Getting out while the getting’s good
In the midst of all the madness regarding health care reform and town hall meetings, there are glints of rationality showing here and there, observed in the number of sponsors pulling ads from Glenn Beck’s Fox News program faster than rats escaping from the proverbial sinking ship. In just a matter of a couple of weeks, everyone from Geico to Proctor & Gamble to Progressive have been disassociating themselves from Beck’s program, undoubtedly no longer wanting it to look as though they endorse his increasingly psychotic, teary-eyed, racist rants about how the America he once knew and loved is being steered straight to Hell on the S.S. Obama. Even Wal-Mart, long known as the store of choice for the salt of the Earth, working class folks Beck has appointed himself the spokesman for, has packed up its shit and left the party, always a smart move when the host is weeping and babbling about shadow conspiracies against the white man.
According to Gawker, Beck’s remaining advertisers include the Baconwave, Brez anti-snoring aids and Extenze penis enhancement pills. Somewhere there’s a really brilliant joke to be found there, and if you can find it and send it to me I’ll both credit you and send you a box of Girl Scout cookies in return. If you’d like to appeal to Extenze, Baconwave, et. al. to pull their spots as well, you can fill out this petition. I did, though I’m a bit torn over what good it’s going to do. On one hand, it’s sending a clear message to Fox that big name companies like Proctor & Gamble don’t want to be associated in any way with a raving cuckoo bird like Beck, let alone anything he says. On the other, it’s not going to help Beck’s persecution complex, his insistence that ever since Obama was elected into office the days where white men have the ability to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of freedom (which includes being racist, hating poor people and women and toting guns everywhere, apparently) are numbered. Also, it’s not likely to push Fox into firing Beck, or even ordering him to tone down the crazy, because, as terrifying a notion as this might be, his show is the second-highest rated cable program in his time slot. He’s surpassed equally aggravating but less nutty bloviators Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity as the most popular host on a network that earns its fame by passing off inaccurate, scare tactic “what the liberal media isn’t telling you” horseshit as fact. Granted, I’m willing to bet that at least half of Beck’s audience is made up of the same people who enjoy watching shows like Flavor of Love and Toddlers & Tiaras, those who love a good trainwreck and are hoping that one of these days Beck will be in the middle of a meltdown and his head will literally explode, like the guy in Scanners. Even I would watch that on YouTube later, though I still wouldn’t give a minute of ratings to Fox for it.
Still, I’m pretty sure that the other half of Beck’s audience is made up of people like him, those who really have been convinced that he’s speaking for them, that in the dawn of Obama’s presidency, all eight months of it, suddenly they’re an ignored minority perilously close to losing their rights. These are the people who nod in agreement during Beck’s nightly mouth-frothing, sometimes cleaning their guns with masturbatory fervor, sometimes peering suspiciously out their living room windows, wondering if they should call the cops on that strange black kid walking down the street. They’re the people who don’t understand the irony of insisting that government should stay out of Medicare, who haven’t the faintest notion of what socialism means other than they think it means their house and car will be given to an unemployed black woman with six children from six different fathers, who aren’t sure if Hawaii really counts as a state, who misspell signs demanding that if one wants to live in America, one should learn how to speak English. These people are angry, they’re irrational, they’re usually armed and they scare the ever-living fuck out of me.
I don’t really believe that Proctor & Gamble pulled their ads from Glenn Beck’s program because they don’t agree with his politics, I think they’re scared that one of his nutcase fans is going to take his blowhard “we need to rise up and take America back like true patriots” blather to heart and kill someone, quite possibly the President himself, certainly some innocent bystander. I don’t blame them, because I’m afraid of that too. The indicators are certainly there: more and more people are showing up at these town meeting debacles carrying guns, because somehow or another they began associating health care reform with the Second Amendment. These people are driven by anger, fear and ignorance, actually convinced that part of Obama’s plan for health care reform involves a panel of mysterious angels of death who determine whether someone is worthy of living or dying. Part of the blame needs to be directed towards Democrats, and, as much as it pains me to say it, Obama himself, who stubbornly refuse to explain clearly, concisely and in easy to read type with no big words just how the health care reform is going to work. There seems to be some misconception that these people, after being mocked on The Daily Show enough times and brushed off as misinformed, hayseed nuisances, will simply go away and wait for everything to be spelled out to them. As long as Glenn Beck is around to fill their heads with alarmist, tin foil hat nonsense and encouraging them to revolt, all while sitting in the safe confines of a cushy TV studio, they won’t go away. I don’t blame Proctor & Gamble and Wal-Mart for getting the hell away from them. We should all be so lucky.