Sure, the feature story is titled "Mad Men: Is Glenn Beck Bad For America?" and questions whether having a pudgy, unstable man who sports a buzz cut and weeps on prime-time television as the spokesman of the conservative movement is the best move. But what really matters here is that Glenn Beck is gracing newsstands and coffee tables around the nation. Yay!
"As melodrama, it's thumping good stuff," author David Von Drehle writes. "But as politics, it's sort of a train wreck -- at once powerful, spellbinding and uncontrolled."
Von Drehle adds:
Extreme talk, especially as practiced by a genuine talent like Beck, squeezes maximum profit from a relatively small, deeply invested audience...The more the host is criticized, the more committed the original audience becomes. And the more committed the audience, the bigger target it presents to the rant industry on the other side of the spectrum... How can we trust each other, though, when the integrated economy of ranters and their delighted-to-be-outraged critics are such a model of profitability? A microphone, a camera and a polarizing host is all it takes to get the money moving.
Who needs trust when you've got a 45-year-old jokester and recovering alcoholic Mormon convert with ADHD named Glenn Beck to show you the way?
And the man is on a roll. Over the last month, the tireless efforts of this blue-eyed Messiah helped bring down one of the president's evil green jobs czars, motivated thousands of conservatives to turn peaceful town hall debates into Nazi rallies and helped make the September 12 march on Washington a shining Teabagger success and prime example of everything that's demented about this country.
Which is why it is so great for society that a citizen as genuine and wise as Glenn Beck be rewarded for his patriotic efforts calling the President a racist and getting people to scream like madmen by having his adorable mug grace the cover of one of America's most prominent news magazines.
Talk about milestones! Now, not only is it possible for a black man to be elected President of the US of A, it is also possible for a middle-aged man with the intelligence of a retarded monkey to stick out his tongue on the cover of TIME and still be taken seriously by an entire political movement.
I guess America really is the land of opportunity!
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