Glenn Beck's original shtick was fairly ordinary for the talk-radio/cable-news formats: a regular-guy everyman, Joe Six-Pack, if you will, thoroughly unendowed with rhetorical gifts, genially befuddled by the actions of The Government. Gee whiz things just weren't the way they usedta be, etc. But somewhere along the way, the fillings in his molars began picking up transmissions from Betelgeuse, and now he spends most of his time explaining how the Messcans are attempting to immanentize the Eschaton and that the Baby Jesus inscribed the Constitution on seven tablets of gold and buried them on Mt. Vernon where Joseph Smith discovered them in the year 1492.
Playing a developmentally disabled Howard Beale, oddly enough, has not improved Beck's ratings, but it has attracted some amusing hold-out, hold-on fans, like Professor of Victory Studies, Donald Douglas, who prophesies:
I mentioned what I saw as frightening left-wing craziness and moral breakdown across the land, and I said off-hand that we needed to dig in our heels and fight the Obama hordes who are nationalizing everything. I suggested that we could have Democrats in power for two terms or more, and the total breakdown of society wasn't that far-fetched. Oh sure, we'd still have constitutional democracy, but America would be different.Different meaning abortions and gays, needless to say. There is, however, a charming, Weekly-World-News quality of the Apocalypse receding endlessly at fixed distance from the observer. TOTAL COLLAPSE OF CIVILIZATION! But "still a constitutional democracy," of course. Perhaps "partial breakdown of circumscribed portions of society" might be more appropriate, even if it does lack that certain Revelatory je ne sais quoi.
It occurs to me that the survivalist fantasias of today's lazy suburban conservatives are the contemporary counterpart to Leary's old adage: turn on, tune in, drop out--far more so than any attribute of the hipster assumed-inheritors of the counterculture. A few really will arm up and make for the deep woods to await to coming anarchy. The rest, the equivalent of concert-and-weekend acid dosers, will buy a handgun and put a couple hundred bucks worth of canned goods in the basement beside the Nordic Track.