January 21, 2014
Glenn Beck bathes and dries himself before wrapping his body in a fresh white bathrobe. He sits at a table in a Fox Studios dressing room and enjoys a Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich with a side of waffle fries and a Diet Coke. When he is finished, Roger Ailes places a wakizashi on top of the crumpled sandwich wrapper. The blade of the short sword is carefully wrapped in a clean white cloth, ensuring that when, moments later, Beck picks it up his hand will not be cut, thus causing him to lose his grip. Before rising, Beck picks up a ballpoint pen and writes on the back of the Chick-fil-A bag:
To me it was fun
I remember it as such
I made some mistakes
Glenn kneels on the cold tile of the studio floor, grumbling under his breath as his shins protest the hard surface. He opens his robe, revealing a pasty and rumpled paunch. Behind him, Megyn Kelly stands up, acting as kaishakunin, her sharpened katana at the ready as Beck grabs the blade with his left hand and the handle with his right, plunging it into the left side of his belly and drawing it across, spilling his entrails into his lap. Before the first drop of blood hits his thighs, Kelly has brought her sword down, leaving Beck’s head attached to his body by a thin strip of skin, giving the appearance that it is cradled in his arms in shame.
Last month, Glenn Beck appeared on Megyn Kelly’s Fox News show and looked back at the period of time between Barack Obama’s inauguration and his own exit from Fox in 2011, when he spent every weekday stoking the fires of conspiracy and conservative panic in the name of ratings and “entertainment.” He didn’t apologize so much as offer his regrets about not drawing the country together more when he had the opportunity.
He chastised Coke for trying to divide the country politically, with its polarizing message of this country being some kind of godforsaken melting pot.
“I wish I could go back and be more uniting in my language, because I think I played a role, unfortunately, in helping tear the country apart, and it’s not who we are and I didn’t realize how really fragile the people were. I thought we were kind of a little more in it together. Now I look back and I realize if we could have talked about the uniting principles a little bit more, instead of just the problems, I think I would look back on it a little more fondly.”
Less than two weeks later, on his own show, Beck smugly took Coca-Cola to task for its Super Bowl commercial in which Americans of different races and primary languages sang “America the Beautiful.” In particular, he chastised Coke for trying to divide the country politically, with its polarizing message of this country being some kind of godforsaken melting pot.
This is less a case of a formerly obese person, post-gastric bypass, chastising fat people for not getting their act together than it is a case of General Butt Naked converting to Christianity and chastising people for not accepting Jesus as their personal savior.
It would be nice to believe that Beck’s seppuku was the beginning of a turnaround for the news media in the United States. Perhaps someday soon we could turn on CNN and see some boring, older gentleman reading the news in a steady voice without adding sarcastic eye rolls and offering his opinion on each tidbit of newsworthy minutia. Perhaps cable networks were looking down the road to a time when they could actually report the news, Discovery could be educational, and MTV could once again have something to do with the music business aside from what Beyonce spent on her most recent bathroom remodeling.
Nancy Grace calls herself out as the worst monster she’s ever led the charge against on her show, before hanging herself from the lighting rig above her desk.
Then again, perhaps Megyn Kelly should have cut deeper, severing the head entirely. Sure, she would bring shame upon herself, but the act would live beyond her wasted time at Fox News. If only she hadn’t been merely another interviewer who was nothing but a mouthpiece for her network. Imagine the scenarios:
Bill O’Reilly draws a blade across his stomach at the beginning of his show, demanding with his final breath that Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter save face and commit oibara at the death of their daimyo.
Piers Morgan holds a final interview in an empty studio, calling himself a self-important prick before putting the muzzle of a Ruger .357 Blackhawk in his mouth and painting his background a misty pink.
Nancy Grace calls herself out as the worst monster she’s ever led the charge against on her show, before hanging herself from the lighting rig above her desk. In seconds, a GIF of her swaying corpse would appear with Miley Cyrus riding it into a brick wall.
These people who for so long have mined the public’s emotional biases for their own entertainment, success, and fame might have actually felt sorry, even if for a moment. They might have apologized for stirring people up for ratings.
But Glenn wasn’t really sorry. He certainly wanted to look like it, but he wasn’t. He’s used to “apologizing” from his days as a zoo morning show radio host, where his obnoxious antics often went too far, leading to him having to give public apologies in an attempt to save his job. That was back before he realized you didn’t need to be educated, or intelligent, or even believe your own crap to garner tons of paranoid conservative listeners who would tune in to hear you say exactly what you knew that wanted to hear you say.
“Sure I was a douche, but I’m sorry for that. Now let me tell you about these guys who are being a douche right now.”
Much like a lawyer who’s used his talents in pro bono child welfare cases realizing that there’s way more money in defending obviously guilty criminals, Beck chose the easy path to personal wealth in his chosen field. Only he’s never had a job with any kind of moral ground. If you research his career path, you’ll see his life has consisted of him tripping over his own fat lips into job after job after job because his lack of personal morality let him say all sorts of crazy crap on the radio and television that tons of nuts would tune into, thus allowing the station to sell scads of advertising time. His apologies have never hurt him because he’s always been so quick to hold up his forced attrition as evidence of moral superiority. “Sure I was a douche, but I’m sorry for that. Now let me tell you about these guys who are being a douche right now.”
Much like David Vitter running for governor of Louisiana despite being raked across the coals for his many, many, many interludes with very professional and very expensive prostitutes. Vitter said he prayed about the decision to run with his family, claiming his fall made him that much stronger as a man of faith and family as he wades into the campaign fray with a sharpened dagger up his sleeve for his opponents’ every private misstep. “Sure I used to have a problem with hookers, but you have one now!”
It’s an addition to the culture of non-apology.
When did apologizing and meaning it become a negative thing? We all know you’ve screwed up. You’re acknowledging you screwed up. Apologize. Not as a favor, or because it’s expected if you hope to keep your job, but because you’re truly remorseful for the awful things you did for your own amusement and benefit.
An apology should hurt.
Like yubitsume. The yakuza may lack the moral high ground of the samurai, but they certainly know how to apologize without running away to the sweet and easy release of death. As a form of atonement, a person could cut off his pinky finger and present it as an apology. The little finger holds the tightest grip at the base of the sword (think about a baseball player wrapping it at the base of the bat for leverage), so losing it meant you were permanently weakened. You were beholden to the person you were apologizing to.