I only post it…you explain it.
“There’s a sucker born every minute.”
SALT LAKE CITY — The double rainbow arching directly over the outdoor stage could only mean one thing: God was smiling on Glenn Beck. Two hours after monsoon-like rains drenched and darkened Salt Lake Valley, and with weather reports still threatening an even chance of thunderstorms, Beck’s fans celebrated the divine thumbs-ups in the clouds. As soon as the rainbows appeared, sounds of prayerful thanks rippled through the USANA amphitheater, a modest venue on the city’s western outskirts. “It’s God’s message,” said a woman in a raincoat fashioned from a garbage bag. “I just knew He wouldn’t let tonight get washed out.”
Aside from a few light sprinkles early in the unusually cool July 6 night, “Man in the Moon,” the inaugural event of Beck’s new entertainment company, American Dream Labs, went off without a hitch. This included the execution of a high-wire upside-down flag folding ceremony that had failed repeatedly in rehearsal. After much internal debate, Beck finally green-lit the risky act after getting the meteorological message from his Number One Fan. “When I saw the double rainbow, I thought, ‘Let’s go for it,’” Beck told the crowd to cheers.
As with Beck’s last three summer gatherings, conservatism’s least predictable impresario promoted “Man in the Moon” as an historic turning point in the American saga. Like other Beck-identified turning points, this one came with a merchandise table and all the lean marketing muscle of a major-market NFL franchise.
Sixteen thousand people from around the country, including Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens,answered Beck’s call to support his stage and video experiment, buying tickets in a tiered system that spiked out at $1,500 VIP passes. Gold and Platinum tickets included premium seating and parking, a signed poster, and a 10 second meet-and-greet photo op with Beck. Not included in the ticket price was access to three days of lectures and seminars at the Grand America Hotel. Those passes to talks by leading conservative authors and activists like Fox’s Michelle Malkin and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) cost extra, the proceeds going to the Beck-affiliated charity, Mercury One.
The morning of the main event, that non-profit helped raise money for the charity of businessman Jon Huntsman Sr., a long-time Beck ally and the father of the former Utah governor and presidential candidate. FreedomWorks, which pays Beck one million dollars a year for fundraising and media support, functioned as an unofficial co-sponsor of “Man in the Moon.” The night before Beck’s show, the right-wing advocacy group hosted a “Free the People” event at the USANA amphitheater.
But nobody traveled to Salt Lake to hear FreedomWorks’ Matt Kibbe give his flat freedom rap, or listen to Rafael Cruz, father of Senator Ted, compare Barack Obama to Fidel Castro. The draw in Utah was the final night’s premiere of Beck’s latest creation, “Man in the Moon.” Tonight was not about restoring another vague concept like Honor or Courage, but celebrating the launch of Beck’s new production company. As the sun set on the Wasatch mountain range, Beck described American Dream Labs’ first offering as opening a new front in his media war to right and rescue the republic.
“Our culture has gone off the rails,” Beck told the sold-out amphitheater crowd. “And nobody on our side has done anything about it — until tonight.”
Over a violin accompaniment, Beck told of the young company’s origins. The seed was planted in Beck’s successful bid for an original copy of Walt Disney’s first corporate prospectus. “Nobody even bid against me,” he said, hinting at yet another divine wink. In the manifesto, Beck read of the young Disney’s desire to use “the facts and articles of American history” to entertain the masses. Yet, somewhere — maybe around the time of Bambi’s anti-gun message; Beck didn’t say — Disney lost his way. It now fell upon Beck to pick up Disney’s mouse-pattern mantle and wear it with renewed purpose.
He announced that his team was already thinking big. Disney big. A sequel to “Man in the Moon” was in the works featuring a 2,000-voice choir and full symphony orchestra. Another project in development will tell the story of Tesla and Edison. The Labs’ first commercial film is slated for Christmas 2014. Beck’s final tease should have triggered peals of laughter, but it didn’t. American Dream Labs, said Beck, was drafting plans to remake Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments.
Not just the story of Moses and the Ten Commandments, but Cecil B. DeMille’s version of Moses and the Ten Commandments — the four-hour, cast-of-thousands film landmark that has become synonymous with “epic.” American Dream Labs would update DeMille’s vision for a new century, Beck explained, giving it “an entirely new look, and tell it in an entirely new way.” (*perhaps from the Mormon perspective?)
For those who’ve dutifully followed Beck around the world in pursuit of promised miracles, the USANA amphitheater may have come as a disappointment. This was not the National Mall or the Western Wall, sites of two previous Beck events, but a homely concrete stage scheduled in the months to come to host Cypress Hill and the Rockstar Energy Drink Festival. How could this be the site of revelation when the urinals barely flushed and you couldn’t get a hot dog for less than $7?
Perhaps picking up on a frequency of doubt, Beck reassured everyone in his introduction that they were getting a world-historical twofer. Not only did they have front-row seats for the inaugural blast from his game-changing culture-war Death Star, they were about to witness a multi-media spectacle Beck described as “a new American art form.”
As he stood waving this promise of something never before seen, framed by the show’s steampunk stage design, Beck appeared more than ever as a carnival emcee from another age. As my eyes drifted from the bow-tied Beck up to the wooden stage banner painted with an old-timey moon-in-the-sun motif, it hit me that this was his idea exactly. The throwback aesthetics, and Oz-esque narrator mock boasting of the show’s technological feats — in “Man in the Moon,” Beck had found a conceit allowing him bare his inner Barnum. This might explain Beck’s recent embrace of his long-suppressed affinity for bow ties, and his inclusion in the script of Barnum’s immortal slogan for a certain tradition of American showmanship, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” It was in the character of a traveling tent barker that Beck rattled off the amazing technology and human wonders that populate his new American art form — “a combination of projection mapping, on a scale that has not been seen before, pyrotechnics, flying by wire, and propeller, and good old-fashioned storytelling that has all but been lost since the death of Mark Twain!”
After placing himself in the trousers of Twain, DeMille and Disney, it was time to start the show.
Continued Here (there’s lots more)