Archives About Staff BagNews is dedicated to visual politics, media literacy and the analysis of news images.
November 23, 2009

Commandant Beck Not Joking Anymore

Beck Idiots.jpg

March on Washington on MLK Day? Libertarian conventions? 100 year plans?

Using his “latest-book” tour as the field test for a new (yep, Palin-esque) identity, Glenn Beck proposes to transform himself from screaming (faux-) media pundit into full-fledged political activist.

In the process, though, Beck should realize that tongue-in-cheek symbolism — once you switch hats– can come back to maul people.

For example, check out this photo cleverly chosen by the NYT to illustrate Glenn’s transformation. Whereas the cover of the Commandant’s book is meant as pure satire directed at the government, and the title “Arguing with Idiots” is meant as pure mockery aimed at “the moonbats,” impressions aren’t the same in migrating from the book tour to the campaign caravan, the pretense of show business finally tossed under the bus.

In the make-over from infotainment guy throwing spit wads to “the change we’ve been waiting for,” let’s all welcome the temperature-uncontrolled, fascist poster boy to town!

(11/24. 12:15am PST. slightly edited.)

(photo: Gregg Matthews for The New York Times)

  • OldMayfly

    Beck’s book is on sale at my local Publix, along with self-help, popular romance novels, etc. Not many takers for Beck–it is a progressive neighborhood. But I was fascinated by the “fascist chic” costume he wears for the cover photo. My opinion is that this is a boy who loves dress-up.

  • Clem Guttata

    Another lily-white crowd at a conservative book-signing op. Therein lies to the path to a permanent minority political party.
    I wonder what kind of welcome Bobby Jindal, Michael Steele or Marco Rubio would get walking up to that line?

  • g

    they ought to do bus races.

  • tekel

    I came here to say what Clem done said already. Nice diversity in that crowd there. We got fat bald white guy, old white guy, fat white guy, angry bearded sunburned white guy, extra-pale fat white guy, plain-vanilla white guy, buzzcut and shorts white guy, aaaaaand… a bunch of old white chicks, but who cares about them because women can’t vote anyway.
    wait, what? I thought “suffrage” meant legalized prostitution!

  • Aurora

    Baby-faced pouting Facist white-guy?
    is this the entertainment side of Mr. Beck, or the information side?
    And how does his (Mormon) religion feed his conservative cant?
    who deregulated the news? how did we let an Australian gnome ruin our democratic process?

  • nordmend

    fat-ism is one of the last “socially acceptable” cheap shots, but it’s still a cheap shot. people get fat for a lot of reasons, including being poor, or being raised on eating crap, or medical reasons, or just not knowing any better. or just being ignorant gluttons, of course.

  • nordmend

    i’m drawn to the pedestrian crossing sign. it’s sorta like the stick figure guy is “cutting across the current”, walking over the crowd. like those border collies do with sheep, running across their backs.
    don’t know how far i can take this analogy, but the stick figure is the only one in the photo who looks like they have a purpose, a goal. everyone else is milling about, like, uh, sheep, or, uh, cattle in a chute…

  • ratfood

    These are people who have bought into the theory that Caucasians and Christians are persecuted in America. The fact that a few of them must be at least semi-literate is surprising. My guess is a lot of them purchased the book but are planning to wait until they can see the movie.

  • yg

    100 year plans?
    beck wants to take back the country a 100 years.
    somebody tell glenn we have to go back further than that in order to make slavery legal again.

  • DennisQ

    There’s a large sector of the population that has been unaware of the growth of governmental power over the past say, fifteen years. This growth didn’t start with September 11th, which accelerated a trend that was already underway. But now that the government is out of their hands, they’re freaking out about the growth of government.
    Were any of these people aware that provisions of the Patriot Act were over-reaching? Since it didn’t immediately affect them, they didn’t stand up for the liberty that they now hold sacrosanct. All it took to bring these people out of their living rooms was the realization that the government’s power could also be used against them.
    It astounds me that these are the same people who signed off on the excesses of the War on Terror. They never even batted an eye! Now that they may have to pay for someone else’s health care, why, it’s an outrage! Let’s bring back the spirit of the American Revolution.

  • pwapvt

    impressions aren’t the same in migrating from the book tour to the campaign caravan, the pretense of show business finally tossed under the bus.
    That’s what I worry about. The complete absence of irony among the fans. Here is a man railing against fascism (this week) dressed as a fascist. wtf? If he presents himself, and his screed, as a way to ‘take america back’ (see Larry Wilmore on the Daily Show for more one that) he’s getting closer to the uber race crap than anyone should allow to happen just because it’s show-biz.
    I think we as a country, need to take this guy seriously as a force for nothing good. He’s tapped into a virulent form of rage that is deeply held by many of the same people who deeply hold their guns. At some point what Beck does becomes incitement to violence. Someone is going to be killed by one of his red shirted followers. and he will shrug and say, “I never told them to do that.”

  • sbgypsy

    The way the Times describes what he wants to do – it sounds alot like the “Get Motivated” thing that Bush just attended. Maybe Beck is aiming to do it backward – seminar to president.

  • Johnson

    Odds on him having a field day with this story?
    Doctor tells patient to get a job and lose weight:

  • Ryan

    I seriously am starting to believe Glenn Beck is a modern-day Andy Kaufman. Red shirts? 100-year plans? Crying about Communism? That book cover? It’s all too much. There can only be so much coincidence and stupidity until Beck starts to look really, really smart – like a movie so bad it’s incredible, Beck is growing on me. Not for his juvenile political analysis or his idiotic theatrics, but because the whole thing feels like a marvelously well-planned joke and I’m excited for the reveal.

  • yg

    who knew teabaggers were maoists too?

  • Lord Phosphorus

    The image of “fat” will forever be equated with dumb/stupid/redneck no matter what the reason behind it is.

  • Samantha

    Observing the glaring sun and palm trees, I thought, wait is that Florida, where I live? Yep – The Villages, same enclave Sarah visited. Central and northern fla has always been heavy with the democraphic in the photo – because who else would be stuck in the middle of a beach state, away from any beach whatsoever, far from metro south fla, other than folks born there or retired there. Even more so now, as SoFla becomes costly and crowded, there’s a flight to those towns. (They have avoided not only the crowds, but the hispanics and haitians as well.) Perfect place for a Palin or Beck tour.
    I wonder what that black bus really represents, though. Is it the emergance of a new class of pundit/politician? A symbol of the total collapse of the republican party? A bus-fueled splinter group destined for creation of a third party? A new influx of “community organizers?” (Beck’s words, not mine).
    There is a lot of road between now and 2012. By then, the extremists will have either completed their takeover of a major political party, or else “gone rogue” as a separate entity.

  • Robin Lee
    No laughing matter folks. These people are real and at the risk of sounding alarmist (which I am) are psychologically programmed to wage war on everyone and everything that doesn’t align with their worldview. The link is to a book by Bob Altemeyer about the folks who follow, and enable, authoritarians. Just like what Beck imagines himself being.

  • Rafael

    Which fits with Glenn uniform, which comes right from the Eastern Side of the Iron Curtain circa 1960.

  • fitley

    It’s not a laughing matter but I can’t help but laugh. This is what moves them. Moves them more than Metamucil. More than prunes. Glenn is more inspiring than pie. When your goal in life is to meet Glenn, what exactly is your life. Look at the shape of their heads. Look at the way they dress. It’s not their fault. Before Glenn they had nothing. Now they have a funny looking noise-maker to hold their short attention span. Their hero can sign their depends. He can pat them on the head and give them a cookie. He’s not scary like those colored folks.

  • tinwoman

    Ugh. First the penis-tongue photo (which I cannot believe that TIME actually published, and I still believe it was photoshopped to look like that) and now Beck dressed up as a Nazi. From where I live in Germany, such a stunt would be impossible: he would be arrested (yes, I know it’s not a real Nazi uniform, just a Nazi looking one). This guy makes my teeth hurt; can’t someone just let him drift away?

  • Mud

    Speaking of morons, Aurora…he’s a libertarian. kinda different then a conservative…Try watching with your own eyes instead of listening to ppl with an agenda to take him down at stop free speech.

  • Mud

    Yeah, I totally remember that public vote for the war on terror… And Beck was screaming about the Patriot Act back then, and about spending, and about Bush, and about our freedoms…and if you used your own eyes and ears, instead of relying on a “journalist” with an agenda, you might have known that.

Refresh Archives

Random Notes