Last night much to my husband’s horror when we made our weekly family trip to the library, I checked out Glen Beck’s Arguing with Idiots. Now I imagine some of you are wondering whatever would make you do such a thing? I know…its Glen Beck…but I have to say I was curious, after all a fair number of our fellow country folks really seem to like him.
So before bed last night I set out to read his book and I must say he makes sense….if you don’t dig too deep to realize he drops a smidge of truth with a whole lot of exaggeration. After all on page 3 he talks about how a minimum wage worker in America is still one of the wealthiest people in the world. That may true when you look at that minimum wage worked compared to some guy earning less than $2 a day in a third world country, living in substandard housing praying he doesn’t get sick when he drinks the fucking water.
Problem is, that is comparing apples to oranges and some things should just not be compared. After all our American minimum wage worker often must pay for shelter, utilities, food and childcare…hell, I haven’t even mentioned how that worker is getting to and from work. Unless the job is in walking distance from his house presumably this worker must pay to ride public transportation or pay the costs associated with maintaining a car. Let’s not even talk about the fact this worker might want to occasionally get a physical and maintain his teeth, chances are that minimum wage job offers no healthcare benefits and if it does unless they are completely free, he most likely can’t afford them.
Again let us compare that to my buddy in the 3rd world country who lives in a shanty or hut, still has extended family nearby that watches the kids and again you can quickly see, there is no fair comparison. At the end of the day both these folks have a fucked up life and that minimum wage working American most certainly does not see himself as wealthy when he can’t even get his teeth cleaned or buy fresh fruit and veggies because he doesn’t earn enough money.
Yet when I look at Beck’s original statement without any further discourse well he makes sense. Sad thing is in America we like our information distilled down to bite size pieces that don’t require much on our parts…critical thinking is just not that stylish. It’s why when news breaks that a washed up pop star like Ricky Martin admits he is gay (dude…Stevie Wonder could have seen that shit and he has been blind since he was what? 12?) we are far more interested in that news than thinking on a deeper level about the ongoing wars or fact that just that day a couple gals in Moscow decided to blow up a bunch of folks up on the subway.
Look, I admit I am guilty of it too. I recently checked out one of Howard Zinn’s books and returned it unread. Why? I flipped through it and it was just too much to get into. I used to be a fan of Noam Chomsky’s works but in the past 5-6 years I have not read more than half of one of his books. Again, too much work. But in less than a night I have made serious headway into good ole Glen Beck and many other Americans who in the past year and a half have been pumped up by Beck and his admonishment that we take back our country have also read his books and some even watch his show.
Yet without any deeper discussion to separate truth from fiction that is how we get a nation that is splintering itself and I fear headed in a really bad direction. I wish I had an answer…maybe my academic and progressive buddies need to make their books pretty to look at and stop with the big words. I mean thus far I have ran across no words in Beck’s book that make me reach for the dictionary or think hard at all.
Well have a wonderful Wednesday!