Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Fine Print: Beck's Demise Is No Demise ... and No Surprise

SHOCK!! Glenn Beck announced that his FOX News show is being canceled! It truly is the END OF THE WORLD!!

With a totally disingenuous statement ("Fox is one of the only places you will find truth"), Glenn Beck said goodbye to his blackboards and his cable TV viewers. But lest we feel sorry for The Beckster, we should look at the bigger picture: rosier than ever for Glenn Beck. 

Beck, who Forbes estimated made over $32 million last year (only $2 million of which was for the FNC show), insisted he was not making this change because he can make more money elsewhere. It is not, said Beck, “because it’s good or bad for business but II think you, of all people, will truly get this, our only business is the business of freedom and our country at this time.
Yeah, right. Glenn Beck will still retain his daily radio show, his lecture/performance circuit and, of course, more free time to "write" books. He will also be doing "specials" for FOX. 

Still, there will be a great wailing, ripping of garments, gnashing of teeth as conspiracy theorists (his biggest following) will somehow blame the show's demise on President Obama. Even I am a little sad to see such an incredible source of material (and mockery) go away. No doubt, the makers of Vicks Vapo-Rub will also shed a tear (sorry).  Certainly David Barton - Beck's all-American-Christian pseudo historian - will have to find another cable show to appear on (other than Pat Robertson's The 700 Club, of course). There will be articles about BB and AB - Before Beck and After Beck. 

That this was an expected and calculated media move there is no doubt: ratings (relatively) tanked in the last year to the point that Beck couldn't have expected to be around very long: Uncle Rupert (Murdoch) liked him, but Uncle Rupert never shoved money down a rat hole, either. People speculated that Beck had gotten too full of himself calling together rallies and such, but for my money, I think Beck with welcome the relative quiet this will bring to his career. For all the show of being in touch with today's common man, Glenn Beck was and always will be for Glenn Beck. 

Another indication that he's resigned in his FOX situation: his calm. People have gotten to know his mercurial tantrums, peppered by his overactive tear ducts. His deportment was dignified in his announcement - very unusual for a man who has ordered people off his radio show with bouts of screaming. His macular dystrophy (disorder of the eyesight) might play into his acceptance of cancellation, since no one wants to see a blind pundit on TV. Knowing Beck, he might be able to play loss of eyesight into his persona.

OK, the last is a bit cruel, but Beck has parlayed a lot about himself into media gold, even his Mormonism: it isn't easy to host people like David Barton, who think Mormonism is just a "cult." His new persona (and there will be one) may morph into the kind of character Rush Limbaugh wish he had if he could emit more sincerity and compassion and if both would get him ratings. Limbaugh is wise in that he has always played to his core market, whereas Beck has been taking chances (e.g., his occasional lapse into being gay-friendly) and gone too far out in conspiracy theories. 

Some Republicans may even be heavy a sigh of relief: Beck's forays into various ideologies have been a bit too fringe for them to hang their hat on and what they don't need right now is any more fringe candidates. 

With his benign cancellation and his ability to work medias like radio, stage and print, Glenn Beck will still be around for a long time. 


Pat Robertson: As Christians We Must Love ALL of God's Murderous Dictators - Even Laurent Gbagbo!

Time for another swing at a Senility Defense!

Since Pat didn't say anything about Japan's spirit-of-the-anti-Christ religions causing earthquakes or the tsunami, I figured he had lost his mojo in the God's Ambulance Chasers' department. Last January, when the "snowpocalypse" hit the country and stopped dead all air travel, Robertson chimed with his explanation that it was "God's way of preventing gays from doing something gay." So I thought that Japan's disasters were a natural. I waited and waited in vain.

Hooray! He may not have come through with Japan, but he certainly was right on target with the conflict in Cote d-Ivoire! That's my man!

The Conflict

It is unfortunate that the African nation, Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), sounds so much more romantic than it really is. Like a beautiful stage set, the country's name fronts squalor and corruption, horrendous hypocrisy and  egotism.

Perhaps that's why Pat Robertson likes it.

The government of Cote d'Ivoire has caught the same democracy virus that it's northern African neighbors have and the tension is, to say the least, high.
The finale of Gbagbo's 10-year claim on Ivory Coast is playing out much like the beginning. The 65-year-old strongman, who made an art of staying in power years past the end of his legal mandate, is now pushing the envelope, fighting for each day, even each hour.

That was several hours ago. By now, however, Pat Robertson and Gbagbo's supporters here in the U.S. have heard that Gbagbo has been negotiating his surrender, talking about security with U.N. and French forces. The new President, Alassane Ouattara, is also anxious about his security. Gbagbo has a reputation - made ever more evident at the number of civilians killed during the last days of unrest.* But this is a reputation Pat Robertson choses to ignore.
Watch below how Robertson spins his way through the murky waters of despotism, trashes Muslims (Africa will have a "Ring of Sharia Law"), the French, the MSM and calls Gbago a good Christian man. Pat's never better when he's at his most senile. Notice too, how the station gets in a dig at Obama by positioning the announcement of his 2012 candidacy immediately afterward. 

The Ties That Bind - To The Christian Right
Gbagbo, along with his influential wife, Simone, are evangelical Christians who are known for lacing their speeches with religious rhetoric. "God is leading our fight. God has already given us the victory," Simone Gbagbo, who is both first lady and politician in her own right, said at a rally in January. Both Gbagbos have attended the National Prayer Breakfast, a big annual Washington event run by the secretive Christian group known as the Family, or the Fellowship.
Friends of Gbagbo include Senator Jim Inhofe, Doug Coe (leader of C Street and the secretive Fellowship), broadcaster Glenn Beck and ... Pat Robertson. In demeanor and purpose, the impoverished African country looks a lot like Uganda and one wonders just how many evangelicals have been visiting it in order to secure the nation "for God." Case in point: while homosexuality is legal in Cote d'Ivoire, gays have no protections against discrimination. Lou Engle still considers it  fertile ground for The Call.

Testing The Limits Of Compassion

While rummaging around for stuff on Cote d'Ivoire, I got a bit of a shock. The picture of a church and its description overwhelmed me with the blatant world of religious despotism: The Basilica of Our Lady Of Peace.

According to wikipedia, the basilica was built to be reminiscent St. Peter's in Rome, but according to Guinness World Records, it surpasses it in size, becoming THE largest church in the world. It cost $300 million in 1989. It was also built to fit the ego of its then-president  Félix Houphouët-Boigny who:
commissioned a stained glass window of his image to be placed beside a gallery of stained glass of Jesus and the apostles. This image depicts him as one of the three Biblical Magi, kneeling as he offers a gift to Jesus.
The average wage of a day laborer in Cote d'Ivoire is $1.25. Pope John Paul II (who dedicated the church) was probably too awed by the church itself to realize what a mockery it was to the people of the country. The video below is a stark revelation that does not  dare to shock the viewer by presenting the squalor amongst such magnificence. The imagination does that. 

Back To Sanity

So what Pat Robertson sees as a tragedy is really the toppling of another despot to instate the rightfully voted-in President. That new President happens to be Muslim. Some Christians in Cote d'Ivoire may have actually voted for him. If the new president, Alassane Ouattara, ushers in any form of peace, with even the slightest hint of prosperity, Robertson, Coe, Beck, Inhofe, Warren and all the Christian Right moguls pinning their hopes on making Cote d'Ivoire a Uganda-like "Purpose-Driven" nation, will have lost their footing on Africa. 

Cheer up, Pat, there's always the senility defense!

*massacres of whole villages have been reported

The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro: a monument to despotism - the most incredibly atrocious display of monumental ego.  Félix Houphouët-Boigny