Glenn Beck is not the white Malcolm X

There are many things wrong with Reihan Salam’s comparison of Glenn Beck to Malcolm X, and Adam Serwer points to a number of them:

Except for the fact that Malcolm’s father was murdered by white supremacists who were never brought to justice, his memories of the KKK terrorizing his family, his general experience of white supremacist violence reinforced or tacitly approved of by the state, being assassinated at 39 instead of making $32 million a year fantasizing about it on television, Beck and Malcolm…still have just about nothing in common. Both may have had a somewhat bitter reaction to the perception of race-based oppression against their people; only one of them actually lived that experience in any real way or  got a decent book out of it.

That’s not to say that Beck doesn’t act like he believes that white people are living under similar conditions that black people did in Malcolm’s time, it’s very clear that Beck’s particular brew of white racial resentment draws explicitly on an inverted perception of state-sponsored oppression against blacks during Jim Crow.

Adam thinks Reihan is being tongue-in-cheek here, but I’m not sure comparing someone who called the first black president in American history a racist who hates white people to Malcolm X is all that funny, and if it is meant to be tongue-in-cheek I fail to see the point of the comparison in the first place. The likeness is at best strained and at worst contrived, a weird hook with no discernible point except contrarianism for contrarianism’s sake. Or, if the point is to show that Beck is leading some sort of political/spiritual revival, then there are plenty of conservative white guys he could be compared to before granting him the mantle of ‘white Malcolm X’.

Unless the point is to drape as much of the Civil Rights movement over Beck’s shoulders as possible; first with the appropriation of Martin Luther King Day, and now this ludicrous notion that Beck is some chubby, pale second coming of one of America’s most controversial and tragic figures in the fight for civil equality in this nation. Indeed, this seems like little more than another attempt to bestow upon the Tea Parties the same moral legitimacy as the Civil Rights movement, to cast it as part of the same continuum.

The two are not the same and the notion that they are is absurd and offensive, not only to African Americans, but to the history of our nation. The legacy of the Tea Parties belongs to a different era than the 1960’s – an era when tea was tossed over the side of ships by white men dressed as American Indians. An era in which those same white men owned black slaves and for all their good ideas about liberty, couldn’t bring themselves to free them for another hundred years, and couldn’t bring themselves to grant them legal equality for a century after that – indeed, until the time of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.

As Adam notes, “The problem is that even if Salam is kidding, a number of Beck’s followers aren’t.” I would add that even if Beck himself is kidding, a number of his followers aren’t. And Beck, I’m pretty sure, is in this for the long con.

(P.S. This is not to say that all Tea Partiers are racist or should be blamed for slavery – only that they are appropriating the wrong history here – not their heritage at all, but rather that of the people whose ancestors were oppressed for generations largely by the ancestors of the Tea Partiers. This is deeply cynical to me.)






128 replies
  1. 1
    slag says:

    As you intimate, I’m pretty sure that if this were the 1960s, Glenn Beck would be far more closely aligned with the people terrorizing Malcolm X’s family.

    Also too your last link is broken.

  2. 2
    EvolutionaryDesign says:

    I absolutely agree that Beck is in it for the con, Rush and Co. too. They make too much money doing something incredibly easy – stoking nativist fears. I wish there was some way to get rid of them. I’m thinking massive organized boycotts of sponsors might be the only way without impugning free speech.

    BTW – Haven’t said this yet, but I really appreciate your contributions to this blog E.D.

    Cheers

  3. 3
    kwAwk says:

    I’m not sure I find the need to compare Beck to other famous figures makes any sense to me really. He’s simply another former DJ who’s a master of communication.

    He treats politics like a morning zoo dj treats top 40 radio. Endless publicity stunts. Outrageous talk and behavior to garner attention. Being willing to ‘say what others won’t’. An insider club mentality.

    I suppose if we really need to compare Beck to anybody, how about Jim Jones? All he was trying to do is create a post racial society…

  4. 4
    DougJ says:

    I thought this was a very strange comparison, too. I don’t understand why it is one that a conservative would want to make.

  5. 5
    Zifnab says:

    Adam thinks Reihan is being tongue-in-cheek here, but I’m not sure comparing someone who called the first black president in American history a racist who hates white people to Malcolm X is all that funny, and if it is meant to be tongue-in-cheek I fail to see the point of the comparison in the first place.

    Given that Malcolm X is secretly Barack Obama’s true father! h/t Atlas Jugs

    Which makes Glenn Beck… the white father of the President! EVERYTHING IS CLEAR TO ME NOW!

  6. 6
    Mike in NC says:

    Beck, I’m pretty sure, is in this for the long con.

    I certainly didn’t watch the Saturday freakfest, but the only appropriate way it could have ended was for Beck to lead his deranged followers in a conga line down Constitution Avenue to the gates of the White House, where they’d hang the Kenyan usurper in effigy while setting their own birth certificates on fire.

  7. 7
    DougJ says:

    @kwAwk:

    I suppose if we really need to compare Beck to anybody, how about Jim Jones?

    Like Jim Jones, Glenn Beck terrifies mainstream liberals. Isn’t that enough?

  8. 8
    c u n d gulag says:

    Just putting the two of them on the same page, let alone paragraph or sentence is an insult.
    MLK is to Beck, as aged filet mignon is to fresh cow shit.

  9. 9
    Warren Terra says:

    only one of them .. got a decent book out of it.

    To be fair, not only did Malcolm X actually have relevant experiences in the real world informing his book and have serious introspection and contemplation to put in the book, he also cheated: Alex Haley was a helluva writer.

    I assume Beck also uses ghostwriters, but I also assume they’re morons or hacks. You aren’t going to find an giant talent like Haley who will lower themselves to scribbling Beck’s latest opus, and especially not to do so as a ghostwriter.

  10. 10
    HyperIon says:

    An ad for Online Anger Management classes?

    Trusted and guaranteed WITH CERTIFICATE

    wtf?

  11. 11
    Bill Section 147 says:

    I think Beck is Jesus X.

  12. 12
    Zifnab says:

    @kwAwk:

    I suppose if we really need to compare Beck to anybody, how about Jim Jones?

    I’ve been saying this for years.

  13. 13
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    The legacy of the Tea Parties belongs to a different era than the 1960’s – an era when tea was tossed over the side of ships by white men dressed as American Indians.

    Well, this might be true if they had any legacy at all and weren’t just Republican-funded astroturf screeching the hate du jour.

  14. 14
    debbie says:

    Joke or not, that’s an incredibly stupid comparison. So much for the “new” GOP.

  15. 15
    Mnemosyne says:

    @kwAwk:

    I think Father Coughlin is more apt, right down to the radio preaching.

  16. 16
    Steve says:

    Malcolm X said “the ballot or the bullet.” Maybe Sharron Angle is the new Malcolm X.

  17. 17
  18. 18
    jacy says:

    I think Salam would have done better to compare Beck to Britney Spears: a performer with a possible personality disorder/mental illness who wants so badly to be adored/paid attention to that they are willing to be imprinted with whatever sick fantasy their followers want.

    I am so sick of contrarianism and what passes for deep thought from the so-called “reasonable convservatives.” My cat has a more interesting and pertinent philosophy and it consists mostly of “Where is the cream cheese?”

  19. 19
    freelancer says:

    @DougJ:

    Seriously, they are going to start calling themselves “Freedom Riders” next. Except instead of buses headed south, it’ll be a phalanx of Hoverrounds spinning in circles.

  20. 20
    kth says:

    Leaving aside the silliness of the specific comparison to Beck, a white Malcolm X makes about as much sense as a white Flip Wilson or a white Curtis Mayfield. I.e., none.

  21. 21
    Lev says:

    Beck isn’t at all like Malcolm X. He’s not as conservative as Malcolm was. Malcolm was all about people relying on themselves and on their communities, about hard work and true identity. Beck is trying to convince seniors that it’s okay to hate the government while cashing its checks, to chase easy money with speculation and pie-in-the-sky fantasies instead of doing the hard work needed to turn the country around.

    He’s no Malcolm X, he’s more like Don King. No, that’s not fair to Don King.

  22. 22
    flounder says:

    Salam once answered a WaPo chat question by pretending that Fox News and the Daily Show were both news organizations so he could some “both sides do it” sort of comparison. He is the master of the vapid and bad analogy dressed up as being more reasonable and polite than the other NRO tools like Levin e.g.. Someone that Ezra Klein or Yglesias could go have a beer with after a hard day in the salt mines.
    That is what his shtick is. Out of all the poseurs and numbskulls in the conservative movement, I think his routine is among the lamest, and he comes off as being not very bright. Unfortunately, were going to see more and more of him because the reasonable thing.

  23. 23
    slag says:

    @DougJ:

    I don’t understand why it is one that a conservative would want to make.

    Because a pudgy white face would easily transform Malcolm X from terrorist into freedom fighter in their minds.

    And the worst part is, they don’t even get why the comparison is insane. It’s like Dr. Laura thinking it’s “hilarious” that we have a black president and yet we still hear a lot about racism. They really just don’t understand. Not a freakin clue.

  24. 24
    b-psycho says:

    @Lev: This. Co-signed.

  25. 25
    New Yorker says:

    This is the mad-libs approach to analogies.

    is the version of .

    I can play it too.

    is the version of

    is the version of .

    The above make about as much sense as comparing Beck to Malcolm X.

    edit: whoops, javascript got me. Hold on and let me fix this.

  26. 26
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Except for the fact that Malcolm’s father was murdered by white supremacists who were never brought to justice, his memories of the KKK terrorizing his family, his general experience of white supremacist violence reinforced or tacitly approved of by the state, being assassinated at 39 instead of making $32 million a year fantasizing about it on television, Beck and Malcolm…still have just about nothing in common

    This assumes Beck has never crossed the street to avoid a fearful looking black man.

  27. 27
    nepat says:

    This is just the beginning. The sycophants are queuing up behind their new culture warrior – as they always do. When Beck astonishingly said they were reclaiming the civil rights movement, he wasn’t kidding. The next step is the Serious Discussion we’ll all be forced to engage in about how much Beck’s rally and the civil rights movement have in common – and there will be not a trace of irony or satire in that discussion.

    It’s on, folks. But…public option!

  28. 28
    New Yorker says:

    This is the mad-libs approach to analogies.

    Controversial Political Figure is the Ethnic Group version of American Historical Figure

    I can play this too:

    Sarah Palin is the Sikh version of Thaddeus Stevens.

    Jonah Goldberg is the Sicilian version of Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

    The above make about as much sense as comparing Beck to Malcolm X.

  29. 29
    debg says:

    Great post, Ed. I’ve been enjoying your work here too, even when we disagree, because you make me look at other sides.

  30. 30
    Lev says:

    @flounder: I had Salam pegged a long time ago, after I watched a bloggingheads thing with him and Matt Yglesias. Now, I like Yglesias but I don’t believe that he walks on water, he can be sloppy and I think he’s wrong about some things. I don’t think he’s impossible to out-debate–indeed, I think Douthat got the best of him on a few occasions when they were both at the Atlantic (though I doubt that would happen now). The topic was Iraq I believe (doesn’t matter since all of Salam’s bloggingheads appearances and, indeed, all bloggingheads videos are roughly the same) and Yglesias laid out a pretty compelling case for why Iraq was a mistake and why we needed to leave as soon as possible. A pretty good performance overall. Salam mostly just riffed on Yglesias’s remarks with some low-grade mugging and seemed to agree without actually agreeing to anything, with plenty of giggling and digressing along the way. He was charming enough, I suppose, but I just kind of wondered why Salam even bothered to show up.

    That’s when I realized who Reihan Salam is: he’s the one frat boy who is just as dumb and backward as the rest of them, but who has learned how far a smile and a modicum of sincerity can take him. A politician, in other words. I have read literally nothing since then to make me revise this view. I’m sure he’s a great guy in person, but someone like that getting a cushy editorship at The Atlantic just shows how easy it is to be successful after a Harvard stint.

  31. 31

    No, the problem with Reihan’s idea is easily solved by just reformulating it (and making it funny, accurate, and a Seinfeld reference): Glenn Beck is the Bizarro Malcolm X (“Is he white?”)

  32. 32
    Cacti says:

    A simple request for Glenn Beck to prove that he is, in fact, interested in racial reconciliation and equality.

    Mr. Beck, on your syndicated radio or television show, or some other visible public forum, could you please make a full-throated repudiation of the Mormon doctrine that dark skin is a sign of being cursed by God.

    If you are not willing to publicly distance yourself from this teaching, then it must be assumed that you agree with it.

  33. 33
    wasabi gasp says:

    All the attention paid to this “Beck is the Everyblackman” bullshit is gonna start to piss off Harriet Tubman Palin.

  34. 34
    Alwhite says:

    So does that mean he will be shotgunned to death by a couple of thugs sent by the Republican party to rid them of this apostate?

  35. 35
    eric k says:

    Glenn Beck is Lonesome Rhodes (if you haven’t seen A Face in the Crowd get to your Netflix queue)

    No other comparison is needed.

  36. 36
    Robert Waldmann says:

    You seem to consider Malcolm X to have been part of the civil rights movement. This interpretation sure would have come as a surprise to Malcolm X who absolutely denied any such association.

    Somehow you seem to consider Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X to have had something in common (other than the fact that both were men). Is there any basis for this assertion whatsoever in their speach writing or actions ?

    I’d say that comparing Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr is markedly more absurd than comparing Malcolm X and Glenn Beck. Malcolm X was certainly much more openly racist than Beck is, but, since King was less racist than Beck, that’s just one of many ways in which King was further from Malcolm X than Beck is.

    I stress I am not in the slightest interested in being contrarian and absolutely believe everything I just wrote about Malcolm X. You seem to have a very different view. Is your view based on any actual evidence (mine is based on reading a biography of Malcolm X which was clearly sympathetic).

    Oh and the White people who tossed the tea lived in Massachusetts where slavery was abolished soon after independence. Not all White Americans are identical as you assume.

  37. 37
    Bokonon says:

    Glenn Beck is the very worst of the nation’s tendencies, staring back at us in the mirror.

    And I suppose Reihan thinks that is OK, since it all serves the interest of his chosen party and ideology.

  38. 38
    bago says:

    The long con link is encoded as a relative url, meaning that it points to balloon-juice.com/en.wikipedia.org/stuff

    Use the protocol specifier to make it a specific url, aka http://en.wikipedia.org.

  39. 39
    handy says:

    @Robert Waldmann:

    This was pretty good, except you forgot to add that black people are just as responsible for slavery as whites since they sold their own into it back in Africa.

  40. 40
    silentbeep says:

    @Robert Waldmann:

    I seriously don’t think you know what you are talking about. I’m not kidding.

  41. 41
    Tax Analyst says:

    @New Yorker:

    This is the mad-libs approach to analogies.

    Sarah Palin is the Sikh version of Thaddeus Stevens.

    Jonah Goldberg is the Sicilian version of Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

    The above make about as much sense as comparing Beck to Malcolm X.

    Hey, that looks like fun!

    I had almost entirely forgotten about “Mad-Libs”.

  42. 42
    Comrade Kevin says:

    Keith Olbermann has actually been referring to Beck as “Lonesome Rhodes” for quite some time.

  43. 43
    MattR says:

    Since there is no open thread handy, I just have to post this OT story here:

    “Fire!” was the cry of the day for a golfer whose off-target swing sparked a 12-acre blaze in Southern California.
    __
    The golfer at the Shady Canyon Golf Course in Irvine landed a shot in the rough Saturday. On his next swing, his club snagged a rock, causing a spark that lit the rough ablaze and eventually attracted 150 firefighters to the scene.
    __
    Fire officials say the fire burned through the rough, into vegetation next to the course and over two dry, brushy hillsides.

    @Tax Analyst: Do you not watch Colbert?

  44. 44
    Tax Analyst says:

    BTW – Good post, E.D.

  45. 45
    Robert Waldmann says:

    You seem to consider Malcolm X to have been part of the civil rights movement. This interpretation sure would have come as a surprise to Malcolm X who absolutely denied any such association.

    Somehow you seem to consider Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X to have had something in common (other than the fact that both were men). Is there any basis for this assertion whatsoever in their speach writing or actions ?

    I’d say that comparing Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr is markedly more absurd than comparing Malcolm X and Glenn Beck. Malcolm X was certainly much more openly racist than Beck is, but, since King was less racist than Beck, that’s just one of many ways in which King was further from Malcolm X than Beck is.

    I stress I am not in the slightest interested in being contrarian and absolutely believe everything I just wrote about Malcolm X. You seem to have a very different view. Is your view based on any actual evidence (mine is based on reading a biography of Malcolm X which was clearly sympathetic).

    Oh and the White people who tossed the tea lived in Massachusetts where slavery was abolished soon after independence. Not all White Americans are identical as you assume (I know you don’t think that, but your argument about the original tea partiers is based on the assumption that all white Americans are responsible for the actions of all other white Americans).

    By the way, I absolutely agree with everything Adam Serwer wrote (I clicked the link). I think that you wrote ignorant nonsense which can’t be reconciled with the Malcom X’s actual words and actions. I’d like to know what is the basis for you belief that you know enough about Malcolm X to make a useful contribution to the debate ?

  46. 46
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    The comparison is fatuous, but I’d be willing to settle for Beck ending up as demonized, marginalized, out of the mainstream, a symbolic trope for extremism, and as useful as a club with which to smear by association anyone on his side of the poltical divide, as Malcom X was (fairly or not). There is a reason why they don’t have Malcom X day at the Democratic National Party Convention every 4 years. If the GOP has to carry a similar albatross around their necks for the next 40 years, that would be just fine with me.

  47. 47
    jacy says:

    @handy:

    This was pretty good, except you forgot to add that black people are just as responsible for slavery as whites since they sold their own into it back in Africa.

    Hey, but he did have the misspellings, the horrifying punctuation and the nonsensical, run-on sentences. You’ve got to give him credit for that, right?

  48. 48
    Robert Waldmann says:

    Silent can you point to any error of fact ? Is there any basis for your belief that I don’t know what I am talking about ?

  49. 49
    silentbeep says:

    @Robert Waldmann: is this a joke? ;)

  50. 50
    Zifnab says:

    I’ve been told that Wayne Brady makes Bryant Gumble look like Malcolm X.

  51. 51
    Silver says:

    Holy fuck, how much more idiocy do we need out of Salam before we can start ignoring him?

    I think we’ve been over this before, a hundred times. The “reasonable” young conservatives like Douthat, Salam, and Larison are all totally batshit fucking crazy. It’s not news anymore.

  52. 52
    Robert Waldmann says:

    @handy:

    I see no basis for suggesting that I would write such a thing. I noted that Massachusetts was not a slave state. I discussed Malcolm X. You seem to have deduced a whole lot about my beliefs based on my opinion of Malcolm X.

    I do not see any rational basis for your inference. Malcolm X was a person and my opinion of him is based on what I read in, among other things, a sympathetic biography. I don’t see how my opinion of Malcolm X allows you to infer anything about my other beliefs.

  53. 53
    Silver says:

    @Zifnab:
    That was Mooney!

  54. 54
    Kiril says:

    I don’t think Beck is in it for the long con per se. I think he’s just riding the wave, making as much money as he can while he can. To tell the truth, I think he’s peaked in popularity, and his audience, such as it is, will erode down to some hardcore group of rubes who will buy some books sometimes and watch enough FOX and listen to enough radio to keep him employed. I don’t think there’s a master plan or any good time to cash out. He’s just got this thing right now, and he wants to see how long he can keep going. At some point, he’ll go too far, or have sex with the wrong someone, or somebody will point out that he’s Mormon, and that will be it.

    @Robert Waldmann: You capitalize “white?” How old are you?

  55. 55
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Robert Waldmann:

    I’d say that comparing Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr is markedly more absurd than comparing Malcolm X and Glenn Beck.

    No. It is not.

    Oh and the White people who tossed the tea lived in Massachusetts where slavery was abolished soon after independence. Not all White Americans are identical as you assume.

    I’m sorry, but what in the fuck are you saying here? Are you seriously attempting to maintain that racism in Massachusetts disappeared after 1780?

  56. 56
    silentbeep says:

    @Robert Waldmann: Malcolm was very critical of the mainstream civil rights movement that is entirely true. However, his criticism did not mean he did not believe in social justice for black people – he clearly did, just as Martin Luther King Jr. did.

    Towards the end of Malcolm’s life he had a lot more in common with Martin, then he had earlier.

    This is what Martin Luther King Jr. said at the time of Malcolm’s death:

    “While we did not always see eye to eye on methods to solve the race problem, I always had a deep affection for Malcolm and felt that he had a great ability to put his finger on the existence and root of the problem. He was an eloquent spokesman for his point of view and no one can honestly doubt that Malcolm had a great concern for the problems that we face as a race.[174]”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malcolm_X

  57. 57
    Robert Waldmann says:

    @jacy:

    Reading my post, I do not find a run-on sentence. The phrase does not mean “a long sentence.” I don’t find any long sentences either.

    I agree that my spelling and punctuation are horrible.

    My comment has been criticized three times. None of the critics has mentioned Malcolm X or presented any evidence with any bearing on my assertions of fact.

  58. 58
    kwAwk says:

    @DougJ:

    I’m not sure if Beck really scares me as a liberal. To me his influence is peaking this year. He’s the leader of a flailing movement that pretty much thinks its smarter than everybody else yet can’t seem to figure out why it keeps losing elections.

    In 1964 Republicans were crazy enough to nominate a person as out there as Beck is and they’re still smarting from that ass whooping they got to this day.

  59. 59

    The tea bagger class only really cares about one thing, and it’s not policy, and that is having power and therefore some sense of control, to keep the minority class in their place. It is what they must have above all else. George Bush and Karl Rove promised them a permanent right wing majority to rule for a 1000 years, or somesuch, but that all went to shit because the rest of America actually does care about policy. At least to the point where it directly effects their lives, and that usually is centered around the economy.

    The wingnuts put up with a lot of Rino crap from Bush over things like creating the new Prescription Drug entitlement, and wasting billions on Iraq with no wmd to show for it, but all of that was just fine with them until dems won congress back 2006 and got a swarthy muslim dude elected presnit in 2008.

    So they are disappointed, which is of course, a huge understatement, way more than the pro left, and were searching for a new wingnut messiah to lead them to the throne of power and control, and this time not politicians who actually end up having to be accountable to the entire country, and cannot address their most insane desires. But a pure distilled wingnut(s) like Beck, or el Rushbo, who is just too fat and lazy to move his ass from the radio chair to make something like what Beck is willing to do. IE. To Create and feed a movement hungry for someone to tell them want they want to hear, that means a Beck who is accountable to no one, but himself and maybe his bank account. Now partnered up with a a former grifter governor, and a green eyed black haired frau from Minnesota and various other hucksters and charlatans like Dick Army and Ralph Reed, etc…..etc……,

    They have formed a travelling circus of sorts, and now one with a revival tent, also too. To wail against dark skinned ones stealing their American mojo they think they were born to keep forever.

    It is nigh impossible at this point to separate this frothy brainless undulating mass of tribal fury called the tea party, from other factors working against Obama and dems, like the economy, and the press giving witness to all the whacked out memes churned out by the mighty wurlitzer. We will know more after election day, whether the southern cabal of nihilist race warriors and xenophobes, has any real and lasting teeth. Or whether the rest of the country, uneasy about a lot of things, not the least of which lingering doubt and fear about a black presnit with a muslim middle name, will tune them out by and large.

    And the old guard GOP, at least the relatively sane ones, are like the rest of us. Scratching their heads at these crazy motherfuckers and wondering what they will do next. The problem for the goopers however, is these new family members want to hang them up by their feets almost as much as they want to do liberals the same way. They invited a monster child into their party, and now, at some point, will have to throw in with them and feed on their own feces, or just pack up leave town altogether.

  60. 60
    freelancer says:

    None of the critics has mentioned Malcolm X or presented any evidence with any bearing on my assertions of fact.

    Sheesh, son. Are you for real?

  61. 61
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Robert Waldmann:

    This was pretty good, except you forgot to add that black people are just as responsible for slavery as whites since they sold their own into it back in Africa.

    Yes, and Native Americans are just as responsible for their own slaughter and imprisonment on reservations as the US government was because Native Americans fought back and killed whites.

  62. 62
    kth says:

    Malcolm X was a virulently anti-white racist, except for that part when he renounced it and his former comrades in the Nation of Islam killed him for it.

  63. 63
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Robert Waldmann:

    My comment has been criticized three times. None of the critics has mentioned Malcolm X or presented any evidence with any bearing on my assertions of fact.

    silentbeep did. Where is your response?

  64. 64
    KevinNYC says:

    You Give Malcolm X three hours a day on radio and a hour a day on TV, he would have gotten more than a hundred thousand to the Mall.

  65. 65
    handy says:

    @Robert Waldmann:

    I noted that Massachusetts was not a slave state.

    Bwahahaha. Pardonnez moi!

  66. 66
    Nellcote says:

    This sh*t just isn’t funny anymore.

  67. 67
    Mnemosyne says:

    Robert, I will take you seriously when you can explain the difference between slavery in the United States and slavery in Africa. Hint: “race-based” will come into your answer.

  68. 68
    handy says:

    @Nellcote:

    Lazy editing? Or subliminal messaging? You decide.

  69. 69

    @flounder: Don’t forget, Salan once wrote a book with Ross Douchehat.

  70. 70
    Davis X. Machina says:

    I’m waiting for Beck’s groundbreaking CD, It Takes a Nation of Morons To Hold Us Back.

    Fight the power! Yo!

  71. 71
    applecoreinaz says:

    Exactly the right take here. The comparison just isn’t worthy of anything nor does it make the slightest bit of sense. Like so much discourse today “it just sounds good.”

    Goddamn but this country is f***ed as long as someone like Glenn Beck gets paid and people pay attention to him. Sure they’ll be pockets of sanity, but there will also be f***nuts like this polluting everything and everyone. Second hand smoke because we waste time talking about this s*** and m********** dumb stunts like this weekend push important news away. Except this is important precisely because of the pollution.

    Give me a hole in the ozone layer if it means Beck and Limbaugh and Savage disappear up it.

  72. 72

    @kth: You do know why Malcolm X denounced his previous feelings for white people, right?

  73. 73
    jacy says:

    @Robert Waldmann:

    I always swear I’ll never do this again, and yet I am strangely unable to not do it.

    A) Your statement that Malcolm X was not a figure important in the Civil Rights Movement doesn’t need to be replied to, because it’s false. Or “contrarian” around these parts.

    B) Nobody was comparing Malcolm X TO MLK. The closest you could come was that the general consensus was that comparing Beck to Malcolm X was just as stupid as comparing Beck to MLK. Reading comprehension fail.

    C) After being a professional editor for 25 years, I can tell you that a run-on sentence is not a “long sentence,” it is a sentence that has lack of clarity due to poor punctuation. You can write a sentence that takes up an entire written page, but at long as it’s punctuated correctly it is not a run-on sentence.

  74. 74

    @Robert Waldmann:

    Somehow you seem to consider Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X to have had something in common (other than the fact that both were men).

    Well there was that whole blackity-black thing.

  75. 75
    Kiril says:

    @General Stuck: Well, I see two things going on here:
    1. Ensuring that the Republicans have a bloc of reliable voters who will absolutely show up, loudly.
    2. Making the entire show, from election to implementing policy, so full of shit that most other people can barely stand to think about it. They’ve been doing this my entire adult life. I can’t think of anything touched by conservatives that didn’t end up worse than before, be it journalism, science, religion, patriotism–everything they touch turns to shit.

  76. 76

    @silentbeep:

    Towards the end of Malcolm’s life he had a lot more in common with Martin, then he had earlier.

    This. MLK got more radical toward the end of his life, while MX moderated.

  77. 77
    freelancer says:

    @jacy:

    Mr. Waldmann writes like he’s attempting to pass a Turing test or something. It’s bizarre.

  78. 78
    John S. says:

    Beck is none other than Howard Beale . Lucky for Beck, Fox News outed themselves as being secretly backed by Saudi Arabia.

  79. 79
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Robert Waldmann:

    Somehow you seem to consider Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X to have had something in common (other than the fact that both were men). Is there any basis for this assertion whatsoever in their speach writing or actions ?

    Well, there is that whole “Malcolm X rethinking his entire philosophy towards the end of his life and reaching out to Martin Luther King in his later years” thing.

    You know, like this letter Malcolm X wrote to Dr. King asking him to join him at a rally in the summer of 1963. Oh, and of course, there are these words Dr. King spoke upon the death of Malcolm X:

    Malcolm’s slaying Sunday in New York City came at a time, Dr. King said, “when he was reevaluating his philosophy, showing more tolerance for white people and the nonviolent movement.”

    I yield the rest of my time to the Chair.

  80. 80

    @Midnight Marauder:
    You with your “facts” and “source documents” and shit… pshaw! Glenn’s got a chalkboard!

    (speaking of which, does anyone else find it irritating that he uses a damned chalkboard like he’s never heard of dry-erase, or smartboards?)

  81. 81
    Mark S. says:

    But like Malcolm X, Beck terrifies mainstream liberals

    Conservative white guys in the 60’s, on the other hand, loved Malcolm X. Barry Goldwater considered putting him on his ticket.

    And just as Malcolm X mellowed in his old age, embracing a more traditional interpretation of Islam shortly before his death, Beck seems to be self-consciously moving past the politicized anger that defined his program for much of the past two years towards a heavy emphasis on spiritual uplift for his people.

    I’ll believe that when I see it. Doesn’t anyone remember Beck’s 9/12 thingamajig? How he wanted us to all get back to 9/12 when we were all pissed off but united? How long did that last?

  82. 82
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    @wasabi gasp:

    All the attention paid to this “Beck is the Everyblackman” bullshit is gonna start to piss off Harriet Tubman Palin.

    I LOLed like hell. Which is kinda bad because I’m at work.

  83. 83
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    You with your “facts” and “source documents” and shit… pshaw! Glenn’s got a chalkboard!

    I know, I know. They are rather inconvenient.

    But in all seriousness, very little pisses me off more than blatant know-nothings popping off about the Civil Rights Movement like they have a goddamn clue what they are talking about. I cannot stand people trying to revise and repurpose history for their own asinine objectives, ESPECIALLY on issues related to this country’s racial history.

    So every time Robert “Yes, I Do Have One Black Friend. Why Do You Ask?” Waldmann pops up to pretend like he knows what he is talking about, I will be there to cockslap him with empirical proof that he is a moron.

  84. 84

    @Midnight Marauder:
    Preach it, MM! Preach it.

    (that Waldmann attack was really weird. MLK has less in common with MX than Beck does? WTF?)

  85. 85
    scav says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    I yield the rest of my time to the Chair.

    Such admirable grace and style when arguing with a Table.

  86. 86
    oldswede says:

    El Hajj Malik al Shabazz. That is his name.
    Malcolm Little was his birth name. Malcolm X was his name when he was one of Elijah Mohammad’s Nation of Islam, called the Black Muslims by outsiders, and represented his rejection of his “slave name”.
    Malik al Shabazz was the name he took after he had accepted traditional Islam and made his Hajj to Mecca.
    Note please that his widow’s name was Betty Shabazz.
    Show some respect.
    oldswede

  87. 87
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    (speaking of which, does anyone else find it irritating that he uses a damned chalkboard like he’s never heard of dry-erase, or smartboards?)

    He uses a BLACKboard and he writes on it with WHITE chalk. That’s why.

  88. 88
    Ripley says:

    All Tea Partiers are racist and should be blamed for slavery.

    /underlying truth

  89. 89
    Cermet says:

    Malcolm X did the one sin that no Blackman is forbidden to every say or do – he told blacks when white men come to their home, and break in to kill them, use a gun and defend yourself!

    For this terrorist idea he was called a dangerous radical that wanted to overthrow the State!

  90. 90
    bemused says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:
    Beck’s fans, average age 65 or so, know what a chalkboard is, not those fancy dry erase or smartboard newfangled thingies.

  91. 91
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @scav:

    I yield the rest of my time to the Chair.

    Such admirable grace and style when arguing with a Table.

    The Internets. You have won them.

  92. 92
    Cermet says:

    @Mnemosyne: Your kidding? You are trying to bring that bullshit up? Look – slavery has been done by all people (but mostly whites) for thousnads of years but strangely, WE were one of the last western powers in modern times to still follow slavery AND most black on black slavery was created and fully in support of whites who made the real profits off of it.

    Your lack of understanding a subject is no excuse unless you want to be stupid all your life – rather, learn before making stupid statements. Read and learn and you will make smart posts rather than stupid ones.

  93. 93

    Meanwhile, props to E. D. Kain, who seems to be discovering that there may be more to this liberal thing than he once suspected.

    Seriously, good post, and I haven’t loved all of them to date.

    With a weird bit of synchronicity (for me; coincidence does just fine, I suppose), the frame in which E. D.’s slam takes on full resonance can be found in this amazing post by Ta-Nehisi Coates on the subject of his slouching towards vegetarianism. Check it out: by entirely comprehensible argument it moves from vegetarianism to the real meaning of slavery, race and white supremacy and back again, and in so doing, it captures the pervasive evil of the system that Malcolm faced and which neither Salam nor Beck can even comprehend, much less claim exception.

  94. 94

    OT, but it appears McArgleBargle wins the “Sky is Blue” award for the year: I wuz wrong. Via Susan of Texas

  95. 95
    handy says:

    but strangely (and for good reasons at times), WE were one of the last western powers in modern times to still follow slavery AND most black on black slavery was created and fully in support of whites who made the real profits off of it

    Wait did you just…Are you saying…

    Actually what the hell are you saying exactly here?

  96. 96
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Cermet:

    Your kidding? You are trying to bring that bullshit up?

    What bullshit? Pointing out that race-based slavery in the US and captivity-based slavery in Africa were so different that they can’t rationally be compared to each other?

    Read my comment again, think about what question I want Robert Waldmann to answer, and take a deep breath. I said the opposite of what you seem to think I said.

  97. 97
    stuckinred says:

    @oldswede: Don’t forget Detroit Red.

  98. 98
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ripley:

    /underlying truth reading comprehension fail

    Fix’d.

  99. 99
    Lysana says:

    One thing about Malcolm X/Malik al Shabazz that I noticed when I finally sat down to listen to one of his recorded speeches that had to drive the establishment insane back then is this. He spoke like a politician. MLK spoke like a preacher. People were used to black preachers. But black politicians with an insanely clear grasp of US history and an axe to grind born of genuine anger? Terrifying.

    This is also where the analogy fails. Beck can’t even talk like a used car salesman for more than two-minute bursts.

  100. 100
    Dave S. says:

    @Silver: Actually, most of the time I find Larison to be sensible, as opposed to “sensible.” His ire finds targets on both right and left, and not in the “both sides do it” sense.

    Edit: And his ire is often well-founded, particularly when it comes to foreign policy. I didn’t realize he was one of the younger set; his is a fairly adult voice, whereas with some of the other usual suspects you can see their dorm from where they’re standing.

  101. 101
    WereBear says:

    Rush Limbaugh is the slender Mr Creosote.

    Wait, no, that actually works.

  102. 102

    @WereBear:
    well, except for the slender part.

  103. 103
    El Cid says:

    A new thing (maybe just to me) is that average right wingers increasingly sound like right wing radio talk show hosts.

    I don’t mean that they spout the same points, and read from the same script.

    I mean, their tone, their pace is more and more similar to the radio show huckster voice.

    I don’t recall that from the ’80s or ’90s.

  104. 104
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @El Cid:

    I mean, their tone, their pace is more and more similar to the radio show huckster voice.
    __
    I don’t recall that from the ‘80s or ‘90s.

    The march to Peak Wingnut produces some interesting phenomenon, methinks

  105. 105
    slag says:

    @thomas Levenson: That was a great post. I especially liked:

    I don’t understand half as much about this sort of thing as most people writing on the web. But I do understand the tremendous difficulty of getting conscious, as the brothers say, and thus trying to fulfill all my daily tax-paying responsibilities, while extricating the cog of myself from the wicked machine.

    It really takes a conscious effort to try to extricate oneself. And Glenn Beck and others like him have never even begun to make that conscious effort. Why should they? They’re the top beneficiaries of the system.

  106. 106
    SlyFox says:

    I cannot believe we are even having this conversation!!!!!!!

    MLK didn’t work, so now Malcolm X is next.

    What happens if that doesn’t work, whos next, Huey P. Newton?

    MY GOD!!!!

  107. 107
    Kryptik says:

    @SlyFox:

    Nah, we’ll soon find out that Glenn Beck is really the modern day, white Dred Scott.

    I’m only half kidding here. I would honestly not be surprised to find that analogy said in earnest soon.

  108. 108
    Suffern ACE says:

    @SlyFox: Henry Ward Beecher is next. I mean, this whole conversation about the meaning of a religious Beck and a civil rights leader Beck is premised on the idea that since there was a black MLK and a black Malcolm X, there must be a white version of the two forty years after their deaths, speaking to completely different audiences and completely different circumstances and at considerably different risks to their own well being. Our national conversation just wants to walk in perpetual circles and not actually read a Bible, just be religiousy and political. So yeah, let’s throw up Henry Ward Beecher and see if that floats.

  109. 109
    Cermet says:

    @Mnemosyne: Sorry – I made a mistake (you’re correct) and withdraw my stupid comment (as in both the insult and my entire post which was.)

  110. 110
    Anne Laurie says:

    @DougJ: Since I think of Salam’s professional niche as “Best Non-White Friend for Rent to Reasonable Conservatives”, I figured he was just seizing the moment to remind his appalled up-scale clients just how baaaaaad things could get if the wrong people seize control of the Wingnut Welfare Wurlitzer. Kind of like the people who sell flood insurance doing sad op-eds about how tragic the latest hurricane was, and all those nice folk with no way to replace their treasured possessions! Call Reihan now, and he’ll guarantee to be available 24/7 when the cynical liberals demand to know whether you’ve ever been closer to One of Them than the waiting line at the DMV! Otherwise, “nice people” might start to think your Reasonable Conservative self is no better than… well, let’s stick with “obese Walmart trailer trash in Medicare scooters”…

  111. 111
    That's Master of Accountancy to You, Pal (JMN) says:

    @SlyFox:

    What happens if that doesn’t work, whos next, Huey P. Newton?

    Huey Freeman.

  112. 112
    Svensker says:

    @General Stuck:

    frothy brainless undulating mass of tribal fury called the tea party

    Ooh, that one gave me a leg thrill.

  113. 113
    angler says:

    The slaveholders of the Old South talked about themselves as victimized by the burdens of mastery and oppressed by the political correctness of abolitionists. It’s a very old saw Beck’s riding.

  114. 114
    andyerlittledogtoo says:

    We’ll be getting somewhere when some of you the more articulate (looking at you, Stuck) start thinking of analogues like Falwell or Jimmy Swaggart, my personal favorite.

  115. 115
    CB says:

    youre god damn right, E.D. i too have greatly enjoyed your contributions here, whether i agree with you on a damn thing or not. dont listen to the haters.

  116. 116
    electricgrendel says:

    It’s all about white privilege. African Americans were lynched (and a lot of Yankees need to be made aware of the fact that while the majority of lynchings happened in the South, that social horror was by no means relegated entirely to Dixie.) They were denied equal access to jobs, schools, the franchise. They were dehumanized and ridiculed and treated as Other. And this is after they were released from three hundred years of slavery in which families were separated, men were murdered and women were raped with impunity.

    But white people have to “endure” the horrors of integration and affirmative action so their experience is exactly the same as the African American experience. This is white privilege as its purest. Two entirely separate experiences, varying in horror, degree and magnitude are seen to be equal because the less inconveniencing experience is part of the modern white experience while the towering injustice is part of the African American experience.

    There are times I really hate being white, because I worry that people think that I’m as stupid, hateful and ridiculous as those crackers (and that is said with a full understanding of the origins of that slur) at the Tea Party rallies.

  117. 117
  118. 118
    Petorado says:

    Beck’s association with a civil rights struggle can be summed up at at best as advocating on behalf of a group of people who feel marginalized because their sense of self is predicated by the need to feel superior to other people, even if they have never done anything in their lives to deserve such acclaim. If they can’t claim to be better than a black man, what good are they — and now one of them is the boss of this nation!

    Beck’s followers aren’t patriotic They are just just vainly hearkening back to the day when America’s self-image was as the most kick-ass nation in the world and we didn’t take no crap from nobody. Of course, now the Chinese own our butts, the Islamists provoke more fear than we do, and all those starving children in India we gave donations to in grade school are manning the call centers that tell us how to operate our computers. What’s the world come to?

    These people feel a loss of power over others so their precious egos are now taking a hit. If Beck wants to be their patron saint, then good for him. Inadequate people need their rock stars too. But it’s their subservience to banks, credit card companies, the vagaries of the “market,” and other forces that are the real sources of these people feeling so poorly.

  119. 119
    * says:

    Beck is the white Alan Keyes.

  120. 120
    rickstersherpa says:

    @Robert Waldmann: Robert, if your point is that Liberals should not get as tribal as our opponents, and paint the mass movement of the tea partiers with one one brush, that’s okay. The think the point of Kain’s entry was to endorse Adam Server, which you also appear to endorse, that Salam’s comparison of former Shock Jock Glenn Beck to Malcolm X was absurd, and for the most part I agree, although Malcolm X also was something of a con man and grifter, (as the Nation of Islam was run by Elijah Muhammed as an enormous con, following in the foot steps of Marcus Garvey ) was as he readily acknowledged in the autobiography. It was his renounciation of Elijah, his conversion to orthodox Sunni Islam and thereby repudiation of racist beliefs of what the Nation of Islam, and his popularity that posed a threat the Nation’s money machine and hence was the motivation of his assaination. As long as Glenn keeps Fox’s ratings up, I don’t think Rupert will have him assainated yet (see the movie Network and you will know what I mean.)

    Basically, both Glenn and Rush appeal to the “I am mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore.” As long as the anger keeps being directed at the hippies, gays, Blacks, and Browns, his corporate masters will be happy. If he does not (and he does sometimes goes off the reservation on the preferred make war, and make war often foreign policy), perhaps an in the studio assainantion by the New Black Panther Party could be arranged.

    A breif discussion of slavery and racial restrictions in the Ante-Bellum North. Kain is technically right because in 1774 slavery was legal in the Crown Colony of Massachussetts. Yes, it was abolished in soon after the 1776 Revolution, there and eventually throughout New England and Pennsylvania. But slavery “and the incidents of slavery” remained in the North far longer than we get taught in our history books, and when abolished free blacks were usually disenfranchised, with other restrictions on their liberty, and sometimes forbidden from settling in the particular state. For example, here is New Jersey from the wonderful Wikipedia:

    “New Jersey banned the importation of slaves in 1788, but at the same time forbade free Negroes from elsewhere from settling in the state.[5] In the years following the American Revolution, the emphasis on legal equality and the rights of man caused legislators in some states to consider abolishing slavery. The New Jersey state legislature was the last in the north to do so, passing a law in 1804 for the gradual abolition of slavery.[6] The 1804 statute and subsequent laws freed only slaves born after the law was passed. Furthermore, African Americans born to slave parents after July 4, 1804[7], had to serve lengthy apprenticeships to the owners of their mothers. Women were freed at 21, but men were not emancipated until the age of 25. Slaves born before these laws were passed were considered “apprenticed for life.”

    Although at first New Jersey allowed African American men to vote, the legislature disfranchised them in 1807. In 1830 two-thirds of those enslaved in the North lived in New Jersey. It was not until 1846 that New Jersey completely abolished slavery.[5] Although slavery was abolished in 1846 by statute (“An Act to Abolish Slavery”), it was only a name change[citation needed].[8] Former slaves were termed apprentices and were still subject to servitude to their owners.[citation needed] It was not until the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was passed that all forms of involuntary servitude were abolished in New Jersey.”

  121. 121
    brantl says:

    I think he needs to be made to go through with the “similarities”. If he wants to be compared to Malcolm X, he needs to get shot and killed. Then, I say, let him be compared to Malcolm X all he wants. Malcolm will come off as a shitload smarter than Beck, anyway.

  122. 122
    brantl says:

    @Robert Waldmann: Who ever assumed white U.S. citizens were identical? Nobody here, moron.

  123. 123
    kth says:

    @Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle: The laconic tone was intended as a snarky reply to Waldmann (usually a smart guy and a friend of liberals, btw). Too laconic? Of course I am aware that Malcolm visited Mecca, and met devout Muslims of every race, and that changed him.

  124. 124
    sherifffruitfly says:

    (shrug) It’s just another part of white folks and their eternal quest to pretend black folks are “just as racist” as they are.

  125. 125
    Dean says:

    We appear to be headed toward being a minority-majority country. Beck, Palin and company are attempting to define what ‘white’ as one ethnic group within many means. If they succeed, then it will have non-trivial consequences on the next generation.

  126. 126
    grumpy realist says:

    Have noticed the MSM is whirring up the generator for the “eek, whites becoming a minority in the USA!” stories again.

    If we go by the 1880s definition of Them vs. Us (no Irish or Italians/Polish/whomever allowed), haven’t we “whites” passed into minority status long ago? Sorry, missed the Apocalypse, must have been on vacation….

    I figure a few more years of paranoia, then the Hispanics will be moved (grudgingly) over into the classification of “white”, just as the Irish/Italian/Polish were and the whole game will continue to rumble on….

  127. 127

    I can’t think of a concept where I would write “Malcolm X, civil rights” and that fucking racist asshole’s name in the same article. Take America Back, indeed. From whom? Me? You? I don’t know about anyone else, but this wingnut shit is pissing me off. I really feel like kicking someone in the nuts, but I have just forborne using his moniker.

  128. 128
    Dennis says:

    Americans need to wake up the fact that Beck is simply another opinion pushing charlatan who is a
    product of mormon cult theology and he mixes this with his personal make up as a dry alcoholic. He
    does not possess a single ounce of journalistic integrity, has no college degree, has no qualifications
    and he is definitely not a true conservative. But then, what can anyone expect from someone who can’t
    find anything filthier than their own personal reflection. Since people like Beck cannot survive on the
    basis of any personal merits, they survive by putting others down with lies and half truths in order to
    feel good about themselves. The truth about Beck is that he a dry mormon alcoholic who never got the
    counseling required for alcoholics. He flippantly throws around Christian terms like “God”, “Jesus”,”Holy Spirit” as well as voices of other so called “Spirit Powers” on his radio talk show. Beck is a mormon in active standing with the mormon church and is not a Christian. Mormonism teaches many gods, that the god of the earth was once a man who attained godhood status, there is no trinity, the cross of Christ means nothing and that Jesus Christ and Satan were brothers. Because Beck does not possess a single ounce of journalistic integrity, he is the perfect abortion poster child for Fox Network. The people who love what Beck says are no different than the impressionable sheep who loved every speech made by Adolph Hitler in his early years when he brought Germany into an era of economic prosperity These same sheep also blindly followed Hitler into one of the darkest chapters of world history. Beck and the Fox Network both cater to the same lowest common denominator of demagogery. Beck would not know the first thing about God as he is a mormon. Someone should ask him which of the many mormon gods he kept talking about during his argument with himself on Saturday on the square in DC. Like a typical dry alcoholic, Beck even lied on national television when he spoke about holding a document signed by George Washington. That event never took Place. Unfortunately, people who love being led around by the nose do not realize that he is talking about a different god than that of Christianity, Judaism or Islam and that he has been a product of mormonism cultism from the day he started doing a radio talk show as an opinion pusher. You don’t have to have a degree in psychology to see that he exhibits all the signs of a dry alcoholic. The only reason this unstable impressionable idiot fell into mormonism was because the woman he wanted to have sex with would not do so unless they got first got married and from that point, they joined the mormon cult. Glenn Beck is as big a charlatan as Josephs Smith or the 5th grade graduate (Charles T Russel) who started the Jehovah’s Witness cult.

Comments are closed.