I've probably written and rewritten this opening paragraph about Glenn Beck and his morning zoo sycophantic sidekick Pat Gray four or five times with various sequences of compound obscenities and ad hominem insults. But I'm opting for more restraint at this point, even though neither of these jackals deserves it. Especially so, considering their latest hand-in-hand plunge into all new depths of awfulness.
By now, you've probably heard the news about Gene Cranick and his family, and how the South Fulton, Tennessee fire department stood by and allowed the Cranick house to burn to the ground, destroying everything and killing the family's dogs and cats. All because the Cranicks failed to pay a $75 fee. While a raging brush fire neared his home, Cranick begged the fire chief to stop the fire before it engulfed his house. He even offered to immediately pay the $75 fee, but the chief refused and the house burned to the ground.
As a survivor of two house fires (technically, one was a gas explosion) my heart goes out to the Cranicks and the nightmare they're enduring today. But my own experiences are incidental -- you don't have to have survived a pair of house fires to recognize the unapologetic callousness of Beck and his squishy Quatto-from-Total-Recall parasitic twin Pat Gray.
Here's what happened.
Yesterday on his radio show, Beck and Gray not only defended the fire department's refusal to save the Cranick's house, but they also accused Cranick of "sponging" off his neighbors -- all the while mocking and ridiculing Cranick's rural accent. Courtesy of ThinkProgress, here's the clip:
And the takeaway quote from Beck:
If you don't pay the 75 dollars then that hurts the fire department. They can't use those resources, and you'd be sponging off your neighbor's resources.
That's right. A matter of days after losing everything they owned, including their home, their pets, family photographs -- everything -- and all because of a delinquent $75 fee, Gene Cranick and his family were excoriated, scolded and teased by multimillionaire celebrity televangelist Glenn Beck in front of a radio audience estimated at upwards of 10 million listeners.
Gray is real pip, too, isn't he? I'm trying to figure out why it's especially hilarious to do an impersonation of Cranick. Although it's easy to understand why Gray thought it would be funny to go there -- mainly because Gray is the deep-voiced equivalent of the late Bruno Kirby's comedy-impaired "Lt. Hauk" character from Good Morning, Vietnam. Talking in a silly voice is so funny. Doesn't matter who or why. It's a silly voice, after all. That crazy rube and his burned down house. Mock-worthy! Crowd pleaser. If I may, a brief comedy lesson for Pat Gray here. Generally, when actual funny people mock someone's accent or voice, it's because the mockee has done something awful or bizarre enough to deserve the mockery. Someone in a position of authority, perhaps. Who's next in your madcap repertoire of voices, Pat? Stroke victims? Cancer patients? Abused homeless children? Whoever it is, I bet it'll be comedy gold. One for the "Best of Pat Gray" showreel.
Back to Beck himself. It takes a truly brave man to aim high and take on a defenseless working class family whose entire world was just destroyed over a $75 fee. What kind of a man hectors and pillories an average, innocent American family during their darkest hour and in front of 10 million radio listeners, all for the sake of ratings, personal profit and a few super-cheap laughs? Not a serious man. Not a "man" at all, in fact. Certainly not a man of integrity or honor -- or a man of God, as he so regularly claims to be. Really courageous, this Glenn Beck guy. What a hero.
As unforgivable and shocking as it might be, it's all part of an ongoing thread among far-right radio hosts, cable news talkers and wingnut bloggers. They can't seem to distinguish between actual targets and noncombatants, and generally believe that anyone and everyone is fair game. The creepy stalking and swift-boating of 12-year-old coma victim Graeme Frost, for example. Or a private school in Northern Virginia that was targeted by Beck on his TV show as a facility for "terrorist indoctrination." Or when broader wingnuttia went after those kids who sang a song about President Obama. Or all the times when Bill O'Reilly has stalked and accosted school officials. Or the time when Fox News Channel targeted and exposed a 12-year-old girl who dared to ask the president a question at a town hall.
Nothing like going after the hard targets, guys. The big names. The real killers. The evildoers.
Beck, Gray and the others are hyenas. Scavengers. Bottom-feeders who routinely wield the power of the most-viewed cable news network and one of the world's biggest entertainment multinational corporations to attack children and house fire victims. But I suppose they'll continue to do so as long as there are advertisers to sponsor their hard-hitting investigations of $75 delinquents. Though I'm not sure how mocking fire victims is good for branding and sales, but okay. As long as they can sleep at night knowing what brand of crap their products are associated with.
Somehow I still hear from people who insist that if we just ignore Glenn Beck, he'll go away. He won't. So while he's broadcasting such nonsense in the guise of this ridiculous googly-eyed character he's playing, we have no choice but to be tenacious about calling him on his awfulness, especially given the size of his audience. Meanwhile, when the karma for this Cranick bit comes back around to Beck, we can only hope it stings and itches.
Okay, fine. So my attempt at restraint wasn't so successful.
Follow Bob Cesca on Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobcesca_go