How thin is the veneer of civilization?
For some people, like Glenn Beck, very thin. So thin, in fact, that it all it takes is the election of a Democratic, African-American president to strip through Beck's facade of humanity and reveal his inner beast.
Beck and his unhinged, rabid followers remind me very much of the William Golding novel Lord of the Flies. In this book, a group of British schoolboys crash land on a deserted island. Left to their own devices without adult supervision, many of the boys quickly devolve into animals and commit heinous acts against each other. Upon rescue, the surviving boys are shocked back into reality when confronted with the symbol of the authority they once recognized - an adult military officer. How did things go so wrong so quickly? That is the question the novel leaves the reader to ponder.
Here we are, 200 DAYS into a new administration, and Beck is basically calling for the forceful overthrow of the United States government.
In case it has been awhile since you read it, a summary of Lord of the Flies:
Lord of the Flies is an allegorical novel by Nobel Prize-winning author William Golding....
The title is said to be a reference to the Hebrew name of Beelzebub (בעל זבוב, Ba’al-zvuv, “god of the fly”, “host of the fly” or literally “Lord of Flies”), a name sometimes used as a synonym for Satan. ...
The story itself is set on an isolated island. A plane has crashed ... and it transpires that there are no adult survivors. It is revealed later in the book that the plane was carrying only boys from war-torn England to an unknown destination. ... They soon find a white conch shell and Piggy suggests that Ralph use the conch as a horn to call for any other survivors who might be nearby. Thus Ralph initiates the island’s first assembly where all of the survivors turn out to be male children, none seemingly over the age of thirteen...
The survivors rapidly side with one of the two dominant boys: Ralph, and another older boy named Jack Merridew, a bony, freckled redhead who is the head of a choir group which also landed on the island, presumably by the same plane crash. A brief election is held among the children, as a result of which Ralph is voted chief, losing only the votes of Jack’s loyal fellow choirboys. ...
Jack becomes an immediate threat to Ralph’s leadership, obviously envious of Ralph’s ascent to chief. Actuated by his jealousy, Jack endeavours to empower himself instead by turning his choir group into “hunters”, who are responsible for hunting for meat and taking care of the fire.
Jack’s tribe gradually becomes more animalistic, and begins to apply face paint from coloured clay discovered by Sam and Eric and charred remains of trees. The narrative voice in the story reveals to the reader that these painted faces represent the hunters’ masking their more civilised selves in order to liberate their inner “savages.” The face paint becomes a motif which goes on recurring throughout the story, with more intensity toward the end....
Simon, a part of Ralph’s tribe, finds the head of the hunters’ dead pig on a stick, left as an offering to the beast. Simon then undergoes a peculiar experience, presumably by hallucination, in which he sees the pig head, swarming with scavenging flies, as the “Lord of the Flies,” and believes that it is talking to him, identifying itself as the real “Beast”. It discloses the truth about itself—that the boys themselves “created” the beast, and that the real beast was inside them all. Simon also locates the dead parachutist who had been mistaken for the beast, and is the sole member of the group to recognise that it is a cadaver instead of a sleeping monster. Simon eventually arrives at the peak of a tribal ritual at Jack’s tribe, pursued by the ravenous flies, and endeavours to explain the truth about the beast and the dead man atop the mountain. However, Jack’s tribe, still reeling in bloodlust from their first kill, blindly attack and murder Simon, whom they mistake for the beast. They kill him in the shadows in their now tribal dance and ominous chant “Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood!”.
The savages then raid Ralph’s camp and attack the non-hunters in order to steal Piggy’s glasses for making a cooking fire. ... They all go to the rock fort of Jack’s tribe at Castle Rock to try to get back Piggy’s glasses so that he can see again. In the ensuing confrontation, the dark boy Roger triggers a rock ambush in which Piggy is struck by a boulder and thrown off the edge of the cliff to his death.
The following morning, in the final sequence of the book, Jack and Roger lead their tribe on a manhunt for Ralph with the intention of killing him. ... Jack, now nearly complete in his demonic role as the ultimate savage, sets the island foliage ablaze, which has until then been the only source of food and shelter for the boys. Ralph skilfully evades capture on multiple occasions but soon is so stricken by terror and exhaustion from running that he abandons, expecting to be discovered and slain. However, the fire which Jack has started morphs into a large deflagration and arrests the attention of a nearby warship.
A navy officer lands on the island near where Ralph is lying, and his sudden appearance brings the children’s fighting to an abrupt halt. Upon learning of the boys’ activities, the officer remarks that he would have expected better from British boys, believing them only to be playing a game, unaware of the two murders that have occurred and the imminent occurrence of a third one. In the final scene, although now certain that he will be rescued after all, Ralph cries, in mourning for his friend Piggy, his own loss of innocence, and his newfound awareness of the darkness of human nature.
Beck has a life-long history of substance abuse and alcoholism, and - although reportedly clean now - he is clearly continuing his uncontrolled indulgence in his base impulses. You would think that someone whose daughter has cerebral palsy would have a bit more humanity about him, or at least not a raging antipacy toward helping people obtain basic healthcare. But no.
Beck's rhertoric has become consistently focused on violence and very thinly-veiled entreaties to his weak-minded, unbalanced, hate-junkie followers:
Beck jokes about poisoning Speaker Pelosi:
Beck says the President has a "deep-seated" hatred for white people.
No matter what Beck actually intended with this comment, Beck must be held responsible for the obvious result of this irresponsible talk - a dramatic increase in threats against the President.
Read this excellent diary by TomP which contains an insightful discussion of the white racists who - as the target of Beck's race-baiting rhetoric, including the comment above - are being whipped into a frenzy. See also Frank Rich:
The escalating white fear of newly empowered ethnic groups and blacks is a naked replay of more than a century ago, when large waves of immigration and the northern migration of emancipated blacks, coupled with a tumultuous modernization of the American work force, unleashed a similar storm of racial and nativist panic.
Beck knows what he wants to tap into.
Beck: "[I]t is not time to pick up guns" or "blow anything up"...(Don't think of an elephant, Beck says, in essence (really of course meaning, do)). He adds: "But it is time to stand up. ... The question is: Which side will win?"
Beck implores viewers to not turn violent: "Just one lunatic like Timothy McVeigh could ruin everything" ("Ruin everything?", as in - your career? As in, the very lucrative 9-12 project? I think your priorities are dangerously misplaced there, Beck.)
AND ALL OF THAT IS ONLY FROM THE END OF JULY UNTIL NOW! He has REALLY been pouring it on thick.
Beck, I've laid it all out above. If, God forbid, anything happens, you are responsible. You are responsible.
You have made people think it is ok to forget about decency, civilization and the rule of law - all in just a mere 200 days. How did things go so wrong so quickly? You have all but begged people to go out and do something horrible. You can deny, deny, deny. You can shriek. You can yell. You can even cry. But you cannot hide from what you have done. It's all right here. Are you under the misapprehension that your obscenely large paycheck validates you and proves that your way of thinking is right? It appears you forgotten the meaning of thirty pieces of silver.
What will it take to shock Beck and his followers back into reality before it is too late?
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