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Glenn Beck's Turn In The Volcano

Best scene from Men in Black as later played out in real life:

Outer-Space Bug Who Crash-Landed Into The Backyard To Edgar: "Place projectile weapon on ground."

Vincent D'Onofrio As The Even-More-Hideous-Spiritually-Than-The-Bug Edgar: "You can have my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers!"

Bug in the ground to Edgar: "Your proposal is acceptable."

Giant insect appendages emerge from the hole, grab Edgar and then there's a loud slurp. Thereupon Vince as Edgar is subsumed into the giant creepy-crawler's digestive system for the rest of the movie.

The tableau offers dramatic fulfillment.

I recalled it fondly this week when graceless bloviator Glenn Beck spoke for his political allies about the coronavirus and its effect on the economy: "Even if we all get sick, I would rather die than kill the country."

The exact mathematic calculus that proves why gramps dying helps the economy is a little fuzzy. Speaking for gramps' everywhere, I say no effing way.

Maybe Beck didn't mean me exactly. Maybe he merely meant me as a figure of political speech.

Of course, he was implying that he'd rather have grandparent strangers he chooses to die, so we all can get on with achieving the greater good. He didn't mean himself. What, are you crazy? It was a rhetorical flourish, for crying out loud.

Nonetheless, it always seems easy to designate people you don't know to die on your behalf, even for no provable value. It's all so Incan, Mayan, and Aztecan, though two dozen other ancient cultures practiced this event on "special occasions."

That's also why these days we have a standing army, navy and air force to wage wars that should never be fought. But apparently, somebody elsewhere has to die to teach everyone else a lesson, and it might as well be those useless old people . . . them.

That assignment process is what people in charge believe is their duty and right as thought leaders - designating sacrificial human offerings to toss into the volcano. In this case, it appeases the Trickle Down Almighty of Wall Street, may His beneficent and merciful cash register always be worshipped.

Humans have done this either literally or bureaucratically for 200,000 years, although historically it's mostly been done to children and young female virgins.

Sacrificing relatives to the volcano is a primate species tendency. Maybe it's how we invented the idea of Hell. We once used the procedure to prevent flood, famines, and fiascos, though with mixed results on pestilence because no one told us about viruses.

The species has asked literally about 30,000 identifiable gods over our self-aware 2,000 centuries to save us from our fears. Human sacrifice often has been collateral on this request.

Now we have the pandemic which overrides all other motives.

We have been and continue to be a hideous blight on this planet. But after thinking over Beck's offer and feeling very awkward and embarrassed by my negative reaction, I believe the bug in the hole's invitation and resolution should apply to Beck, too. Especially to Beck.

Tossing Beck into Vesuvius might not solve the problem. But, on the other hand, what could it hurt?

Only three years ago, Beck announced he was very sorry for having venomously divided the nation with his squeals and grunts. He made millions doing this act. As he told the nation - credulously reported by the "elite leftist media" which he scorned - he was very sorry: "Glenn Beck Is Sorry About All That," the New York Times passed along. "Glenn Beck Tries Out Decency," the New Yorker proclaimed. "Glenn Beck's Regrets," the Atlantic sympathetically catalogued.

So much for redemption.

Several other public officials and pundits also seem agreeable - no, actually enthusiastic - about flinging grandma into the viral volcano if it helps the economy arise. That seems to include every statewide politician in Texas and Rupert Murdoch's band of borderline media sociopaths.

If Beck's sudden plunge into the lava would help that economic recovery, I'm all in favor. He sort of volunteered, though it seems unlikely he expected anyone to redeem his one-way bust ticket to the volcano.

Who would push him over the edge?

I will, I will, he said jumping and down and waving for attention.

For this to work, Beck needs research on active volcanoes, which are more common than Beck likely realizes. The Smithsonian's Global Volcanism Project tracks the eruptions: There's Erebus (Antarctica), Erta Ale (Ethiopia) and Dukono (Indonesia) along with 42 others all fuming, belching and spewing molten lava on a regular basis.

Beck represents Unexceptional America in the specific ways we once presumed the nation was Exceptional. Care for the oppressed? Generosity to those in need? Humane as a basic instinct? General maturity in our sensibilities?

Nah. All that costs too much.

Glenn Beck might be Witness No. 1 for the prosecution, though there seems to be an unrelenting queue of others just as vile.

What the pandemic surprisingly also has revealed is that America has nationally unrewarded heroes - nurses, teachers, store clerks.

America has plenty of First Responder heroes who don't toil on ambulance crews, though few of them have any money or power. Only a pandemic can remind us that a kindergarten teacher or a surgical nurse is more useful to our common purpose than a good shortstop.

As for Beck, sending him to the volcano probably won't cure anything but what's the downside? It's Glenn Beck, after all.

You have to start somewhere with our national delousing. One small step for man, one giant step for decent mankind into the fiery pit. Step this way, Mr. Beck.

Your proposal is acceptable. Schlurp!

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Recently from David Rutter:

* Kris Bryant's Future Bar Trick.

* Mansplaining To A Millionaire.

* Status Check: Chicago Sports.

* The Week In WTF Redux: Blago Is Back Edition.

* What Is A Chicagoan Anyway?

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David Rutter is the former publisher/editor of the Lake County News-Sun, and more importantly, the former author of the Beachwood's late, great "The Week In WTF" column. He welcomes your comments.



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Posted on March 29, 2020


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