Archives About Staff BagNews is dedicated to visual politics, media literacy and the analysis of news images.
September 21, 2009

Glenn Beck, Intellectual

Beck Alamo TIME.jpg

Beck is certainly the media’s bright shiny object right now, isn’t he? (The shot comes from the slide show accompanying the TIME cover story.

What the photo nails is the way Beck frames himself as an intellectual — but plays it as a front. (Notice, for example, how much the reading glasses compliment the pose.)

It’s elegantly simple, really. By creating a cheap veneer for his gullible audience that he’s deep, thoughtful, and really cares about the historical stuff (the straight-faced caption with the “patriotism clap-trap” also plays a key part), you can almost miss the obvious — in this case, the media pilgrimage to The Alamo (no connection to today, of course!) with Glenn getting off on the guns.

(image: Darren Abate/PressPhotoIntl.com. April 15, 2009. San Antonio)

  • Megan

    The gun is pointed at the guy whose beard and notepad are visual markers for intellectual/liberal.

  • http://www.bagnewsnotes.com Michael (The BAG)

    Megan, nIce read.

  • http://motherrr.blogspot.com mcmama

    My first thought was that Beck’s nose and lips are red and puffy, like he got punched in the face. Behind him, one guy (the liberal-looking one) is focused on Beck, the skinny guy next to him is waiting for Beck to get out of the way, there’s a ghost woman reflected in the glass, and the other two guys aren’t interested in Beck OR the museum. They’re planning a golf outing.

  • http://www.FLPhotoFirm.com Fort Lauderdale Photographer

    The Balazs Gardi link in the blogroll to the right no longer works…
    I haven’t seen any real explanation of their collaps besides it is a sign of the times, but I’m curious if Burlisconi’s control of the Italian media included a few fingers in Balazs Gardi, or if they were outside his protection. Maybe I’m just looking for a conspiracy, but I’d like the angle to be sussed out.

  • http://www.FLPhotoFirm.com Fort Lauderdale Photographer

    Sorry I was referring to Grazia Neri. It’s been a busy day.

  • Jason

    I think he might just be looking at his own reflection. He’s drawn cover by labeling himself a “rodeo clown” perhaps that explains the red nose? I find that statement an insult to rodeo clowns everywhere.

  • desertwind

    What I find most interesting about Beck is that he’s a Mormon convert whose disciples would never vote for a Mormon.

  • Dennis Quaranta

    I’m not convinced there’s anything here. Glenn Beck seems to be a celebrity because a lot of people pay attention to him, and for no other reason. He’s written best-selling books, but I’ve never heard him quoted with approval. Then again, I haven’t heard any of the right wing entertainers quoted with approval. Are they all just entertainers?
    The Time Magazine story is man-bites-dog. Glenn Beck is as lightweight as Paris Hilton. When he disappears, he will be gone without a trace. Come to think of it, George Bush has pretty much vanished without a trace … so there’s no hope at all for Glenn Beck. He does seem to know there’s something wrong with a society that takes a jerk like him seriously. He’s playing it for laughs, the way a number of the others are. Is Sean Hannity for real?

  • Tinwoman

    Glenn Beck Intellectual
    You put those words together just to provoke a bunch of people, right, Michael?
    *sings the Sesame Street song, “one of these words is not like the others….one of these words is not the same….”*

  • yg

    rodeo clowns provide a valuable service by distracting the bull. whose the bull? and whose hide is beck sparing by providing the distraction? anybody who admits to being a clown, doesn’t that imply he doesn’t really believe everything he advocates?
    his “i’m just a clown” posture is premeditated excuse he’ll have ready as a way to dodge blame when one of his devotees finally goes off the deep end and shoots someone. rush says the same thing by calling himself an entertainer. that way, neither of them can be held accountable for the consequence of their rhetoric. claims that they believe in “personal responsibility” is just lip service.

  • Molly

    Salon.com has a three parter about Mr. Beck and what I find most dismaying is that we are the same age. The man has ambition and motivation in abundance. If I had half his drive, I would be a celebrated novelist, too!

  • http://profile.typepad.com/evangenest Evan Genest
Refresh Archives

Random Notes