Glenn Beck makes me laugh. Not because he’s got a stand-up routine that he does when not holding forth on Fox News. Nor am I referring to his on-air shenanigans from when he was a morning show DJ. No, Beck’s humor is more of the kind where you go, “dude, did he REALLY just say that? I mean, even the people who THINK that don’t actually SAY it.”
I also draw no end of amusement from his ridiculous conspiracy theories. On a recent trip to Utah I was was watching TV with my brother. We were flipping through the channels and Eric turned on Fox News (he gets all the comedy stations I guess). Well Beck gets started and his first joke was great: he told his viewers that Obama plans to raise the minimum wage because he wants to run small businesses out of business, thereby taking much-needed jobs away from African-American young people. Why would the President of the United States want to systematically kill small business and take jobs away from young black men? The answer, Beck tells us while stifling a guffaw, is that Obama wants to FORCE young people into volunteer programs like AmeriCorps where they’ll be compelled to work FOR THE GOVERNMENT for FREE. I swear I laughed so hard I nearly fell out of my chair. I mean, this was good stuff. I can just imagine it:
“Hey Marcus, you got a job this summer?”
“No man, I can’t find work cause the Federal Government raised minimum wage to $45 an hour, plus dental.”
“Ah, damn it! Why the Fed gotta be all up in KFC’s grill like that? Well, you wanna go hang out, maybe watch some TV, play some ball?”
“Naw, I’m gonna go sign up for AmeriCorps. I mean, what else am I going to do?”
I don’t think Eric got the joke, however, because he wasn’t laughing and he changed the channel.
Now look, I like to be entertained, and someone who can make me laugh like Beck doesn’t come along every day. But what I didn’t realize was that there’s a dark side to Beck’s humor. No, I’m not just talking about the man’s predilection for bursting into tears (he is SO good at that. I swear, every once in a while I think he’s being sincere). Rather, I guess some people out there are taking him seriously. One lady even Rambo’d a military base because she thought it was one of Beck’s “FEMA camps.” Ha ha, boy did she get fooled. I bet she was laughing all the way to the detention cell and saying to herself: “ah, that Beck. He’s such a kidder. He got me good.”
Even more alarming, however, is the news that some advertisers didn’t realize that when Glenn Beck called President Obama a racist, he was clearly just making a joke, and they’ve subsequently pulled their ads from his show. Come on, how hyper sensitive can you get? You think that a WHITE national TV personality would be so insensitive as to SERIOUSLY call the black President of the United States a racist? I mean, the irony is so think that it’s ridiculous. This kind of disrespectful and irreverent insensitivity happens on South Park and HBO stand-up specials all day long and I don’t see anyone pulling ads from those shows. I just don’t get it. Don’t they know that Glenn Beck is a joke? err, tells jokes?
But look, I don’t want to be selfish here. Yes, I would like to keep Beck around so that he can amuse me with his latest conspiracy theories, or shock me with his total disregard for reason, logic, common sense or tact. But I’m ready to sacrifice for my country. I am willing for Glenn Beck to be taken off the air if it means that people will stop taking him seriously and stop painting swastikas on African-American congressmen’s offices. I’m not so self-centered that I think my amusement is worth more than a civil society that is reasoned and informed by facts, not hyperbolic nuttery. I know, I know, I should strap on my Colt .45 and demand my right to laugh at Beck, but there comes a time when we all have to dig a little deeper, give a little more, and emulate those patriots who “more than self their country loved.” If what my country demands of me is that Beck get thrown off the air, then that’s a sacrifice I’m ready to make.
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