I saw some clips Tuesday night on "The Colbert Report" of Glenn Beck doing some strange-ass shit on his television program, strange enough to compel me to rethink my general theory of Glenn Beck.
A couple weeks ago I offered my opinion that, unlike Sean Hannity, for instance, Beck actually believes the majority of the stuff he says. He's not lying, he's just profoundly stupid.
But then I saw these clips of Crewcut Doughboy breaking into tears while discussing his love for America, apropos of his 9-12 Project. It was a piece of acting that would make Jessica Alba flinch, especially the bit where he brought his index finger up to his eye to wipe away a tear only to jerk it away in embarrassment. (Please watch the above clip in full -- you won't be disappointed.)
In short, it is now clear to me that, when it comes to Beck and the root causes of his behavior, you must consider not only whether he's lying or stupid but also whether he is insane.
That said, I don't think he's full-blown lunatic. I think he came to Fox News with a conscious strategy to ratchet up the crazy talk. CNN Headline News is on sometimes at work and I don't ever recall him doing any of this conspiratorial "We Surround Them" shtick while he was there.
I still think he believes what he says when it comes to policy, for instance, because he's stupid. But I also believe he's now decided to adopt a new persona. The content is more or less what he actually thinks, but the delivery has become that of a low-rate huckster preacher. As far as his mental health is concerned, doesn't he have to be a little nuts, you ask, to adopt this new tack, to make a complete asshole out of himself on television like this? Answer: Oh yes. Yes, he does.
So there's a fascinating concoction of crazy, stupid and cunning sloshing around there inside Beck's reinforced-concrete skull, and Fox viewers are loving every minute of it. And that's all I have to say about that.