I had heard that Glenn Beck had been quite muted after the president's speech last week. But today the dam broke. He just couldn't hold it back any longer, and let fly with a segment worthy of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Jack Nicholson couldn't do it any better.
He aims at CNN's John King, who discusses a conversation he had about the Chicago mayoral race, where a colleague used the term "in the crosshairs". King says they're trying to get away from that language, but sometimes falter, and for viewers to "hold us accountable when we don't meet your standards."
This is all it takes to push Beck over the edge. For the next 5 minutes, 49 seconds, he completely loses whatever tenuous hold on sanity he may appear to have. Citing old Bugs Bunny cartoons, he goes on and on about how we've raised an entire generation who understand the difference between make-believe and reality.
Well, no. What Beck intentionally misses here is the obvious, which is that most people are attuned to what is rhetoric and what is real, and are smart enough to separate them. It's that group who live on the unraveling edges because of their own mental health state who may not be able to. But of course, that would sort of intrude on Beck's own stroll down the river of illogic and venom.
I do have one observation of my own on his casual dismissal of violent rhetoric. There is a desensitizing effect on sane people. Crosshairs the first time can become a shrug the sixth or seventh time. That doesn't mean it's not deleterious. It just means people become that much less sensitive to expressions of harm and violence toward others. I don't view that as a good thing, even if they don't act upon the idea.
I don't take Glenn Beck seriously. I know most people here don't, either. I also don't believe we have to sugar-coat everything we say, but surely there's a place for reasonable, respectful verbal exchanges that don't involve wishing some form of death upon those with opposite viewpoints?