Daren in Brief
Decade's Best V
by Daren Foster
Given the way I’m always popping off about how much better TV is than movies these days, I was surprised to find myself having trouble compiling enough titles to fill out a Top 10 of the Decade list versus the 20+ I had in the movie category. Then it dawned on me that what I was lacking in quantity on the television side was more than made up for in quality. You see, there might be 2 films in my Top 20 Movies of the Decade that could step up and compete in the open category of My Favourite Movie of All Time but in all likelihood the top 7 TV shows of the best 10 years would be the best TV shows of all time. The boob tube has been that good this past decade.
So the countdown begins:
#10) Glenn Beck (Fox, January 2009-present)
My nod to reality TV which has spread cancerously through the network schedules over the past decade and proliferated uncontrollably in this the digital age. I see no entertainment value in the genre only budgetary considerations. It resembles reality not a whit and appeals purely to our worst instincts. I had hoped early on that it was a passing fad but it seems that with the continued audience fragmentation it is a phenomenon here to stay.
On the surface, Glenn Beck is not a traditional reality show but what else would you call it? It’s certainly not a news program and the information it delivers is manifestly suspect. While part of the self-proclaimed and highly delusional Fair and Balanced®©™ Fox “News” family, Glenn Beck takes the crazy to a whole different level. A doughy white guy prone to addled reasoning and tearful outbursts of paranoid hysteria, Beck should be thanking his Mormon god each and every day that he has somehow become rich and famous. But like most right thinking men of his ilk, he feels put upon and his way of life is always under some perceived threat. He arrived at Fox just as Barack Obama ascended to the presidency and has been howling outrageous and unsubstantiated claims from the get-go.
(If you haven’t had the disturbing pleasure of watching Beck operate, check it out here. It’s an appearance on the Fox News morning show. Marvel at his slapdash incoherence and the serious lack of internal logic to anything he says. He is all attitude; equal parts outrage and umbrage.)
What makes this show so important to, well, if not watch but monitor, is how it puts out there on display the endgame of the neoconservative movement that has been triumphant for the last 30 years or so. It is a cause no longer defended by reasoned and thoughtful discourse (if it ever was) but by braying non sequiturs, easy appeals to cheap patriotism, a heavy reliance on divisiveness based on the fear of the proverbial Other and a call to harken back to those magical days that never really existed except in the mind of those like Glenn Beck. He is conservatism’s new poster child. Watch him and weep.
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