Thursday, August 26, 2010


Last fall I wrote a post titled "L. Ron Beck," in which I said about Glenn Beck:

He's basically a televangelist. A huckster. A late-night pitchman selling seminars and book/DVD/audio combo packages that will allegedly help you get rich through flipping real estate. A human-potential-movement cult leader who promises life breakthroughs in exchange for participation in costly "religious" or "therapy" programs.

That idea crossed my mind again when I saw the promotional video for the rally he's holding on Saturday. Oh, sure, I can't disagree with what Ben Dimiero of Media Matters says about Beck's grandiosity and the gall it takes for Beck to compare himself to great figures of human history:

In a new promo posted on a "Producers' Blog" at his website, Beck humbly places the rally in the context of the moon landing, the Montgomery bus boycott, Iwo Jima, the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and other landmark historical events. It also not-so-subtly suggests that Beck is following in the tradition of Martin Luther King (which is a farce), Abraham Lincoln, most of the Founding Fathers, Martha Washington, the Wright Brothers, and other notable historical figures.

To give you some sense of the egomania on display here, it starts with the line, "Every great achievement in human history has started with one person. One crazy idea." Watch....

Well, if you haven't done so yet, you should watch -- Beck's video is the first one below. But then, please watch two more videos. One is the promotional video for The Power, the brand-new sequel to the hugely successful self-help book The Secret. The other is a video of motivational words by one of the self-help world's big kahunas, Tony Robbins.

You see the common thread? Motivated people can do great things. The only difference between ordinary people and great people is that great people understand what it takes to change thought into action.

All of them send the same message, expressly or implicitly: the person who breaks from the pack and becomes one of the great people in human history could be you.

Beck's just politicized it. He's given it a tea party spin. But it's the same message. (Hell, about a 1:15 in, the Power video even has a series of images of the same kinds of historic figures Beck invokes.)

It seems half-crazy when Beck says it. It seems as if he has delusions of grandeur. And, sure, I guess he does.

But there's a whole self-help industry that sells delusions of grandeur, and makes a lot of money doing it.

Beck wants a piece of that action.

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