Glenn Beck Stupids Up A Reasonable Point

This seems to be a popular genre for fear mongers these days.  Write an essay pretending to be a traveler for a future (or describing an encounter with one) that warns of a dire apocalyptic collapse of our world that we could have prevented if we weren’t so damn stupid.

It goes something like this.

Imagine that that future I have made up whole-cloth with minimal research is not fiction in the slightest.  See all the scary demons that live in my made-up future world?  Don’t you think you might have nightmares about them?  Your kids will be miserable or dead.  Socialist Islamofacists will urinate on your grave while inserting foreign objects into the orifices of your granddaughters.  Everyone will wear turbans but nothing else, because our soft, socialist economy will have left us with nothing save our newly adopted Islamist faith.  If only someone in your day had been smart enough to realize all of this!  If only he could have written some pseudo-fiction, we could have all been saved!

The good writers do a decent job of it.  Simmons’ time-travel terror tale was as well constructed as it was overblown.  He’s one of the best horror-fantasists I’ve ever read, and even when he’s delivering a dubious message he’s capable of doing it well.

Glenn Beck is no Dan Simmons.  (He’s not even an Orson Scott Card).  His core point is actually sounder than Simmons’ is: this Wall Street bailout is very likely to hurt us more than it will help.  Unfortunately, he has run out of ways to deliver this message and has fallen back on 60 year old Red Scare tactics and moronic time travel hyperbole to get his point across.  It’s the kind of article I’d expect to see linked on p1k3 as “Asshattery.”

It’s probably not worth breaking the thing down point by point – I mean, it’s signed “Worker 2744A” for God’s sake  – but I should at least give something other than a vague head shake at it.

It didn’t take long before so many of our tax dollars were going toward interest payments that we couldn’t fund even the most basic of government programs without massive tax increases on everyone. People now work most of the year just to pay Uncle Sam (or, as we now call him, “Comrade Sam”).

Hmm, yeah, ok, interest payments for our debt are going to become overwhelming.  Not a bad point, Glenn, not bad at–

–wait, Comrade Sam?! Sigh.

At least he avoided a Fear The Muslims rant, right?

You might want to spend a little less time worrying about carbon and a little more time worrying about Iran. We’re now in a new mini-Ice Age but, believe me, Iran isn’t using their nukes to warm any homes. (PS The International Atomic Energy Agency just revealed to you that Iran appears to be refitting their long-range missiles to carry nuclear payloads. Did you think they were joking or were you just too busy with lipsticks and pigs to notice?)

Oh.  Never mind.

Meanwhile, he uses one of my favorite devices of this genre:

Good call on not worrying about protecting our borders. That works out really well for you in 2019.

Note how the specific date-dropping makes it sound like the author has actual knowledge about the future, and that you should maybe have a few nightmares about what occurrence he’s referring to in 2019.

Here’s my question.  Did he pick the date out of a hat, or did he spend a couple of hours employing fake logic to go along with this fake time travel story?

In closing, remember this golden rule and you should be fine: Your Constitution will never fail you, but your leaders will. Be wary of anyone who tries to convince you that it’s the other way around.

You mean, like George W. Bush?  Who you compared favoribly to Batman in The Dark Knight, in particular to  how he breaks laws to catch evil terrorists?  You mean leaders like that, right?  Because it sounds like you’re saying that even though you don’t like Bush much,  you respect that he’s willing to go outside the bounds of our laws (or, if you will, our Constitution) to fight terrorists.

If you want a fictional view of the future, I advise sticking with actual science fiction that doesn’t cloak itself in essay form to scare you into agreeing.  Your average episode of The Twilight Zone is both scarier and more plausible than this kind of crap, and it didn’t need to dredge up antique Red Fear or remind us of the perils of Islamofacism to make its point.  Hell, WALL-E is smarter than this, and that guy’s last film was about talking fish.

As a side note, Beck might want to rewatch The Dark Knight for subtext.  Just saying.

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2 Responses to Glenn Beck Stupids Up A Reasonable Point

  1. brennen says:

    The only point I want really want to dispute here is that I think the Simmons piece is basically crap writing, which is one of the things that makes it so striking.

    Anyway, I’d better get back to work before Comrade Sam notices I’m shirking.

  2. saalon says:

    I’m not sure I can defend the point that the Simmons piece was not crap writing, and I’m of no mind to reread it to form a coherent argument about it.

    I’ll leave it here: It seemed effective to me at the time, as a piece of visceral writing, even if it was intellectually hollow. But I read it at midnight about a year ago so I’ll just concede that I might be giving him too much credit.

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