Somewhere, Prince is laughing
July 6, 2010 4:01 PM   Subscribe

"This July, while others are relaxing poolside, head back to the classroom - from the comfort of your own home. That may sound like an oxymoron but Glenn's new academic program is only available online."
Glenn Beck University? Yes. Glenn Beck University.

"Offered exclusively to Insider Extreme subscribers, Beck University is a unique academic experience bringing together experts in the fields of religion, American history and economics. Through captivating lectures and interactive online discussions, these experts will explore the concepts of Faith, Hope and Charity and show you how they influence America’s past, her present and most importantly her future."
[from GlennBeck.com]


Main coverage so far:

Politico - Glenn Beck starts online 'university'
The classes are available to anyone who signs up for Beck’s “Extreme Insider” package, which costs $6.26 per month. A Forbes analysis in April of Beck’s many business ventures estimated that the conservative radio and talk show host made $32 million last year — mostly through his website, magazine, books and many promotional deals.
Mother Jones - Courses at Glenn Beck's New U. Suggested course offerings include:
Mythology 101: Fossils
Drama 101: Intro to Alternative Lifestyles
Intro to Theology: Ayn Rand
Political Science 300: Reverse Racism and the Modern Presidency
Colloquium on Great Filmmakers: Mel Gibson
TPM (LiveWire) - Hey! Glenn Beck! Leave Them Kids Alone: 'Beck University' Launches This Week
The mission statement of Beck University is perhaps best gleaned from the Latin saying on its Coat of Arms: "Tyrannis Seditio, Obsequium Deo," which roughly translates to "Revolution against tyrants, submission to God."
Keith Olbermann - The Value of a Glenn Beck Education (Video).
posted by mondaygreens (116 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
I don't know about an oxymoron, but I am sure there is some kind of moron involved.
posted by dhalgren at 4:03 PM on July 6, 2010 [31 favorites]


So this is like the Legion of Doom to TED's Super Friends, right?
posted by griphus at 4:03 PM on July 6, 2010 [46 favorites]


Surely another prank by /b/?
posted by Threeway Handshake at 4:05 PM on July 6, 2010


The more I hear about Beck, the more I applaud him. Milk them Glenn - milk them for all of the money they are worth! If you don't do it, someone else will.
posted by Think_Long at 4:07 PM on July 6, 2010 [9 favorites]


Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.
-- H. L. Mencken
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:07 PM on July 6, 2010 [15 favorites]


But how would this differ from any other Scientology Celebrity center?

Oh, Glenn Beck. My mistake.
posted by vverse23 at 4:09 PM on July 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


Think_Long: your enthusiasm might be dampened if you listened to Beck; but I can't bring myself to recommending this.
posted by el io at 4:10 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh man mom is going to be fucking psyched.
posted by The Straightener at 4:11 PM on July 6, 2010 [10 favorites]


"Meanwhile, at Glenn Beck University, an evil plot unfolds to insert false creationist speculation into the nation's science textbooks. Failing that: steal Batman's supply of emergency Kryptonite.
posted by griphus at 4:15 PM on July 6, 2010


Surely this is Diana Christensen's best work yet.
posted by Houyhnhnm at 4:18 PM on July 6, 2010


The more I hear about Beck, the more I applaud him. Milk them Glenn - milk them for all of the money they are worth! If you don't do it, someone else will.

I've read a couple threads in different left leaning places (or perhaps politically centric yet moderately well informed would be the better way to put it) and this attitude always irks me. One of the failings of the American left is that it's content to mock the people who get duped by Glenn Beck, but doesn't do a whole lot to try to reach out to them. It's almost assumed that they're, like, too stupid to be liberal or something. Seems like shooting yourself in the foot while at the same time playing directly into one of the ways that your enemy effectively attacks you.
posted by codacorolla at 4:18 PM on July 6, 2010 [40 favorites]


I know it's kinda redundant to post about Beck here, for the most part. But I think that's a big part of the problem. I couldn't find any non-liberal media sources on this, and the ones linked above are clearly preaching to the choir. Silence from FOX and any other conservative media outlet that is trusted by those who'd enroll in this thing or just get it as part of the package they already signed up for.

Seems like the two "camps" haven't been talking to each other for so long that they don't even have to acknowledge the opposition anymore, let alone justify anything. And Beck, among others, is profiting from precisely that.
posted by mondaygreens at 4:18 PM on July 6, 2010


Welcome to the University of Penix.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:20 PM on July 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


* Credits earned at Glenn Beck Institute may not transfer to another educational institution. Credits earned at another educational institution may not be accepted by Glenn Beck Institute.
posted by boo_radley at 4:21 PM on July 6, 2010 [4 favorites]


So a guy who took one course at college before dropping out wants to start his own university and isn't immediately shot down? Laugh all you want at this dude's antics and the idiocy of his followers, but it's a bit scary to think about the power that he is starting to wield.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:22 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


The ultimate crisis of faith would be when a Glen Beck follower in some middle management HR job gets a resume from someone crazy enough to put "Beck U" on their resume.
posted by nowoutside at 4:22 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why are we giving this man any more attention?
posted by Monochrome at 4:24 PM on July 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Think_Long, Fox & Friends aren't just milking people for all their worth, their propaganda is actively denigrating alternative opportunities for learning and engagement, and blaming the extant and ensuing poverty of those people on everyone else.

It's becoming a church, in the worst sense of the word. And it's a recipe for strife.
posted by mondaygreens at 4:25 PM on July 6, 2010 [6 favorites]


Wow, not even worldnetdaily is kind to him.

A fully out-of-context Beck quote from that article: "I'm a Jew-loving Nazi sympathizer"
posted by el io at 4:29 PM on July 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Literary Studies.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:31 PM on July 6, 2010


Monochrome: "Why are we giving this man any more attention?"

Because the old ignore-it-and-it'll-go-away canards don't work. Maybe they don't work anymore, maybe they never did. But unless we're here to actively tear this man's life work to shreds, it'll just feed off the ambient ignorance in this country and grow more and more powerful. You can't whistle Dixie while some wily, faux-ignorant and ruthlessly intelligent bastard spouts a torrent of hate and intolerance on the airwaves.
posted by griphus at 4:31 PM on July 6, 2010 [13 favorites]


Surely another prank by /b/?

How I wish this was so.
Instead of sending Justin Bieber to North Korea, can't they send Glenn Beck?

Or (hope against hope), both?
posted by joz at 4:32 PM on July 6, 2010 [4 favorites]


All the adult education programs at the Goebbels Graduate School of Truth must have filled up.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:33 PM on July 6, 2010


More like un-diversity, amirite?
posted by Sys Rq at 4:34 PM on July 6, 2010


It's almost assumed that they're, like, too stupid to be liberal or something.

Reminds me of another old saying ...

Conservatives think liberals are stupid. "You just don't understand. In time, you'll mature and reconsider."

Liberals think conservatives are evil. "You just want to hurt people."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:35 PM on July 6, 2010


"I'm a Jew-loving Nazi sympathizer."

Hadn't heard that one. I guess a Jew-loving Nazi sympathizer is a Nazi that only wants to kill Gypsies and homos.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:37 PM on July 6, 2010 [4 favorites]


The Earth is hollow.
posted by ovvl at 4:38 PM on July 6, 2010


Instead of sending Justin Bieber to North Korea, can't they send Glenn Beck?

Or (hope against hope), both?


And then make them ROOM TOGETHER and TAPE IT!

please please please please
posted by NoraReed at 4:39 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


This news shocked me so much I spilled beer all over my Jesus Loves NASCAR t-shirt. Now what am I gonna wear for my valedictory address?
posted by planetkyoto at 4:49 PM on July 6, 2010


Too bad Tim Tebow graduated, he'd have been the perfect for the GBU football team.
posted by mullacc at 4:55 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Conservatives think liberals are stupid. "You just don't understand. In time, you'll mature and reconsider."

Liberals think conservatives are evil. "You just want to hurt people."


I actually think Beck is both stupid and evil. Where does that set me on the political spectrum?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:58 PM on July 6, 2010


I guess the adequate number of months has passed since our last Glenn Beck post such that this one doesn't get busted.

So, when can we do our next Sarah Palin post without insta-deletion?
posted by jabberjaw at 4:59 PM on July 6, 2010


I sort of want to know how many people legitimately sign up for this, but I get the feeling the number is just going to depress me.
posted by lullaby at 5:09 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sometimes I wonder if I'm the only person left who remembers when he was a doofus morning DJ (along the lines of the parody on Family Guy) who used to prank call local businesses.
posted by cobaltnine at 5:09 PM on July 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Postmodernism lives!
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:09 PM on July 6, 2010 [5 favorites]


Fox & Friends aren't just milking people for all their worth, their propaganda is actively denigrating alternative opportunities for learning and engagement, and blaming the extant and ensuing poverty of those people on everyone else.

It's becoming a church, in the worst sense of the word. And it's a recipe for strife.


I'm not sure I'd disagree with that sentiment, but if we can't laugh, what can we do? I don't buy into the culture war that Beck et al. like to promote (and plenty of liberals too). Beck is a savvy media icon who is promoting his image in his market for all he's worth. The only reason we seem to view this development as a portentous harbinger of the apocalypse is because he decided to call it a "university" instead of "lecture series" or some other less loaded term. I say we let the man make his coin, let everyone else spend their money and make their noise, and meanwhile we'll get healthcare and some great episodes of the Daily Show. Fifty years from now there will be some other Glenn Beck taking advantage of a different market making a different kind of racket with the same results.
posted by Think_Long at 5:14 PM on July 6, 2010


Cool Papa Bell : I guess a Jew-loving Nazi sympathizer is a Nazi that only wants to kill Gypsies and homos.

Mexicans, though. Mexicans and Homos.
posted by Trochanter at 5:19 PM on July 6, 2010


I guess a Jew-loving Nazi sympathizer is a Nazi that only wants to kill Gypsies and homos.

Also, Jehovah's Witnesses, Freemasons, and Leftists.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:20 PM on July 6, 2010


Glenn Beck's Lady Special: Founding Mothers Were Ugly
posted by homunculus at 5:22 PM on July 6, 2010


This is sure to work out better than the time I signed up for Jeff Beck University. It was 10 dollars a month and all I learned to do was play Yardbird licks on my guitar.
posted by drezdn at 5:23 PM on July 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's almost assumed that they're, like, too stupid to be liberal or something.

Alright, I'll bite. I do think these people are stupid. Not every conservative, and not on principle, but the kind that listen to Glen Beck and want Sarah Palin to be the next President? Hate immigrants, gays, arts, science? They are idiots, full stop, and kind of assholes too. They don't just have a few facts wrong that you can clear up if framed the right way, they have a completely different worldview and don't care much about facts in the first place, but are happy when someone like Limbaugh/Beck/etc. validate their views, even if it's a bunch of bullshit.

A Liberal isn't going to come along and figure out the right way to frame arguments that'll convince them that everything they believe is wrong. I think the right long-term approach is to convince future generations to be a little less awful to each other, and sometimes scorn is an effective means of achieving this. Maybe sometimes it invites backlash. Either way, the idea of a Glen Beck University is so outrageously fucking stupid, I don't see how one can not be scornful while still being honest. Even other right-wingers are calling this stupid.

I would think an Al Frank University or Michael Moore University would be pretty dumb too, for what it's worth. But you don't see this level of unmitigated stupid coming from these characters, and I don't think that's a coincidence.
posted by cj_ at 5:25 PM on July 6, 2010 [10 favorites]


This fall is going to turn out a lot differently than a lot of people think. A lot different.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:26 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Think_Long: "I say we let the man make his coin, let everyone else spend their money and make their noise, and meanwhile we'll get healthcare..."

Personally, I don't think that'll work. While plenty of legislators may be in the pocket of Big X, they still have a constituency to answer to. A constituency who receives their information from Beck -- or, on a more general basis, News Corp. -- will vote and organize to his ideals. We're not witnessing an individual who says "go out and do this." It is worse than that. The Tea Partiers are organize themselves and have a media engine (again, News Corp.) rallying them and, to an extent, telling them what is Good and what is Evil. This isn't Heaven's Gate, of course. Everyone in the movement is in there for a reason and plenty have Strong Views about healthcare and plenty don't (you replace "healthcare" with "Second Amendment rights," "Affirmative Action" or any other relevant keyword). Either way, so long as there's a Sith Lord of Rhetoric like Beck, with the power of a media empire behind him, we're not going to get healthcare just so fast.
posted by griphus at 5:26 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's almost assumed that they're, like, too stupid to be liberal or something. Seems like shooting yourself in the foot while at the same time playing directly into one of the ways that your enemy effectively attacks you.

If you have any magic discussion techniques that will effectively reach out to people who, for whatever reason, do not perceive the super-obvious stupidity and evil of Glenn Beck for themselves, feel free to share.

Beck is an addiction; his words are not relevant so much as his ability to display utter certainty of his rightness while pushing all the fear/hate/resentment buttons of his listeners. He builds a world in which his followers are the persecuted hero underdogs who will eventually triumph and show all those people who made them feel bad and/or stupid and/or afraid, a world that makes no sense but is incredibly appealing to them. And then he invites them to come live in it with him, with vague promises that somehow, some way, it will become real.

This is not the kind of thing you can overcome with simple debate or bipartisanship.
posted by emjaybee at 5:29 PM on July 6, 2010 [5 favorites]


Oh, hey - I was out buying some gleaming gold coins. Did I miss anything?
posted by mintcake! at 5:31 PM on July 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Too bad Tim Tebow graduated, he'd have been the perfect for the GBU football team.

Is he on the far right? I know he's a Christian, but if that's all it takes I think I've been going to the wrong church.
posted by monkeymadness at 5:32 PM on July 6, 2010


Me: "Glenn Beck is opening up an online university."

Wife: "That's stupid. If all those people who listen to him make their kids get their degree from a school based on his world view, how are they ever going to get exposed to other world views?"

(Pause)

Wife: "Oh, I get it."
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:32 PM on July 6, 2010 [5 favorites]


Will he take questions and debate people like professors at real Universities or will he lecture pompously and issue dogma, because if he's actually going to take questions and allow competing opinions...well...that could be priceless....
posted by Skygazer at 5:36 PM on July 6, 2010


If you have any magic discussion techniques that will effectively reach out to people who, for whatever reason, do not perceive the super-obvious stupidity and evil of Glenn Beck for themselves, feel free to share.

Glenn Beck / Limbaugh / Palin, whoever, succeeds because they pretend to care about these people. The stereotype that they have of liberals are weirdos in cities who despise them and think they're ignorant yokels. The hate goes both ways.

It's hard to convince people of something if you mock them. It's easy to convince people of things if you flatter them and never disagree with them (while simultaneously trying to scare them against an omnipresent enemy that wants to take away their freedoms). It's a little bit like a cult. Actually it's exactly like a cult.

Instead of holding everyone on a ranch, you're basically holding them in a cultural vacuum, since there are no jobs in rural meth-land America, and liberal people with college+ educations tend to go towards cities and liberal suburb enclaves instead.

The institutions that exist in a liberal world view (namely unions) and a working class world view at the same time are generally shrinking.

The first step is to have a concentrated campaign of labor based leftism that goes into these shell-shocked places and generally tries to be friendly and treat them as equals, instead of ignorant, evil-hearted rubes. Or that just ignores them entirely and waits for them to die, I guess that's the other option. I think you may find that they're hard in the dying, though.
posted by codacorolla at 5:43 PM on July 6, 2010 [5 favorites]


Too bad Tim Tebow graduated, he'd have been the perfect for the GBU football team.

Is he on the far right? I know he's a Christian, but if that's all it takes I think I've been going to the wrong church.


I don't know all the details of his politic beliefs, but he made an anti-abortion Superbowl ad funded by Focus on the Family. I could be wrong, but wingnut seems like a reasonable assumption.
posted by mullacc at 5:43 PM on July 6, 2010


Too bad Tim Tebow graduated, he'd have been the perfect for the GBU football team.

Is he on the far right?


I don't know about the far right; despite an excellent showing at the combine, he doesn't have the kind of speed you need in that position. It's looking more and more like the Broncos will be using him as a QB in a Wildcat set for short yardage situations.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:45 PM on July 6, 2010 [8 favorites]


You can't whistle Dixie while some wily, faux-ignorant and ruthlessly intelligent bastard spouts a torrent of hate and intolerance on the airwaves.

I've given conservative media personalities (Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, etc.) some thought before and I don't think they actually are particularly intelligent. They are good at what they do. They are effective. They are charismatic and people are drawn to them, which is an inborn talent that can also be developed. But other than the intelligence to recognize a talent they have and develop it through hard work, I don't think these people are all that smart.

What is scarier, considering the fact that they all advocate constantly for the interests of the wealthy, is that they aren't wealthy themselves. I mean, they have a shit-ton of money now, but they don't come from money, which is one of the things it takes to truly be wealthy. All of these individuals come from the working class or at best middle class, which is part of the reason they can get away with spewing nothing but "hey let's all stop picking on the rich! Also Jesus." They couldn't do that if they themselves were rich. They would be strung up. But they aren't. They are all low class nouveau riche. Yet they have dedicated their lives to advocating on behalf of the wealthy.

Why? That may be how they made their money, but they were advocating this position before they had money. I don't think it is because a shadowy cabal manipulated them into doing it, but I do think it was something like that. They were rewarded each time they advocated on behalf of the wealthy and so they kept doing it and got better at it and competed with others like them who we have never heard of and they became who they are today. Who rewarded them and made them who they are? The market itself. The market took poor people and made them into incredibly effective tools for advocating for the wealthy. It is actually kind of terrifying in like a wintermute combining with neuromancer kind of way.
posted by ND¢ at 5:46 PM on July 6, 2010 [14 favorites]


Also, for what it's worth, I've worked in the sort of jobless rural communities I've described upthread for about 3 years now. It's a pretty strongly conservative area, and consistently votes so.
posted by codacorolla at 5:53 PM on July 6, 2010


<wiggum>
"When I grow up, I want to graduate from Glenn Beck University!"
</wiggum>
posted by mhoye at 5:57 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't think it is because a shadowy cabal manipulated them into doing it, but I do think it was something like that.

You know, I just finished reading The Man Who Was Thursday, and I really didn't realize how similar it was to our current situation:
The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all.
The fact that the book is, ostensibly, a satire makes it all the worse.
posted by griphus at 6:01 PM on July 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


The first step is to have a concentrated campaign of labor based leftism that goes into these shell-shocked places and generally tries to be friendly ...

To organize them for what? Work that doesn't exist? Menial service jobs that their neighbors would practically beat one another over the head to work for pennies?

From a mainstream economic standpoint, Beck's audience largely consists of surplus people. Any progressive effort would have to concentrate on basic self-sufficiency and long term (as in decades) relief. Old labor leftism is romantic, but irrelevant.
posted by ryanshepard at 6:01 PM on July 6, 2010 [4 favorites]


Conservatives think liberals are stupid. "You just don't understand. In time, you'll mature and reconsider."
Liberals think conservatives are evil. "You just want to hurt people."


CPB got it totally backwards. Conservatives think liberals are evil, they're Faith-Based, that's why they've cornered the market on comparing the opposition to Hitler.

Liberals think conservatives are stupid, and one reason they don't engage them directly is they don't want to 'talk down' to them. And don't forget the quote Stephen Colbert will be known for until the sun burns out: “Reality has a well-known liberal bias.” Although not a Party Democrat or Doctrinaire Progressive bias.

As for the current crop of 'conservative threats', Beck, Palin et al., I see more and more evidence that they are in it for their own profit and aggrandizement, knowing that being the Disloyal Opposition is very profitable in the Land of the Free Speech with Paywalls. Getting real power in America? That'll require way too much of a pay cut, no thank you. I'm beginning to suspect Murdoch knows that a Republican majority in Congress will HURT Fox News' bottom line, even if Roger Ailes is using it to gain power. And both of them know a significant percentage of their audience are watching "the channel they love to hate" (a tendency toward masochism among liberals) Meanwhile, the reason Beck isn't in Prime Time preaching to an even larger audience is that he's a boycott magnet, not making that much money for Fox (but plenty for Glenn) and way too loose a cannon to trust as a real anchor for the schedule.

Does that mean the Republicans won't make gains in the fall elections and the Teabaggers won't gain within the party? Sure they will, but it'll be less than they hope for and will result in internal party battles in '11 and '12 that'll be pure Schadenfruede for the Middle and Left. Enjoy.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:04 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


You know, I have friends and family who, if they don't listen to Beck and his ilk, would certainly agree with what they have to say. They are scared, and if you organize enough of them, they are dangerous. I've tried to be nice to them, tried to re-frame issues, tried to inform, lent a sympathetic ear to their troubles and lent them money. 99% of these people will never, ever change.

And you know what? Fuck brotherly love and fuck trying to change things for the betterment of everyone. Fuck it all: I have two kids to raise and have to retire someplace. These people (yes, I'm "othering" them because they've "othered" me), actively oppose me having a country where I can raise my kids safely and someday hope to retire. The are waging some kind of strange war against me because they don't know what else to do. Me - and other people - we've tried to help, but it's just no use and too late in the game. At some point, you have to change people against their will, c.f., segregation, abortion, the Vietnam war, and basically every other stance the Republicans have taken since the Civil War. They have been wrong every single time.

Fuck them. They get nothing.
posted by digitalprimate at 6:04 PM on July 6, 2010 [13 favorites]


Can We found a Jeff Beck University as an antidite?
posted by jonmc at 6:04 PM on July 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


Can we found a Jeff Beck University as an antidote?

I suspect Jeff is available.
posted by ryanshepard at 6:09 PM on July 6, 2010


The first step is to have a concentrated campaign of labor based leftism that goes into these shell-shocked places and generally tries to be friendly and treat them as equals

This is essentially what Howard Dean was doing with his 50-state strategy, until Obama And Rahm Immanuel thanked him for getting them elected by dropping him like a hot potato.
posted by drjimmy11 at 6:10 PM on July 6, 2010 [8 favorites]


religion, American history and economics

Faith, Hope and Charity

America’s past, her present and most importantly her future.


Rubes like cliches and things that come in threes.
posted by box at 6:12 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Rubes like cliches and things that come in threes.

Stark. Raving. Mad.

Hey - you're right!
posted by Salvor Hardin at 6:14 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


July guest lecturer, Sarah Palin.

Here's the mother-daughter dynamic I wish for.
posted by Short Attention Sp at 6:18 PM on July 6, 2010


ND¢: > I don't think these people are all that smart

I completely agree - I have looked and looked at these guys and while there's a healthy dose of willful ignorance, a blatant disregard (if not disdain) for what is laughingly (and lovingly) called intellectual curiosity, I have not seen anything approaching raw impressive intelligence. They are the charismatic "on-air" guys, which, in the news industry really are the real life Ted Baxters.
posted by victors at 6:22 PM on July 6, 2010


Short Attention Sp: "Here's the mother-daughter dynamic I wish for."

I ... had no idea that Liza Minelli was Judy Garland's daughter until just now.

victors: "I have not seen anything approaching raw impressive intelligence."

Palin, Beck et. al. will never be, nor ever had the potential to be rocket scientists, brain surgeons or whatever else it is we associate with 'smart' people capable of feats of synthetic thought. But you do not get where they are simply by being thrust into the limelight by a media empire. It's too facile to think that it is simple rhetoric and exposure that got them where they are: rolling in money and the conduits of massive amounts of (controlled) political power. They see the angles to play up and the facts to tone down, and they are masters of misdirection. Certainly, they have speech- and screen-writers, and are coached in what to say and how to say it, but to get where they are and to both amass and retain their level of influence takes brain. Even when they have someone to clean up after them.
posted by griphus at 6:28 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I ... had no idea that Liza Minelli was Judy Garland's daughter until just now.

Are you fucking serious?
posted by jonmc at 6:31 PM on July 6, 2010 [4 favorites]


Glenn Beck University: where all the degrees are between 90° and 180°
posted by defenestration at 6:33 PM on July 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


Who picks up your garbage? Socialists, that's who.
posted by ovvl at 6:38 PM on July 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Thank you for your interest in Glenn Beck University. Your credit card payment has been approved.

Government is evil.
Trust Big Business.
Faith is reason.

Thank you for attending Glenn Beck U. You are hereby awarded an Associate's Degree in Business Administration and $10 off your next purchase of $40 or more from Jack Abramoff's Pizza Palace. Valid dine-in only. Closed Saturdays. Call ahead for parties of eight or more."
posted by BitterOldPunk at 6:42 PM on July 6, 2010 [7 favorites]


Beck University is a unique academic experience bringing together experts in the fields of religion...

Well, speaking as a religion scholar, I'm eager to get a class schedule and learn exactly what the rules are of the unwritten folk religion Beck relies upon to preach his prosperity gospel. It's not Christianity, but it definitely is something.
posted by shii at 6:43 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Think_Long, I wasn't at all saying you shouldn't laugh. And I too watch the Daily Show for the laughs, dnno where I'd be without it. And yes, his calling this university definitely sits wrong with me on a personal level, because he's capitalizing on the meaning and history of that word. But that's just one of many, many words that Glenn Beck has found a way to use for his own purposes.

Look at what he's teaching: religion, American history and economics - everything you need to 'explain' society in America as it is today. Look at what he's charging: just $6.26 a month, and free for those who already get his package. He made $32 billion last year, mostly from his website, books and promotional deals. So there's two things here:
1. His audience is not small.
2. His audience is loyal.

I followed cjorgensen's link above all the way to Amazon, where Beck's book is #10 on the overall Bestseller's list, #12 in Thrillers, #2 in Political and #14 in Contemporary. Several people are voting or shouting down reviewers who diss the book, let alone dare to connect it back to Beck's own politics. Most of the top reviews are positive. The people who are writing those reviews can write and spell and make sense - they don't sound like idiots any more than any other random sample of Amazon reviewers. They might be a bit more earnest, if anything.

Yes, his lies are laughable, taken clip by clip or what have you. But he's doing something very clever with them: he's creating his own logic. Everything I have ever heard him say - granted it's not much - seems to operate on two simultaneous levels: a. how messed up the world is, and b. dividing people up into Us and Them. The first of that is where he's laughable, with all his conspiracy theories and blatant twisting of words like "progressivism" and "university"; the second of that is where he's scary.

I've read Ayn Rand too, as a teenager, and if I had never read another book besides Atlas Shrugged and the booklist of the Objectivism Institute or something, I could still be thinking that she's the best explanation for why things are the way they are, and what "we" "ought" to do to make it better. Yes, it's looking at the world in a really warped/limited way; but once you've opened yourself up to a specific logic that explains the world (especially one that says you're right, you've been wronged by others, and puts those others in a convenient camp, like altruists or communists etc) and justifies your frustrations and what have you, it's much harder to become okay with how complex things really are, because you are already looking at the world in a specific way, words already mean something specific to you and you're (mostly) only opening yourself up to what fits in with it.

The logic of Rand is all right there in the book, it's really simple (fucking "A is A") and it's endlessly flattering to anyone who agrees with her. The point where it breaks down is when you step out of it and read something else, something better. It can't just be argued away, it has to be displaced. That process can be slow and painful even for teenagers. And it's not a conscious choice, usually - I didn't let go of it until I had already let go of it, a couple of semesters into college. But if I had lived in a culture where believing her defined me as anything - whether idiot or libertarian - I think I would have had a much harder time letting go. If I had never gone to college at all, it would've been harder still.

Beck is a teacher, in that he already has pupils. He doesn't talk down to his followers, he connects with them. He's free (on TV and radio), and now he's going to be educatin', subject by subject, them at a thrillingly affordable price. He repeats the same points endlessly, in many different ways. He draws maps and traces histories. He doesn't just say Social Justice or progressivism are bad. He defines the words themselves so that their badness becomes obvious, inherent. He explains how A (Social Justice) leads to B (less liberty). He's not just marketing or profiting any more, he's leading... and even if the people he leads are all stupid, they still get to vote, and spend their money as they see fit, and have guns, and choose which schools to send their children to. He's teaching laughable crap, but people are getting taught, they're absorbing the gist willingly if unthinkingly, or unknowingly. It becomes part of how you see things, how you define words.

I'm not saying don't laugh. I'm just saying laughter's not going to affect what he's up to, and might even hurt by playing into his whole Us vs. Them logic. But yeah, it's not like I have a better alternative to offer.

You said: "meanwhile we'll get healthcare". I haven't been following the news closely lately, but... are you sure?
posted by mondaygreens at 6:44 PM on July 6, 2010 [21 favorites]


This just makes me sad and angry. All of this fucking preying on fear and faith for the encouragement of willful ignorance. What the fuck is wrong with these assholes?
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 6:57 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


OK, there are thousands upon thousands of retirees who listen to this guy. And I'd wager that most of them are very interested in continuing education. Many retirees are.

Beck is essentially promising these people an extended script -- they will have source material, while so many others out there (on both sides of issues) don't.

Source material. He's holding books up, saying you will have a degree in having read this. You will be able to back yourself up.

That is absolute gold to those who fantasize about meeting a whiny liberal on their next RV ride down to NorCal, the ones who have a whiny son-in-law with a BA in History, and so on.

The real problem here, IMO, is that Beck is actually arming people with anxiety. He's rewiring their sensor systems to go from standby to full-alert when a normal person's sensors would go from standby to stand-down.
posted by circular at 7:02 PM on July 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


How Glenn Beck sleeps at night.

whether idiot or libertarian

Look, I don't take Rand or Beck seriously, but why does Libertarian = idiot?
posted by thescientificmethhead at 7:04 PM on July 6, 2010


They see the angles to play up and the facts to tone down, and they are masters of misdirection

yea, I'm not seeing that as anything like intelligence, particularly Hannity and Beck - I attribute the ability to "see the angles" as little more than focused zealotry, plus charisma and, as NCc adroitly points out, a powerful reward system.
posted by victors at 7:06 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


thescientificmethhead, those are two different ways of looking at Beck's followers. They (many people who're reviewing him on Amazon, for instance) identify as libertarians, while others (liberals or not) might think they're idiots if they think that's what libertarianism or progressivism or social justice means. It's a matter of identity, both ways.
posted by mondaygreens at 7:08 PM on July 6, 2010


I was going to say that Overton Window is #1 on the NYT nonfiction list, but, as it turns out, that was last week (at work, we get the Sunday Times on Monday, or in this case Tuesday, morning).

Last week, he knocked off Stieg Larsson. This week, he was knocked off by Janet Evanovich (Larsson stayed at #2 and Beck fell straight to #3 in its second week on the list). Time makes fools of us all.
posted by box at 7:11 PM on July 6, 2010


When I grow up, I'm going to Bovine University!
posted by erniepan at 7:47 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Glenn Beck hurts my soul on a visceral level. He is, as has been said, a very, very, frighteningly effective teacher. Of bullshit propaganda, to be sure, but he's extremely good at it. His goal is, well, first off to line his own pockets by doing whatever he's told (he used to be a morning fart-joke dj, and was a fairly moderate miquetoast commenter before getting contracted to spout Ailes' agenda, which he was happy to do for any money.)

But that agenda consists of dividing America as much as possible. He has no interest in or need to convert those who think otherwise. The trouble is that, while we only see the side of it which teaches his base to hate us, we don't see that we are playing right into his hands by hating them back. He WANTS us to hate them back. He needs it.

Unfortunately, I don't see a way in which this stops until this becomes, truly, the "Chinese Century" in a way in which America really accepts it. "American Exceptionalism" is at the heart of everything Beck, Murdoch, Ailes, really the entire right-wing propaganda machine is doing. As long as there are downtrodden people without a lot of education, in a superpower of a nation, and the people talking to them are also doing their damnedest to keep their audiences downtrodden and uneducated, and able to make billions by doing so, this will always be an issue, Beck or not.

In other words, there's going to be a lot of bloodshed before this problem goes away.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:53 PM on July 6, 2010 [4 favorites]


while we only see the side of it which teaches his base to hate us

To whom does "us" refer to in that sentence?

the phone book will do as an enemies list.

there's going to be a lot of bloodshed before this problem goes away.

Why such a violent reaction to a rodeo clown?
posted by thescientificmethhead at 8:04 PM on July 6, 2010


ND¢: That may be how they made their money, but they were advocating this position before they had money. I don't think it is because a shadowy cabal manipulated them into doing it, but I do think it was something like that. They were rewarded each time they advocated on behalf of the wealthy and so they kept doing it and got better at it...

The other corollary is that each also never finished college, and so I think in a way they had to learn very early on how to sell themselves to the business and to the audiences. They cater to the lowest common denominator listener and it's a formula: Misinterpret something and blow it up to be an outrage and a political monstrosity that defy's all the "sacred" BS that people think they believe in, wind up the audience and then take the calls and let the people rip with anger and indignation, and follow it up with some sort of soothing crap and get emotional and self-righteous....

I don't think it's very difficult and I imagine the emotional intelligence of all three of these guys is prodigious. There is an almost particular genius to buttons they push so effortlessly (Palin, also is gifted in this way).

One, last thing is that there seems to be a sick grotesque intertwining of Stockholm Syndrome and a victim mentality. The former, towards the GOP and the latter caused by their cultural "oppression."

Anyhow, this University idea is a load of crap that's going to go nowhere unless, you know he decides to partner with one of the more extreme backwards Evangelical Christian colleges.
posted by Skygazer at 8:18 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I learned to fake cry while a drama major at Glenn Beck U.
posted by BrotherCaine at 8:25 PM on July 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


sorry, thescientificmethhead, I wasn't proposing violent revolution, just imagining that there would BE a lot of political and other bloodshed before the U.S. settled into a mellow-post-world-power period which would make the sort of shit Beck says irrelevent to the types who are currently his audience.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:27 PM on July 6, 2010


Oh - I hope I am not hijacking my own post here, but I remembered an amazing comment I read a couple of weeks ago when I decided to look through the sidebar archive at random, that I think is apropos here while we're discussing this from "our side" only, as Navelgazer said. And this was pre-Beck and his divisive language games, and in general maybe (I have no way of knowing this, really) I think the media was less divided:
...When you're young, you tend to form your political opinions based on those of your parents. My mother was a conservative Catholic; my father, an afficionado of Rush Limbaugh and his even more overtly racist follow-on talk radio host Bob Grant. Hindsight is 20/20, and I first got into politics partially because it was something that Dad and I could talk about.

...Listening to Limbaugh and Dad and reading neoconservative books - if that's all you're exposed to, then, well, of course you accept those as the answer to problems. You take the analysis down, even if it strains credibility, because you haven't heard anything more credible. When I took Lowi's class and heard Freud's thoughts on psychology, Marx's thoughts on labor and capital, and all these other ideas, well, while I never agreed completely with their analysis, and still don't, I was able to tell that they had a much better grasp of the problem than anything I was reading at the time - it was eye-opening. These guys, who I had been told were wrong all of my life, turned out to have explainations that were better than the ones that I had held.

...I believe that some people are lucky enough to know to reject Nazism from day one. I believe that some people are unlucky enough that they will always find obedience to authority appealing. I believe for the rest of us, it's a struggle, and not one that is always pretty, and not one that we always win. We can help each other out, or we can hold each other down.
Full comment (totally worth reading) here.
posted by mondaygreens at 8:31 PM on July 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


but why does Libertarian = idiot?

In theory? Nothing. A few of their talking points actually have some beef to them.

In practice? Everything.

The problem is that few libertarians are ideologically consistent, and use the ethos as an umbrella for some of their....crazier beliefs.
posted by schmod at 8:32 PM on July 6, 2010 [5 favorites]


Something something Beckalaureate, that's the best I've got.
posted by mattholomew at 8:34 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


[few comments removed - we don't really play that "let's kill 'em all" game here, even for people we dont like]
posted by jessamyn at 8:50 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've said before that Fox News is quite clearly an attempt to reach out and integrate the insane into society and that broadcasting from an insane asylum is a heck of a way of doing that. This venture is a rather fascinating example of the nature of corporate motivated education and I thank Mr. Beck for handing it to us on a silver platter. Absurdity has no better champion.
posted by juiceCake at 9:36 PM on July 6, 2010


Can't wait for Playboy's "Girls of Beck U." issue.
posted by planetkyoto at 9:46 PM on July 6, 2010


planetkyoto: "Can't wait for Playboy's "Girls of Beck U." issue."

Yeah, great, fifteen pages of Michelle Malkin's head photoshopped onto an issue's worth of vaseline-on-the-camera photos from Playboy ca. 1987.
posted by griphus at 9:59 PM on July 6, 2010


> ichelle Malkin's head photoshopped onto an issue's worth of vaseline-on-the-camera photos from Playboy ca. 1987


*shudder* There's a person who is technically attractive on the surface but underneath is uglier than a diarrhea and vomit painting of an inbred syphilitic hobgoblin.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:06 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


a diarrhea and vomit painting of an inbred syphilitic hobgoblin

Ah! I've finally found the right school to do my MFA!
posted by Sys Rq at 10:08 PM on July 6, 2010


Ah! I've finally found the right school to do my MFA!

But that's not all Vecna University has to offer...
posted by griphus at 10:29 PM on July 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Michelle Malkin is dealing with some serious Stockhom Syndrome issues. Her pathology is weird and so palpably disturbing...
posted by Skygazer at 10:39 PM on July 6, 2010


He made $32 billion last year

Somehow, I don't think Beck earned 50% more than all of BP.

(I assume you meant million, which still is a shitload of money.)
posted by ymgve at 11:18 PM on July 6, 2010


At least one of the professors at Beck U (its here - lets get used to saying it out loud) appears to be not only credible, but an actual authority on common law and liberalism in Anglo-American political theory. Thats the meat and potatoes of American political theory after all.

James Resit Stoner, Jr the Chair of the Department of Political Science at Louisiana and the author of Common Law and Liberal Theory: Coke, Hobbes, and the Origins of American Constitutionalism

So who knows. Maybe something more than inane paranoia and hate can come from Beck U... as long as the good prof doesn't have to dumb his talks down to the level of the 'training and consulting firm' specialist he is now privileged to have as a colleague.

I wait with bated breath
posted by ogallalaknowhow at 12:12 AM on July 7, 2010


Ack, ymgve - that is what I meant. I have to stop cringing while reading and writing big dollar sums and pay more attention!

Also I learned on the Colbert Report yesterday that the Knicks paid some player 11 million dollars last year to play for 60 minutes, in toto. So maybe 32 million for Beck's year-long, relentless, multi-faceted self-whoring just didn't seem like enough to me, or something.

Also, Stoner's book looks interesting... can't find a review anywhere, sadly.
posted by mondaygreens at 12:29 AM on July 7, 2010


In other news, Ann Coulter withers on the vine through lack of attention.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:56 AM on July 7, 2010


Batshit insane....

TO THE EXTREEEEEEME!
posted by chillmost at 1:26 AM on July 7, 2010


July 5: Is For-Profit Education The Next Subprime Mortgage Crisis?
July 6: Announcing Beck University
posted by Anything at 1:46 AM on July 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Glen Beck's tics and mannerisms remind me of nothing so much as the neo-nazi leader played by a (very) young Dennis Hopper in the Twilight Zone episode "He's Alive".

It's an earnest episode, but I highly recommend it for all that... and the political rhetoric that the mysterious shadowy night visitor teaches may well sound awfully familiar... (episode here).
posted by lucien_reeve at 6:01 AM on July 7, 2010


Glenn Beck University: where all the degrees are between 90° and 180°

The graduates are obtuse, too.
posted by armage at 6:20 AM on July 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sure to be blackboards involved.

Sadly, there will always be people around happy to validate narrowmindedness and hatred and to profit therefrom. I do my very best to ignore such persons as their very presence depresses me.

You'll find me out back, listening to Jeff Beck.
posted by kinnakeet at 7:06 AM on July 7, 2010


WallBuilders, a national pro-family organization

Wall builders? What an odd name. Wall building means cutting yourself off, closing down interaction with others. Is this related to the desire for a giant wall around the borders?

I wish somebody like Beck would go deep undercover for 10 or 20 years until he or she made more money than was needed for a lifetime and then...whammo! Comes out of the closet and announces, "Yeah every sucker that ever gave me a dollar was a fool. I'm laughing at the stupidity of my fan base all the way to the bank."
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:14 AM on July 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


The courses start July 7 at 8 p.m., and boast three professors teaching "Faith 101," "Hope 101," and "Charity 101" for entry level students, with 102 and 103 level classes in subsequent weeks.

I'm trying to figure out what "Charity 103" could possibly cover. After you've fed the homeless, donated toys to an orphanage and visited an old folks home, you should think about starting a business to rip off liberals by advertising "All proceeds go to Charity" and then redefine "proceeds" in your own, special way.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:21 AM on July 7, 2010


Wow. A randomly selected history student couldn't recall an obscure act of military sabotage that killed (maybe) 7 people? Shocking.
posted by snottydick at 8:28 AM on July 7, 2010


Chris Kelly: Your book sure looks like another book that your ghostwriter wrote.

Glenn Beck: You callin' me a plagiarist?

Chris Kelly: No, I'm calling you a sucker.
posted by Trochanter at 10:50 AM on July 7, 2010


Wall builders? What an odd name. Wall building means cutting yourself off, closing down interaction with others. Is this related to the desire for a giant wall around the borders?

Why the name "WallBuilders"?
In the Old Testament book of Nehemiah, the nation of Israel rallied together in a grassroots movement to help rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and thus restore stability, safety, and a promising future to that great city. We have chosen this historical concept of "rebuilding the walls" to represent allegorically the call for citizen involvement in rebuilding our nation's foundations. As Psalm 11:3 reminds us, "If the foundations be destroyed, what shall the righteous do?"
(...)Comes out of the closet and announces, "Yeah every sucker that ever gave me a dollar was a fool. I'm laughing at the stupidity of my fan base all the way to the bank."

Something similar usually happens inadvertently when these types are sent to prison for fraud 10 years down the road. :-)
posted by circular at 11:13 AM on July 7, 2010


why does Libertarian = idiot?

Because libertarianism is not a political theory or philosophy; it's a comfortable justification of selfishness. And they'd rather be comforted than educated.
posted by grubi at 8:38 AM on July 8, 2010


> Because libertarianism is not a political theory or philosophy; it's a comfortable justification of selfishness.

Er, those two are virtual synonyms. But, saying that libertarianism isn't a political theory or philosophy is rather disingenuous. That's not to say that it isn't a rather selfish, wrong-headed, and short sighted philosophy, but it's still a more or less cohesive body of thought.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:49 AM on July 8, 2010


My reasoning is based on the idea that a genuine political philosophy would ostensibly be about what one thinks is the best way to govern. And the arguments handed down from libertarian writers/thinkers don't seem to be about how best to govern, but about how best to justify individual self-centeredness.

I know it's not the standard definition, but this is what I meant.
posted by grubi at 9:40 AM on July 8, 2010


> I know it's not the standard definition, but this is what I meant.

Agreed, then. A libertarian government would either quickly collapse or quickly revert to Republican-esque policies.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:53 AM on July 8, 2010


A prelude to anarchy! ANARCHY, I SAY!
posted by grubi at 10:37 AM on July 8, 2010


Beck thinks he's connected Obama to the racist New Black Panthers. But he's not even close
posted by homunculus at 5:17 PM on July 8, 2010


Is there no point where this garbage becomes illegal?

Adopts Peter O'Toole world weary, foppish demeanour: Will no one rid me of this turbulent fuckwad?
posted by Trochanter at 7:48 PM on July 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


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