Glenn Beck finally got off his big "You Are Not Alone" shindig yesterday afternoon. (Blue Texan had the rundown.) As gatherings of right-wing populist movements go, it looked kinda lame to me. But then, everything about Beck seems lame to me, so I'm probably not the best judge.
The weirdest thing was how much he cried. I suppose you can't blame him for getting all worked up, but Beck was getting all verklempt from the opening moments of the schtick. And then, as you can see, he kept doing it.
Look, I'm a sensitive kinda guy too, OK? I get all weepy at movies and good books, that sort of thing. I don't really have anything against men crying. But this was just ... off. It was just plain weird.
For one thing, his crying spats mostly reminded me of a furious fourth-grader standing up to make a confession to his class -- plaintive, petulant, an undercurrent of anger and blame. For another, they mostly came at odd times in the discussion, at points when it didn't seem the topic warranted such an emotional outburst. Moreover, you can see him stop and prepare himself to burst into tears; it all looks terribly contrived.
Then there were times, such as when he was reading his closing story -- a touching tale of a soldier slain Iraq war -- when the manipulatin just became crass and obvious. The story is genuine enough, but you can't help get the creepy feeling that Beck is using a genuine hero's story to plump up himself and his little cause, an emotional prop with a hook that lets him cap off the hour with a bang. It's reminiscent of the time he started crying over his special-needs child so he could talk about what a great gal Sarah Palin is.
Bottom line is the same as before: Beck's maudlin attempts to emotionally connect with his audience are just too coldly and obviously manipulative. It's the worst kind of cynicism: Posing as deep, heartfelt, sincerity.
"The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson