Glenn Beck should accept a pat on the back, take the money, and run

I have commented here and there that I have misgivings about Glenn Beck. It is true that he has done some vital heavy lifting in exposing the radical infrastructure of the Obama administration, work that no one anywhere in the big media seemed willing to do. My hat is off to him for doing that. It took guts, and character.

But there is something wrong with Glenn Beck. I’m not saying that he is unfit to continue on as a celebrated talk radio and TV host, but there is a goofy factor in his personality that he indulges, and incidents of said indulgence have a way of accumulating against the wall of the important material he wants to deal with. What I don’t like is when the goofy (not the funny; he has a great sense of humor) and fatally unserious side of his act begin to taint the very serious subject matter that he takes on.

“Oh, that sounds like Glenn Beck” could become a standard dismissal of hard, substantive fact.

This isn’t a worry about him having a little fun, holding up the red phone, or doing his fantastic pipe-smoking liberal intellectual impersonation. What concerns me is the maudlin and too-often teary-eyed pile of mush and the come-on-into-the-carnival-tent pitchman for himself, just two of the handful of unsettling modalities of the Beck persona. Such interludes cause me to ask myself as a viewer just how far I or anyone should go with Beck.

There are also matters where, despite his cautioning that he sincerely hopes he is wrong, he rattles on with a particular edge of catastrophic fear-mongering that does not so much fail to look dangerous situations in the eyes as it does to look them in the eye through an increasingly blurry lens.

I like Beck. I don’t think that he’s unstable or living a paranoid delusion. But I think that these streaks of unseriousness, if that’s the best word, are going to take his listeners and watchers along with him to the margins.

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