Friday, February 12, 2010

Lovely Day for a Guinness, and to Explain Why You Gave Guinness for a Superbowl Gift

Glenn Beck made Keith Olbermann's "Worst Person In the World," again. (How many times does that make it now?)

"World's Worst," Countdown With Keith Olbermann
February 11, 2010
I remember seeing Glenn Beck back when he was on CNN and laughing that the cable network had lowered themselves to include him (and the brow-beating Lou Dobbs) in their programming to compete with Fox. That was before I understood fully just how dismal CNN really is and only looks good because of the abysmal Fox. (CNN needs Fox.)

I considered myself part of the trench warfare when Beck's anti-Obama campaign became so effective in its shrillness that Obama dumped Van Jones in hopes (I guess) that it would make him shut up. (So what if he signed a petition demanding answers to 9-11 questions? Who but authoritarians don't question the offical story?) That's what happens when you elect a conciliatory president, which means someone who enables all the vices of those around him to the extent that that's his vice. It's the co-dependant relationships the self-help books talked about to try to help alcoholics and other "chemical dependents," i.e. junkies, and their loved ones cope with the psychological abuse that entangled them with one another.

So, where are the clinical psychologists (and attorneys) when you need them? Maybe they're analyzing and writing about why Glenn Beck is on some days the Worst Person In the World in the estimation of not just Keith Olbertmann, but millions upon millions of others, but I haven't come across their writings. However, enough about his life has been documented for me to know that anyone can learn about Glenn Beck's personality disorder--that's what it is, after all--can be found in DSM-IV and V and in books by clinical psychologists on the alcoholic personality. Know one alcoholic, and you know them all. They all operate out of the same playbook.

Everyone knows who has dealt with alcoholics that even when you take away the alcohol or other substance, the diseased personality is still there, especially if the individual isn't under treatment to try to modify his or her personality. Here are a few things you'll find in the list of the alcoholic's symptomatic behaviors: lying; manipulative; projection (accusing another of faults or crimes of himself); obsessive-compulsive; low self-esteem...

All of these behaviors are obvious in Glenn Beck. Most telling was when he stated on "Fox and Friends" that, "This president I think has exposed himself as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for...white people? white culture?...I don't know what it is...." He was, of course, talking about himself: just change "white" for "black." Glenn Beck has a deep-seated fear of and hatred for black people and black culture.

Glenn Beck decoded is much more interesting than taking his words at face value. He should be deconstructed, his words taken as symptoms of his mental illness. Alcoholism/chemical dependency is a mental illness (see DSM-IV). It's also a progressive disease, which means, in short, Glenn Beck ain't gonna get any better, and will continue to get worser and worser, qualifying again and again for Olbermann's Worst Person In the World. Especially since he'll continue to be enabled for political purposes by Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch.

That's why I rooted for the Boycott Glenn Beck campaign to persuade sponsors of the "Glenn Beck Program" to drop him, and I celebrated when companies withdrew their advertising dollars, especially when Think Progress announced that Guinness was among them. I bought a Guinness at a souvenir shop on Canal Street after stopping at Walgreens to celebrate just after hearing the news. Even though I wrote letters and signed petitions, there wasn't a single sponsor whose products I used or planned to use. I've never been particularly fond of beer, but now that I've tasted Guinness I've decided that I do like it after all. And when I decided to pick up a six-pack of beer for a Saints fan, my neighbor A---, with whom I had watched a recent game on his t.v., my choice was, of course, Guinness. So what that A--- had a copy of Time with Beck's mug on the cover propped up on his mantle several weeks earlier.

"Oh, so you're a Glenn Beck fan?" I had asked.

"I like him OK. You?"

"Not at all. I think he's...a madman." I picked it up and leafed through the cover story, "Is Glenn Beck Bad for America?"

It was the morning of the Superbowl that I brought over the six-pack of Guinness to A---. "For my favorite Saints fan," I told him. After the Saints' victory, I stopped by his place with a bottle of champaigne, and we went over to the home of his friends who live behind St. Patrick's Cemetery I, off Canal Street. They were very happily drunk. Everyone in the city was, of course, celebrating, and would be a celebratory mood for years to come. I didn't expect to be asked about the Guinness, but A--- mentioned that I had brought it over that morning. He was impressed, apparently, because he wasn't in the habit of drinking imported beer.

"Why did you buy Guinness," B--- asked me.

"Because, it's Irish, and I'm part Irish. In fact my grandparents and my namesake are buried right over there," I said waving over in the direction of St. Patrick's. I knew I was at risk of offending the couple. B--- had already metioned his fondness for Glenn Beck. But he had asked, after all, so I added as bluntly as my first answer was evasive. "But more because...they dropped Glenn Beck!" And I got and did a little jig and hooted, while the inquisitor's smile turned to a glare, and my friend appeared to be slightly dismayed.

"Why don't you like Glenn Beck?" my neighbor asked.

"Because he's bad for the country."

"And Obama isn't?"

"No, he isn't necessarily, either, but..."

My neighbor is a live-and-let-live kind of guy, and I knew he was genuinely curious. But B--- was still glaring, girding his ample loins for a fight. A young man with a round, boyish face stuck his head in the door, yelling, "Who dat?!"

Saved by the "Who dat?!"

"Never argue with drunks" I know is a good rule to live by, and certainly don't mix that with those other rules about not discussing politics or religion. Especially not with dedicated alcoholic drunks. I think those with the same mental illness of the alcoholic personality gravitate toward one another from afar, enabling each other's behavior. I had stepped on a chauvinistic nerve, and in his own kitchen.

It was time to go scavenge wooden stakes from campaign signs that I needed for my garden. Who cares about Glenn Beck? The Saints won. We've elected a new mayor. And Guinness is good, and it tastes good, too.

No comments: