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Academic defies Glenn Beck
February 7, 2011 12:50 AM   Subscribe

American academic Frances Fox Piven has been heavily criticised by Glenn Beck as a threat to the American way of life. She is not for turning.
posted by Grinder (154 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Pudgy insecure mentally challenged kid picks on other kids on the playground.
posted by twoleftfeet at 12:58 AM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


protip: to make Glenn Beck go away, don't link his fucking website.
posted by clearly at 1:08 AM on February 7, 2011 [100 favorites]


It's bizarre/awesome how mainstream her ideas would be in Australia. Ironically, one if the only things keeping me from going back to America is the lack of 'socialism'. Caring for all it's citizens would enhance America's greatness, not detract from it.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 1:10 AM on February 7, 2011 [28 favorites]


Wait, huh? From the article, based on an article published in 1966, this woman, whom most people have never heard of until now, as mentioned in the article, is a dire threat to America?

So, uh, is Beck running out of targets, or just finally going off the deep end? What's next? An expose on how rhododendron's are a communist plot?
posted by Ghidorah at 1:12 AM on February 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


Who the fuck gives a fuck about what that fuck Glen fucking Beck fucking "thinks"?

Other then wankerific people with too much time on their hands and not enough brain cells to rub together.
posted by edgeways at 1:16 AM on February 7, 2011 [10 favorites]


I assume the use of "not for turning" is ironic?
posted by chavenet at 1:24 AM on February 7, 2011


Easy rule of thumb: if Beck or one of the other "Conservative Opinion Leaders" is accusing Liberals/Democrats of something, they are doing it themselves. Big time. The rantings against Soros correspond with the real rise of the Koch Brothers. Looks like Glennyboy decided he needed somebody to be an anti-Sarah Palin.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:26 AM on February 7, 2011 [20 favorites]


I used to think that Beck was a showman, the political equivalent of a carnival barker or street performer.

I'm starting to wonder if he's not a little ... unhinged. "Obviously" most liberal mefites would say. But I do think it's possible to be a committed right-winger and still be mentally sound -- it's just that Beck is starting to strike me as being increasingly detached from reality.

Attacking a 78 year old professor for something she wrote in the 60's that had zero impact on public policy seems oddly obsessive. Like those people on the street corner reeking of alcohol and urine who can regale you with minutae of the Trilateral Comission meeting where the Grays and Pleadians decided to implant microchips in everyones heads.

And what does it say about us that millions of our countrymen follow this aimless madman?
posted by Avenger at 1:28 AM on February 7, 2011 [17 favorites]


to make Glenn Beck go away, don't link his fucking website.

If you think that's going to make him go away I envy you your bliss.
posted by clarknova at 1:33 AM on February 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


an anti-Sarah Palin.

In the sense that they are both... women?

I honestly don't know what other comparison you could make. Palin is a feckless demagogue, while Piven is a little-known academic. The only possible thing that they're "doing" that is the same is being female.
posted by TypographicalError at 1:39 AM on February 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


Beck, Limbaugh, etc are, IMO, traitors. What they promote is terribly harmful to the nation.

But, then, the justice system did determine that it is okay for the news media to tell outright lies, a decision which can only result in the destruction of democracy (as democracy depends on having informed voters.)

Maybe Beck's the smart one: having seen the writing on the wall, he has decided to protect himself and his family from America's false news by making enough fuck-you money to walk away as the nation collapses.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:40 AM on February 7, 2011 [15 favorites]


The dude who cried on tv is going up against someone who won a prize named after a bad-ass labour organizer? Its a smart woman who knows how to communicate?

What do I want to see in this match?

"More". -Eugene Debs (when asked what unions should be bargaining for)
posted by hal_c_on at 1:42 AM on February 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Glenn Beck is right. She IS a threat. To the corporate kleptocracy ruling the nation. At a time of great economic insecurity and instantaneous transmission of information, her ideas, if they took hold, could be a threat to the cozy oligarchy carved out of the body politic by the ruling class. God forbid the debate ever get framed in terms of class! If people started thinking about organized resistance, the whole sordid scheme could unravel and they might demand a return to representative government! Can't have that; so pay Mr. Beck, the useful fool, a big bucket of cash to make sure that the conversation is about Professor Piven, and NOT about her analysis of capital and the working poor.

I hope this backfires. I hope for every thousand people who google her name, ten will read her work, and one will grasp the implications. And that one will teach one, as the saying goes.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:46 AM on February 7, 2011 [31 favorites]


So, uh, is Beck running out of targets, or just finally going off the deep end?

"going off"? He jumped into the Mariana Trench years ago.
posted by cmonkey at 1:49 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just why isn't he being charged for inciting violence? I hope Piven thrives using her new megaphone, kudos to her for not backing down.
posted by arcticseal at 1:56 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's not that he's after Piven. He's after somebody that can represent liberal academia. The idea is to create an atmosphere of fear around the teaching of ideas. The goals:

1. Scare Piven herself into not speaking as much/as vociferously.
1a. Scare other liberal academics ("Hmmm, maybe I shouldn't discuss this... look what happened to Piven.")
2. Scare CUNY into shutting her down
2a. Scare other universities into not hiring professors who teach from the left ("Look what good it did CUNY... maybe we should pass on this one/hire some diehard Randian asshat for 'balance'")

Whenever I think of Beck, I think a vast right-wing conspiracy really must exist. Beck is unhinged but his target seems calculated and his army of armed idiots is incredibly useful. I'm glad Piven is trying to turn the tables on it and hope CUNY has her back.
posted by rouftop at 2:09 AM on February 7, 2011 [28 favorites]


I'm starting to wonder if he's not a little ... unhinged. "Obviously" most liberal mefites would say. But I do think it's possible to be a committed right-winger and still be mentally sound -- it's just that Beck is starting to strike me as being increasingly detached from reality.

In point of fact many liberals have considered him obviously crazy for reasons separate from his beliefs. No one calls O'Reilly, Limbaugh, or Coulter insane. Calculating and pandering maybe, but crass manipulation is a sign of sanity. Beck may actually be unhinged, which is starting to make him a liability. He doesn't seem to realize that the Giffords shooting has changed the wind.

If he keeps going on about this it may actually cause Fox News some legal harm, but I think they're too cagey to let it get that far.
posted by JHarris at 2:33 AM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


She is not for turning.

odd place for a Thatcher reference, but okay....
posted by Afroblanco at 2:40 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Glenn Beck is right. She IS a threat.

To the people in charge of Glenn Beck.
posted by DU at 2:49 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Death threats against a 78 year old - stupid, wicked, but particularly... impatient?

Beck has, in a way, achieved what a lifetime of radical activism struggled to do: create a national platform for Piven...

Alright, particularly stupid.
posted by Segundus at 2:54 AM on February 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


protip: to make Glenn Beck go away, don't link his fucking website.
protip: We have no control over whether or not glenn beck "goes away" and most of his reach is TV and the Radio, not the web. Simply wishing him away or pretending he doesn't exist accomplishes absolutely nothing.
Big time. The rantings against Soros correspond with the real rise of the Koch Brothers. Looks like Glennyboy decided he needed somebody to be an anti-Sarah Palin.


There have always been big conservative donors. Before kotch there was Lincoln Melon Scafe and of course Rupert Murdoch.
posted by delmoi at 3:10 AM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


(This is completely irrelevant, but it reaffirms my understanding of the world to learn that Thatcher didn't actually get that pun, which was written for her by a speechwriter, and had to have it explained to her.)
posted by kyrademon at 3:18 AM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, Beck has a point. She was helped by noted activist Tom Hayden.
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:24 AM on February 7, 2011


If death threats are what you offer when someone had ideas different than your own, I think perhaps you're a weakling, intellectually and in your heart and character, not that you have much of either to start with.

(A threat to the wealthy American way of life, it should be clarified.)
posted by maxwelton at 3:37 AM on February 7, 2011


Besides being a laughable figure of fun, Beck strikes me as a bit of a tragic figure: his mother's suicide, drug and alcohol addiction, suicidal thoughts etc... This hardly justifies his bigotry and ill-informed rants though.

Thankfully we don't get to hear much from him on this side of the pond.
posted by jonesor at 3:42 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's troublesome that so many people listen to him.

He really makes me think of a character in a James Ellroy novel, one of the ' Underworld USA Trilogy' novels. Stooge of rich guys who are looking just to shake shit up 'cause they know when things are in motion, are shaken up, they can move things around and, ultimately, profit. They are great novels when taken as portrayals of how it (Us from late 50's to late 60's) 'could' have happened. Of course, they're just books and this guy is 'real' and more people listen to him. Seen from outside the US and the pervasive media mood he's a creepy, insidious and uniquely harmful creature.
posted by From Bklyn at 3:51 AM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


You know who else advocated a guaranteed minimum income?

Richard Nixon.
posted by Saxon Kane at 4:17 AM on February 7, 2011 [16 favorites]


I can sort of see where Beck is coming from. If people have a robust social safety net, it'll be harder to scare them into buying overpriced gold coins.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:43 AM on February 7, 2011 [16 favorites]


The goals:

1. Scare Piven herself into not speaking as much/as vociferously.
1a. Scare other liberal academics

etc.

I think the real goal is just to aggrandize Glenn Beck.
posted by Obscure Reference at 4:47 AM on February 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


He really makes me think of a character in a James Ellroy novel

Or a villain in a Phillip K Dick novel
posted by KokuRyu at 5:16 AM on February 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


Who the fuck gives a fuck about what that fuck Glen fucking Beck fucking "thinks"?

Exactly. Just like herpes if you ignore it it will go away.
posted by AndrewKemendo at 5:25 AM on February 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


I think Beck is part of a right-wing conspiracy in so far as he's used as a puppet for the far right. He's capable enough to be very effective at stirring the sentiment of the easily-swayed and the uneducated, but stupid and/or egotistical enough to not care that the implications of his actions are serious and damaging.

I don't think he can even be placed on the political spectrum. He's a child who likes attention at all costs and will say exactly what will get the most attention from the idiot base. That's not a political ideology.
posted by jimmythefish at 5:26 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Ignore the bullies and they'll go away" was bullshit advice in middle school and it's bullshit advice today.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:31 AM on February 7, 2011 [35 favorites]


Exactly. Just like herpes if you ignore it it will go away.

I don't think it will. But you know what? In a way Beck and the creation of the Tea Party is actually good for Democrats. It will ensure that the right is divided, and the slim margins that exist between the two parties at the moment will give rise to a solid Democratic majority.
posted by jimmythefish at 5:31 AM on February 7, 2011


In a way Beck and the creation of the Tea Party is actually good for Democrats. It will ensure that the right is divided, and the slim margins that exist between the two parties at the moment will give rise to a solid Democratic majority

Nah. Maybe in party primaries it will divide GOP voters but unless a serious third party rises out of the Tea Party movement, they'll all vote lockstep with whatever candidates get nominated. There's a reason that all the Tea Party candidates nominated during the last election cycle ran with an (R) and not a (T). It may be good for Dems in some places, but nationally? I don't see it. The "divided" GOP didn't have problems getting folks like Rubio and Paul elected. It's not good for America. It's not good for Democrats. It's just not good.
posted by IvoShandor at 5:36 AM on February 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think Beck is part of a right-wing conspiracy in so far as he's used as a puppet for the far right.

Right wing conspiracy. Heh. Glenn Beck is the morning zookeeper with an afternoon slot. Don't place any more importance on him than the idiots you hear on the radio in the morning. He's a shock jock making just a different kind of fart joke.
posted by three blind mice at 5:38 AM on February 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


three blind mice - I should clarify that I don't think there's a right wing conspiracy. I just think he's not gagged because it helps them.

IvoShandor - fair enough. And yes, not good for anyone. My comments do indeed assume the rise of a third party. I see that happening.
posted by jimmythefish at 5:57 AM on February 7, 2011


Glen Beck is a carnival barker. He's a hustler with a very profitable schtick.

That doesn't mean that he's not seriously dangerous, though. He tirelessly pushes some very uncontrollable buttons - paranoia, conspiracy, hatred, mistrust. I personally think that if he continues long enough there is no way he won't end up in prison. His agitation will lead to him being held responsible for fomenting some variety of unhinged violence.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:12 AM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Rabbis warn Rupert Murdoch: Fox News and Glenn Beck 'using' Holocaust
Four hundred rabbis, including the leaders of all the main branches of Judaism in the US, have signed an open letter calling on Rupert Murdoch to sanction the head of Fox News and one of the channel's most famous hosts for frequent inappropriate references to the Nazis and the Holocaust. . .

In the letter, the Jewish coalition calls on Murdoch to take action against Roger Ailes, the bombastic president of Fox News, as well as against Glenn Beck, the channel's most notorious rightwing commentator. "We share a belief that the Holocaust, of course, can and should be discussed appropriately in the media. But that is not what we have seen at Fox News," the letter says.

"You diminish the memory and meaning of the Holocaust when you use it to discredit any individual or organisation you disagree with. That is what Fox News has done in recent weeks."
posted by notion at 6:14 AM on February 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Beck has on ongoing dispute with the forces of gravity. Yelling about an obscure academic is kind of sane after that.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:16 AM on February 7, 2011


From the little gasps that remained of his great wind as they crossed the border, he always seemed like some sort of Evangelical preacher mixed with the crazy guy in the corner espousing his bizarre paranoiac associations of an over-exhausted mind.

Now, I kind of wonder if he was the crazy guy on the corner, but someone's given him a job, and cleaned him up, and given him a ... well, if not a nice suit, then at least a suit.

Too bad news is about entertainment, and not about the News.
posted by LD Feral at 6:24 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


No one calls O'Reilly, Limbaugh, or Coulter insane.
Uhhh.....
posted by Killick at 6:36 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Further support for the "crazy guy on the corner" theory.
posted by teraflop at 6:36 AM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


So, uh, is Beck running out of targets, or just finally going off the deep end?

He did a rather bizarre rant about Co-Op City that had a lot of people in New York baffled and a little irked. I think he's starting to get desperate.
posted by jonmc at 6:43 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


protip: to make Glenn Beck go away, don't link his fucking website.

I dunno, maybe someone will look at his web stats and he'll go on some bizarro rant about MeFi and everyone will conclude that he's finally flipped his beanie.
posted by jonmc at 6:47 AM on February 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


According to Ann Althouse (Robert W. & Irma Arthur-Bascom Professor of Law at the University of Wisconsin Law School) all this bad-mouthing of Glenn is a violation of his right to free speech, you big meanies!
posted by octobersurprise at 6:51 AM on February 7, 2011


I think his brand if agitation is dangerous because of the large numbers of people who actually buy into it.
I find that a lot of them are poor and depressed white guys with some military background who think they know how to do things.
These guys don't have girlfriends because girlfriends actually want
to have fun not sit around talking all that bullshit.
It would be some terrible combination of sad and funny if it were not so dreadful.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 6:57 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I figure that most people who've actually served in the military would consider Beck a wannabe.
posted by jonmc at 7:01 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ok, so he might not go away if we ignore him, but that doesn't mean we have to pay so much attention to the mad barking of a lunatic dog, either. I don't want to discuss this guy. There's nothing to discuss outside of how ludicrous his paranoid, scattershot message is, and how best to dismiss it. And ignore it.

Calling him a bully is giving him too much power and credit, and it's too simple. Look, the only reason why he even has a pulpit at all is because people are paying him attention. He's not a bully in your homeroom class. You're not socially obligated to interact with him.

If you believe otherwise, you're being lured into their crudely framed arguments. You don't pay attention to the random lunatic on a street corner shouting about the earth being flat, do you? Why this guy? You do realize they'll give a TV show to almost any jackass with a fat mouth and the ability to show up and exercise that fat mouth every day, right?

Quit giving this jackass attention. Don't link to him. Don't willingly give him your mindshare. If you really want to do something, complain to his advertisers. Complain to the FCC that he's violating "call to action" and OPI guidelines for broadcast. Mention the violence.

Otherwise he's seriously not worth your time or attention. Sure, be aware of the lunatic in the room. Keep your eyes on his hands, yeah. But willingly engage the lunatic in an argument? No, don't do that. Something something wrestling with pigs and getting dirty, etc.
posted by loquacious at 7:02 AM on February 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Most days I can look at Glenn Beck and laugh. Today is the other kind of day.
posted by honeydew at 7:04 AM on February 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hannity is the real enemy.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:09 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I deeply regret that I mistook Beck for Bill O'Reilly, who is the pundit casting aspersions on gravity. If this makes Beck more sane than O'Reilly, then so be it.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:20 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hannity is the real enemy.

Of Beck, Limbaugh, and Hannity I think Hannity is the scariest. He sounds far smarter to the average person, he doesn't have the drugs and racism taint of Limbaugh, or the obvious looniness of Beck. I've listened to all three at some length and Hannity alone will spend time talking about the occasional issue that more or less everyone can agree with. This is disarming. Limbaugh, for example, is easy to disagree with because he's always saying something nasty. Beck is almost always saying something insane (my favorite talk radio episode of the last couple of years had to be his extended praises of Muse and how they had written the perfect anti-Obama resistance song). Hannity mixes it up.
posted by norm at 7:22 AM on February 7, 2011


> He sounds far smarter to the average person

Indeed. If there wasn't Beck, then his admirers would drift back to Infowars or whatever other dregs they've been sucking on. Hannity gets people who might otherwise be better informed. Hannity is the one pundit who actually seems like he believes in his drivel.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:27 AM on February 7, 2011


Agree. Hannity is as close to evil incarnate as you can get without actually torturing people. I think Beck, O'Reilly and Limbaugh have some small amount of internal consistency in their beliefs. Hannity is just a hater.

"I'm starting to wonder if he's not a little ... unhinged. "Obviously" most liberal mefites would say. But I do think it's possible to be a committed right-winger and still be mentally sound -- it's just that Beck is starting to strike me as being increasingly detached from reality. "

I pity him, to some extent. He is a troubled individual who has to bear some fucked up shit. They took away his booze and drugs, and now he gets his high by creating a fake reality wherein he is a hero.
posted by gjc at 7:29 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


now he gets his high by creating a fake reality wherein he is a hero.

One where he is a wizard, apparently. Thanks, Teraflop! That will haunt my nightmares.
posted by LD Feral at 7:32 AM on February 7, 2011


Look, I think Beck is an asshole, liar and the worse kind of evil: lathering up the masses to harm themselves just so he can make a buck and be famous and adored (he is not a believer). But, that doesn't free the rest of us from sanity.

1) Beck is not responsible for comments made on his blog, or other right wing (or left wing for that matter) blogs. Because some drooling idiots put up death threats does NOT associate them with Beck. That is unfair and out of line. If there is a problem with Beck, pick on Beck, don't put other peoples words in his mouth.

2) Beck has every right to strongly disagree with Piven. I think it is moronic, but he is not out of line for taking a strong ideological stance against an ideologue.

Things in the linked article about how some guy loaded up "with the stated intention of attacking liberal groups in San Francisco that Beck had mentioned" really pisses me off. So what? That is the same kind of "Kid listened to AC/DC and killed his parents" shit. It it shit reasoning and is just trying to chill dissent. I'd just as soon kick Beck in the balls as say hi to him, but that still doesn't excuse using poor logic and slimey tactics of that article.

Beck is easy to defeat on the facts. Drop the ad-hominem shit.
posted by Bovine Love at 7:42 AM on February 7, 2011 [9 favorites]


Thanks, Glenn. I hadn't heard of Frances Piven until today, thanks to you. I owe you a debt of gratitude for introducing me to such a fascinating liberal scholar.
posted by schmod at 7:43 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


"She is not for turning."

So if she gets bitten, she wants us to shoot her?
posted by Eideteker at 7:53 AM on February 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Beck is easy to defeat on the facts.

I agree. Tea Partiers always respond rationally when you just give them the facts and data.
posted by Legomancer at 7:59 AM on February 7, 2011 [7 favorites]


We have no control over whether or not glenn beck "goes away"

Sure we do! Just use a whole bunch of incendiary rhetoric implying that he should be murdered, then wait for a lunatic to hear the dog whistle and act on it, then we have plausible deniability for direct association with the act because OBVIOUSLY only a crazy person would do the things we suggest directly. That's the playbook, right?
posted by FatherDagon at 7:59 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Beck is easy to defeat on the facts. Drop the ad-hominem shit.

If he's so easy to defeat on the facts, why hasn't he been defeated?

I think it is moronic, but he is not out of line for taking a strong ideological stance against an ideologue.

Calling her an ideologue isn't an ad hominem attack?

Beck may or may not be "unhinged," but as this piece suggests, Beck is ranting more lately because he's losing audience share. It's pretty basic, and there isn't any need to concoct theories about his mental state to explain it.

In any event, thanks to Beck's rantings, Piven now has gotten more attention and airtime for her views than she's gotten in 45-odd years of being an academic.
posted by blucevalo at 8:04 AM on February 7, 2011


Glen Beck is to political rhetoric as the WWE's Undertaker is to Undertakers.

I used to go see pro wrestling matches as a kid, and I would occasionally see people make large verbal drunken arguments (but rarely physical confrontations) in the stands and out in the parking lots over their favorite wrestlers. Loud, drunken arguments.

Whenever I see people get up in arms about what Glen Beck says, I have to stop myself and remember that Glen Beck is a wrestler-type that rarely admits it (unlike, say, Stewart and Colbert). People will get in loud arguments (but rarely physical confrontations) over make believe concepts.

But the problem arises when Glen Beck encourages people to vote, to try and change the foundation of the country. All of a sudden those political wrestling fans are given a voice.

Glen Beck used to not bother me, because I knew he was fake. But, his supporters are real. And just as wrestling fans, they scare me.
posted by Philipschall at 8:06 AM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


We have no control over whether or not glenn beck "goes away"

Sure we do! Just use a whole bunch of incendiary...


You had me all excited there for a second.
posted by CosmicRayCharles at 8:19 AM on February 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


Well I personally would like to thank Beck. I had never heard of Piven before and may not have were it not for him. Thanks Glen! She's awesome!!
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 8:28 AM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think Beck is an asshole, liar and the worse kind of evil: lathering up the masses to harm themselves just so he can make a buck and be famous and adored (he is not a believer). But, that doesn't free the rest of us from sanity ... Drop the ad-hominem shit.

So ... your point is that only you can call Glenn Beck names? I don't see why you should have all the fun.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:31 AM on February 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


Thirty years ago, if you said 'conservative pundit,' you thought of somebody like George Will or William F. Buckley, now they have this yahoo. I don't know whether they've fallen, risen or both.
posted by jonmc at 8:41 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Heh, ok, octobersurprise, fair comment. I did call him names; my own quirk, I don't consider "asshole" or even "evil" to be serious enough to be ad-hominem, but clearly they would be.

My issue is with the much more serious suggestions that Beck is inciting violence, complete with Giffords reference. That isn't just slagging someone and is very serious. I think it is cheap and detracts from the fundamentals.

There is a group out there who were Beck fans before they found Beck; we aren't going to change their minds. For the rest of the world, rational analysis of Becks argument is enough, and stooping to the kind of tactics the linked article did is not constructive or even fair.
posted by Bovine Love at 8:46 AM on February 7, 2011


Who the fuck gives a fuck about what that fuck Glen fucking Beck fucking "thinks"?

A whole lot of people, apparently. Some of them in my own family, in fact. This is infuriating. I could spend hours discussing what bugs me about his show, from the theatrics to the content. Obviously that isn't necessary here.

Anyway, point is - a lot of people take this guy seriously. They feel like they're being let in on secret, powerful information. It's unnerving how effective he is.
posted by odinsdream at 8:52 AM on February 7, 2011


Sane or not, he foments violent political paranoia using the mass medium. If we're not concerned about that, we have learned nothing from history.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:02 AM on February 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


My issue is with the much more serious suggestions that Beck is inciting violence, complete with Giffords reference.

What? So it's fine to call Beck an evil, lying, asshole, but daring to write about a recent act of political violence in an article about Beck crosses the line of good taste? That's a nice sense of decorum, indeed.

For the rest of the world, rational analysis of Becks argument is enough

Rational analysis of Beck's "arguments" looks like this.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:08 AM on February 7, 2011


I'm pretty sure she's not a new target, I've been hearing for two years (from a relative who buys into all this stuff) how Obama and acorn's strategy is directly traceable to the Cloward-Piven strategy
posted by TwoWordReview at 9:13 AM on February 7, 2011


I think what has happened is that the main stream media -- biased towards liberalism or not -- have come to the entirely correct financial conclusion that Beck, Palin, and O'Reilly sell papers, or put bums in seats, or attract eyeballs, or optimize search engines AS A RESULT OF LIBERALS BEING OUTRAGED.

Every day, on every supposedly left leaning news site, there is a piece on Palin. Hell, Slate has "Palinisms" as a daily feature.

Don't click. Don't look. Don't read. Break the circle. We KNOW these people are outrageous. We already KNOW it's astounding that there are people who agree with their silliness.

I really think it's liberals that are keeping these people relevant. More so than their followers.
posted by Trochanter at 9:13 AM on February 7, 2011


"We share a belief that the Holocaust, of course, can and should be discussed appropriately in the media. But that is not what we have seen at Fox News," the letter says.

"You diminish the memory and meaning of the Holocaust when you use it to discredit any individual or organisation you disagree with. That is what Fox News has done in recent weeks."


tl;dr version: "Godwin!"
posted by Skeptic at 9:14 AM on February 7, 2011


Don't click. Don't look. Don't read.

Um, you just broke your own rule.

I really think it's liberals that are keeping these people relevant. More so than their followers.

Why do liberals hate Frances Fox Piven so much?
posted by octobersurprise at 9:16 AM on February 7, 2011


I really think it's liberals that are keeping these people relevant. More so than their followers.

I really think you're wrong. I think they vocalized the most perverse viewpoints of conservative Americans, playing into a paranoia that's long been established as an uniquely American mood, crafting a narrative of collapsing entitlement, where true Americans won't get what they have coming to them because strange interlopers are plotting to take it away, and our country is being stolen out from under us.

This is a very appealing message -- it's historically appealing -- and we ignore it at our peril.

But perhaps you're right. Do you have one shred of evidence that it is, in fact, liberal who make FOX the number one news network? That it was liberals who pushed for Sara Palin, and keep her in the mielight? Because if you are going to tell us it's good for us to ignore those who are plotting against us, it would be nice to demonstrate that it's true.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:18 AM on February 7, 2011 [7 favorites]


Astro Zombie That paranoia isn't all that uniquely American. But elsewhere it has generally been directed at you "yanquis" for the last 70 years or so...
posted by Skeptic at 9:23 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think what has happened is that the main stream media -- biased towards liberalism or not -- have come to the entirely correct financial conclusion that Beck, Palin, and O'Reilly sell papers, or put bums in seats, or attract eyeballs, or optimize search engines AS A RESULT OF LIBERALS BEING OUTRAGED.

This doesn't really make any sense. Let's just take, for example, the Goldline example. My dad actually watches Glenn, may even listen to his radio station, and actually buys gold. That's a direct connection between Advertiser and Consumer.

Me, liberal that I am, have to scroll through Beck posts every now and then, sometimes see Beck supporters' comments on articles, and have to say "No, dad, I'm not getting you Beck's book for christmas" once a year.

How again am I funding Beck's insanity?
posted by odinsdream at 9:24 AM on February 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's like reverse magical thinking. We have somehow willed Glen Beck into being by paying attention to him, and now we can will him away by ignoring him.

Ignoring my IRs debt didn't make it go away, and this won't ego away either. And eventually they emptied out my checking account. That's what problems do if they are self-supporting and you try to ignore them. They make their plans without you knowing, and one day something important has changed, and you had fair warning, but refused to open the envelopes.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:31 AM on February 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


where true Americans won't get what they have coming to them because strange interlopers are plotting to take it away, and our country is being stolen out from under us.

Hey! I saw that same Kevin Costner multi-part documentary 500 Nations too!
posted by hippybear at 9:33 AM on February 7, 2011


It's Murdoch and Ailes who we should really be upset at.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:36 AM on February 7, 2011


See, I think Beck *is* an evangelical. More honest than most, really. He's every bit a rabble-rousing, tongues-causing, women-fainting, and men a-sweatin', revival tent preacher. He don't have to be right. Hell, he don't even have to know the scriptures. All he's got to do is BELIEVE...and the people, they will BELIEVE right along with him.

Y'all are treating Beck and his audience like it's an intellectual response. It is not. It is faith. They believe in fear. They trust the fear. They welcome the fear. The fear is their gospel and Beck is their Pope.
posted by dejah420 at 9:36 AM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Esquire had a devastating analysis of Fox News head Roger Ailes in last month's issue. Read it, it's good.
posted by auto-correct at 9:42 AM on February 7, 2011


Piven calling Beck a modern-day Father Coughlin is very apt.
posted by painquale at 9:45 AM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I dunno, something about her obscurity makes me wonder if Beck isn't just waging a gambit to draw all the right-wing wackos out of the woodwork in the aftermath of Giffords. I'm sure he's not too proud to hand his server logs over to the FBI.
posted by rhizome at 9:51 AM on February 7, 2011


Y'all are treating Beck and his audience like it's an intellectual response. It is not. It is faith. They believe in fear. They trust the fear. They welcome the fear. The fear is their gospel and Beck is their Pope.

Exactly. Beck's creating a parallel narrative, a sort of Tea Party addendum to Revelations. Like any story, it needs heroes and villains, and it thrives on an inchoate fear given form and power by the idea of a terrible truth hidden by conspiratorial forces. Your precious liberal peer-reviewed facts do nothing but underscore the extent of the conspiracy. Perversely, the vehemence of those clinging to the official story - even if that official story strikes you as verifiable truth, whether it be Obama's birth certificate or the science explaining the collapse of the Twin Towers - only add evidence to the existence of the conspiracy.

Someone upthread mentioned Father Coughlin, which is but one point of reference in a tradition weaving through American history all the way back to the Puritans - what Hofstadter identified as "the paranoid style" in American politics.

As for Beck, I spent a few days back in May listening to him on the radio as I was driving through the Midwest, and I found it to be his most compelling forum. The intimacy of radio, the fact that you can't see the cornball gestures indicating that this is to some extent a performance. It sounds simply like the authentic preaching either of a prophet or a madman, depending I guess on your politics. He sounds afraid - authentically terrified - and within the confines of his hourlong rant he makes a compelling emotional case for the idea that you should be as well.

I'm reasonably sure he started out as pure actor, but it's hard to tell at this point how much is stagecraft and how much he's begun to sort of buy into his own delusion. Like any great salesman, he's most convincing if he himself believes his lie, at least for those couple hours of performance each day, and maybe those couple hours have begun to stretch into the rest of his day. And in the end, it doesn't matter if he believes it or not. Like Vonnegut said at the start of Mother Night, you are who you pretend to be, so you've got to be careful who you pretend to be.
posted by gompa at 10:00 AM on February 7, 2011 [9 favorites]


Glenn Beck’s Next Target after Piven: Nixon?
posted by homunculus at 10:01 AM on February 7, 2011


Just because a BA in English is otherwise entirely useless, I'm gonna point out that Thatcher herself was making a reference and the original is highly relevant here.
posted by The Bellman at 10:03 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


From homunculus' link: "Since the 1970s, Nixon’s been called a lot of things, but 'Marxist' is not one of them."

Well, if he hasn't been, he should be, given the trajectory of some of his domestic policies and what the GOP establishment 40 years later thinks that similar policies should be labeled.
posted by blucevalo at 10:07 AM on February 7, 2011


It's my thinking that there's a far bigger problem in that the Democratic party has next to no liberals in it. And that in fact the Democratic party is overtly hostile to its liberal wing. That campaign finance wasn't mentioned even once in the SOTU address. That almost all of the president's economic advisors wandered over from Goldman or J. P. Morgan. That despite thirty years of the demonstrated failure of the laissez faire economic ideology it remains pretty much the only economic ideology in Washington. That the government has become something that can be bought.

But you keep on wasting your outrage on a bunch of kooks, and not, for example, on the mysterious, now-they're-here-now-they're-not political groups that *pay* for Palin's personal appearances. And very much yes, the Aileses, the Kochs and the Supreme Court that came down with the "Citizens United" decision.
posted by Trochanter at 10:10 AM on February 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


We have no control over whether or not glenn beck "goes away"

More true than ever since (and correct me if I'm wrong on this) Beck has actually lost Fox a number of advertisers and Murdoch continues to keep his show on the air. Ignoring him hasn't made him go away, pulling his budget hasn't made him go away, at this point, I'm thinking the only thing that will actually succeed in ridding us of that cowardly crybaby is an exorcism.
posted by quin at 10:14 AM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sometimes I think that since Beck plays an emotional game rather than a logical game it is foolish to try and challenge him with logic. I keep thinking that since fear is his tool the left should play into that. Convince him that he is right and they are out to destroy him. MMhuahahah! Run! Run little fearful man! Boo!
posted by The Violet Cypher at 10:20 AM on February 7, 2011


Esquire had a devastating analysis of Fox News head Roger Ailes in last month's issue. Read it, it's good.

The New Yorker a couple of weeks back had a piece about him moving into a small New York town and buying their old newspaper and putting his wife in charge of it, basically turning it into the same kind of conservative mouthpiece everything else the man touches becomes. It's like he can't bear to have anyone express a published viewpoint that isn't his own. He may actually be a bigger tool than Rupert Murdoch.
posted by JHarris at 10:25 AM on February 7, 2011


I keep thinking that since fear is his tool the left should play into that. Convince him that he is right and they are out to destroy him. MMhuahahah! Run! Run little fearful man! Boo!

Whoa there... the problem with this strategy is that Beck himself isn't likely to go off the deep end and shoot someone in the face, but plenty in his audience certainly are. Ramping up the hysteria is a great way to convince that segment that violence really is the only option.
posted by odinsdream at 10:25 AM on February 7, 2011


at this point, I'm thinking the only thing that will actually succeed in ridding us of that cowardly crybaby is an exorcism.

The man's influence is limited by the same thing that limits Fox News' overall effect on our culture, that it's relentlessly antagonistic to any viewpoint that isn't its own. It may be the heavyweight of cable news, but that's due to draw-in from talk radio and strong branding. The folks who watch it know what they want and there's no competition for it. It's more an accident of terminology that their channel is called "news," they don't really seek to be the same kind of thing CNN is. However the other cable channels don't seem to recognize this, and have shown themselves quite capable of trying to be the thing Fox News is.

The real danger Glenn Beck poses is that he holds the rapt attentions of some of the craziest folk in our country.
posted by JHarris at 10:33 AM on February 7, 2011


My issue is with the much more serious suggestions that Beck is inciting violence, complete with Giffords reference.

It's calling a spade a spade. Fomenting violence is exactly what Beck is doing. Doesn't anyone remember the Tides Foundation gunman?

When asked if it hadn’t been for Glenn Beck and Fox News, whether he still would have planned violence, Williams said that it was because Fox News didn’t do enough to pursue the political left that he became frustrated and felt like violence was the only answer.

The freeway gunman said, “I’m actually mad at Fox. I’m mad at them because they go on to something else. It’s like they drop the issue and it lands on a shelf somewhere to collect dust. And that’s what’s happening to the truth. It’s going out and collecting dust. I say you’re not going to let these people get away with this stuff. You can’t let them get away with it. So this was my action because of Fox’s neglect.”


It was just luck that they took down the Tides guy before he was able to kill anyone. I can only hope that Professor Piven is that lucky.
posted by longdaysjourney at 10:34 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's my thinking that there's a far bigger problem in that the Democratic party has next to no liberals in it. And that in fact the Democratic party is overtly hostile to its liberal wing.

Ok, let's stipulate this. And let's further say that it's something to be concerned with, nay, outraged over; none of that means that there's no outrage left over for Beck and his gang and it especially doesn't mean that liberals are "keeping these people relevant." That's as crazy as Beck ... unless ... the conspiracy goes even deeper than we imagine ....
posted by octobersurprise at 10:50 AM on February 7, 2011


Well, then, I suppose Jodie Foster must be fomenting then, along with Catcher in the Rye. Not to mention your friendly neighborhood dog.
posted by Bovine Love at 10:52 AM on February 7, 2011


Well, then, I suppose Jodie Foster must be fomenting then, along with Catcher in the Rye.

Pardon? I don't speak Mad Cow.
posted by octobersurprise at 10:56 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


The guy who shot Reagan wrote several crazy letter to Jodie Foster. I'm not sure about the Catcher reference. I'm assuming some shooter somewhere read the book.

Neither of these examples is even slightly relevant to Beck and his audience.
posted by odinsdream at 11:01 AM on February 7, 2011


Lennon's killer claimed Catcher in the Rye inspired him. I was responding to longdaysjourney just up above and it would have made sense if some fella hadn't snuck in with a post :)
posted by Bovine Love at 11:05 AM on February 7, 2011


Well, then, I suppose Jodie Foster must be fomenting then, along with Catcher in the Rye. Not to mention your friendly neighborhood dog.

Please provide me with evidence that Foster said anything about Regan being a problem that must be taken care of, or that Catcher In The Rye had anything to say about John Lennon, or that David Berkowitz's dog actually spoke.

Beck has actually said things that target individuals and paint them as social problems with vastly destructive schemes. If you honestly don't believe that sort of behavior can lead to real world violence, I invite you to research the phrase "What miserable drones and traitors have I nourished and brought up in my household, who let their lord be treated with such shameful contempt by a low-born cleric?"
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:06 AM on February 7, 2011 [10 favorites]


Parking can lead to real-world violence. What of it?

Fine, Beck is going further then that. What is the suggestion here, that he is not entitled to vigorously dispute others beliefs because some nut job might take it an run with it? There sure has been quite a bit of vigorous disagreement with Beck in this thread. Is it fomenting, or is it something only a right-wing nutjob can do? I'd be a little more forgiving if Beck had said "Don't retreat, reload"; that considerably closer to fomenting, though should still be taken in context.

But I find it hard to take that in the same thread where Beck is being accused of destroying our society as we know it that he is accused of fomenting violence for saying the same.

And my point was that just because some crazed person makes a claim that someone inspired him doesn't mean you can hold that someone responsible for the crazed persons action, even if that someone is Glenn Beck. Its true for Jodie Foster, and its true for Glenn Beck.
posted by Bovine Love at 11:13 AM on February 7, 2011


Bovine: Serious question, have you watched Beck's shows?
posted by odinsdream at 11:17 AM on February 7, 2011


Yes, I have, well what I could stand of them anyway. Wild accusations, flat out disinformation, and yes selling people that he as 'secret inside information'. The merits of his statements are one thing; accusing him of fomenting violence is quite another altogether.
posted by Bovine Love at 11:19 AM on February 7, 2011


this is just from the linked article:

Beck's heated language has provoked a tidal wave of death threats against both Piven and her academic colleagues at the City University of New York.

The threats are blunt and – in light of the recent shooting of Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords – truly frightening. Many appear on Beck's news website, The Blaze. "One shot... one kill," wrote one. Others are sent directly to her email address or those of her colleagues. There are so many that she has contacted the police and this week will ask her college to make a formal complaint to the FBI.


If this woman was more or less an unknown to Beck's audience before he began talking about her and then she begins to receive "blunt" death threats, I mean, what more do you need to consider this fomenting or hate speech or inciting violence? Far as I know, death threats are illegal.
posted by Shit Parade at 11:21 AM on February 7, 2011


I'd be a little more forgiving if Beck had said "Don't retreat, reload"; that considerably closer to fomenting, though should still be taken in context.

I'm going to do your research here for you, but I will ask that you do it for yourself in the future. Here's some sample comments from Beck:

"I’m thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I’m wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. No, I think I could. I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out — is this wrong?"

On his March 30, 2009, Fox News show, Beck aired a graphic portraying Obama and Democrats as vampires and said: "The government is full of vampires, and they are trying to suck the lifeblood out of the economy." Beck then suggested "driv[ing] a stake through the heart of the bloodsuckers."

"So, Speaker Pelosi, I just wanted to -- you gonna drink your wine? Are you blind? Do those eyes not work? There you -- I want you to drink it now. Drink it. Drink it. Drink it. ... By the way, I put poison in your -- no, I -- I look forward to all the policy discussions that we're supposed to have -- you know, on health care, energy reform, and the economy. "

"When do we ever run those who are bankrupting our country and literally stealing our children's future out of town? Grab a torch."

During his May 15 commencement speech at Liberty University, Beck told graduates that they "have a responsibility" to speak out, or "blood ... will be on our hands." His advice for graduates (as well as his daughter) included "shoot to kill."

On his Fox News show, Beck quoted a letter by Thomas Jefferson warning " 'if they lose freedom' -- he's speaking of us, future generations -- 'if they lose freedom, there will be rivers of blood.' " Beck continued in his own words, "Boy, I hope that's not true, but I can tell you there will be rivers of blood if we don't have values and principles."

After President Obama signed health care reform legislation into law, Beck suggested that progressives support "armed insurrection" and asked, "Why would the president take up immigration right away, after he's just punched you in the face with health care?"

This is partial list.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:27 AM on February 7, 2011 [26 favorites]


What is the suggestion here

My suggestion is that Beck is a bully, certainly opportunistic, probably crazed, who does more than "vigorously dispute others beliefs." He has a habit of making up shit, threatening people, and pitting certain people against his audience. He'll continue to be a disaster for this country while he's around, but he won't be around forever and he's likely to end his career in an embarrassing or self-destructive way, so we've got that going for us, at least.

As near as I can tell, your suggestion is that we can call Beck all the names we want, but we can't actually say that he has any influence over his audience, because, if we do that means that Jodie Foster shot Ronald Reagan.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:30 AM on February 7, 2011


Frances, you were born in Calgary. Come home. Nobody is going to shoot you here. We have a Muslim mayor now. Life's good.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 11:58 AM on February 7, 2011


Fair enough, Astro Zombie, he has said some things which could be fomenting (some of those are almost certainly out of context, but the Moore one in particular would be hard pressed to have an acceptable context. Ditto for the armed insurrection). So, has he explicitly advocated violence to this woman?

I compliment you on bringing facts to the table, instead of vague accusations.
posted by Bovine Love at 12:05 PM on February 7, 2011


And my point was that just because some crazed person makes a claim that someone inspired him doesn't mean you can hold that someone responsible for the crazed persons action, even if that someone is Glenn Beck. Its true for Jodie Foster, and its true for Glenn Beck.

What about Radio Rwanda?
posted by Ndwright at 12:05 PM on February 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


The merits of his statements are one thing; accusing him of fomenting violence is quite another altogether.

Well, can you give us an example of what you do consider fomenting violence? Does it include anything short of 'I now urge you to pick up a gun, load it with bullets, and go out in search of liberals, whom you should shoot'? Because I'm really tired of: 'GRAR REVOLUTION BLOOD OF TYRANTS AMIRITE not that I am urging anyone to break the law heh heh GRAR FREEDOM UNDER ATTACK LIBERTY OR DEATH just kidding folks, or am I GRAR IS THIS HOW AMERICA DIES OR WILL YOU TAKE A STAND so to speak DEATH STALKS US ALL I'm just an entertainer WE REPORT YOU DECIDE and I hope you decide to do the right thing.'

Incidentally, I feel exactly the same about cavalier left fringe references to guillotines; I'm opposed to violent rhetoric in general.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:07 PM on February 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


What about Radio Rwanda?

Yeah, I thought liberals liked 'flower power.' Bunch of hypocrites!
posted by anigbrowl at 12:10 PM on February 7, 2011


Sure, octobersurprise, that is exactly what I was saying. Clearly I was suggesting that it is entirely black and white, you either do or don't.

Ndwright, what about Radio Rwanda? Did I suggest that they didn't foment violence?

Please at least make a small effort to read what I said: just because some crazed person makes a claim that someone inspired him doesn't mean you can hold that someone responsible for the crazed persons action. That in no way implies that it isn't possible. Hell, it even allows for the possibility that someone could foment violence without the crazed person even acknowledging it. Or, for that matter, someone could foment violence and no one takes them up on it. But it still means that just because the Tide loon credited Beck doesn't mean Beck is responsible; it doesn't mean he is innocent either and thats the point; what the Tides guy says should not be our guide to judgement for Beck. Maybe it should make us have a look, but no more then that. Hence the Jodie Foster example.
posted by Bovine Love at 12:13 PM on February 7, 2011


Bovine Love, you're just trotting out a 'no true Scotsman' fallacy. Nobody would act on Beck's instructions; if the Tides guy did so, why then he's crazy and his testimony is irrelevant. After all, you suggest, it would be crazy to break the law just because you thought that the government is hopelessly corrupt and everyone in the US is familiar with the Declaration of Independence, and its statement that 'whenever any form of government becomes destructive of [worthy] ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it...' Even though Beck's entire show these is structured around the idea that honest government has in fact been replaced by some conspiratorial front, and he harks back constantly to 18th century pre-revolutionary imagery and rhetoric, you can brush off any act of violence by declaring it senseless and therefore irrelevant to the discussion.

Now, why don't you pass the time by playing a little solitaire.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:29 PM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Beck's creating a parallel narrative, a sort of Tea Party addendum to Revelations. Like any story, it needs heroes and villains, and it thrives on an inchoate fear given form and power by the idea of a terrible truth hidden by conspiratorial forces.

Exactly. Beck doesn't talk about mainstream personalities because it doesn't fit the narrative, and it's relatively easy to debunk. By using relatively obscure academics, he gets to uncover the conspiracy and expose the evil liberals that are at the levers of power.
posted by electroboy at 12:34 PM on February 7, 2011


"Why Americans Don't Vote" (1988), written by Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward makes for compelling reading.

Excerpts are available here.

The book is still available for purchase.

Excerpts from Piven and Cloward’s follow-up, "Why Americans Still Don’t Vote" (2000), can be viewed at the Google Books site.
posted by New Frontier at 12:34 PM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not at all, actually, anigbrowl. I am postulating that he is being credited with actions he did not take. I am suggesting that accusing the government of being hopelessly corrupt is not tantamount to a call for violence, regardless of the declaration of independence, and to accuse him of such is actually attempting to chill that speech, particularly invoking Giffords. The founder-fetish has been going since, well, the founders; accusing him of using it to foment violence is really going out there.

I took issue with the Tide loon because it was presented to me as proof, and I suggest it is barely an indicator, let along prof.

As has been pointed out to me by Astro Zombie, he has been on occasion more explicit then that, and I'll accept that he stepped over the line on those occasions. Perhaps that should be enough to put him in jail; it would be a very serious thing and require serious study, but I'll allow it might be true. But those cases are rather different then his usual, day to day BS.
posted by Bovine Love at 12:42 PM on February 7, 2011


I think we can all agree with cases where an obviously disturbed person credits someone like Foster or Salinger for inspiring their action as a non-sequitur. But what about cases where someone commits a crime and claims they did it of their accord and yet when we look back we see people like Beck or Palin targeting these victims.

A law against inciting violence has to mean more than someone standing up and saying "Go, kill this person, I command you!" and having someone the next moment follow through on the imperative.

When someone on national TV and radio begins to target an individual who then receives death threats there is an obviously responsibility. Imagine if this person were an Islamic radical, and whenever they said someone was a threat to Islam that person would begin receiving death threats. Do you think America would ignore that? Has anyone ever threated your life? It is an incredibly intimidating experience for someone to clearly and seriously threaten to kill you. It chills freedom of expression.
posted by Shit Parade at 1:04 PM on February 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Beck has on ongoing dispute with the forces of gravity.

Sorry, what? Does he occasionally... float away? How does he stand on magnets?

(This whole thing is a bit bewildering for someone who has only ever seen the bits of Glenn Beck on The Daily Show, but am I right in thinking that he did something which connected Code Pink, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Weather Underground as planning the overthrow of democracy? Is the Weather Underground even recruiting at this point?)
posted by DNye at 1:19 PM on February 7, 2011


I realise that "how does he stand on magnets?" may invite the response "In metal boots. To offset the gravity issue". I realise that too late.
posted by DNye at 1:20 PM on February 7, 2011


Piven is no paragon of civility. The key to the current controversy is this article by Piven in the Nation. The 1966 article came up because she republished views calling for disruptive protests in that article and arguably calling for violence herself.

Prof. Piven wrote that: "An effective movement of the unemployed will have to look something like the strikes and riots that have spread across Greece in response to the austerity measures forced on the Greek government by the European Union, or like the student protests that recently spread with lightning speed across England in response to the prospect of greatly increased school fees."

The protests in England and Greece were violent protests. Prof. Piven's article suggests that we should hope for violent protests in the United States and then join them. She writes, "A loose and spontaneous movement of this sort could emerge." She adds, "We should hope for another American social movement from the bottom—and then join it."
posted by Jahaza at 1:29 PM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Post-Giffords, she'd be well served by a mea culpa about her violent rhetoric, "Third, protesters need targets, preferably local and accessible ones capable of making some kind of response to angry demands."
posted by Jahaza at 1:32 PM on February 7, 2011


Perhaps that should be enough to put him in jail

Here's your mistake, right here. Has anyone in this discussion or in the article linked advocated imprisoning Beck for what he says? I don't think so. It certainly hasn't been the consensus. Has anyone in this discussion or in the article linked even suggested that Beck is criminally responsible for his the actions of his fans? No, no one's suggested that even. Not yet, anyway. So why are you harping on this?

This isn't a case of black and white, as you say; there are degrees of responsibility which don't rise to criminal responsibility but which are still repugnant. And there are degrees of influence which fall short of direct commission. This isn't mysterious. We're all influenced by what we see and read and hear and we're rarely absolved if we commit a crime based on those influences.

What this also means is a discussion of the benign or pernicious effects of those influences is possible.

to accuse him of such [calls for violence] is actually attempting to chill that speech, particularly invoking Giffords.

No one needs to "accuse" Beck of calling for violence; he's either argued for its necessity or called for it directly on multiple occasions. Why he can describe his opponents in the vilest terms on his show without any consequences, but the mere mention in a newspaper story of a violent current event (a mention that ascribes no direct blame to Beck at all) is enough to "chill" Beck's right to dissent is still unclear to me.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:42 PM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Post-Giffords, she'd be well served by a mea culpa about her violent rhetoric, "Third, protesters need targets, preferably local and accessible ones capable of making some kind of response to angry demands."

By "targets" she meant "surveyor's marks."
posted by octobersurprise at 1:45 PM on February 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


Um, well, if fomenting violence is not considered serious by you, then we are talking about seriously different interpretations. If you just mean, "Oh, that naughty Beck" when you say fomenting violence, well, I'm down with that.
posted by Bovine Love at 1:45 PM on February 7, 2011


Restating your fallacious argument doesn't make it any more convincing.

I took issue with the Tide loon

In what way is he a loon? Sure, I think setting out to kill people for political ends is inherently foolish and wicked, but his explanation that he became convinced of their evil after listening to Glenn Beck's 'explanation' of how the Tides foundation supposedly screws up society entirely rational.

Lunatics being influenced by TV are people like that woman who thought David Letterman was using mind-control to propose marriage and tried to sue him for stalking and emotional distress. So I ask again - where does puffery end and incitement begin? Given that you agree with Astro Zombie about some of Beck's prior ranting, why wouldn't you consider that the effect might be cumulative?

Jahaza, I agree that Pivens' inflammatory tone isn't any paragon of responsible discourse either. I keep saying this: at the fringe, political ideologies become increasingly indistinguishable and end up sharing more or less the same conspiracy theories and violent rhetoric.
posted by anigbrowl at 2:08 PM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


For what it's worth, Beck doesn't have to directly call for violence against Piven (or anyone) to suggest violence against her.

To whit, Beck has repeatedly expressed that the proper (if regrettable to him) solution to certain political problems is bloodshed.

He later suggests that a person is directly and demonstrably responsible for a political problem.

A viewer who accepts the first point then knows who they need to target to address, in part, that political problem.

This is all, of course, predicated on actually believing what Beck says. Clearly, there are a generous number of people who do believe what he says.

Not to say that Beck is responsible for all political violence, but in the specific case of Piven, there is a clear chain of cause and effect. If a person who goes from "zero death threats" to ">0 death threats" after being identified by Beck as the root cause of specific political problems, it is not impossible to pinpoint the place from whence those death threats sprang.

That all said, if the only tool in your social change kit is a gun, every problem seems like Abraham Lincoln.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:16 PM on February 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


protip: to make Glenn Beck go away, don't link his fucking website

What I meant by this is that linking to his website from MetaFilter, a well respected online community, adds credibility to whatever content is on said website. No, I don't think he will vanish, or that others won't continue to listen to him, but I do think that failing to even recognize his and others' viewpoints as coherent thought is a much better way to approach things... at the very least it saves me a headache every once in a while.
posted by clearly at 2:40 PM on February 7, 2011



And my point was that just because some crazed person makes a claim that someone inspired him doesn't mean you can hold that someone responsible for the crazed persons action, even if that someone is Glenn Beck. Its true for Jodie Foster, and its true for Glenn Beck.


I think the key word in the above statement is "person". Yeah, Jodie Foster inspired a person. Singular. With Beck it's people, and Beck is just one part of a huge echo chamber. At some point it goes to far. At some point you are responsible for the things you say. So, the village idiots wave their hands and shout "how dare you" accuse the overtly violent right wing rhetoric in this country of inspiring and motivating violence, And we go round and round. Unstable people take this stuff in and then they grab their AK and start spraying. The inevitable "it was isolated incident" follows.

How many of these isolated incidents have to happen before real consequences come to bear? Do these motherfuckers have to be goose-steppin' down your block before it's time to say something?
posted by IvoShandor at 3:05 PM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Margot Young, Professor of Law at the University of British Columbia, and James Mulvale, Professor of Social Work at the University of Regina, wrote an interesting report on the debate over a guaranteed annual income for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Worth reading.
posted by New Frontier at 4:18 PM on February 7, 2011


well, if fomenting violence is not considered serious by you

I don't know what gave you that idea; I merely agreed with you that he isn't (yet) criminally responsible for any of his nonsense. Maybe you disagree with me there. It isn't real clear to me what you believe, other than the Guardian story is "chilling" Beck's "right to dissent."

To "foment" means "to encourage"; by any definition Beck has "fomented" violence against individuals. Has he broken laws? Well, I'm not a lawyer, but I doubt it. You can say a lot and get away with it in this country, and so you should. But a person needn't break laws to be repulsive, nor to be someone a better nation would shun like the plague. Nor is anyone by law or ethic required to act as if such a person shouldn't be shunned like the plague.

Beck is within his rights to babble his violent fantasies on TV and whenever some unstable Beck fan tries to live out one of those fantasies the rest of us are within our rights to point out that said yahoo is doing exactly what Beck wanted them to do.
posted by octobersurprise at 5:19 PM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Beck is within his rights to babble his violent fantasies on TV and whenever some unstable Beck fan tries to live out one of those fantasies the rest of us are within our rights to point out that said yahoo is doing exactly what Beck wanted them to do.

We've seen time and time again that there are lots of Beck "believers" who have no problem crediting Beck with their education. If they do something violent because of Beck's encouragement (and the connection can be proved, of course) then Beck goes from free-speech-enjoyer to accessory. I'm giving even odds.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:26 PM on February 7, 2011


Beck doesn't just mushmouth around. Back in June '10, he was openly advocating shooting political opponents in the head. And I quote: "You are gonna have to shoot them in the head. But a warning - they may shoot you." Fuck him, he has full responsibility for telling his lunatic base to murder people.
posted by FatherDagon at 9:19 PM on February 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


Neither fighting words nor incitement to crime are protected by the First Amendment. If somebody were to act of Beck's suggestions, there is a very real possibility he could be held partially liable, either in criminal or civil court, or both.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:16 AM on February 8, 2011


FatherDagon, thanks for that link. It doesn't get any more direct than that

"You are going to have to shoot them in the head." - Glenn Beck
posted by odinsdream at 8:04 AM on February 8, 2011


That "shoot them in the head" clip really does look like something out of bad 80s sci-fi or something. Creepy and unreal, and yet his words no doubt fester in the subconsciousnesses of thousands of angry and ignorant men.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:08 AM on February 8, 2011


To be fair, he also wants the government to shoot him in the head. So, equal treatment...

Incidentally, not wishing to Godwin the discussion, but there appears to be a swastika on the blackboard behind him. Which I assumed had been put in with After Effects by some wag ... but it really does appear to be right there. What's up with that?
posted by DNye at 11:12 AM on February 8, 2011


> What's up with that?

One of his equivocations of Obamacare to Hitler, no doubt.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:23 AM on February 8, 2011


DNye, it's really not unusual at all for Beck to use Nazi imagery on his show.
posted by odinsdream at 12:20 PM on February 8, 2011


Really? Wow. That's... hard to satirise.
posted by DNye at 12:27 PM on February 8, 2011


> That's... hard to satirise.

Stewart did a yeoman's job of it.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:43 PM on February 8, 2011


Frances Fox Piven: The real threat of Glenn Beck's fantasies.
It's harm not to myself, but to American democracy that I fear from the Fox News host's paranoid theories of social collapse.
posted by adamvasco at 12:07 AM on February 9, 2011


Don't threaten Roger Ailes' empire or he'll sic his crazy on you.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:40 AM on February 9, 2011


Don't threaten Roger Ailes' empire or he'll sic (sic) his crazy on you.

Fixed.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:46 PM on February 10, 2011


I don't understand. "sic" is, afaik, how it's spelled. "Roger Ailes will sic Glenn Beck on you."

How would you spell it?
posted by five fresh fish at 11:32 PM on February 10, 2011


How would you spell it?

The OED has it "sick"
sick, v.2
Etymology: dial. variant of seek v.

1. trans. Of a dog: To set upon, attack (an animal). Chiefly in imperative.1845 J. J. Hooper Some Adventures Simon Suggs 154 Sick him Pomp,‥sick, sick, si-c-k him Bull.
1890 Golden Days (Philadelphia) 6 Sept., ‘Sic 'em, Andy!’ screamed Granny.‥ The growls and snarls of the fighting animals‥made a terrific din.

2.a. To incite or encourage (a person) to attack. Const. with on adv. or prep. Also, to set (a dog or other animal) on or at.1845 J. J. Hooper Some Adventures Simon Suggs 151 If I was to sick them on your old hoss yonder, they'd eat him up afore you could say Jack Robinson.
1885 ‘C. E. Craddock’ Prophet Great Smokey Mts. xi, He sick-ed him on all the time.
1892 R. Kipling & W. Balestier Naulahka v. 50 Tarvin applauded both parties, sicking one on the other impartially for the first ten minutes.
1899 B. Tarkington Gentleman from Indiana viii. 131 Seems some of the boys‥sicked the dogs on him.

b. fig. To set (a person) to work on; to set (a person) to pursue, observe, accompany, etc. (const. on or on to).1914 R. Lardner in Sat. Evening Post 9 May 17/1 All I told him was that he'd have to let me pick my own roommate after this and not sick no wild man on to me.
1923 E. B. White Let. 2 Jan. (1976) 62 The Times sicks me on feature stuff because the city editor discovered early in the game that city politics appear only in humorous light to me.
1939 P. G. Wodehouse Uncle Fred in Springtime i. 18 Why should you barge in here, gnashing your bally teeth, just because Horace sicked Claude Polt, private investigator, on to you?
posted by Jahaza at 6:52 AM on February 11, 2011


Hmm... but Merriam-Webster has "sic".
posted by Jahaza at 6:55 AM on February 11, 2011


"I don't understand. "sic" is, afaik, how it's spelled. "Roger Ailes will sic Glenn Beck on you."

How would you spell it?"


Starts with a U and ends with a missedthejoke.

(In your defence, it should have been [sic], not (sic)).
posted by Eideteker at 8:09 AM on February 11, 2011


Still not understanding.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:02 AM on February 11, 2011


Jahaza: If you look up "sic" in the OED, you should find "variant, sick (2)".
posted by DNye at 9:33 AM on February 11, 2011


ah, it's cross-referenced from "sick": "Forms: Also sic.", but not from "sic" as a head word.
posted by Jahaza at 9:53 AM on February 11, 2011


Ah! [sic] because he thought I'd misspelled it! Man, am I slow.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:21 PM on February 11, 2011


Dr. Francis Fox Piven recently wrote about this experience in the Chronicle for Higher Ed. The responses in the comments section are, well, startling.
posted by Toekneesan at 5:33 PM on February 14, 2011


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