Just to be clear, I am very pro-America and also a conservative which is not so common among my fellow Germans. I find it interesting that many on this site have jumped to the conclusion that because I am German and disagree with a point, it somehow makes me a socialist, bordering on communist because I favor things like free university education to students who have earned it, or a health care systems which provides for all citizens. To… Read more »

David
David
Reply to  Karl Horst (Germany)
4 years ago

Good luck, yer gonna need it.

UKer
UKer
Reply to  Karl Horst (Germany)
4 years ago

Oops, Karl, you go too far in your dislike of Mr Whittle. If you keep this up you leave me no choice but vote to leave the EU… oh, wait, I was going to do that anyway. So, I will vote leave with renewed vigour. Or vigor, if you must…

Karl Horst (Germany)
Karl Horst (Germany)
Reply to  UKer
4 years ago

I wish I had your ability to vote out too!

MMinLamesa
MMinLamesa
Reply to  Karl Horst (Germany)
4 years ago

You’re very uninformed about Bill Whittle. Very.

Same too about Dr Savage who has remained after all of these years, the only talk host I can listen to.

Member
Reply to  Karl Horst (Germany)
4 years ago

Bill Whittle and Beck have nothing in common. That would be Victor Davis Hansen. Karl you ought to look homeward. The Muslims are eating your lunch and raping your daughters

Karl Horst (Germany)
Karl Horst (Germany)
Reply to  trangbang68
4 years ago

“Davis”…sorry, typo. Thanks for the correction. Then the question is how does one differentiate between a commentator and entertainer – the line seems rather thin. From this blog, it seems Mr. Beck changed from one to the other. Victor Davis Hanson is clearly a well educated, historian and academic. While I don’t necessarily disagree with Mr. Whittle or Mr. Savage’s points, I would not consider them on the same level as Mr. Hansen. VDH is by no means an entertainer.

David
David
Reply to  Karl Horst (Germany)
4 years ago

I guess your english deficiencies leave you at a disadvantage.

DriesN
DriesN
4 years ago

During his tenure in FOX, Beck was despised by many conservative bloggers. He would use their scoops and findings without ever crediting them for work done.

Christopher S. Johns
Christopher S. Johns
4 years ago

Beck is a convert to Mormonism after being raised a Catholic, which is plenty peculiar in itself.

His mother appears to have died in a suicide pact when he was a boy, so one might reason that mental illness runs in the family.

Lulu
Lulu
Reply to  Christopher S. Johns
4 years ago

Did someone really verify the story about his mother and a suicide pact? She may be watching TV and crocheting in a senior residence as we write…

Lulu
Lulu
Reply to  Lulu
4 years ago

His mother is dead. Drowning determined to be an accident. But the suicide pact came out of Glenn Beck’s head. Much, much more here: http://www.sharethisurlaboutglennbeck.com/2011/07/glenn-becks-story-is-fiction-of.html

Asscheeks of Saturn
Asscheeks of Saturn
Reply to  Christopher S. Johns
4 years ago

LOL, do you know what Mormons profess to believe? At least Beck Joined for a good reason- pussy.

L. Beau Macaroni
L. Beau Macaroni
4 years ago

Looks like you’re channeling the shade of Eric Hoffer today, Zman!

Lulu
Lulu
4 years ago

The other day I realized one thing that Beck has had going for him. A good speaking voice. (Until he goes rabid chihuahua). I started to listen to him without realizing who he was. And then I heard “Glenn”. Oops. Went searching for Thor. Brad didn’t bother me. Know some good Brads. But Thor seemed a bit much, theatrical. Would he turn out to be a Wiggins or something? Nope. He’s Jr. Says name is Scandinavian. Father is a real estate developer who wanted him to be the same. Now wouldn’t a shrink have fun with that vis a vis… Read more »

james wilson
james wilson
4 years ago

You are wrong about one thing, Z. The country does not need some committee of great minds to protect it from Beck (who watches the watchers?). Much better to let him go on his way and be the laughing stock. And Beck’s insanity never did harm, unlike many others who are quite sane. Extra bonus points: with his meltdown his fans will have the opportunity to reassess their own judgement.

james wilson
james wilson
Reply to  thezman
4 years ago

I didn’t mean to say that Fox should not have rid themselves of Beck once they understood he was crazy. There is no committee of great minds at Fox in any event. The committee which concerns me has no corporate headquarters but keeps a branch in every democratic mind. As fast as I can peel it off two of my children they have added more. Both what is allowed, and what is not, is controlled in ways that lesser people like myself would not have thought possible. What hard work it must be, but gratifying, or they would not do… Read more »

Reply to  thezman
4 years ago

When government co-opts the “social pressure” as they have done successfully with the AGW topic, with smoking, with [insert carcinogen of the day here], or just with the very word, “racist” and have now joined tentacles with the technocrats in order to impose social pressure into a legal proceeding, I sleep with one eye open.

Jak Black
Jak Black
Reply to  james wilson
4 years ago

Dunno. When Cuckerberg called, Beck answered. That’s harm in the making.

bangagong
bangagong
4 years ago

Beck’s “maladies” are classic psychosomatic reactions to stress and are a way to engender sympathy. He’s a big baby…

ambiguousfrog
ambiguousfrog
4 years ago

I used to watch/listen to him on the radio and followed him onto GBTV which became The Blaze TV until the last couple of months I dumped em’. I couldn’t take the handing out of soccer balls and teddy bears at the border. He discussed the ongoing collapse of Greece, Benghazi, and what has led to today’s ME chaos. He opened my eyes in how complicit our gov’t is in the removing of Qaddafi, Mubarak, and almost Assad. He connected the dots when others wouldn’t. Somewhat conspiratorial at times but other times spot on. He has an obsession with George… Read more »

el_baboso
Member
4 years ago

I have an acquaintance who knows Brad Thor and gave me an autographed book by the same.

I looked up formula fiction and saw a picture of Brad Thor next to it. Criminy, there are books in the Hardy Boys series that are better written. Just about everything ever written in Sir! Magazine was better written. Heck, even the truss ads in the back were better written.

Jay
Jay
4 years ago

Beck is a Mormon, and comes from a very particular branch of that church that sees the constitution as divinely inspired (the entire religion expects the Heavenly Kingdom to come down in the U.S. not Israel), and the republic as the equivalent of the Davidic kingdom. If Beck comes across like Jeremiah or Ezekiel that is because that is exactly what he thinks he is. He is trying to save God’s chosen people from rejecting his law and abandoning his revealed government. ALWAYS keep in mind Mormonism when talking about Glenn Beck and his motivations.

Severian
4 years ago

Great post. I’m curious about this, though: “It’s why all successful mass movements enter a period where they deal with their loons. This is either a purge or a marginalization.” That sure sounds right, but…. when did the Left ever do this? Specifically, the Mao + Marcuse “New Left” that went all-in on identity politics after Vietnam. Your average Democrat voter believes things now that would be totally faaaar out, man, in the Bay Area in 1968. Are the reasonable Democrats — and there were some, even into the 90s — the loons in this scenario? I’m missing something here.

Severian
Reply to  thezman
4 years ago

That’s a good point. I keep thinking of liberals as the successful ones, since they win every fight they pick, but they’ve been dying for a long time — they “win” only because their opponents are even more moribund. God that’s depressing.

Member
4 years ago

Best takedown of Beck, ever:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDRGduCGu_I

Member
4 years ago

When I first heard Beck on the radio a decade or so ago, I remember thinking that he had the unhinged zeal of the recently converted. That zeal has never abated. That dude is cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.

Member
4 years ago

Obviously you didnt listen to the Thor interview and you dont listen to Beck, and like the lefty media you included just enough truth to have credibility but lied (or are ignorant to the truth) just enough to make your point. I think that makes you exactly what you rail against……and also dishonest. Wait, are you a Donald lover? That is exactly his and his worshippers MO….. Beck isnt dangerous and you know that, but hey you got a slot on a big website because of your sensational blog title. I guess thats all that matters these days. You might… Read more »

james wilson
james wilson
Reply to  thezman
4 years ago

I heard Beck tell a story years and years ago about taking his daughter to the opera (MET). It was the funniest ten or fifteen of my life. I told my son about it and he warned me, having heard Beck from his local days, that Beck was capable of anything–and not in a good way. So he was never a secret crazy to anyone paying close attention. I wasn’t, but preachy turns me right off.
Cruz was preachy. Is.

jdallen
jdallen
4 years ago

He’s mad as hell, and he’s not gonna take it any more.

Member
4 years ago

I soured on Ted Cruz when I watched him going along with Beck’s lunacy. Either he saw it and understood it and wanted to capture that demographic, or he was oblivious to the problem.

ELC
Member
4 years ago

For years, I listened to Glenn Beck occasionally: maybe for 15-20 minutes a day, 3 or 4 days a week, when I was in the car. His har-de-har-de-har-har-har routines kept me from listening more. This is what I mean: he and his cohorts would get into some satire or parody shtick about someone or something in the news, which would have worked very well for 20 or 30 seconds, but they kept it going on for 2 or 3 minutes. I stopped listening to him completely, though, about a month or six weeks ago. I heard him say something like,… Read more »

kevin
kevin
3 years ago

Long-time Beck listener – from his start in the Tampa market —- All I can say is “lost it” If some one is anti-trump – I can listen. What I can’t listen to is the non-stop Beck said he is not a member of the nevertrump movement. Beck says Roger Ailes is calling the shots. Beck says Christians can’t vote for Trump. (Strange Beck as the divine ability to ascertain what is “Christian.” Many Christians put Mormonism in the cult category). Beck frequently compares Nazi’s to Trump: “I’m not saying Trump is Hitler, but . . . ” (Based on… Read more »