Glenn Beck “University”
[DISCLAIMER: The following, like many shows on the Fox News Channel, is a work of opinion and satire, and therefore not subject to the rules of fact or integrity.]
As if there weren’t enough tragedy in the world today, Glenn Beck has just announced he’s launching an online “university.” Not happy with being just a malignant jackass, Beck now apparently feels that others should shoulder the mantle of hypocrisy and intellectual illiteracy that he currently wears (out in public, no less). Oh, and he wants you to pay for the privilege, because, you know, 32 million is year is just barely enough to survive on these days.
Yes, boys and girls, you too can now learn to be just as vapid and obnoxious as the pseudonymously named Alfred Peachous, only without the hefty paycheck, six foot walled 4.2 million dollar mansion, and Fox News subsidized professional bodyguards. Seize your destiny! Learn the “truth” from some of the best minds Glenn Beck ‘s money can buy. There’s nothing stopping you… except… Nah, I’m probably just imaging that this sounds more like a scheme to separate you from your hard earned cash – you know, the bits you’re trying to keep the government from taking? Even so… maybe we should take a look at some reasons why Glenn Beck “university” may not be the best of all possible ideas.
Let’s begin with a simple cost/benefit analysis. The courses offered will be titled “Faith,” “Hope,” and “Charity” (in 101, 102, and 103 versions, no less). Not exactly a set of, if you’ll allow me to use the phrase, “marketable skills.” I suppose one could try listing these credits on one’s resumé, but I imagine all the recognition they are likely to receive will be a crinkled brow and a sigh; followed shortly by a “Thank you for your time.” The courses themselves are not exactly high priced, ranging from only from $6.26 and $9.95 per session. “Session?” you say? “Why, yes,” I respond. All the “courses” will be available in the form of a webcast. This means there will be no debate. You will be lectured, and you will not have the ability to ask questions. Which is just as well, because all good conservatives know that questioning authority only applies when you are in the minority. Hope you “get” everything on the first broadcast, although, I doubt there will be a test.
“But what of the faculty,” you may ask. “Good question!” I might answer, after giving you the once over for firearms. The faculty would consist of the following: “Charity,” which somehow equates with “government,” will be taught by James R. Stoner, chair of Louisiana State University’s political science department; “Hope,” which deals with economics, will be taught by David L. Buckner, a motivational speaker and “organizational psychology” lecturer at Columbia University (you read that right; “economics” will be taught by a “psychologist” because that’s the way Glenn Beck rolls); and “Faith” will be taught by David Barton, an evangelical minister, political activist, and founder and president of the pro-family organization, “WallBuilders.” Of the three, Stoner is the most qualified for actual coursework, having published several papers on the U.S. Government and Constitution. Buckner’s economics assignment, while probably not an exact fit to his background as a business consultant, will most likely cover the glorious history of American businesses (think: Enron, Lehman Brothers, etc.), and we all know business is about money (beautiful money), so at least there’s a tenuous (a fancy word for “slight”) connection. Barton, on the other hand, is to be gentle, bat-shit insane. He has made a career collecting academic condemnations for essentially making shit up. For example, he apparently believes that the founding fathers were closet “evangelical Christians” (i.e., Pat Robertson), a statement that directly contradicts the words of the men themselves. If George Washington were alive today, Barton’s accusation would likely lead to a pay-per-view cage match. Hell, I bet Alexander Hamilton could take him. Beck describes Barton, as a “Library of Congress in shoes,” which is technically true, as the Library of Congress has as equally impressive collection of fiction as Barton’s skull.
Then there’s Glenn Beck himself. To say Beck has the intellectual depth of a stack of rocks is to insult rocks. Bazooka Joe comics strips contain more narrative coherence than the sum total of Beck’s televised rantings and wailings. He openly refers to himself as a “rodeo clown,” and walks a very fine line between reportage (a fancy word for “reporting”) and comedy (i.e., Larry the Cable Guy). His entire existence is predicated on the Beckian principle of “if it’ll make me rich, say it.” That he has any following at all is largely due to the fact that most people watching him fail to do so at all times, and thus miss any caveats, corrections, or admissions of failure. He is acutely aware of this, and mocks his viewers for their failure to fact check by bluntly stating “if you take what I say as gospel, you’re an idiot.” You can see why he’s an easy man to love.
As to his views on education, let’s just let this little gem dangle:
The problem in America is we’re being indoctrinated from dawn until dusk, every single day, seven days a week. We’re being indoctrinated by Washington, we’re being indoctrinated by our unions, we’re being indoctrinated in our schools, we’re being indoctrinated in the media. We’re being indoctrinated! What are you even talking about? You’re darn right we should abolish public schools.
So, to recap. Glenn Beck “university” will offer unaccredited courses you do not need, that have little to no “real world” practical value, and that cost a small amount of money that would probably be better spent on a decent lunch (Have you tried a Quizno’s Steakhouse Beef Dip lately? Mmm). The teaching staff will consist of three “professors,” only one of which actually qualifies for the title, teaching idealogy (a fancy word for “ideas”) as fact, in a format entirely absent of any debate. And the “university” itself has been created by a man who accuses schools of engaging in indoctrination, and says they should be shut down. He’s also a dick.
Here’s my suggestions. You want faith? Try praying, not paying. Glenn Beck, in spite of what he may feel about himself, is not going to bring you any closer to your idea of God. He want to be your God. You want hope? Go read a fortune cookie – each one comes with a lottery number on the back. You’ll get just as much hope from that lottery number as you will from any number of Beck lectures. You want charity, well, so does Glenn Beck, and guess what? Every dollar you give his “university” is a dollar he gets from you for free.
Still not convinced? Well then, don’t let me stop you. You go right ahead and give Glenn Beck some of your hard earned money. Your kids can go without a balanced breakfast for a week or two, and there’s always those socialist school lunches to fall back on. What’s that? you say? Socialism is evil? Well then I guess it’ll suck to be your kid for the next few months, but hey, I’m sure they’ll forgive you in a few years.
You go right ahead and attend as many of these classes as you like. Hell, maybe you’ll even learn something. I doubt it, but hey, stranger things have happened – just look at Beck’s career. You go ahead and spend your money on the courses, buy yourself some Glenn Beck “university t-shirts, sweatshirts, instruction magnets, coffee mugs, monogrammed spiral notebooks, bookmarks, stationery, and any other merchandise Beck tells you to buy.
Just don’t expect me to tip you after you hand me my order of french fries.