Thursday, March 01, 2007

Nothing But Id

When MSNBC's Glenn Beck spoke with US Weekly Editor Dina Sansing, he gave the viewing public, once again, T.M.I.

Beck managed to bungle a softball segment about some naively salacious photos of American Idol contestant Antonella Barba (and some falsely attributed to her) with an embarrassingly sexist and demeaning come-on to Sansing.

The propensity for Beck to let slip a surfeit of information has been noted before, back in November right after the election, when he was asked interviewee Congressman-Elect Keith Ellison (D-MN), "Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies."

Okay, maybe Beck was representing for a certain fearful segment of the white male populace for whom Islam is a threat more than a religion. In a certain sense, the fear is as legitimate as the ignorance. And if such a question is on the mind of an as such legitimate portion of our society, maybe it's better to have someone asking it even if, or maybe especially if, that someone is Glenn Beck stumbling into it.

How else to clear the air and demystify American Islam? Expose the fear, then rationally assuage rather than stoke it through silence. There's an argument to be made that in his blunder and subsequent ridiculing, Beck was actually part of the solution.

Well, this one is a little harder to justify as sociology, more on the Freudian side, more a head-first slide than a slip:

BECK: Dina, let me tell you something. I don`t think you have to be famous. I think you just work in the average environment in America now, somebody would get a picture of you, and then it would be posted all around, and it will happen in your office.

SANSING: Possibly.

BECK: You don`t think so?

SANSING: Well, it depends. You know, it depends…

BECK: Dina, I`ve got some time and a camera. Why don`t you stop by? No? OK.

When you watch the clip, the "No, OK." part is the afterthought, the duck for cover, right after the most uncomfortable pause on any cable news channel yet this year. Sansing, to her unending credit, is struck speechless by Beck's utterance, and follows it up with a Beck-withering smile.

The pathology is available to see, unmediated. Beck's gazing down and away from the camera as he utters the revealing phrase, then looking back up at her for her reaction (stunned), and maybe suddenly realizing his horrific mistake, looks back down and away again, rushes to restart the conversation, having revealed his tortured adolescent moment.

It this the high school coward, all pimply and insecure, who mythologized about the pretty girl, maybe the popular one who worked on the yearbook (like one great big US annual), and built up an image, a frustration, a raw desire for this image without the ability to ever, realistically, attract her?

So at his one moment of contact, an actual conversation, his guard slips. Maybe he thinks he's attract her, but his idea of their cross-gender relationship is all based on an apparition of her he's built up in his head, and maybe deep down he knows it because his come-on isn't attractive at all. It comes out as resentment. It presumes she'll take off her clothes for him if he's forceful enough with his "camera."

As another guy who hadn't a clue about women in high school, I feel for Beck. It's always embarrassing when your desire pops out of your mouth at the absolute wrong time, in public.

Of course, in public in school might be half a dozen kids.

In public on CNN is a considerably larger, much more national and even international audience.

Oh where-oh-where will Glenn Beck's raging id next rear its clownish head?

Crossposted to The Daily Reel.


Anonymous said...

So i've got an idea for a new venture. Working title: "Fratboy Televsion Network." The idea is to present programming targeting your average post-Reagan USA 18-60 male (or congressman, for that matter).

I know: you're thinking "How is this any different from, say, CBS?" We provide similar programming to the current Nets, but we streamline -- we get rid of all inessential programming elements.

For instance:

"FTN Idol": Guy contestants win every week, gals sing naked.

"FTN Maketwatch": Occasional quote feeds, women market commentators only (naked).

“FTN News”: Only sports, only women commentators (naked)

"FTN Political Commentary": Guys like Beck, Hannity, Limbaugh, if they're available. Various rightwing women (naked; not coulter, though). Token leftwing Black guy (must be gay), token LW woman (must be butch dyke),

“FTN LateNite”: Porn, natch. Violent if possible. On-the-half-hour sports updates.

“FTN Morning”: Last night’s sports results. Only women commentators (naked).

Advertisers: beer, swimsuits, only. Beer and swimsuits together, best.

I'm willing to talk to VCs right now. As soon as I get some glossy printer paper, I'll print up my illustrated biz plan.


Mark Netter said...

Isn't this idea kind of like Fox News with porn?