No Comment — September 1, 2010, 4:07 pm

Glenn Beck’s 12-Step Plan

Writing at the Washington Post, Kathleen Parker offers some frank insights about Glenn Beck:

Despite all the words spilled in evaluating Glenn Beck’s tent-less revival last weekend, the real meaning may have been hiding in plain sight. Beck’s “Restoring Honor” gathering on the Mall was right out of the Alcoholics Anonymous playbook. It was a 12-step program distilled to a few key words, all lifted from a prayer delivered from the Lincoln Memorial: healing, recovery and restoration.

Saturday’s Beckapalooza was yet another step in Beck’s own personal journey of recovery. He may as well have greeted the crowd of his fellow disaffected with: “Hi. My name is Glenn, and I’m messed up.” Beck’s history of alcoholism and addiction is familiar to any who follow him. He has made no secret of his past and is quick to make fun of himself. As he once said: “You can get rich making fun of me. I know. I’ve made a lot of money making fun of me.”

Parker carefully sorts through Beck’s lines for the dead giveaways: the language and thoughts that mark a serious bout with alcoholism. The recurrent traits described in Katherine van Wormer’s Addiction Treatment: A Strengths Perspective perfectly capture the Beck formula: they include an exaggerated self-importance or pomposity; grandiose behavior; a rigid, judgmental outlook; impatience; regressive infantile behavior; irresponsible behavior; irrational rationalization; projection; and overreaction.

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(1) To need his glasses and be struck by an awareness that they are not at hand, an ordinary enough circumstance for Frederick Douglass, except sometimes it’s accompanied by a flash of extraordinary dread. If not quite panic, certainly an unease disproportionate to a simple recurring situation. Dread that may be immediately extinguished if he locates his horn-rimmed, owlish-eyed spectacles exactly where he anticipated they should be. He sees them and almost sighs. Nearly feels their slightly uncomfortable weight palpable on his nose. Finding the glasses enough to reassure him that he remains here among the living in this material …
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