You know where the phrase "jumping the shark" originates, right? It's from the episode of Happy Days where Fonzie, wearing his leather jacket and some swim trunks, jumps over a confined shark with a pair of water skis. As Wikipedia explains, the phrase originally referred to TV shows whose desperation for ratings leads them to indulge stunts that underscore their having "lost it."
Well, Glenn Beck is hardly desperate for ratings -- yet -- but on his Fox News show yesterday, he jumped an entire school of Great Whites with Pinky Tuscadero on his shoulders.
He devoted an entire 14-minute-plus rant to depicting the Obama White House as being like Al Capone and his gang of thugs in The Untouchables, bashing people's heads in with baseball bats. And to illustrate the point, he waved about a big wooden Louisville Slugger and affected a tough-guy gangster voice, all to depict the administration as a bunch of petty thugs who threaten their opponents.
Because it was so long, I've divided it into two parts, just to preserve the whole thing for posterity. I want to be able to tell my grandchildren that yes, your grandpappy was alive when the most popular man on TV could rant for a quarter-hour that the president was a violent thug, while himself wielding a big baseball bat and urging his audience to take action.
There is something profoundly creepy about all this. I know that, on the surface, Beck appears to just be depicting what he sees as the underlying thuggery of the Obama administration. But there is something suggestive of a call to retaliatory violence in this rant, especially when he calls his troops to action.
Oh yeah, just for good measure, Beck returns a little later with the same theme, with a photoshop of Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, as Capone. Beck explains that the White House is in the process of destroying our freedoms. Which ones? Welllll ...
Beck runs through a checklist:
Freedom of speech
Freedom of the press
Right to work
Right to profit
Right to make medical choices
Right to assemble
In the delusional world that is Planet Beck, Obama is attacking all of these rights. For instance, the "right to work" is under assault by labor unions. Health-care reform attacks your right to make medical choices. And calling out the tea parties for their wingnuttery is an attack on the right to assemble.
These people are insane. There's just no way around it.
Want a glimpse into the mind of your average Glennbeckian? Check out Victoria Jackson's love letter to Beck:
But I must especially thank you Glenn Beck for your blackboard. I love your blackboard! And your thorough research. Your facts. Your diagrams. Your teaching. Finally, someone is clearly explaining to us, the taxpayers, exactly what is happening inside that mysterious, gigantic, corrupt political system we have. We, the working middle class, have always been afraid of the machine, and I think the politicians/criminals wanted it that way. With their pompous, pious faces and sneaky hands, they have been stealing and lying. We were too busy raising children, working and going to church to have time to research them. Now, finally, one man has done it. Cracked the Code. Exposed the Fraud. Shone the Light on the Basement Rats! Now, the rats are all scurrying around, all nervous. They are calling The Man With The Flashlight names. Mean names. Squeak! Squeak!
Wow. Insane, I tell you.