Taking Names In Vain: Glenn Beck, Dr. King, & Me

Glenn Beck
G—- B—

‎[Sigh] I would have been very satisfied had I gone to my grave without ever mentioning the words “Glenn” and “Beck” together on this blog, or any other page.

Ten years ago, in the summer of 2010, Beck was one of the behemoths of rightwing talk media, big on Fox, big on radio, mainlining anti-immigrant and other extremist toxins into the public mind, and raking in the dough. His profile & profits have since shrunk, but he’s still at it.

Besides disliking the individual and what he stands for, I have also hoped to avoid turning this space into one more locale where the media chatter of the day is simply & endlessly regurgitated and remasticated yet one more time, reinforcing its largely false and falsifying view of life, the world, and what’s important in both.

But sometimes s*it happens anyway.

So it went with the “tagging” in late August of that year by a Facebook friend of my name being taken more or less in vain on the G—- B— program. I assure everyone it was through no initiative of my own. But the fact is the fact.

The link to it is now gone, but someone played for him a bit from an interview with the late former NAACP President Julian Bond, in which Bond quotes me as quoting Dr. King as saying (in 1965) that he’d like to see “a modified form of socialism” come about in the US.

It’s true. Dr. King did say that to me. The comment is recorded in context in my memoir, “Eating Dr. King’s Dinner,” about my time in Selma, Alabama with the civil rights movement.

In that small book, I also point out that at the time, I notably failed to ask the question which shortly after (but alas, too late!) came to mind, namely, “Um, Dr. King, just what do you mean by a MODIFIED form of socialism???”

After all, “a modified form of socialism” could be just about anything.

But at that moment, I just nodded sagely, as if I understood completely; after all, I was 22.

Chuck Fager - Mug Shot 1965
An Outside Agitator’s mug shot – Selma, Alabama, 1965.

I guess this shocking disclosure left Mr B— reeling aghast, and may have borne some bitter fruit afterward on the mall in Washington. I heard B— held some kind of revival meeting there, but did not (nor do I intend to pay) it any attention.

Freedom of speech includes B—’s right to gather and blather; also my right to ignore it.

Later, after Dr. King was dead and I had learned a bit more, I came to think I had a clue of what Dr. King meant. The economic vision he was hinting at then, I think, most closely resembles that advocated today by Bernie Sanders & AOC.

That’s what I think; but I don’t know. Darn it. So this tidbit remains a footnote.

I’m more confident that G—— B—— who in early 2016 derided 45 as a charlatan, but now loyally fulminates against impeachment, would despise it as much today as he did then.

At least he quoted  me accurately.

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