Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Glenn Beck Sees the Good Side of the Fires in California

Looking at the pictures on TV of the raging wildfires in California, which have led to the evacuation of 500,000 people and the loss of thousands of homes, it would all be so depressing if this natural disaster were a bad thing. But it turns out that there has been a plus side to the fires. For one thing, many evacuees are enjoying gourmet meals and massages. And as CNN's Glenn Beck pointed out on his radio show, some of the victims of the fires actually got what was coming to them. "I think there is a handful of people who hate America," Beck said. "Unfortunately for them, a lot of them are losing their homes in a forest fire today." So while the wildfires raging near San Diego and Los Angeles might seem like an unmitigated disaster on first glance, they actually aren't all bad.

Of course, Beck was not saying that all of the people who lost their homes in the fires hate America. Only some of them. As Jammie Wearing Fool points out (linked with approval by Glenn Reynolds), "It's Beck's opinion that some who hate America live in that area. Is this even debatable?" Of course not. The rest of the people who lost their homes are what we might call collateral damage. Fire is a very imprecise method of punishing our enemies but a very effective one. Although Beck didn't mention the people who don't hate America who lost their homes, I'm sure he feels bad for them and wishes there were another way of giving the people who do hate America what they deserve.

Beck probably didn't mention all the non-America-haters who lost their homes in California because he doesn't like to dwell on the negative. He sees a raging wildfire as a glass half full instead of a glass half empty (although I am sure there are some former homeowners who wish that glass had been all the way full so that they could have thrown it on the fire.) In fact, Beck's observation came in the context of an uplifting colloquy about America coming together. "We're all one America," he said, with the exception, of course, of those now homeless America haters. "Just because I disagree with you doesn't mean you hate America, and I love America. We all love America. We just disagree on how we should function." Even Democrats love America, Beck said, peering through his rose-colored glasses. Unfortunately, there are some people who want to divide America, but if we could all come together and burn down the houses of those who really do hate America, think of how great this country could be.

There are some who might say that Beck is too optimistic, that his vision of America is too Utopian. Although many conservatives are opposed to Islam, Beck has said, "I know Muslims. I like Muslims." He even gave the first Muslim congressman, Keith Ellison a chance to show that he wasn't a traitor on his program, saying to Ellison, "Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies." I'm sure that Ellison was very grateful for the opportunity to show why his house should not be burned down.

This is not the first time Beck has talked about all the good that forest fires do. In July when forest fires raged in Utah, Beck wondered why liberals, who think Charles Darwin is so great, wanted to put the fires out. "While liberals embrace Darwinism, they reject it every step of the way, because they'll take impractical applications, they will put out every forest fire from lightning strikes," he said. "I'll meet you halfway. Let's put out the forest fires that man causes. If I'm -- if I'm there on a campfire and we forget to put it out, well, let's go fight that one. Lightning strike, hmm, we let it burn."

Seeing fires as bad, Glenn "Burn, Baby, Burn" Beck, believes, is just a matter of interpretation. "The only way anything bad ever happens to you is that you've interpreted it as bad," he went on to say. "Look for something positive, not negative. And at [sic] you decide to just build on negative, well, then that's your choice, and you've chosen to destroy yourself, and that's your choice."

Fires are not the only kind of natural disaster where the almost Pollyannaish Beck has emphasized the positive. When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, he pointed out that the people who stayed behind were actually "scumbags" who basically got what they deserved so we don't really need to feel sorry for them. Of course, some of the people who lost their homes were not scumbags, but focusing on their tragedy would be too much of a downer for Beck. It would be like talking about all the people who died in Iraq instead of focusing on all the good news, like the fact that Iraq might have electricity by the year 2013. I must admit that Beck does make me feel a lot better about what happened to New Orleans.

While a lot of conservatives see immigration as a big problem, Beck does not just complain about it. Instead, he has sought out the kind of solutions that can turn a negative into a positive. "The country needs cheap, alternative fuel source," he said on his radio show. "Two, the human body is 18 percent carbon. Three, carbons can be turned into hydrocarbons. Four, we have a buttload of illegal aliens in our country." The solution: turn the bodies of illegal aliens into a fuel called Mexinol. Of course, Beck was only joking, but I think his little joke gives you a good idea of the kind of mind he has, the kind of mind that sees every problem as a means to a solution.

There are some tragic events where Beck is not able to see the good side until some time later. "It took me about a year to start hating the 9-11 victims' families," he said. I'm sure it was a difficult year for Beck as he desperately grasped for anything positive to say about September 11. I'm sure he looked at the footage of the World Trade Center towers coming down every day for a year and thought, Where's the good angle on this? Imagine the relief he must have felt when he realized that some obnoxious people actually deserved to lose their loved ones on that day. Suddenly, 9/11 didn't seem so bad after all.

There is so much negativity in politics these days that it is refreshing to have someone like Beck to show us the silver lining in every cloud. I'm glad that CNN, which always seems to focus on the bad news, has given Beck a relentlessly upbeat daily platform to show the other side. A day without Beck would be like a day without sunshine.

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23 comments:

Kevin Hayden said...

And a day without sunshine is, like something's not burning hot enough for Beck to fry someone in.

cognitorex said...

For Beck...A cup that runneth over a minority truly has a silver lining.

Anonymous said...

What a fantastic man this Beck is!

Burn on, baby!

MONDOREB said...

Jon Swift,

How are you doing?
Your blog posts are a rare thing: subtle.

If you don't read them carefully, i.e., not in a drive-by manner, you may very well misunderstand your thoughts!

Very different in this short-attention span age.

PALGOLAK said...

Very interesting and informative. Who is this Beck fellow?

reasonable liberal said...

Cause, you know, Orange and San Diego counties are such hot-beds of America-haters!? Particularly in the hilly areas with the nice homes.

Is that his picture? Now we know why he's on the radio.

Mark S. said...

"It took me about a year to start hating the 9-11 victims' families," he said.

That's actually inspiring to me, because I remember when I was watching the towers go down, I wondered if I would ever be able to hate again.

purvis ames said...

Beck is 100% correct. Anything that threatens the Charlton Hestons, the Mel Gibsons and the Chuck Norris's of this country can't be all bad.

Norman P said...

The fires are a very good thing as well if we look at them from a free market viewpoint. I have been reading a lot in the papers about a sudden drop in housing prices. This can only come from a glut of houses on the market. I suspect that some people may have started these fires to keep their property values high, and I for one welcome this supply side free market solution.

Carl said...

As Mr Swift so correctly points out, fire is an imprecise method of punishing one's enemies.

Why, just a century ago, some old bitch found Mrs O'Leary sleeping with her husband, and instead of bringing a shot gun, she burned the entire city of Chicago down and STILL MISSED the slut!

Ralph said...

THE FBI HAS LEARNED THAT TERRORISTS MAY HAVE PLANNED THE FIRES, THUS IMPLICATING THEIR CODDLERS WITHIN THE DEFEATOCRAT PARTY, ESPECIALLY SKANKY DOUGHNUT-BUMPING PIAPS!!!!!


AMERICA IS ON TO YOU, PIAPS!!!!!

George said...

Yo Ralphie, I thought you neo-nazi, wide stance, toe tapping Bush lovers were suppose to be keeping us safe from the terrorist. You know, fighting them over there.... Hell you cant even keep the rich conservatives and retired military in Orange and San Diego counties safe! Now back downstairs. The grownups want to talk.

liquiddaddy said...

Jon,

I agree Mr. Beck is sunshining out his naval.

He is like the drunk uncle imparting the truth at family functions. The nice kids look furtively for the nearest exit, while the not-so-nice kids wait for him to lose consciousness when he'll be more easily rolled.

By the way, you forgot about when he spear-headed the "save the human soft-serve pudding machine" Teri Schiavo, optimistically predicting her come-back.

LD

Anonymous said...

George said...
Yo Ralphie, I thought you neo-nazi, wide stance, toe tapping Bush lovers were suppose to be keeping us safe from the terrorist. You know, fighting them over there.... Hell you cant even keep the rich conservatives and retired military in Orange and San Diego counties safe! Now back downstairs. The grownups want to talk.

10/24/2007 1:03 PM


George,

Hate to break it to you this way, but Ralph is actually one of you.

While Jon's shtick (it's ok to tell, isn't it Jon?) is the supposed "reasonable conservative" act; Ralph's is the rightist loon ranting about Demonicrats.


(You are all by the way, welcome to use the term "Demonicrat" if you wish, I didn't copyright it).

Now, although parodic mockery of this sort does have its attractions - relief from the tedium of rigorous argument being chiefest among them - as you can see, the method also has its drawbacks.

Such as when even ostensible allies, like yourself, fail to "get it".

Better luck next time, and say "hello" to Ward Churchill when you see him.

Mike N. said...

"While liberals embrace Darwinism, they reject it every step of the way, because they'll take impractical applications, they will put out every forest fire from lightning strikes," he said. "I'll meet you halfway. Let's put out the forest fires that man causes. If I'm -- if I'm there on a campfire and we forget to put it out, well, let's go fight that one. Lightning strike, hmm, we let it burn."

I feel the same way about my car after traffic accidents. When I hit a deer on the road, I say, "Oops! God wanted me to have a dented car." When my neighbor hits my car with a hammer, I sue his ass and get the car fixed.

HopeSpringsATurtle said...

Is Glenn Beck a Nazi?

HopeSpringsATurtle said...

Oh yeah, what's a "PIAP"?

Thursday said...

Ah, it's a lovely glow as bright orange as Beck's tan...

thaumaturge said...

Hmm, that Mexinol bit reminds me of a story I once read about Irish babies.

mw said...

Thanks for this post Jon. Sometimes I think there are just not enough optimists like you, me and Glenn.

For any other graduates of the Glenn Beck School of Silver Linings, here is a great tag-line I found for a past advertising campaign that can be re-used to re-invigorate the San Diego tourist trade:

"Rekindle the Fire with a San Diego Romantic Getaway"

Micgar said...

Ha ha!That Beck! He sure is one funny guy isn't he? He was just joking. He would be at the top of my list to pound nails into.

Anonymous said...

Hahahaha!
I like the "joke" about turning Mexicans into a fuel-source! After all, illegal immigrants are subhuman and deserve to burn. But what will we do when we run out of Mexicans? I know! We still have plenty of Jews and blacks and Asians...
Thank you Beck for the solution to the energy crisis!

IMSMALL said...

YE THE BLINDED ONES
The leaders fumble, flub befuddled,
Pretending to compassion,
But O their words are not so muddled
But take a different fashion
When it comes down to punishment,
Vituperative anger sent and spent.

"Compassionate conservatives"
Contented with pretending
Lack the coherence--nothing gives
Their words, so busy fending
Ideological affronts,
More credence than mere stutters, stunts.

They hardly give a damn for you
And what you suffer, hope,
But study you, and what you do
As with a microscope
To understand, as by nuances
What semblances lead to responses!

You go and cast your vote for them,
Feeling so good inside,
Not worthy of the garment´s hem
While you your straws divide:
Alas the love of fellow man
Within you dies, nor Jesus can
Make you become Samaritan
Or even egalitarian.

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