In the end, Glenn Beck's last hour on Fox News Thursday after 2 and 1/2 years of considerable controversy, was relatively quiet, banal and kind of pathetic.
Beck told viewers several times how "amazing" the last 2 and 1/2 years have been. It was an "amazing ride," and an "amazing journey" and an "amazing trip," according to the talk show host who is now headed for his own GBTV Internet channel.
One of the most striking aspects of the finale was the form of address he used at the start of the show for his liturgy of amazing."We've done some amazing things together, me and you," he said addressing his listeners as if they were children. "It has been an amazing ride. And I have worked with amazing people and made amazing friends -- mostly you... There are things we learned that we didn't even know two years ago."
Of course, there are things you know now that you didn't know two years ago. You would have to be in a coma not to know more today than you did two years ago. That is a not a testament to what anyone learned watching Beck.
But the form of address was almost identical the way Mr. Rogers spoke to the pre-school children in his public television audience. I am not trying to be a wise guy. I have taught a course on "Children and Television" at Goucher College since the mid-1990's, and Mr. Rogers videos are mandatory viewing. And Fred's voice is the one that Beck has been using for those special, intimate moments with his followers.
I honestly don't know if that says more about him or them.
My favorite loopy sequence involved Beck going through a stack of money and talking about each of the men on the various bills with the same kind of silly, schoolboy history he used at his rally in Washington.
When he came to Washington on the the dollar bill, he said, "Oh, can we eat some cherry pie? I cannot tell a lie." He used one of the voices in his head that only Beck hears.
"Hamilton," he said of Alexander Hamilton, "he wanted the big bank."
Just think if Beck had actually studied some real college level history at a good school -- he might be really dangerous.
He also had that Beck smile on his face most of the hour -- the one intended to suggest that he is bursting with joy and a some sort of divine inner knowledge. The peace and love gang in the 1960s were sporting the same phony, blissed-oit look in the 1960s. Holy Krishna, Glenn.
Only for all the smiling, Beck sure had a lot of paranoid and angry thoughts that he had to tamp down during the hour.
He complained about members of the press who said he was fired. He complained about Comedy Central's Jon Stewart having as many as 40 writers for 30 minute show, while he had only two for a full hour. And he complained about CNN having such advanced technology that they could "holographic hookers."
The only onscreen CNN hologram I know of is the one done on election night that involved the image of Jessica Yellin, who was in Chicago. being beamed into the New York studio with Wolf Blitzer. Yellin is an outstanding political reporter who was just named chief White House correspondent this week by CNN.
But Beck told his viewers that he had to compete against a channel that showed "holographic hookers." That's what I mean about his reckless and flase speech. And that's way on the mild side for Beck.
Enough of this empty-headed con man. I am glad he is gone from cable TV, and as I said in a farewell piece this morning, I do not have one good thing to say for him. Read my piece here.
What he mostly did was sow seeds of paranoia, rancor and hate in American homes during the dinner hour. Both he and Fox New should be ashamed of the last 2 and 1/2 years -- as "amazing" as he might think they have been.