Now and again, I turn on my TV. It's usually to watch Stewart or Colbert, but occasionally I'll flip aimlessly around the dial hoping to find something interesting, or at the very least the re-run of Cheers in which Woody can't stop buying useless crap from the Home Shopping channel. ("It's noooooooooon!")
We get CNN Headline News here in Toronto, thanks to the all-powerful Ted Rogers. There's a guy that has a show on that channel (didn't that used to be just "all headlines, all the time"? When did they get actual half-hour shows?) named Glenn Beck, and he always comes off as your typical knee-jerk, "what in the heck is the world coming to?", thinking-impaired right-wing "everyman." An example of this was him interviewing some student from some college in California where she's pissed off that some group at her school has wanted to ban the Pledge of Allegiance from meetings of campus clubs:
Glenn Beck: "So, tell me about these people who want to ban the Pledge."
Attractive female college student: "Well, Glenn, they're a group of socialists and communists —"
GB: (shaking head) "It's always those types, isn't it?"*
Afcs: "Yeah, it sure is. They wear berets around campus, and they've written a 'Manifesto on Student Government'."**
GB: "Jeepers... what the heck is going on out there in California?"
Afcs: "Yeah, well, they take offence to the 'under God' piece of the Pledge."***
GB: "That's unbelievable. Just unbelievable. I hope you can get your parents' money back!"
* Last time I checked, it was still perfectly legal to be a socialist or a communist in the US. Perhaps not fashionable, but quite within the bounds of the law.
** What this girl and the beret-clad folks will eventually realize is that student government doesn't mean dick-all.
*** Remember, "under God" was added in the '50s by the likes of McCarthy to fight those damn dirty Red Commies.
Anyway, the Daily Show on Thursday night (which I just got around to seeing on this laziest of Saturdays I've had in a while), there was a whopper of a clip from a recent Glenn Beck show, wherein he was interviewing the first Muslim member of Congress, one Keith Ellison (D-MN), who was elected on November 7th. Here's a verbatim transcript of a portion of the interview:
Glenn Beck: "Congratulations, sir."
Keith Ellison: "I'm glad to be here."
GB: "Thank you. May we have five minutes here where we're just politically-incorrect and I play the cards face-up on the table?"
KE: "Go ahead."
GB: "Alright. No offence... and I know Muslims, I like Muslims, I've been to mosques, I really don't believe that Islam is a religion of evil. You know, I think it's been hijacked, quite frankly. With that being said... you are a Democrat, you are saying, 'Let's cut-and-run,' and I have to tell you, I have been nervous about this interview with you because what I feel like saying is, 'Sir, prove to me that you are not, uh, working with our enemies.' And I know you're not, I'm not accusing you of being an enemy, but that's how I feel, and I think a lot of Americans will feel that way."*
KE: (by now sporting a big grin because he now knows he's being interviewed by the stupidest person on the planet) "Well, let me tell you, the people of the 5th Congressional District know that I have a deep love and affection for my country. There's no one who's more patriotic than I am, and so I don't need to prove my patriotic stripes —"
GB: "I'm not asking you to.** I'm wondering if you see that... you come from a District that is heavily immigrant with Somalians, and I think it's wonderful, honestly, it is really a good sign that you are — you could be an icon to show Europe, this is the way you integrate into a country. I think the Somalians coming out and voting is a very good thing."
KE: "I agree with you."
* This is possibly the stupidest thing I have ever heard anyone say in my life, and I've met some pretty stupid people. First off, you don't say, "Now, I don't want to offend you," but then say something exceedingly offensive. Second, did Mr. Ellison actually say the words "cut-and-run"? If he did, Mr. Beck has a case. Third, the use of the word "hijack" was, at the same time, ironic and hilarious and ridiculous. Finally, he was elected fairly and squarely by the people, so... get off his back.
** Yes he is. That was the whole point of this interview.
Unfortunately, the clip cuts out at this point. But the point is... well, the point is that Glenn Beck is an idiot. Remember, this is the same man who called Cindy Sheehan a prostitute.