Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Zookeeper

Although, no doubt, this is the image Glenn Beck would like you to have of him, click on him to take a listen of the real Glenn Beck, Zookeeper.

Let me start out by saying that Glenn Beck is a charlatan. Saying that he is an asshole would be to state the obvious. Besides, being an asshole isn't really what makes him vile. Like his fellow-purveyor of bullshit - Rush Limbaugh - Beck is nothing more than a former disc jockey who managed to be quick-witted enough to catch the wave of neo-Nazi conservative talk radio and turn it into millions.

Both of these insidious vermin would normally just be a scourge that - like crabs or gonorrhea - one could get rid of with a shot of penicillin. Indeed, in the case of the bloated Limbaugh, the penicillin has largely worked. For the most part - not entirely, but for the most part - Limbaugh has been neutered over the past few years. Even his audience found his addiction to 'hillbilly heroin' a bit much to stomach.

Into that vacuum of racism, jingoism, homophobia and faux-religious fervor has stepped Beck - perhaps one of the least talented disc jockeys of the 20th century. Needless to say, that's saying something.

In the aftermath of his shameful desecration of the 47th anniversary of the March on Washington with his despicable Morons on Washington 2010, I thought it might be helpful to take a real look at the 'real' Glenn Beck. Lest any of you think he believes a word he says, take a listen.

Glenn Beck was born to the shocked, stunned - and not a little disappointed - William and Mary [no, seriously, those were their names] Beck in 1964. Still reeling from the Kennedy assassination and the appearance of The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show a few days earlier, Beck's family had to deal with him dropping from the womb on February 10th. His early years can be summarized in a sentence: lacking any discernible talent, intellectual curiosity, or natural abilities, his parents naturally encouraged him to pursue a career in radio. Beck was a bit of a prodigy in the disc jockey genre, landing a job at a local radio station in his hometown in Washington state by the age of 13, after winning a contest as The Most Talentless Tween in Washington State, 1976. Around that time, William Beck left Mary, as her alcoholism was cutting into his gambling winnings.

Tragedy [or incredible irony, depending on your political point of view] struck on May 15, 1979, when Mary Beck drowned - along with a man with whom she'd fallen into bed - in Puget Sound. Although Tacoma police stated that Mary Beck "appeared to be a classic drowning victim", Beck has managed to exploit the tragedy into a tale about "overcoming" the "trauma" of his mother's "suicide".

After surprising everyone by actually graduating high school, Beck toured the nation's plethora of tiny, shitty, dead-end disc jockey jobs in shit-kicking towns from Provo, Utah to Hamden, Connecticut. He caught his big break in Phoenix, where he reached the position that was pinnacle of radio disc jockeying in the 1980s: Zookeeper. At that time, a great scourge upon the land came, and it was called The Morning Zoo. Throughout America, listeners of Morning Zoos were subjected to some of the most God-awful attempts at humor through flatulence sound affects, voice impersonations, crank phone calls and dozens of other incredibly unfunny attempts at getting someone to laugh.

By the mid-1980s, like crack clinics and Nancy Reagan 'Say No to Drugs' PSAs, these Zoos were everywhere. To become a Zookeeper was to be at the top of the 'craft'. Zookeepers took such names as 'Tony Rigatoni', 'Bubba the Birth Control Sponge', 'The Greaseman', 'Dirk Dickman' 'Shemp and Fez', and 'Jeff Christie' [the latter being the name the bloated Limbaugh used]. With Beck's lack of talent, terrible impersonations and incredibly poor taste, though, Zookeeping came naturally to him.

Against this scourge of Zoos stood Howard Stern. Through incredible will and talent, Stern managed to set the bar high for radio entertainment and eventually defeated the Zoos by the early 1990s. In doing so, though, Stern inadvertently gave Zookeepers across the nation hundreds of ideas, spoofs, pranks and sketches from which to steal. Fortunately, though, the Zookeepers did a piss-poor job of the imitation and always went too far - blazing past 'funny' before screeching to a violent halt at 'tasteless verbal assault'.

Beck was no exception. Taking a page from Stern's feuds with fellow disc jockeys, Beck started a rivalry with another local Phoenix-area DJ, the equally unfunny although slightly more intelligent Bruce Kelly. Through practical jokes that were about as funny as a migraine, and publicity stunts that bordered on the macabre [Beck telephoned Kelly's wife on-the-air, mocking her recent miscarriage], Beck was the top Zookeeper in Arizona.

Not terribly amused by the 'dead-baby-in-the toilet' prank on Mrs. Kelly, Beck's station fired him. Undaunted, Beck next landed in Houston. This time, he lasted an entire year before being fired for lack of ratings, taste and talent. Beck next moved on to Baltimore. It was during his tenure in Baltimore that Beck was arrested for speeding in his DeLorean with one of the car's gull-wing doors wide open. Beck was once again fired and spent six months in Baltimore living [i.e. boozing and snorting] off of his severance pay.

Next was sunny Hamden, Connecticut. His stint there ended when - in a terribly unfunny bit - Beck pretended to speak Chinese during a taped comedy skit. When an Asian-American listener called to complain, Beck made fun of the caller, playing gongs in the background while speaking in a mock-Chinese accent.

By this time, Beck's personal and professional life was in the shitter. As with most itinerant disc jockeys [redundancy alert], Beck blew through a marriage within a few years in a haze of drugs, booze and broads - but not before fathering two children. By 1994, Beck was suicidal, but - unfortunately - talked himself out of it. At around the same time, Beck diagnosed himself with Attention Deficit Disorder, because no one was paying him any attention.

A complete failure in a life - an occupational hazard of his profession - Beck had a discovery that changed his life, not to mention what it did to ours. While in one of his numerous drug rehabs during the mid-1990s, Beck found Jesus [he was lying under the bed trying to hide from Glenn, apparently], with the encouragement of his daughter - who was tired of being the daughter of a complete fuck up. Beck married another female in 1999, and he, Jesus, his daughters and the new little woman joined the Mormons, as the Moonies had no openings at that time (Beck would later make a financial killing by trivializing his conversion in a terribly funny CD/DVD called "An Unlikely Mormon: The Conversion Story of Glenn Beck". I, personally, can't wait for the musical].

It was in late-1999, however, that Beck finally came up with an idea after 20 years in radio. Seeing the success of the bloated former disc jockey Limbaugh, Beck decided to become a conservative radio talk show host, too. The wittily titled 'Glenn Beck Program' first aired in 2000 in Tampa. Semi-literate white trash from across the region flocked to the program, as Limbaugh was only on for three hours a day, and one can only watch so many Jerry Springer shows. With the success of that market [and the fact that 'the semi-literate white trash' demographic was second only to the Hispanic market in potential ratings growth], by 2002 Premiere Radio Networks was broadcasting Beck's show nationwide on 47 stations.

Competing with Limbaugh in popularity in Florida drove Beck nuts, however. So, he inexplicably moved to Philadelphia, and by 2008 his show was broadcast to over 280 terrestrial stations, as well as XM Satellite.

Radio was one thing. The one area Limbaugh had never managed to conquer - mainly because people had to look at him, was television. Slightly easier on the eyes, Beck thus branched out into TV, determined to become bigger [figuratively, not literally] than Limbaugh. His first foray - in 2006 hosting a nightly news-commentary show on CNN's Headline News - was moderately successful.

The problem was that the semi-literate white trash population had turned the clicker away from CNN to watch Fox "News". That, clearly, was where Beck needed to be. After moving to the Fox "News" Channel, in addition to his own hour of bullshit, Beck was soon appearing on other Fox "News" programs, including a regular segment on The O'Reilly Factor, wittily titled "At Your Beck and Call."

So, that's Beck's history. From Zookeeper to leading the Morons on Washington last weekend. He now tours the nation, making nearly $100 million, and has succeeded in surpassing the bloated Limbaugh as the second most dangerous person in media [Oprah, naturally, being the first].He has helped to fan the flames of racism and bigotry to a 10alarm level. In 2006, Beck remarked to Muslim congressman-elect Keith Ellison, a guest on his show, "I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, 'Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.' And I know you're not. I'm not accusing you of being an enemy, but that's the way I feel."[

Beck's true target, though, has been President Obama. He has said that Obama has repeatedly shown "a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture," saying, "I'm not saying he doesn't like white people. I'm saying he has a problem. This guy is, I believe, a racist." Not content with just attacking the President, Beck has gone after Obama's family as well, mocking 11-year-old Malia Obama during a discussion of the President's response to the BP Gulf oil spill. He questioned Malia's level of education and imitated her voice asking her father why he hated black people.

Beck has had success against Obama, though. The most infamous example was his attacks on one of Obama's dumber appointments, that of Van Jones, whom Obama named Special Advisor for Green Jobs at the White House Council on Environmental Quality [whatever the fuck that is]. Although Jones was in the least important position in Washington, Beck went after him [the fact that Jones deserved to be gotten after is a moot point for my purposes right now]. Beck was critical of Jones' involvement in STORM, a communist non-governmental group, and his support for cop-killer Wesley Cook [i.e. Mumia Abu-Jamal]. Beck spotlighted a video of Jones referring to Republicans as "assholes" [so, he's not completely crazy], and a petition Jones signed suggesting that President Bush knowingly let the 9/11 attacks happen [but he's still pretty wacky]. Wisely, in September 2009, Jones resigned his position in the Obama Administration. The New York Daily News called it Beck's "first knockout punch."

Beck himself has been a target. In 2009, lawyers for Beck brought a case against the owner of a satirical website named The claim that the domain name of the website is itself defamatory was described as a first in cyberlaw. Beck's lawyers argued that the site infringed on his trademarked name and that the domain should be turned over to Beck. While the subsequent ruling went against Beck, the web site's author voluntarily transferred the domain to Beck anyway, no doubt for cash.

And cash, after all, is something Beck can understand. It is for cash that he found Jesus, it is for cash that he found conservatism, and is it for cash that Beck has become who he is. Still, no matter how big he gets, there is one title that we should never let Beck can never escape from. It puts all of this in perspective. Never forget that Glenn Beck's true title says it all: Zookeeper.

copyright 2010 by EBBP Redux. If you are reading this on a blog or website other than EBBP Redux or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

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