Glenn Beck Is Coming After Thomas Edison

The conservative media icon is going to the movies.

National Journal
Emma Roller
Add to Briefcase
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 »
ONE WEEK
Senate Votes To Fund Government
1 hours ago
BREAKING
ON TO SENATE
House Passes Spending Bill
2 hours ago
BREAKING

The House has passed a one-week spending bill that will avert a government shutdown which was set to begin at midnight. Lawmakers now have an extra week to come to a longer agreement which is expected to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year in September. The legislation now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass before President Trump signs it.

FULL CABINET IN PLACE
Acosta Confirmed As Labor Secretary
3 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Alexander Acosta was confirmed Thursday night as Labor secretary, officially filling out President Trump's cabinet on day 98 of his presidency. Nine Democrats joined every present Republican in voting to approve Acosta, with the final tally at 60-38. Trump's first choice for Labor secretary, Andrew Puzder, withdrew his nomination after taking criticism for hiring undocumented workers and for other matters in his personal life.

Source:
HAS WHITE HOUSE BACKING
Hurd to Make Push on Federal IT
4 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) plans to introduce legislation today designed to help federal agencies update their aging technology—and this time, it has White House backing. Hurd worked alongside White House Office of American Innovation officials Reed Cordish and Chris Liddell in crafting and tweaking the legislation, and called their partnership an 'invaluable' part of the process."

Source:
2,300 JOBS ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK
Tillerson Looking to Slash 9% of State Dept. Workforce
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The State Department plans to cut 2,300 U.S. diplomats and civil servants—about 9 percent of the Americans in its workforce worldwide—as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson presses ahead with his task of slashing the agency’s budget, according to people familiar with the matter. The majority of the job cuts, about 1,700, will come through attrition, while the remaining 600 will be done via buyouts."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login