March 12, 2010

The New BDS (Beck Derangement Syndrome): He wants to talk about chalktalks but... he.... just.... CAN'T... control... himself...


Jim Linderman has a nice little collection of interesting books and blogs on vintage sleaze, old time religion, and other charming but harmless subjects. In general I enjoy them. But every so often he just loses it. I think he goes to "Media Matters" for his latest information and that infection may explain his current attack of BDS. Watch as his little red choo-choo comes right off the rails:

One of the most basic and rudimentary forms of visual communication and often used to influence children (and by Glenn Beck, his unsophisticated, vulnerable viewing audience who votes) chalk talks have been directing and developing damaged minds since a charcoal stick could mark a wall.... The whole concept of presenting visual information on a simple black board to inform, trick and convince is visual propaganda. In fact, it may be the secret history of propaganda. Using humor, skill in rendering, confusing slight of hand and deception, the chalk taker also develops a convincing patter to go along with the images. At least Glenn Beck hasn't developed that...being a blithering bloated bag of confused wind...but he's resurrected the art, and even his amateur, pathetic version of the skill has convinced some to believe in things against their best interests...a testimony to the power of the chalk art.... -- Dull Tool Dim Bulb: The ART of Chalk Talk Forgotten form of Propaganda

I think it's nice when an acronym ("BDS" -- "Bush Derangement Syndrome") gains new life even though the original root of the acronym is no longer, er, "operative." So the "Bush" in "BDS" is out and the "Beck" is in. Excellent. We will have "BDS" to kick around a little longer. The great thing, as seen this last week, is that Glenn Beck BDS is even more powerful than George Bush BDS. BeckDS it seems has the power to suck in both ends of the political spectrum.

Without going into the whole sordid mess-o-links, I note that Beck has been getting slammed from both the right and the left in the last week. It seems Mr. Beck did a show where he got it "wrong" about Geert Wilders, the Dutch politician. In general I support and admire Wilders and his efforts to turn back the rising tide of the imposition of Muslim sharia in Holland and Europe. I also detest the various moves afoot in Europe to silence Wilders. But Wilders is also one of the land mines in blogging and you step on him at your peril. And step on him Beck did with predictable results by labeling him as a fascist. By making what was most likely a deeply uninformed conclusion, Beck created a firestorm of BDS launched at him from the right instead of the left. Sort of refreshing, really, to see the brickbats coming at Beck from a new direction.

Of course, taken in any kind of reasonable context, the Wilders gaff was unimportant in the overall effect Beck is having on the American mind. About this Roger L. Simon seems to his the right note with, "Beck's criticism of Wilders is pretty dismissible since the populist TV commentator does not appear particularly versed in European affairs."

Taken all in all, I'd give Beck (with all his theatrics, props, goofy mannerisms, etc.) a big string of gold stars on his Permanent Conduct Record. Add them all up and Beck is a large net positive in the ideological battle for the soul of the country. At the same time, he's got to crank out a couple hours of radio every day and an hour of television as well as tours and other specials. The man works hard and is rewarded well. He should be granted slack but, of course, there's very little slack to be had in today's political environment. From the BDS of Linderman above to the BDS erupting from the right everyone seems to be on a very short fuse these days.

I don't blame them. My fuse gets sparked every day about twenty times during the first cup of coffee reading the news. It's hard to leave the BDS to the colonized minds of the left but I try. I have to keep reminding myself, like Jules in Pulp Fiction, that while "I'm the tyranny of evil men, I'm tryin', Ringo. I'm tryin' real hard to be the shepherd."

Posted by Vanderleun at March 12, 2010 11:51 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

I love Beck, he was in no small part responsible for me marching on DC last Sept. with the rest of the Nazis. But lately I find myself tuning him out and turning him off, more and more. I get tired of him talking down to me and also his constant mostly unsubstantiated “the Right is just as bad as the Left” as he gets done ripping policies and politicians on the Left for and hour or more.

He’ll tell us all how bad everything is, that our Republic is going DOWN (which I don’t necessarily disagree with) that we’ll soon be living under communism, then he’ll inform us that we shouldn’t even entertain the thought of any type of opposition outside of peaceful voting.

Lastly, I can’t even remember the last time he bothered to talk about Muslim Jihadist, like that threat as ceased to exist.

Posted by: tim at March 12, 2010 1:30 PM

Dear Mr. Vanderleun: Beck is the mirror image of John McCain, and for the same reasons. McC has done many good things for this nation, but on balance is a net nagative (yes, I meant that last word.) Lord Birkenhead's comment on Winston Churchill applies to both men: "Winston was often right, but when he was wrong, well, my God." My Godding is standard issue for both men. But the sweet goes with the bitter: Beck's assaults on Left frauds and quacks are magnificent.

Perhaps another metaphor might help: if Beck invited you to his house for dinner, it's even money that when the door opened:

a) he'd greet you with a smile, a beer, saying "Come on in!" or

b) he'd greet you with a gun, a big savage dog, bawling, "Call the police!"

Let Beck enjoy his well earned rewards. I'll keep my distance, applauding from time to time.

Sincerely yours,
Gregory Koster

Posted by: Gregory Koster at March 12, 2010 4:09 PM

As a law clerk for a state court judge I quickly learned that when a lawyer was making the issue something confusing, that lawyer had no real argument and was trying to snow the judge. As a lawyer for the state of Michigan I keep that lesson in mind - keep the arguments easy to grasp, do not drop a thirty pound paper 'sleeping pill' on anyone's desk. All you do is tick off the judge's clerk and the judge.

State the issue and the argument in clear language, so that it is readily grasped, and you are well on your way to winning.

Mr. Beck, using his chalkboard, makes his points readily accessible - that is the opposite of propaganda. That is just good persuasive argument. Why is it not either white or black propaganda (as practitioners term it)? Because the argument is plainly put forth and can be plainly refuted. Attacking the messenger and not refuting the message is just another snow-job.

Posted by: Mikey NTH at March 12, 2010 4:27 PM

Mikey NTH:


Posted by: Rob De Witt at March 12, 2010 4:44 PM

Mikey. Nailed it.

Posted by: Cathy at March 12, 2010 6:01 PM

Beck, and Hannity as well, spend far too many hours in two demanding mediums simultaneously--tv and radio--plus all the prep which is required of that; add tours, books, and personal appearances, and there is not enough life left away from the grind to reflect and evolve. That leaves them vulnerable to being stuck or detoured when even their own audience is not.
But still, the Beck take on Wilders is surprisingly stupid. He can join Krauthammer on that one. Nobody's perfect, except Vanderleun, and maybe Yogi Berra.

Posted by: james wilson at March 12, 2010 7:05 PM

I actually used to enjoy Lindeman's site; enough to include his RSS feed in my daily blogroll, anyway. But after sliding around in his foam-splattered post about Beck I had to pull the plug.
Jimmy just had a good year marketing his hobby, so his head may be a little big just now. With any luck he'll find a shoebox of old prayer cards, settle down and give his spleen a bit of a break. Or maybe even grow up!
Now there's a thought.

Posted by: Mal at March 12, 2010 7:08 PM

As an aside:

When I was going up for my first argument at the Michigan Court of Appeals I did a 'moot court' with (a) the Solicitor General, (b) his assistant, (c) the head of Appeals, and (d) my supervisor in my division. The Solicitor General asked me a question - and after an eternity of almost six* seconds - I said that I did not know that answer.

*That can be an eternity when you are standing at the lectern, I was a substitute teacher once, I know.

The SG complimented me afterward for admitting that I didn't know and for not trying to make something up. That SG is now retired, but he was very well-respected and I keep his advice in mind: know your case, but if a question is asked and you do not know that answer just say 'I am sorry, your honor; but I don't know the answer to that question'. At that point being candid is best - besides, your best arguments ought to be in the brief that you filed, the brief that the judges and their clerks have already read.

Please forgive me; I get wordy. My excuse is that my entire profession depends upon words.

Posted by: Mikey NTH at March 12, 2010 7:35 PM

I didn't hear Beck's comments about Wilders. I've been listening to Beck on the radio for the last 3-4 years, but I only hear about 10-15 minutes a day when I'm on break at work. I don't see his TV show because I'm still at work when it first airs. It is rerun late at night but by then I'm either in bed or online. I have pretty much gotten out of the habit of watching TV.

Despite that, he has become on of my favorite talk radio hosts. His area of focus is on leftism and the Progressive movement in the United States. He is putting out invaluable information that no one else in the media is addressing. Just today I heard him say, "Do the research for yourself. Read the Progressive books and websites and learn what they say in their own words. I will never tell you to just take my word for it."

It's true that he rarely mentions Europe and Islam. He was out of his depth regarding Wilders and should have refrained from commenting. But Beck is correct in focusing on the left rather than Islam as the greatest threat to America. I long ago came to the conclusion that Western Civilization will never be able to defeat Islam until we first defeat the left and its culture of self-hatred.

Posted by: rickl at March 12, 2010 10:04 PM

Fecklessness about hard facts from national opinion makers like Beck & Friends on the subject of Wilders is Viagra for the OIC and assorted authoritarian wannabes.

yea, I've got BDS. Bullshit Decoding Syndrome.

Posted by: Mizz E at March 13, 2010 8:56 AM