Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 575, June 20, 2010

"The Internet is the collective
consciousness of the human race"

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The Old Funny Men
by Rob Sandwell

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Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

I saw someone post this video on the internet this week.

It is a video of Glenn Beck playing a song about Obama being a kind of socialist messiah.

That guy is so far off the deep end at this point that it's not even sad anymore.

I used to really enjoy his programs and listened to a lot of talk radio, his and others. It is alright with me that those guys bill themselves as entertainers, and to some degree I still find humor in some of their work. Just as I still do in that of John Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

But there comes as point where entertainer becomes court jester, and then it's just not funny anymore.

I believe that Mr. Beck really does hold many of the positions he believes in, but at this point he's become such a caricature of himself and those like him, that he no longer serves any appreciable purpose, either to freedom and liberty, or as a villain for those who would destroy it.

It's not even any one thing. This, alone, could be called satire, or poor comedy. It's not particularly harmful or offensive, but it's not terrible funny either. It just kinda is.

I think what's happened is that these guys had a stranglehold on selling political opinion. And for a long time it made them rich, and their political friends effective. And here I don't just mean Beck. I'm including Hannity and Rush and Boortz and Savage and lots of others. But now there's something hipper. Something newer. Guys like Colbert and Stewart and things like the internet and social networking have broken that monopoly.

They're just no longer as effective as they were, and in time, their income will begin to reflect that.

So they push the envelope. They get sillier. They make increasingly outlandish claims. And it keeps getting them attention, and that's really all they need to survive. But it started to become the same kind of attention we give Amy Winehouse and Terrell Owens a long time ago. Sure, they're creative and talented. They're good at what they do.

But we really only care anymore because they're crazy.

And after a while, crazy gets old. It may still be crazy, but there will be someone younger and dumber and more crazy any day now, and then you just used to be good.

And that's where I feel these guys have taken it. They aren't a political rallying point, they only attract the extremists who can't manipulate the center. I don't support democracies, but that's how they work. And as the usefulness of these "entertainers" in promoting their own brand of "freedom" declines, so does their use to the enemy. It's just not worth attacking old men for their silly beliefs. They aren't changing minds anyway.

I really don't think these guys have much longer. In part because I think there's too much competition due to the internet for "not terribly funny" to be a viable business model. Also because I think we're headed for the greatest global economic collapse in the history of mankind. And I think these guys have enough friends in politics that they know that too.

So what you're seeing now is really just desperation. Just like everyone else, these guys want to grab as much as they can before the door slams shut. So Glenn Beck will do whatever insane thing he can think of to get a few more viewers, listeners, subscribers, and Media Matters will throw every one of those crazy things on their site for the same damn reason. They both drive attention to each other, and they both get rich. Good thing we have this system of oppositional democracy to keep everybody honest.

If you need him crying, he'll cry. If you need him associating with Nazis, he'll find a reason to do so that he can sell to his base. Oh, and Media Matters, maybe you could pick on some completely innocuous comment completely out of context so he can do a quick attack piece on you. Should sell a few more tv adverts. Quid pro quo.

Expect a lot more desperation before the end. These guys will keep getting more outlandish all the way up to the fall, at which point they'll probably be dancing naked and covered in blood. Things are going to get real weird as the richest people in the world see their fortunes, and their control, disappear like dust in the wind. Look at the lack of perspective they're already displaying. Obama the messiah? Hardly. He's just the next guy. Probably not the last guy.

You have to really try to get offended by this stuff at this point. I know people have their religious beliefs and that they mean a lot to them. But who really thinks he meant it? Who really thinks the people he was making fun of meant it? Really? I mean, maybe a few people way, way out on the fringe, with no connection to reality. But no one with any grasp on the present really thinks Obama is a physical incarnation of their God sent here to deliver man from the grip of sin. Say it out loud. It's insane.

So this is all cartoon stuff. He's saying the craziest things he can come up with, then they call him crazy, and everyone stares and points, and then they ratchet it up for next week's program.

But who cares? I mean really? And of those few people who do, who cares about them? They aren't changing anything, for better or for worse. They're upset because Beck made a bad joke about God or Obama or both. If that's their biggest motivating concern, I think we can safely count them out.

It's coming. And things like this just point out how quickly it's coming. This sort of ridiculous behavior in the political arena tells you all you need to know about the future of global statism. Politics is at least arguably the most important issue in our world today. In the lives of close to seven billion people, all it takes to grant fortune or famine is one political decision. One election, one law. And the people who are paid to sway that powerful force are arguing about bad jokes.

Even if I was completely wrong about the future economic collapse, and in many ways I hope I am, can you see any way such a system could survive? When the barrel of the gun swings this way or that on the advice of players and fools?

I do not shed a tear for the death of the state, though I may shed many before it is done. But there are far more productive ways to spend our time than listening to men like Glenn Beck, regardless of their political stripe. In the eyes of history, it will not be the song, nor the video, nor the article either which will stand out to those who follow us.

What they will see is a massive period of slaughter and rape, marked always and everywhere by the presence of statism. And then an immediate cessation of that behavior the instant man healed himself of this disease.

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