Last year, photographer Jill Greenberg became the subject of a mini-controversy over some less than flattering pictures of John McCain. The Republican media machine, led by Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post, condemned her for “not manipulating” the photos to make McCain look better. The vitriol directed at her was intense and threatened to curtail her access to conservative public figures.
Enter Glenn Beck. Greenberg just completed an assignment for GQ Magazine that features her photos of a sobbing Beck. This is a little more than ironic in that Greenberg is famous for her series of crying children:
What could be more appropriate than Beck portrayed in the same manner as the wailing toddlers with whom he has so much in common? He is just as infantile and ill-informed as the crybabies Greenberg previously captured so movingly.
It is also notable that the man who insists that his tears are genuine can put on a performance like this. He has previously asserted that he could never fake the emotion that pours out of him when contemplating the ruin of America by evil liberals. He told a Philadelphia Magazine reporter who questioned his sincerity that…
“If you’re going to make that case, I deserve a frickin’ Emmy. That’s unbelievable acting.”
I’m not sure I agree with his assessment of his acting skills. In fact, the reason so many people suspect him of feigning sentimentality is that he is such a bad actor. If he were any good at it, no one would be questioning him.
Under George W. Bush, Republicans peddled a flavor of right-wing ideology they called “compassionate conservatism.” It was a transparent ploy to make us believe that the party of selfishness actually cared. But don’t let Beck’s weepy punditry fool you into thinking that he gives a damn about anything but his own place on the media throne. He envisions himself a leader of a peasant uprising. He spent much of his show today haranguing his audience for not being out in the streets fighting for…well, whatever it is that Beck tells them to fight for. He begins every show by exhorting his viewers to, “Come on, follow me.”
Thank goodness for artists who can express the deeper meaning of their subjects with honesty and insight. Jill Greenberg deserves our gratitude for eliciting this vision of Beck – one that captures both his childishness and his superficial dishonesty.