Rhombus recently took some heat for some rather vitriolic comments I made regarding Glenn Beck in my review of his appearance at this year’s Stadium of Fire event at BYU. I criticized his dress, his demeanor and his very being. I called him “douchey” and a “borderline psycho.” I said that I wanted to punch him in the face.
Upon reflection, I felt that I probably came off a little strong and a lot of the criticism was undeserved. After all, Glenn didn’t do that poorly and was actually quite affable as an emcee for the evening. And that moment near the end of the show where they retired a ginormous American flag by burning it… That one pulled at my heartstrings and made me proud to be a citizen of this great country. After speaking with multiple readers and hearing their more fair-minded assessments of Beck and the show, I decided that I had probably put a toe over the line in my criticism. I felt quite contrite, even penitent.
I don’t feel that way anymore.
Today’s issue of the Daily Universe has brought back all that fire — and then some. DU metro editor (and friend of Rhombus) McKay Coppins has a brilliant front page piece about — prepare yourselves — how the Freedom Foundation, the event’s sponsor, (and their knowing conspirator, Mr. Beck) faked the flag retirement! It was all a rouse, a fake, a fabrication! And how do they respond? They laugh it off!
Acting on tips from volunteers and employees at the event, The Daily Universe contacted Provo City Fire Marshall Lynn Schofield and asked if the flag had really been burned in the stadium, as the audience of 50,000 had been led to believe.
He said he had not allowed the flag to be burned because the noxious fumes produced by the fire could have been a hazard to those present.
When soldiers carefully placed the flag in a large cauldron-shaped container, attendees saw flames arise, creating the illusion that the flag was burning.
It was a somber moment for many, aided by an emotional speech by Glenn Beck, who acted as emcee for the event. He told those in attendance how lucky they were to witness a rare flag retirement.
“If our American flag could speak, oh the stories she would tell,” Beck said, fighting to hold back tears. “She is what we make of her and nothing more.”
In reality, the flag was sitting safely inside the container. Volunteers who were present at the rehearsals the night before said Beck was likely aware that the flag was not actually being retired.
I knew Glenn Beck didn’t have a genuine or sincere bone in his body. Just as on his television show, his appearance at the Stadium of Fire was merely an opportunity for him to generate a response. While he usually attempts to provoke outrage on the airwaves, he hoped to provide SOF attendees with a mirage of a patriotic experience. He even choked up as he talked about the flag, supposedly being destroyed before our eyes, that was actually lying safely in the bottom of the cauldron at mid-field. What a guy.
Sure, the fire marshall told the Freedom Foundation that they couldn’t burn the flag because of safety concerns. That’s understandable. But the fact that Beck chose to play along like there was something actually happening to the point that he was literally crying over our non-burning flag is shameful. It’s just all so disingenuous. They could still have created a memorable experience by allowing military personnel to perform the retirement ceremony without the (fake) flag-burning aspect — but they didn’t. Instead, they laughed in the face of the paying customers who felt duped. They turned a potentially wonderful, patriotic experience into a facade. They cheapened the experience for all involved.
I won’t lie: I don’t have a lot of respect for Glenn Beck because I don’t feel like he has much respect for anybody else. He showed his true colors again last Saturday night. I feel justified in my disrespect.
Steve Pierce is co-founder and editor of Rhombus. He feels better about calling Glenn Beck “douchey” in light of recent events.
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