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Glenn Beck and the $100,000 Sex Tape


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[color=indigo]On Monday, two days after Glenn Beck either hijacked or inadvertently used (depending on your political sway) the anniversary and setting of Martin Luther King Jr.'s iconic march to gather like minded individuals around the Lincoln Memorial, writer Beau Friedlander, via the Huffington Post, offered $100,000 for sex tapes that would help to ruin Glenn Becks reputation. Later that day, after intense scrutiny from media outlets on both the right an the left, The Huffington Post removed the article and made Friedlander write an [url="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/beau-friedlander/an-apology-to-glenn-beck_b_699504.html"]apology[/url].

Now, the reason I bring this up is not because I want to discuss Glenn Beck and how icky I find him (though he is pretty harmless, kind of an awe shucks type of douche), or how out of line Beau Friedlander was. No, I want to use it as a platform to hear (read) your opinions on the American news media, and how it now really manipulates citizens to take a side (right or left) by polarizing reactions to stupid articles like the one posted to Huffington Post.

So, what do you think about the news media in the US? Has it finally jumped the shark? Have all of our time honored media outlets been turned into manipulation machines that care more about swaying your vote and your buck than reporting fact? What media outlets do you trust?

And, of course, a question for all of you Europeans, Aussies and Canadians. As the power and availability of the news media has grown in your countries are you experiencing the same phenomena at home?[/color]
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[font="Tahoma"][color="#000080"]As someone that wants to be part of the American media, I find myself severely disappointed with the state of their current (seemingly non-existent) ethics standard. Be it FOX News (though, to be frank, I find anything they try to market as news laughable), MSNBC (who can be just as bad sometimes), CNN (who I am dramatically losing faith in, ever since the Potomac River incident) or any other cable news outlet, no matter where I turn, I'm seeing biased, shoddy reporting. No one seems to want to go in-depth and really get to the heart of the matter anymore. It's more about trying to point the other political party out as the source of the terrible news that's being reported these days.

When I was in college, my professor/adviser taught me that news is supposed to be an unbiased account of the day's happenings, no matter what the story is; politics, the economy, someone getting killed downtown in an alley: it shouldn't matter. She drilled that into me when I worked for my college paper. People need to be given a straight story with no slant. Let them tack on their own opinions after they get the bare facts.

It seems to me that the political system almost completely took over the news media at one point and it spiraled out of control. Now America has some kind of opinion-bending monster on its hands that no one knows how to nuke, or, if they did, they're reluctant to push the button because it's still serving the purpose of sowing certain mindsets into people's heads and letting them grow.

For me, seeing things the way they are is really depressing and makes me want to try to make a change. I had an idea about starting a news site on my own, but that's easier said than done. =/

To sum things up in a nutshell, it just seems like the news media has forgotten what the news is supposed to be.
[/color][/font]
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[font="Comic Sans MS"]Famous people need to stop taping their sex. No one else wants to see Glenn Beck do the nasty anyway, and if the purpose was really to watch it by yourselves later, you could always just, y'know, have sex again. Seems like a simple solution to a really dumb problem.

Except those airheaded heiress types, I guess. Heaven knows we need several more of those making several tens of millions of dollars every time they mention Oreos in a Tweet.[/font]
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[font=palatino linotype]What I find interesting is that Fox News talks about their conservative slant as being about "evening up" what they perceive as a left-wing bias in the American news media.

It's interesting in part because their apparent solution to "left-wing bias" is right-wing bias! How about countering perceived bias with [i]non-biased[/i] news reporting?

Fox News in particular irks me because it claims so regularly to be "fair and balanced" when, in fact, it's kind of an obvious circus.

Anyway, I'm not entirely sure that the news media is generally trying to manipulate the American people. The American people bear some responsibility for maintaining healthy incredulity and assessing everything that they view on TV and read in print. Perhaps there's a lack of education about how to think critically (Gallup suggests almost 50% of Americans believe in creationism - this alone bears out the idea that education is a big factor in mass credulity). But admittedly I'm moving away from the point.

My point is that it's not so much about being manipulative - it's about commercial competition and entertainment. Fox News, as my example, is not a news channel. It's an entertainment/variety channel. It is dominated by so-called "magazine" shows, which themselves are [i]not[/i] news programs.

I'm not sure what will change the trend...well, other than the public starting to turn away from these types of programs. But I can't imagine that changing anytime soon. All I can say is that when you do read something that is actually thoughtful and not sensational (I quite like Slate, for instance), it feels like a breath of fresh air. It's almost like you're escaping from something very restrictive.[/font]
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James pretty much nailed it, but i think manipulation plays a bigger role.

i dont mean to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but to me the reason why there is so much influence on taking one side and bashing the other is because both partys use it to gain support. if there wasnt another party to blame for the wars and recessions, we would have to look at the people we are following. somehow the people must be convinced that the government is not at fault. we have a clever tactic in America where the people say "it is the side of government I dont support that is making me unhappy", rather than" the government makes me unhappy." when you think about it there is a big difference. they are still supporting part of the government this way, and no ones going to try to severely change a government they agree with, even if they only agree with half(or less) of the things they do.

These partys can bash and tear at each other as much as possible, get people to point fingers at the other side, blame it all on far left or right ideology and even certain people in particular like This idiot Glen(who has done very well in life for an idiot i painfully concede), but all this bashing is just a way of showing your support for the fraction of the government you pick.

to sum up my conspiracy theory:
Hate for [size="3"][color="#ff0000"]R[/color][/size]=support for [size="3"][color="#0000ff"]D
[/color][/size]Hate for [size="3"][color="#0000ff"]D[/color][/size]=support for [size="3"][color="#ff0000"]R[/color][/size]
[size="3"][color="#ff0000"]R[color="#000000"] +[/color][/color][/size] [size="3"][color="#0000ff"]D[color="#000000"]= [size="2"]government.[/size][/color][/color][/size][size="2"]
government= hate = support
people hate, yet support their government in this system.
[/size] Edited by CaNz
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I'm just happy we don't have such a 50/50 government, so these things don't occur on such an incredible us vs. them scale. It's basically the more social bunch versus the liberals with the Christian Democrats staying more or less in the middle of things to not piss off either side.

Not saying the media are un-biased, but at least the supposed formula CaNz brought up wouldn't be the case. Edited by Lady Shy
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it seems to me that everyone takes a side though...
most people have even registered as that side when they vote. some people select independent, but on average it is either one or the other. i agree its not 50/50
[url="http://people-press.org/party-identification-trend/"]http://people-press....fication-trend/[/url] this is a not so distant graph of registered voters.
this makes it a 41/35 thing, however if either side votes one way they already have a majority over the 24 remaining percent. this means that the situations can still occur, leaving the decision up to the independent and other partys voters to tip the scale in one of the two partys favors.

i am not saying my proposed equation is 100% accurate, but its something to think about. nd the equation really dosent effect whos making the decisions, it actually is showing how hate for the opposing partys can mean support for the government. so it really doesnt matter about the numbers, whos currently in charge or the current well being of the people. as long as one party can blame the other one for any problems, they can gain support for their own cause... its like a super scapegoat. Edited by CaNz
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[quote name='James' date='02 September 2010 - 07:37 AM' timestamp='1283427425' post='700145']
[font="palatino linotype"]My point is that it's not so much about being manipulative - it's about commercial competition and entertainment.[/font][/quote]

[font="Tahoma"][color="#000080"]I get your general point, but I suppose this statement is where the rub lies. The news isn't supposed to be about commercial competition and entertainment -- it's supposed to be about [i]news. [/i]Not that I'm saying that it's supposed to be entirely dry (I quite enjoy the odd quip from an anchor, which is why I get down with Brian Williams), but there has to be a point where a journalist has to say "Okay, perhaps I'm putting a bit of my own or my boss's opinion in this. I need to bring it around to the point."

It's wishful thinking that there would be any sort of change sometime in the near future, but one can keep their fingers crosses, neh.[/color][/font]


[quote name='CaNz' date='02 September 2010 - 08:38 AM' timestamp='1283431139' post='700148']
to sum up my conspiracy theory:
Hate for [size="3"][color="#ff0000"]R[/color][/size]=support for [size="3"][color="#0000ff"]D
[/color][/size]Hate for [size="3"][color="#0000ff"]D[/color][/size]=support for [size="3"][color="#ff0000"]R[/color][/size]
[size="3"][color="#ff0000"]R[color="#000000"] +[/color][/color][/size] [size="3"][color="#0000ff"]D[color="#000000"]= [size="2"]government.[/size][/color][/color][/size][size="2"]
government= hate = support
people hate, yet support their government in this system.[/size][/quote]
[font="Tahoma"][color="#000080"]
[strike]One thing you're not factoring in is the growing support for Independents. Seems to me that some folks think they might be the way to go. And don't forget about those Tea Party chaps. :V[/strike] Wellokaythen. =p[/color][/font]
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[quote name='Kei' date='02 September 2010 - 01:02 PM' timestamp='1283457723' post='700159'][font="Tahoma"][color="#000080"]
One thing you're not factoring in is the growing support for Independents. Seems to me that some folks think they might be the way to go. And don't forget about those Tea Party chaps. :V[/color][/font]
[/quote]
its not that i am not factoring them in, its just they arnt big enough yet to impact the government.
also independents tend to pick a side, it just is more like the superbowl... they can tell one of them is gonna win, so they pick one one to support.
this is just speculation... but ive done it. i cant say i like either party but when it came to election day i voted like an avid democrat.

edit: sorry kei, if your point was that the silly equation i made is an irrational step that has many flaws and really is a very general assumption you are correct. . Edited by CaNz
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[quote name='Kei' date='01 September 2010 - 07:42 PM' timestamp='1283384574' post='700131']
[font="Tahoma"][color="#000080"]As someone that wants to be part of the American media, I find myself severely disappointed with the state of their current (seemingly non-existent) ethics standard. Be it FOX News (though, to be frank, I find anything they try to market as news laughable), MSNBC (who can be just as bad sometimes), CNN (who I am dramatically losing faith in, ever since the Potomac River incident) or any other cable news outlet, no matter where I turn, I'm seeing biased, shoddy reporting. No one seems to want to go in-depth and really get to the heart of the matter anymore. It's more about trying to point the other political party out as the source of the terrible news that's being reported these days.
[/color][/font]
[/quote]

[color=indigo]I agree entirely. The weird thing is that if you go back just ten years it is amazing how different the reporting was. When the cable news networks were young they really focused more on news than on editorial content. While they often had a very slight bias (for example, NPR has always had a slight bias towards the left, but it was, and is, very slight) they definitely weren't nearly as polarizing.

[quote name='James' date='02 September 2010 - 07:37 AM' timestamp='1283427425' post='700145']
[font=palatino linotype]
My point is that it's not so much about being manipulative - it's about commercial competition and entertainment. Fox News, as my example, is not a news channel. It's an entertainment/variety channel. It is dominated by so-called "magazine" shows, which themselves are [i]not[/i] news programs.
[/font]
[/quote]

[color=indigo]I don't disagree that it is about commercial competition and ratings to some extent, but that just enforces my opinion that the polarization of these news networks (you can say that they are entertainment channels but they are all "news" networks, it is in their title and each channel has at least 6 hours worth of what they coin to be news shows, not editorial content).

I'd also argue that there is no proof that there is a correlation between intelligence and the belief in creationism (I wish there was, but I couldn't find anything truly supporting that claim). I could make an opposing point simply by stating that Americans have to be more intelligent than other folks from developed nations because American's working for foreign companies average a much larger salary than any other group of workers working for foreign countries. We obviously aren't any more intelligent than people from any other country on average, but I can easily provide an argument to the contrary,[/color]
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[quote name='Heaven's Cloud' date='03 September 2010 - 07:31 AM' timestamp='1283459493' post='700163']
[color=indigo]]I don't disagree that it is about commercial competition and ratings to some extent, but that just enforces my opinion that the polarization of these news networks (you can say that they are entertainment channels but they are all "news" networks, it is in their title and each channel has at least 6 hours worth of what they coin to be news shows, not editorial content). [/quote][/color]

[font=palatino linotype]Yeah, that's really the observation I'm making. I'm saying that the media zeitgeist (if it can be called that) has moved from a news culture to an entertainment culture. I think this is, in large part, driven by audiences.

Even their "news" content, though, is questionable (especially in the case of Fox News). But I guess it's hard to hold them to a standard that so few outlets seem to follow.[/font]

[quote name='Heaven's Cloud'][color=indigo]I'd also argue that there is no proof that there is a correlation between intelligence and the belief in creationism (I wish there was, but I couldn't find anything truly supporting that claim). I could make an opposing point simply by stating that Americans have to be more intelligent than other folks from developed nations because American's working for foreign companies average a much larger salary than any other group of workers working for foreign countries. We obviously aren't any more intelligent than people from any other country on average, but I can easily provide an argument to the contrary,[/color]
[/quote]

[font=palatino linotype]I think it's just important to clarify that I wasn't talking about intelligence. I don't think it's an intelligence question. It's a credulity question, which is different.

My point is that the emphasis seems to be about "choosing a side" or "picking a team", rather than carefully evaluating evidence on its own merits and then reaching a conclusion. To put it a different way, it could be that people are encouraged "what to think" rather than "[i]how[/i] to think".

It is very possible for intelligent people to believe something wholeheartedly, not because of any evidence, but because they sub-consciously (or consciously) block out and disregard any contrary evidence or opinion. Again, this happens on Fox News all the time - they have the capacity to simply pretend something doesn't exist, when it contradicts their stance.

I think that a lot of people have actually forgotten what evidence really means. And I think a lot of people are not accustomed to asking questions like "What was the source of that information?", or "How can the reporter know that fact for sure?" or even "Who wrote that story, when was it written and what could have influenced the writer's view?"

I don't think it automatically follows that people always think critically. Rather, I think you have to be trained on some level to do it - children, especially, should be taught to challenge assertions and to evaluate evidence. But - coming back to my creationism point - this is quite obviously not happening on a vast enough level.[/font]
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[quote name='James'][font="palatino linotype"]Perhaps there's a lack of education about how to think critically (Gallup suggests almost 50% of Americans believe in creationism - this alone bears out the idea that education is a big factor in mass credulity). [/font][/quote]
[FONT=Calibri]I find this statement incredibly offensive and in rather poor taste.

I do agree with the core idea preceding it, though. It's one thing to have obviously partial and slanted information flung at you left and right. It's quite another to swallow it when you know how lacking it is.

However, if that's the case, wouldn't that make the mindset of the general media all the more reprehensible? After all, it's a lot easier to abuse the good faith of a six-year-old and deliberately mislead them than it is to do the same to a forty-five-year-old who's been around the block a few times and knows the usual approaches. That's really the main here. Sure, most of the people posting here are capable of ferreting out the tidbits of hard information contained in an hour of bull-shatted gum-flapping, but the [i]concern[/i] is why there is such a plethora of gum-flapped bullshit to begin with. It's like taking a difficult collegiate mathematics course where the professor didn't assign a book, spent all of every lecture going on and on about problems he enjoys doing (whether they're related material or not) or how the other teachers' methods are terrible, and then issues tests at the end of every month concerning the material you were supposed to learn but had no idea where to even begin to look to get it, let alone the ability to comprehend it on your own assuming you [i]had[/i] found it.

By that point the student should be able to figure out how to get the reference material he might need, and he should probably be able to discern methods and procedures from the professor's haphazard examples, which he could then apply to other problems, but that doesn't have any bearing on the fact that the professor is [u]ignoring[/u] [u]his[/u] [u]responsibility[/u].

According to [color="#8b0000"]Kei[color="#000000"], young journalists are taught their responsibilities clearly: report the facts, inform the public, and allow the audience to make its own judgment. But what the mainstream media is doingâ??ostensibly in the name of ratings, or perhaps to get funding from one party or another, who knowsâ??is reporting not an informative discourse on a topic, but a persuasive[/color][/color] one, and that means that the public has to inform itself or risk making a conclusion without knowing the full details. And that is nothing short of flagrant irresponsibility.[/FONT]
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[quote]I find this statement incredibly offensive and in rather poor taste.[/quote]

[font=palatino linotype]Why? How is it poor taste to draw a logical conclusion? This really doesn't gel with the thoughtful nature of the rest of your post. If you declare something offensive by fiat, then it would be a good idea to explain your reasoning. :)

As I pointed out to HC, it's not a question of intelligence at all, but rather it is a question about one's ability to analyse evidence. I am not arguing that the bearing here is completely on the student - in fact, I'm arguing the exact opposite. I completely agree with you that teachers, school systems and even news outlets that do not encourage critical thought are simply not living up to their responsibility.

It should be obvious that if teachers and school systems (and perhaps even the curriculum itself) does not encourage critical thought and analysis of evidence, then by default students who lack this ability will be relatively unlikely to suddenly discover it as adults. Therein lies the problem (at least part of it, anyway).

My idea of linking the lack of critical analysis in viewers to the resultant behaviour of media outlets may be entirely wrong in reality, or it may be only part of the answer...but I think it's a relatively logical (and completely benign) point to make.[/font]
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[color=indigo][i]Wow, my previous post had some crazy punctuation and fragmentation going on, I guess that is what I get for trying to coherently walk and type on my Blackberry at the same time :sweatdrop: [/i][/color]
[quote name='James' date='02 September 2010 - 08:40 PM' timestamp='1283474416' post='700178']

[font=palatino linotype]
I don't think it automatically follows that people always think critically. Rather, I think you have to be trained on some level to do it - children, especially, should be taught to challenge assertions and to evaluate evidence. But - coming back to my creationism point - this is quite obviously not happening on a vast enough level.[/font]
[/quote]

[color=indigo]I agree with you...to a point. We should seek the truth, but most of the responsibility still needs to be in the hands of the press.

For example, lets say that a bomb goes off and four Muslims are reported as being responsible for the bombing. Now a week later one of the bombers family members steps forward stating that the men had been Muslims but became atheists a decade earlier.

Obviously during that one week relationships between the Muslim community and whoever was targeted by the bomb would be strained and a conflict could arise. After all, there is a recent pattern of Muslims attacking targets with bombs. However, another conflict is also created in the media when fox news gets a hold of it and one of their "news anchors" (as opposed to editorial anchors) and simply says something like "Muslims bomb something [i]again[/i]".

The "again" raises the hackles of an overly sensitive lefty anchor and they report a true story that there are more terrorists related to employees of Fox than any other news network. Fox answers with another true story that states that MSNBC has a shareholder with terrorist connections. All of this back and forth is news, but it is horribly pointless news that only is put out to polarize the viewing base.

Now, you could say "well the viewer has some responsibility in interpreting what they are watching/reading/hearing". And you are right. But, lets also say that the average person turns on a news show (even a fairly reputable one) and they find a personality likable so they watch it for ten minutes while ironing in the morning. They do this every day and more and more they are sliding further to the left or right because the show they are watching puts out a two minute news clip about some screw up or hypocrisy on one side of the aisle or the other.
[/color] Edited by Heaven's Cloud
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[font="Palatino Linotype"]I agree with you completely, as per my last post. I think the media have a great deal of responsibility.

The problem, though, is that (as bad as it is) they are ultimately chasing advertising dollars. And the audience seems to respond most favourably to this kind of "shock" or entertainment journalism.

If audiences generally began to switch towards less biased forms of news, then probably this will have an impact in terms of the big commercial networks. What's interesting is that, apparently, shows such as The O'Reilly Factor are among the most highly-rated on cable TV. People obviously like the confrontations and the entertainment element.

It's a bit of a chicken and egg scenario. On the one hand, Fox News is taking little responsibility for its obviously biased "news" presentation. On the other hand, viewers clearly enjoy and, to some degree, demand this type of media.

I guess you could debate the extent to which each group is at fault, but sometimes I I think there's a lot more to it than simply news media being their typical biased selves.[/font]
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its not like the networks are really pushing there own agenda all the time. news is a business after all.

people do like the factor, Bill Maher, and Glenn Beck, they are outrageous, but people can relate when they shout about what makes them mad, convincing people they should get angry too.
republicans and democrats are demographics to these people.
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Is it not possible to legally force a distinction between news and propaganda/clear-cut bias? Are there no independent statistical analyst groups that governments could authorise to look at the reported news for trend developments or something? Perhaps that way we could get a 'feel' for what news channels/segments/individual reporters etc have a tendency to report by viewing details online, I dunno. I dont know whether this already happens to some extent or if it's impossible.. kinda just typing as I'm thinking. Would it slightly help if 'news' reporters were censored from using emotive language to report? I understand that sounds very anti-freedom of speech, but surely to preserve a well-informed citizenry there must be some sort of required access to verified neutral information which stand separate from (and be easily distinguished from) all other free speech?
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[font=palatino linotype]That idea kind of scares me, honestly. I don't think anyone should be censoring news anchors under any circumstances. Nor should there be any government body trying to determine whether or not something is "biased". The obvious problem is that you then have to police whatever authority you set up to police journalists. The idea of even policing journalists is itself pretty dangerous, I think.[/font]
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^ to Shy, thanks.

In response to James, I agree. Was sort of typing as I thought. My post was actually meant to be moreso about some sort of way to literally see (or compare) if there's a slant to the news being told by different groups/individuals online. As for the censorship, I meant more about keeping the language neutral and colour-free without stepping onto persuasive territory. Perhaps company fines for opinions being reported rather than fact? I know the implications are huge and extremely risky. And it wouldnt change what issues, or aspects of issues, channels choose to cover.

I suppose as long as the internet stays free though, everything's gravy.
[img]http://www.cooksillustrated.com/images/document/article/gravy_article.jpg[/img] Edited by #326
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  • 3 weeks later...
I feel cheated when I turn on the television, and when I go to the polls.

Conservatism in America has become market for dealing in ignorance, and liberalism in America has become a market for dealing in blindness.

There are, in fact, some broken bones that can only heal properly if first rebroken. I think that is what we need.

The television news media can burn with the bipartisan system, for all I care.

Had no one listened to Dr. King, what do you think he'd have done? What would Malcolm X have done?

You can't fix men like Glenn Beck with a sex tape. Someone would fill the niche. I'd say try an expose, but I doubt many would read it.

-Justin
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[font="Palatino Linotype"]I actually watched some of Glenn Beck's TV show last week. And as I watched his incredibly long ramble about filling a bucket and emptying it and how it rains with money and then the blackboard and...

Well, I was thinking, does anybody actually take this guy seriously? I mean, he's clearly deranged on some level. He had pictures of the founding fathers of America on a blackboard and he was talking all about their religious convictions - now, I'm not American, but I [i]know[/i] that most of the founding fathers were strict secularists. As Beck talked, he demonstrated what I thought was fairly little understanding of his own country's history.

Obviously his show isn't of the news variety, but I just find it incredible that he isn't basically doing the same rant on a street corner while wearing a cardboard box.

When I was in America I went to the movies and during the trailers, they advertised some weird-as-hell Christmas show that Beck does live on stage. I actually had to try hard not to burst out laughing! It was so asinine - or at least, the advertisement made it look that way - he even kneels down and [i]cries![/i] What the hell?

It's bizarre. Do Americans also find it bizarre as well, or is this just a culture difference?[/font]
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[quote name='James' date='20 September 2010 - 07:58 PM' timestamp='1285030701' post='700655']
[font="Palatino Linotype"]It's bizarre. Do Americans also find it bizarre as well, or is this just a culture difference?[/font]
[/quote]

[color=deeppink]Some find it bizarre. Others eat it up.

Much of my immidiate family thinks the guy is a saint, that's been sent down from on high to do the Lord's work. But they also instantly disbelieve anything I say if I tell them I learned it at college, so think of that what you will.

Personally, I think he's little more than a clown. A clown that knows how to work an audience.[/color]
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