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 Associationâs 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 NRAâs âStand and Fightâ 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 responderâs handgun, which Mr. Beck called a âsmall token of liberty;â and an antique rifle used by an American âthe first time we fought against Muslim extremistsâ â the Barbary pirates.
A parade of arms? A firepower fashion show? A gun pageant?Â No, Beck was hammering home his point.
âSo, what is this gun, good or evil?â he asked. âIt is nothing! A gun is only the reflection of the people that use it.â
In other words, the classic gun rights supportersâ argument â guns donât kill people, people kill people.
But Glenn was just getting started. His next prop? A pressure cooker.
âWhat was my grandmotherâs summer pastime has now been defined as a weapon of mass destruction,â he said, gingerly carrying out a pressure cooker and placing it on a stool.
âHave we gone insane? Have we gone insane?â he shouted. âGuns save lives, guns protect homes, businesses âŚ they feel they must regulate us until we comply. I will not comply.â
Just when we thought weâd seen it all, a strange segue to Beckâs final, bizarre, âpropâ of sorts.
Taking aim at New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Beck mocked the mayorâs âsoda ban, popcorn ban, salt ban,â then unveiled his off-color twist on the âI Heart New Yorkâ motto: a giant image of Mayor Bloomberg (who is Jewish) as Adolf Hitler, delivering a Nazi salute, with the words âYou willâ love New York printed below.
We canât explain that one.
His rambling chalkboard flowcharts.