Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2009

Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck weeps a lot and laughs really loudly and talks too much — about how the country is going in the wrong direction, about how regular Americans would have rebuilt the Twin Towers just as they looked before, about how he used to drink too much. If he were your neighbor, you might smile and wave every morning but not invite him to dinner too often because it would just be too much work. If Rush Limbaugh sounds arrogant and angry, Beck sounds like he might crack up. And yet his brand of conservatism, which blends ideological anger with a misty-eyed, almost fragile nostalgia, hit home this year with millions of conservatives worried that President Obama and the Democratic Congress were steering a great country aground and shackling its potential. Some 8 million people listen to Beck's radio program, and this year his Fox News Channel show became required viewing for the right. Predictably, he drew white-hot hatred from liberals and even some fellow libertarians: the creators of South Park spoofed him in a hilarious November episode in which the fat Cartman played Beck. This time, Beck didn't weep. Instead, he laughed along and then noted, accurately, that the show had also taken on Jesus Christ.

— John Cloud