The New York Times Magazine features Glenn Beck on its cover this week for a major profile entitled “Being Glenn Beck,” saying he’s “sheepish and approachable.” Oy Vey!:
Glenn Beck was sprawled out on his office couch a couple of weeks ago, taking — as self-helpers like to say — an inventory. “I think what the country is going through right now is, in a way, what I went through with my alcoholism,” he told me. “You can either live or die. You have a choice.” Beck, who is 46, was in the Midtown Manhattan offices of his production company, Mercury Radio Arts, which is named for Mercury Theater, the company created by Orson Welles. He had just finished his three-hour syndicated radio show and was a few hours away from his television show. It was a Wednesday afternoon in the middle of September, and Beck had just returned from a week’s vacation in the Grand Tetons followed by a quick hop to Anchorage, where he and Sarah Palin appeared at an event on Sept. 11.
Beck has a square, boyish face, an alternately plagued and twinkle-eyed demeanor that conjures (when Beck is wearing glasses) the comedian Drew Carey. He is 6-foot-2, which is slightly jarring when you first meet him, because he is all head and doughiness on television; I never thought of Beck as big or small, just as someone who was suddenly ubiquitous and who talked a lot and said some really astonishing things, to a point where it made you wonder — constantly — whether he was being serious.
At some point in the past few months, Beck ceased being just the guy who cries a lot on Fox News or a “rodeo clown” (as he has described himself) or simply a voice of the ultraconservative opposition to President Obama. In record time, Beck has traveled the loop of curiosity to ratings bonanza to self-parody to sage. It is remarkable to think he has been on Fox News only since January 2009.
In person, Beck is sheepish and approachable, betraying none of the grandiosity or bluster you might expect from a man who predicted “the next Great Awakening” to a few hundred thousand people in late August at the Lincoln Memorial or who declared last year that the president has a “deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.” He wore a blue dress shirt tucked into jeans and brown loafers, which he kicked off as soon as he sat down. He showed little interest in the results from primary elections held the day before — upsets in Delaware and New York for Tea Party candidates whose followers often invoke Beck and Palin as spiritual leaders and even promote them as a prospective presidential ticket in 2012.
“Not involved with the Tea Party,” Beck told me, shrugging…
[continues in the New York Times Magazine]
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