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Explaining Glenn Beck’s Frog Stunt

September 24th, 2009 · 8 Comments

So, apparently Glenn Beck’s weird little frog stunt (below)—which they claim did not actually involve killing a real frog—seems to have perplexed a lot of people.  I thought it was pretty straightforward, so if you’re among the perplexed: I took the point to be that big, rapid, dramatic change can be more dangerous than seductively gradual change, because if it happens fast enough it will “kill the frog” (or our liberties or whatever) before the frog has a chance to jump out (i.e. mobilize effective opposition) even if he does realize what’s happening. Just call me the Beck Whisperer.

Tags: Journalism & the Media



8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Doug // Sep 24, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    You’ve done the world a great service today, Julian. Thank you. What about boiling a lobster? How many liberties will that cost me?

  • 2 Jim Henley // Sep 24, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    There’s no frog. It wriggles away in the box. He makes empty hands go over the pot. It’s pantomime. No frogs were harmed in the course of this attention-getting mechanism.

  • 3 Emily // Sep 24, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    Except his point seemed to be about The People balking and resisting the plans because they were so big and fast? Which goes along with the fable rather than his little joke about the frog dying? I don’t know, I’ve only seen that little clip. The way you explain it WOULD link up cogently with what he did, but I’m not convinced he was thinking that far.

    No matter what point he was trying to make though, it was incredibly tasteless and dumb. Or, for Beck, Tuesday.

  • 4 adina // Sep 25, 2009 at 1:17 am

    Does he think the bailout will turn into a handsome prince?

  • 5 southpaw // Sep 25, 2009 at 1:49 am

    The fact that he didn’t kill a frog when presented with a clear opportunity significantly complicates my understanding of Beck.

  • 6 K // Sep 25, 2009 at 4:57 am

    I.e., the worse the better. It takes a short sharp jolt of Obamunism to awaken us from our obliviousness to the gradual euthanasia of our precious blah blah blah. An attempt to justify his anti-McCain rap in the face of widespread ortho-conservative criticism. He must be asking himself what he did that’s so much worse than the McCain-hating of more orthodox conservatives.

  • 7 DavidS // Sep 25, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    I think Beck was trying to be funny, not to make an intelligent argument. If you had seen Steven Colbert deliver this scene, you’d be cracking up. The prolonged metaphor, the impassioned rant, the shock of disbelief when the frog dies. (Of course, Colbert also has much better timing, and a better deadpan.)

    The difficulty is that the switch between Beck parodying a blowhard and Beck actually being one is too weird for me. But maybe that just shows I’m a philistine.

  • 8 Doc Hopper’s Boiling Frog Metaphor And How It Irritates James Fallows « Around The Sphere // Sep 25, 2009 at 9:20 pm

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