Saturday, August 28, 2010

Glenn Beck and American History

In light of Glenn Beck's invocation of phony American history on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial today, I think it's worth reviving my 2006 Harper's magazine story on the Christian Right's make over of the past, "Through a Glass Darkly: How the Christian Right is Re-imagining American History."


Anonymous said...

I remember reading the article when it came out. I was impressed with it. Now Glenn is turning up the rhetoric. I live in a college town in Mississippi. If it were not for the influence of 'outsiders', the town would be totally tea party.

I'm seriously getting my house finished and putting it up for sale and getting out of the south. My wife doesn't quite have my level of alarm but we're leaving asap.Thank you for your reporting and analysis.

Leo Larkin said...

I read the buildup in my local paper yesterday and sat disdainfully for a moment, then moved on with the hope that Rev. Al could summon the support and trump the Beck Event.
I saw today's headline with pictures of a massive turnout championing Beck's cause and wondered, "who does this?", then my moment of clarity recalled Jeff Sharlet's work, most recently in Uganda, and the financing probability from C Street. Sure enough, there is a connection.
I know there is a connection. Who are these people that rally to talking heads? That travel, that make a pilgrimage to a listen to a radio/tv/ talk show host? I figure the only people who show up are paid, out of work and despondent, willing to take $250, busfare, three meals and a motel 6 just to have a moment. C Street, behind the scenes, pulls the strings, the puppets dance, and the message permeates the soft membrane of American culture. I think I've been poisoned again.
Keep up your tremendous work Mr Sharlet so I know there is a sword of truth at work.

Jeff Sharlet said...

Thanks for reading and commenting. I should clarify, though -- Beck and C Street are really different entities. One of the key arguments of my books is that populist conservatism and elite conservatism -- particularly of the fundamentalist varieties -- are not the same thing. Another key argument is that conservatism is real -- that is, the masses who embrace it aren't being paid, and aren't stupid. If that was the case, conservatism wouldn't be so powerful.

I think yr right about Rush, though. Beck, too, back in the day -- I remember when he was a libertarian shock jock. No religion on his show at all.