Glenn Beck Unveils His Next Nutty Idea to His Followers at His Summer Gathering: I'm the Man in the Moon
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"I don't even want my name on my books anymore," said Beck. "My name has been good for you guys, but bad for reaching the bigger populace. I play the moon in this, and when they came to me with the prosthetics, and they said, 'what do you want the moon to look like,' and I said, 'just not me.'" ... That's why I'm building the American Dream Labs, to try to get into the entertainment space as well. News is one thing, but news and elections is the last stop. Culture and entertainment are the first stop."
Beck's professed interest in branding plastic surgery, if not the witness protection program, is overstated. But he's clearly chewing on the conundrum of how to undo the damage of past self-inflicted wounds. How else to see his recent uncharacteristic public apology for "divisive" rhetoric? The fact that Beck's heightened image consciousness comes against a backdrop of enormous success suggests the scale of his plans. His new network, the Blaze, beat the odds; it is profitable and growing. His multiple revenue streams pulled in a reported $90 million last year, landing Beck 34th on Forbes' Celebrity 100.
All of which has whetted Beck's ambition and inflamed his lifelong dream of achieving an All-American, no-asterisks level of cultural prominence. As Beck climbed the ranks of talk radio and cable news, he was always thinking ahead, using each platform to build up and out. Successful radio and TV shows might satisfy a dutiful GOP caddy like Sean Hannity, but they could never be the endgame for a man who sees himself as a once-in-a-generation visionary and God-chosen talent with a destiny in the American pantheon. American Dream Labs is Beck's stealth bomber, designed to avoid tripping liberal media radar and penetrate deep into mainstream America -- that massive untapped market comprised of what he calls "the bigger populace."
If Beck is serious about repositioning himself to build a new Disney or Dream Works, he may want to ponder a line from his grandmother that he likes to quote: "Show me a person's friends, and I'll show you their future."
"Man in the Moon" hinted at Beck's ability to create politically bland and commercially viable mainstream entertainment products, the scenes found in the lecture halls and conference rooms of the Grand America was something else entirely. The weekend's educational component featured Beck's usual gang of anti-gay clergy, free-market ideologues, and evangelical propagandists.
If Beck is serious about communicating with the rest of America, he'll first need to understand why rabid homophobes like his friend Rev. Ken Hutcherson, an African American preacher who fought for civil rights in the 1960s, isn't widely viewed as a "civil rights hero" for our time. Hutcherson also probably isn't the confidante Beck needs to help him navigate contemporary realities of race and racism. This was obvious last week during the "Beck Unplugged" event, when a woman from San Diego noted the blazing whiteness of the ballroom and asked Beck how limited-government conservatives could diversify the ethnic mix of their movement. After fumbling for a few minutes, Beck responded by quoting Hutcherson, who once told him, "'You white people kill me. You're all being discriminated against, and you think it's privilege... And all the black people and all the brown people... everyone is just trying to get one from somebody else."
To recap, white privilege is a myth, and people of color are social parasites.
That this answer passed without challenge goes far toward explaining why words like "Republican," "conservative," and "Tea Party" carry negative connotations for most Americans, black and brown ones especially. The subject of overcoming the limitations of lexicon filled two lectures in Salt Lake by K. Carl Smith, who addressed overflow crowds in the Tea Party Express room. Smith's specialty is messaging conservative politics in the black communities, where the baggage plaguing words like "Republican" isn't all that different from the baggage weighing down "Glenn Beck." Smith's solution for GOP victory is similar to Beck's answer for growing his new company: Stop using the word.