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by
Susan L.M. Goldberg

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March 24, 2014 - 1:00 pm
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Last week, alternative media mogul Glenn Beck announced that he was going to focus on “taking back” American culture through the power of nostalgia:

In the future, Glenn Beck’s focus is going to be more on influencing culture and less on politics and news. After all, news is only “what the culture allows,” he said in a recent interview with National Review’s Eliana Johnson.

…“Beck is nostalgic for an America of decades past, and his cultural projects will aim to resurrect and revive it,” Johnson writes. “It’s an America where duty trumped desire and Americans were bound together by a sort of civic religion created by that sense of duty. ‘I want to impact the culture in the way that people see good again,’ [Glenn] says.”

Beck’s goal is admirable, to a fault. The period he seeks to resurrect was one in which concepts like “good” and “duty” were defined by a Biblical religion, not a civic one. Any history student will tell you that Marx had his own take on the American Revolution; you can show someone Frank Capra movies until you’re blue in the face and they’re still going to see Mr. Smith as the ultimate community organizer if that’s their moral outlook.

As Amy Kenyon notes, there are pitfalls to what passes for nostalgia these days:

…the historical meanings and usages associated with nostalgia were finally mangled beyond recognition until its chief purpose became the performance of sentimentalism, the parceling out of discount memory via television, advertising, heritage theme parks, and souvenir markets, all aspects of what we might call the “nostalgia industry.” As such, nostalgia became kitsch, trivial and reactionary: hardly the stuff of a meaningful engagement with the past or the workings of memory.

Simply put: Glenn Beck needs to do more than embrace the facade of America, circa 1940. Beck needs to dig deeper, to America’s Biblical heritage, to understand what re-taking the culture truly means.

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All Comments   (3)
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Unless Beck's changed, he's Mormon, not Christian. Doesn't change the essence of the article or it's prescription for Beck et al.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
What is the essence of the article? Are Christians a monolithic block of people who all think and act the same, as the author contends on page 2? She doesn't even know that Mormonism was founded by Joseph P. Smith and not Jesus Christ so I have zero interest in her opinion about anything "The Church" does or doesn't do.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
I like this article. I think you are correct. Faith comes before freedom and sane government and peace and prosperity.

22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
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