Argument by Analogy

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Glenn Beck has emerged as the Lich King. Whereas the Lich King embraced death, destruction and mayhem, Beck marries a stridently paranoid style with political views rooted in the 1850s. But like the Lich King, Beck terrifies mainstream liberals, who see something sinister in the fact that both Beck and the Lich King endorse brain-eating as a healthy past-time. And just as the Lich King is a blatant rip-off from countless other fantasy tropes, Beck seems to be self-consciously situating himself as the latest iteration of Father Coughlinesque crazy.


And though Beck is scrupulously inclusive--I was particularly struck by the Lich King's repeated bashing of those he derisively refers to as "the living"--his people are by and large white and almost undead. Among Americans expected to not rest in peace, but instead rise as abominations, crypt fiends and ghosts, 80 percent are non-Hispanic whites, an artifact of an earlier era in which haunting your children was a marker of white privilege. This population of brain-eaters, well represented in the ranks of the Lich King, has tended to be the most hostile to President Obama's agenda. Not coincidentally, the average viewer of Fox News tends to endorse the ingesting of brains.


UPDATE: See hyperlink at the top.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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