Glenn Beck and stagecraft wizardry: Why his NRA talk trumped all(Read article summary)
The conservative talk show host deployed no fewer than five props during his keynote address to the NRA over the weekend. (So there, Sarah Palin.) And not one of them was a chalkboard.
Here's one thing you can say about Republicans: They sure like their props.
First there was Clint Eastwood talking to an empty chair at the Republican National Convention. Then there was Sarah Palin chugging down a Big Gulp at the Conservative Political Action Conference in March, and a couple months later, waving a tin of chewing tobaccoÂ at the National Rifle Associationâ€™s annual convention in Houston this past weekend.
But in the prop-toting antics category, Glenn Beck may take the cake. He used not one but five props at his keynote addressÂ at the NRAâ€™s â€śStand and Fightâ€ť convention Saturday, a rousing almost-two-hour talk during which he paced, mocked, pontificated, and of course, referred to props in classic Beck fashion.
He presented a series of firearms: the gun owned by serial killer Charles Manson before police confiscated it and Manson had nine victims slaughtered â€“ with knives, not guns; a 9/11 first responderâ€™s handgun, which Mr. Beck called a â€śsmall token of liberty;â€ť and an antique rifle used by an American â€śthe first time we fought against Muslim extremistsâ€ť â€“ the Barbary pirates.
A parade of arms? A firepower fashion show? A gun pageant?Â No, Beck was hammering home his point.
â€śSo, what is this gun, good or evil?â€ť he asked. â€śIt is nothing! A gun is only the reflection of the people that use it.â€ť
In other words, the classic gun rights supportersâ€™ argument â€“ guns donâ€™t kill people, people kill people.
But Glenn was just getting started. His next prop? A pressure cooker.
â€śWhat was my grandmotherâ€™s summer pastime has now been defined as a weapon of mass destruction,â€ť he said, gingerly carrying out a pressure cooker and placing it on a stool.
â€śHave we gone insane? Have we gone insane?â€ť he shouted. â€śGuns save lives, guns protect homes, businesses â€¦ they feel they must regulate us until we comply. I will not comply.â€ť
Just when we thought weâ€™d seen it all, a strange segue to Beckâ€™s final, bizarre, â€śpropâ€ť of sorts.
Taking aim at New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Beck mocked the mayorâ€™s â€śsoda ban, popcorn ban, salt ban,â€ť then unveiled his off-color twist on the â€śI Heart New Yorkâ€ť motto: a giant image of Mayor Bloomberg (who is Jewish) as Adolf Hitler, delivering a Nazi salute, with the words â€śYou willâ€ť love New York printed below.
We canâ€™t explain that one.
His rambling chalkboard flowcharts.