Sunday, October 18, 2009

"Do You Remember What Life Was Like?"

A few weeks ago, I noted the absurdity of the nutty Right's rants against the "public sphere" in the face of a collective dependence on it that's rooted in inactive/unsatisfying interior lives. Now Glenn Beck tells viewers why he fights (and cries): some really special TV commercials.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aren't those commercials from the late 70's? Interesting that Beck wants to get back to how things were during the Carter years.

10/18/2009 9:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who cares about Beck, but he's right about making the hard choices we are delaying, he's right we've been living in a fantasy land, he's right that politicians - despite any promises - only takes us further from where we need to go. I am surprised that of all the material on the web, you chose to pick something that essentially rants against some of the very things this blog rants about. Is it just the messenger, 'cause much of his message is right.

10/19/2009 9:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Erm.... Just what the hell **is** Beck's message, anon? All I see is a kind of ersatz weepy nostalgia that's just embarrassing.

I don't watch any TeeVee, so the only exposure I've had to Beck is little YouTube snippets. But the guy at the "Who Is IOZ?" blog has a take on Beck that rings true. He points out that -- throwing tact to the wind here -- a bug chunk of the FOX/Beck audience is, ahem, "in the home". The hammy, maudlin schtick and the oddball visuals (e.g., the Beck bit where he had only his eyes filling the screen) are meant for people who are in decline and looking for distraction.

But I'll meet the anon halfway in this sense: I know they get a lot of attention, and they always seem willing to do whatever zany stunt the idiot box tells them to, but isn't the Fox viewership actually pretty small, and shrinking? I wonder if they're really worth **any** attention.

Beck in particular just seems to be following the Coulter formula for making bank: In the never-ending carnival sideshow of TeeVee land, there's simply no such thing as too outlandish or too demented. Milk it while you can, because the lead geek usually has a short career before the mob moves on to the next freak.
-- sglover

10/20/2009 1:33 AM  
Anonymous Thomas Daulton said...

I too would be very interested to hear TCR explain more about why he chose this particular clip...

I think TCR is highlighting a fundamental contradiction in the "Neo-Cons" (I dunno if Beck really counts as a textbook Neocon, but I'm trying to distinguish the far Right from 'paleo-conservatives' such as TCR...)

The modern far Right, such as Beck and Hannity, and my relatives, etc., indeed seem to pine for a lost 1950's Bob-Dobbs porkpie-hat nuclear-family vision of society. They're more or less up-front in admitting, as Beck does here, that the actual history had some flaws (such as racism and dependence on cheap Arab oil, etc.)

But what today's far Right seems utterly incapable of seeing or grasping, is the fundamental contradiction of their method. They absolutely intractably insist that the only way to get there from here is the unfettered Free Market. In other words, they insist that commerce and business is the only way to achieve a vision defined by non-monetary social mores, such as honor and monogamy and respect and honesty and community and civility and so forth.

(Which is why we keep coming back to this nexus with Ayn Rand; she made that theory explicit...)

Now it's certainly true that the government cannot legislate honor and community and good taste. OK, I understand that. But today's business climate is fundamentally different than it was 50 years ago. These neocons want to use the wrong tool to achieve their vision. Today's Capitalism is just not going to produce those humanistic values, in an era where jobs are disposable, PR officers read your private e-mail, real estate companies and stockbrokers and energy companies promulgate naked fraud against the public and are praised for it in the business press; in an era when overtime is mandatory and technology is hawking us ten million electronic distractions from our families and our communities.

To me this is an even worse, more fundamental error than glossing-over the racism and unsustainability of past decades. Ya can't get there from here, not by that route. If we want those family and community values back, we have to do it with "social engineering" somehow, government or no, but not commerce. 1950s relics like guaranteed health care benefits, and job security (or the 1-income family for that matter) were based on a deep humanistic respect for the workers by the management; not based on cost/benefit analysis. Empirically, today's Capitalism does not reward that humanistic attitude; those managers are long gone. So business itself is the reason why those ancient values and mores are gone.

10/20/2009 5:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't watch cable news, but the msm deems it necessary to regurgitate what's on cable. Most of these people don't have any credibility because they failed to complain, for the last 8+ years, like they are now. There are nuts, and there are those that take advantage of the nuts for their gain. Beck and Limbaugh might fall in that category.

I don't know if it is authentic, but it seems the moderate Conservatives are starting to fight back against the nuts. In a recent TV debate on health care reform, one of our state's Conservative Representatives said he was angry at the Conservatives for their lack to get anything meaningful done over the past 8+ years. I like how the WH is handling the media, especially Fox. I hope they go much further so we can get quality news, and not just bubble-boy garbage. Perhaps "news" should be rated and the rating displayed at all times in some corner of the TV image. I subscribe to cable for local channels (no antenna). We use to get PBS, which had educational programming and discussions on local issues that directly impact our lives. They replaced it with HLN (headline news). We programmed it out. The few times we flicked to it they considered bubble-boy and Jon and Kate Headline news we needed to hear. I can't believe we lost PBS to this. I so wish we could pick our cable channels. I would not pick HLN, actually I wouldn't pick any cable news.

Our Democracy need strong parties to debate ideas. These nuts might be good for profits or diversion, but our country is the real loser. Real journalism is rare these days. But when it is real, it should be celebrated and rewarded.

10/21/2009 4:16 PM  

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