A reader writes:

Beck is NOT offering, in your words, a "pretty deep, if internally inconsistent, worldview for people who do not have another worldview."  He is offering a stream-of-consciousness rant studded with fragments of conservative propaganda dressed up as history.  He makes his uneducated listeners feel smart by reinforcing their prejudices with his pseudo-intellectual gobbledygook.  His radio show is an audio version of an unprepared college freshman attempting to bullshit his way through a term paper.

Another writes:

In your attempt to defend Glenn Beck, you said that "he got into Yale," using it as evidence of his intelligence. As a Yale alumnus, I hasten to point out that Beck got into Yale in the same way that Christine O'Donnell got into Princeton - namely, by enrolling in a single course as a special student.


Please don't defend Beck by reducing the standard for intelligence to the equivalence of saying, "He reads books". I know the bar has been set so low by the Palins of the world, but by no means does surpassing her in intellectual endeavor mean that someone is smart. Behind the cursory references to Hayek or Friedman is a Top-40 Radio DJ who is somewhat knowledgeable about US history, simple as that.


I had to read Mr. Oppenheimer’s piece twice to make sure my leg wasn’t being pulled. People “want ideas to chew over, they appreciate complex ideas”? You’ve got to be joking! People want to feel smart, without having to do any actual, you know, thinking. The history of mankind makes perfectly evident that people almost uniformly detest complex ideas. Isn’t that clear watching Beck? How often does he present a perceived problem, an issue, without simultaneously presenting his opinion and diagnosis? That’s not grappling with issues; it’s issuing sermons.