|Until this week, I had only watched snippets of Glenn Beck and he grated on me in part because he didn't present ideas in the style to which I was accustomed from Objectivist lectures and college classrooms. Plus it was often the breaking news, 'politics of the day' type of thing so I quickly tuned him out. The only entire shows of his I've seen are now this week:|
1) the 'Hayek" show and 2) the "fiction writers, including Rand" show.
My preference for how ideas should be presented to me is that of an intellectual, an 'egghead', someone comfortable with long chains of reasoning, scholarly discourse, a 'linear' presentation. And if it takes an hour to develop one or two aspects, that's cool. I'm used to it. But it's only about 1% [I'm guessing] of the population who prefers that or appreciates that. Beck has an audience of millions. He reaches the other 99% in cognitive style.
Beck varies his material and knows how to lay a foundation and build on it:
And what he does, the 'multi-media' or alternation of formats thing, makes a great deal of sense. He mixes in photos, video clips, written material on a blackboard, talking with guests, and audience questions. That keeps it lively for most people. Actually, not just for most people but to some extent for me as well: For a while I used to watch Charlie Rose and the Sunday talk shows and the News Hour. But I got bored with the unvarying 'talking heads' format. And even when they are debating, you get tired of seeing the same people (e.g., Brooks and Shields) over and over. Sitting in the same chairs. Just talking. And eventually, repeating themselves.
In one of the shows this week, he built up to Rand and Atlas by showing photos of rioting and shooting in the streets of St. Petersburg and how she lived with the horror and death all around her. Then Beck mocked the critics who said she exaggerated the evils of communism or didn't know what she was talking about. Very effective! Much more so than an exclusively abstract statement of the kind Oists like too much.
In the Hayek show, he started with historical background, the rise of the Nazi dictatorship, inflation, chaos. And against that he presents the importance of "The Road to Serfdom" abstractly. Again, much more effective for the average audience,the man on the street, than just plunging in. And, no, it's not appealing to stupidity or dumbing down.
In the fiction writers show (himself, Flynn, Rand and Atlas), he laid the groundwork for a show on fiction, which many would otherwise view as non-serious. How did he do this? By explaining how often fiction writers are the ones to predict (as in the case of nine-eleven with Tom Clancy and others, as in the parallels between today's advance of big government and the scenario in Atlas Shrugged), the ones with imagination who can see where things are going, writers bold enough to tell the grim truth.
Just giving a small amount of time to Brook and Atlas actually is not a bad idea, because he will then be able to repeat this. Wave the book, mention it again in multiple shows. Less likely to work repeatedly if he'd already devoted the whole show to this.
Conclusion: Not preferable type of show for me, who knows a lot of these ideas and who wants to cut to the choice immediately. But very effective for those he wants to bring in, newbies and average people.
Oist "eggheads" don't have a million person audience. They could learn how to bring people along, make them slowly more intellectual, willing to rush out and buy books from Glenn Beck. [And I hope people would not lose this point by talking instead about the fact he's religious.]
(Edited by Philip Coates on 6/19, 10:37am)