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Stewart on Glenn Beck’s New City

Glenn Beck recently announced that he is going to build a new city compound in Texas, to be called Independence USA. Jon Stewart had a bit of fun with it, pointing out how utterly contradictory he is in how he wants to run his new shining city on a hill on a flat plain.

Part 2:

I caught the tail end of this, which prompted me to start writing jokes about it. I imagine Koolaid will be a big seller in the marketplace he envisions. And no Miracle Gro will be allowed in the place; they’ll fertilize their gardens with batshit, which will flow down the streets like water.

Comments

  1. otrame says

    My favorite part was how you get into this little paradise. He was completely incoherent about that, but I think you can either buy into it or you can come in as an “apprentice” willing to work and learn and, I presume, not get paid much, if anything.

    Throughout the whole thing, I kept thinking, “and of course all federal and state laws will apply, so what exactly are you getting away from?”

    The whole thing sounds like the sort of thing I dreamed up when I was about eleven.

    The whole thing also sounds like a remarkably good plan to get some major cash out of some wealthy but not very sensible people. And even more cash from some poor but not very sensible people. As some one once noted, it’s better to scam the poor, there are so many more of them.

  2. Rodney Nelson says

    Stewart made one rather telling point. Beck and his buds are more interested in freedom from the things they despise (or claim to despise) than in freedom to do things.

  3. louisi says

    Uuuuurgh. I should preview before I mess up the posts.

    It should say, “surely they’d water the plants with Brawndo though….”

  4. dingojack says

    ‘Independence’? Sheesh Mr Bek, we can do better than that!
    ‘Myola’ is free, or how ’bout ‘Nowhere Land’, or what about ‘River City’….?
    Any body got some nifty names for Mr Bek’s ‘paradise’? We like to help out.
    Dingo

  5. Akira MacKenzie says

    Great, so Beck’s vision of utopia is a land of tacky mom-and-pop stores built on a endless front lawn where everyone watches regurgitated and remade pre-1960s movies and TV shows and “celebrates” Independence Day as a quasi-religious holiday (as if AmeriKKKa and the Founding Facists aren’t deified enough in this. country).

    Yeeeeah, sounds like paradise to me. Nuke the entire site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

  6. Akira MacKenzie says

    Nibi @ 6

    Yeah, that’s my suspicion too. I wouldn’t be surprised that Beck’s Red, White, and Blue Family Values Burbclave (apologies to Neal Stephenson) will be very popular among the Magic Underwear set.

  7. says

    Okay, wow. I thought it was stupid when I was merely guessing how Beck would handle it. He’s trying to force people to live in a “wholesome” black and white sitcom. Forbidding certain clothing stores, apparently because they conflict with his sense of fashion? Or should I spell that Fascion?

  8. cottonnero says

    Which is more likely: that Glenn Beck has never seen Pleasantville, or that he has seen it and he missed the point entirely?

    Come to think of it, he’d make an excellent real-life Big Bob.

  9. says

    I don’t know who Glenn Beck thinks he was talking to. Maybe a fan base in nursing homes, who haven’t been outside within memory? (Poor souls.) The ‘freedoms’ he so loves are already extant across the land. Like, shopping, having grass lawns, talking to neighbors. He wants to replace all that with patterns, of living and behavior.
    Next he will grow a funny little mustache.

  10. raven says

    Didn’t David Koresh and the Branch Davidians have a compound somewhere in Texas?

    Waco??? Well, whatever, how did that work out.

    Glenn Beck appears loony to normal people. OTOH, his net worth is estimated to be between $60 million to $100 million. There is big money in pandering to the right wing lunatic fringes.

    Beck is a good person for them to donate to. I’m sure it is all ultimately wasted.

  11. says

    You people don’t understand freedom! Freedom isn’t living under tyrants, it’s living under your choice of tyrant. Totally different. And it will work perfectly. Until Beck retires or is succeeded. Then Glenbeckton, alone, will have another city split off from it, Limbaughburg, and that one will have another split off from it, etc, with each city declaring fealty and service only to its resident leader, and varying degrees of enmity or war against the others. Pop Feudalism. Complete with feuds. For freedom.

  12. raven says

    Again, just like a Neal Stephenson novel. Who wants an Uncle Enzo’s pizza?

    Or like Jonestown, Guyana. Beck is already a Mormon priest.

  13. Doug Little says

    Bah, the whole town thing has already been done, Ave Maria, Florida rings a bell. It was funny that a supposedly free town will have so many rules and regulations, yeah come on down express your freedom except….

  14. jba55 says

    Once again I would love to have a wingnut, this time Beck, clearly define freedom. While it’s true that words can have multiple meanings it helps when everyone knows what they are.

    @18 to be fair being a LDS priest is something that every male member of the church in good standing becomes at age 16. It doesn’t mean anything except that the priesthood holder can bless the sacrament.

  15. amyjane says

    Glen Beck Doesn’t like the usual July 4th celebrations?

    .Even when the Declaration of Independence was signed, John Adams believed it should be commemorated in a celebratory manner. He wrote to his wife Abigail, “I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding generations, as the great anniversary festival… It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

    I guess Glen Beck doesn’t approve of our 2nd President.

  16. Akira MacKenzie says

    amyjane @ 21:

    I expect that Beck believes we out to be celebrating July 4th in church singing praises to America’s no. 1 Founding Father: JEEEEZ-us!

  17. raven says

    It doesn’t mean anything except that the priesthood holder can bless the sacrament.

    Yeah, I know that.

    IIRC, all Mormon males are priests. There is a junior priesthood and a senior one.

    As far as magic superpowers go, IIRC, it goes further than just blessing the sacrament, white bread and grape juice. They can also anoint people with holy oil (whatever that means), and cast out demons.

    Of course my cat can do that just as well but whatever.

  18. D. C. Sessions says

    Of course my cat can do that just as well but whatever.

    I would think better — a really pissed-off cat is hard on the ears, and as far as what they cast out … ick.

  19. drr1 says

    Dr. X @ 26 wins the Internet for the day. I can’t stop laughing.

    On a similar note, I see a real business opportunity here. Immediately across the street from the entrance to DSM Axis II – town, we open the DSM Axis II Party/Porno/Birth Control Store. It’s a gold mine, I tell ‘ya, a gold mine.

  20. jameshanley says

    In Seeing Like a State, James Scott critically describes the effort to comprehensively plan entire cities, such as Brasilia. The irony is that these efforts have been true social engineering efforts, intended to design an ideal city to which the people would be fit, rather than letting a city grow organically to fit the people. It is exactly the kind of centralized anti-individualism that conservatives criticize.

  21. says

    It’s not that Beck uses a different definition for the word freedom. It’s that he thinks certain people have too much of it. Since he can’t force the world back into the imaginary 50s era sitcom that he thinks the world once was, the whole point Becktopia is to get away from anyone who doesn’t fit into his prefab mold of what a Real American(tm) is.

  22. pacal says

    Akira you said:

    “Yeeeeah, sounds like paradise to me. Nuke the entire site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.”

    An Aliens reference for the Win!!

  23. says

    I don’t know who Glenn Beck thinks he was talking to.

    Religious conservatives, as always. If you delve into any of the dominionist/reconstructionist cults you will find a very similar desire to dispose of virtually all of modern day culture and “get back to the basics of living” — a time and place when everyone knew everyone and all administrative decisions and means of production were as local as possible. A kind of 1950s religious Mayberry that has never existed in real life.

    Of course, living in Independence, USA would, in reality, mean living under the thumb of the Housing Association from Hell, with corporate tyranny replacing the supposed government tyranny that we’re supposed to be living under.

    There is no way they could set this up as a truly libertarian society, since the property owners within the city would, rightly, refuse to be bullied by anyone into conforming with any unified Utopian vision unless they happened to share it, and there is no guarantee of that happening. That would probably mean that Beck would have to maintain ownership of the property in the city and rent it out, allowing him to maintain an almost unprecedented amount of control over the population. Thus, in essence, he would be the dictator — perhaps a benevolent one in the eyes of his followers — but a dictator nonetheless.

  24. iangould says

    People may want to remember Jim Bakker’s Heritage USA and what ultimately happened to it.

    I see this less as a doomsday compoud more as the latest (and possibly final) stage in an ongoing con.

    With Glenn off Fox and peddling his nonsense over the internet, the cash has probably largely dried up.

    So Glenn need to put the bite on his few remaining suckers for more cash than ever before.

    I predict that five years from now “Independence” will be one tar road, a couple of hundred lots that have been built on and, maybe, a souvenier stand.

  25. jba55 says

    @23 I was taught, as a mormon child, that anyone with enough Jesus points (or whatever they called them) could cast out demons. It was as simple as saying “get behind me Satan!!1!”, apparently. As for anointing, you have to be a level 4 priesthood holder, Melchizedek, in order to do that. I mean, that’s a big responsibility, you can’t entrust someone with that until they’ve turned 18. That’s when they can be trusted with real magic powers!

  26. Chelydra says

    Not surprisingly, there is already an Independence, Texas. It currently has fewer than 200 residents, but was once the wealthiest place in the state, home to Sam Houston and Baylor University.

  27. says

    “They’ll just call it Rapture”

    And I’ll call it KKKrapture.

    “@18 to be fair being a LDS priest is something that every male member of the church in good standing becomes at age 16. It doesn’t mean anything except that the priesthood holder can bless the excrement.”

    FTFY

    “Thus, in essence, he would be the dictator — perhaps a benevolent one in the eyes of his followers — but a dictator nonetheless”

    I will be believing in that happening around the same time as my rainbow farting unicorn starts shitting KrugerRands.

  28. martinc says

    I also have designed a city on a shining plain, which will be a light on the hill for the downtrodden everywhere. It will have all manner of clever technological marvels* to allow its citizens a life of ease and peace.

    Unlike Glenn Beck, when I turned 11, I realized it was impractical, and abandoned the plans, which consisted of two foolscap pages of scrawled pencil notes, and a large earnestly colored street map.

    * The best of these marvels was that there would be mass transport beltways that looped throughout the city, like the baggage claims at airports. They’d move one kilometer, then stop for 20 seconds to allow passengers to embark and disembark, then advance another kilometer etc. (to be fair, not all the safety factors on this bit had been worked out). No stations per se, you could get on anywhere on the line, and get off any whole number of kilometers away. If you calculated your destination carefully, you could walk along the beltway to make up the half a kilometer or less you were going to miss your destination by. Clever, huh?

    Oh, and the other clever thing was that the downtown had numbered streets parallel to the seafront, with 26 streets running inland to form the main grid. These streets would be named after famous scientists: Einstein, Newton, etc. But the beauty was that there’d be one street per letter and they’d be in alphabetical order! So if you were at 3rd and Fermi, you’d know you only had to go one block uptown and two across to get to 2nd and Dirac.

    I submitted this for a geography urban design assignment in 1975 and received a mark of 14/25 for my efforts, far outshone by others lacking my vision, but who had written in pen. The truly gifted are always persecuted.

  29. says

    “Unlike Glenn Beck, when I turned 11, I realized it was impractical, and abandoned the plans, which consisted of two foolscap pages of scrawled pencil notes, and a large earnestly colored street map.”

    Have you checked, Martinc, that it is still where you put it? I mean, Glen Beck–when he wasn’t allegedly involved in raping, killing and eating a schoolbus full of children–was also a notorious cat burglar. These days he’s a bit more like a walrus burglar.

  30. frog says

    So who’s going to mow the roads? I mean, it’s bad enough when one’s suburban neighbors go on vacation right before a rainstorm and their yard gets overgrown.

    I’m thinking sheep. That’s what the old commons were for, right? And there’s the “local” food Beck wants, and a source of clothing (some assembly required).

  31. says

    And if you’re going to build a city from scratch, let’s have compressed-air mains as well as electricity, gas, water, sewers and fibre optic internet. Compressed air is as good as electricity for heavy lifting (you still need electronics to control it; but you are getting most of your useful Watts from Pascals * m³/sec, as opposed to Volts * Amperes). It’s also quite amenable to renewable sources; anything that can turn an alternator can turn a compressor. And it’s a lot simpler to pump compressed air into the distribution network from random distributed sources, than it is with electricity.

    Come to think of it, we could have underground pipes transporting beer from brewery to bar, and maybe even for delivering small packages.

  32. eric says

    They’d move one kilometer, then stop for 20 seconds to allow passengers to embark and disembark, then advance another kilometer etc.

    Naaah. You have an inner track the moves very fast. A track on either side of that that moves slower, but with a speed differential small enough that people can walk from one to the other. Progressively slower tracks on either side of that, with the outermost tracks moving slow enough that people can step on from normal ground without trouble.

    The roads must roll!

  33. Marie the Bookwyrm says

    And let’s not forget about The Citadel–to be built in Idaho. Apparently it’s going to be walled and have one entrance/exit. Yeah, there’s a disaster waiting to happen.

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