Glenn Beck Is Coming After Thomas Edison

The conservative media icon is going to the movies.

National Journal
Emma Roller
See more stories about...
Emma Roller
March 10, 2014, 11:10 a.m.

Glenn Beck wants to take his con­ser­vat­ive gos­pel to the streets — or at least to a movie theat­er near you.

In a pro­file in the Na­tion­al Re­view, Eli­ana John­son writes that the former Fox host is shift­ing away from polit­ics and to­ward cul­tur­al work. “I hated polit­ics, I al­ways have,” says the man who’s made an es­tim­ated $90 mil­lion from his polit­ic­al opin­ing.

Beck said he’s plan­ning to de­vel­op three “ma­jor mo­tion pic­tures,” in­clud­ing one about the “real story of Christ­mas,” and an­oth­er about Thomas Edis­on. Beck has already penned a fic­tion­al Christ­mas book, The Christ­mas Sweat­er, but his new ven­ture would fo­cus on cri­ti­ciz­ing the hol­i­day’s com­mer­cial­ism. Writ­ing a full-throated de­fense of Christ­mas is a sure­fire way to re­in­force your con­ser­vat­ive bona fides (and your pock­et­book) — just ask Mike Hucka­bee or Sarah Pal­in.

Beck isn’t just do­ing battle against the War on Christ­mas, but against one of Amer­ica’s most revered his­tor­ic­al fig­ures: Thomas Edis­on. “I star­ted out lik­ing Thomas Edis­on. I thought he was the quint­es­sen­tial Amer­ic­an in­vent­or,” Beck told S.E. Cupp last year. When asked why he hates Edis­on, he replied, “Just Google, ‘Topsy the Ele­phant’. Just start there.” He was re­fer­ring to a cir­cus ele­phant Edis­on cruelly elec­tro­cuted in an at­tempt to shame his rival, George West­ing­house. (While Beck may nev­er have elec­tro­cuted a pa­chy­derm to prove a point, he’s no stranger to tak­ing cheap shots at his op­pon­ents). Nikola Tesla is “the real geni­us,” Beck in­sists, like an MIT fresh­man in a spir­ited dorm-room de­bate. And Tesla’s uto­pi­an view of the world is not so dif­fer­ent from that of Ayn Rand, an­oth­er hero of Beck’s.

Also on Beck’s Naughty List, for those keep­ing track: Levi’s (the “uni­form of pro­gress”), Dar­ren Aronof­sky (who dir­ec­ted the up­com­ing film Noah), Woo­drow Wilson (a “pres­id­ent you should hate”), and Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham (whom Beck called a “piece of garbage” for ad­voc­at­ing dip­lo­mat­ic ac­tion against Rus­sia).

Mean­while, at the top of Beck’s Nice List is Walt Dis­ney, who has in­flu­enced his past pro­jects. Beck wants to build In­de­pend­ence, USA, a Dis­ney­land-like “city-theme park hy­brid” that would double as a free-mar­ket uto­pia.

Beck has al­ways framed is­sues — polit­ic­al, his­tor­ic­al, and cul­tur­al — as fables of good versus evil. He told the Na­tion­al Re­view, “We stand for stor­ies of love and cour­age where the good guys win. We are a group of people who be­lieve that the good guys ac­tu­ally win in the end.” In his mind, Beck is a great cru­sader for the soul of Amer­ica. Through his vari­ous re­in­carn­a­tions as me­dia mogul, civic lead­er, and now cul­tur­al di­let­tante, Beck has shown he has bits of both in­vent­ors in him — Tesla’s gran­di­ose schemes, Edis­on’s show­man­ship. Still, we’re wait­ing for his light bulb mo­ment.

What We're Following See More »
‘PRESUMPTIVE NOMINEE’
Priebus Asks Party to Unite Behind Trump
9 hours ago
THE LATEST
FEELING THE MIDWESTERN BERN
Sanders Upsets Clinton in Indiana
10 hours ago
THE LATEST

Despite trailing Hillary Clinton by a significant margin, Bernie Sanders wasn't going the way of Ted Cruz tonight. The Vermont senator upset Clinton in Indiana, with MSNBC calling the race at 9pm. Sanders appears poised to win by a five- or six-point spread.

Source:
TRUMP IS PRESUMPTIVE NOMINEE
Ted Cruz Bows Out, Effectively Ceding the Contest to Trump
10 hours ago
THE LATEST

And just like that, it's over. Ted Cruz will suspend his presidential campaign after losing badly to Donald Trump in Indiana tonight. "While Cruz had always hedged when asked whether he would quit if he lost Indiana; his campaign had laid a huge bet on the state." John Kasich's campaign has pledged to carry on. “From the beginning, I’ve said that I would continue on as long as there was a viable path to victory,” said Cruz. “Tonight, I’m sorry to say it appears that path has been foreclosed."

Source:
TAKES AT LEAST 45 DELEGATES
Trump Wins Indiana, All but Seals the Nomination
11 hours ago
THE LATEST

The Republican establishment's last remaining hope—a contested convention this summer—may have just ended in Indiana, as Donald Trump won a decisive victory over Ted Cruz. Nothing Cruz seemed to have in his corner seemed to help—not a presumptive VP pick in Carly Fiorina, not a midwestern state where he's done well in the past, and not the state's legions of conservatives. Though Trump "won't secure the 1,237 delegates he needs to formally claim the nomination until June, his Indiana triumph makes it almost impossible to stop him. Following his decisive wins in New York and other East Coast states, the Indiana victory could put Trump within 200 delegates of the magic number he needs to clinch the nomination." Cruz, meanwhile, "now faces the agonizing choice of whether to remain in the race, with his attempt to force the party into a contested convention in tatters, or to bow out and cede the party nomination to his political nemesis." The Associated Press, which called the race at 7pm, predicts Trump will win at least 45 delegates.

Source:
THE QUESTION
What’s the Average Household Income of a Trump Voter?
16 hours ago
THE ANSWER

Seventy-two thousand dollars, according to FiveThirtyEight. That's higher than the national average, as well as the average Clinton or Sanders voter, but lower than the average Kasich voter.

Source:
×