Wingnut extreme: Glenn Beck says "Story of Stuff" is Commie propaganda

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108 Responses to “Wingnut extreme: Glenn Beck says "Story of Stuff" is Commie propaganda”

  1. Baldhead says:

    Glenn Beck is an Idiot.
    The Story of Stuff is pretty obviously anti- cosumerism and therefore at least to some degree socialist.

    And I heard enough stories from thinking people who lived in the 20′s (my grandparents) and 50′s (my grandparents and my parents) to know that people certainly weren’t happier then. My Dad’s thought on the 50′s? “What? we were afraid The Bomb might drop any day. I’d rather not go through that again!”

    Glenn Beck probably thinks Leave it to Beaver was a documentary.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Re: Religious people are happier.

    Happiness, in this case, is a double-edged sword.

    Religious people may be happier, but it may often be at the expense of the livelihood of others.

    If the devoutly religious couldn’t feel better by deciding that bad things were just “a part of God’s plan”, maybe some of them would actually work to stop them from happening, thus improving life for everybody.

    Well, I can dream, can’t I?

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      If the devoutly religious couldn’t feel better by deciding that bad things were just “a part of God’s plan”, maybe some of them would actually work to stop them from happening, thus improving life for everybody. Well, I can dream, can’t I?

      Or you could get off the couch and do it yourself instead of lying around dreaming about getting religious people to do it for you. Just a thought.

  3. Jason Rizos says:

    I’m dissapointed in BoingBoing’ers that call this “leftist propaganda.” For shame. I guess “not worrying” about environmental degradation and toxicity is “right wing,” eh?

  4. Quiet Noises says:

    I was shown the video in school, in fact. I’m as earth-loving as your average Canadian and even I found it to be so incredibly biased. I actually had to force myself to think about other things, the weather, the speed of the clouds… The movie’s tone was as if it was narrated to a 4 yearold.

    But it was being shown in the country’s top design university.

  5. broussardish says:

    The Story of Stuff actually could be a teaching tool if it’s countered within the same learning experience with some facts about the free market system and used to provide insights into what makes good propaganda. Someone produced a “critique” which adds significant time to the movie, but could still factor into a school curriculum and challenge the histrionics contained within the original: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5uJgG05xUY The NYT piece on this film reports it has been requested as curriculum material in 7,000 schools and is shown to grade school kids as young as 9, so it sounds like the American Public School system is fertile soil for this dubious message. I trust kids to figure things out, but I think they get enough head crap to digest from the media and pop culture. School should offer some kind of informational sanctity and balance.

  6. James says:

    Okay, Glenn Beck noted that there is a decline in church worship attendance and an increase in depression… but have you watched “Story of Stuff”? They start off with attacking our military, then they say that as Americans we go from third world nation to third world nation sucking dry all their resources and we claim that they have no “value”, wow do we really do that? Are americans all these greedy, consumer happy people who don’t care about the world? As someone who has traveled the world and lived as a resident in other countries I argue that the United States is very aware of the environment and we are not consumer happy! Glenn Beck does NOT want people to just take his word for anything, he wants people to educate themselves and that means that sometimes people will agree with him and sometimes not… by the way for how long are we going to argue about left and right, democrate and republican? Once a president is in office support him until he goes against the constitution!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Glenn Beck was born in 1964 – nostalgia for a time you never lived in is not uncommon, nostalgia for an idealised version of reality that never existed is even less so. Plenty of rotten stuff happened in the 50′s too.

  8. seanboing says:

    If he’s such a wingnut, why do we give him so much of our attention? It just encourages him. Ignore him and maybe he’ll go away. He gets his press and new listeners by being extreme. Or is a better tactic to vilify and demonize things he says, so that we can laugh at him and his listeners. I guess his listeners aren’t so bright, so they might be a lost cause as far as converting them.

  9. das memsen says:

    Commenting about Mr. Beck on boing boing seems like a complete waste of time… but everyone seems to be arguing everything but the obvious- that “The Story of Stuff” doesn’t say any of the things Beck claims it’s saying. His paraphrasing of the video is completely distorted. It’d be one thing if he disagreed and trashed it on its own terms, but he’s trashing an imaginary video. Nowhere does it say we don’t have value, that people need to buy more stuff for value, or that happiness will come from not producing anything. The video makes a clear, and rather sound, case for questioning our methods and motives of production, something which any intelligent person should question, as our current economic system is rapidly crumbling.

  10. Aloisius says:

    A person who really believed in God or any good ethical system would never behave in this manner and any person who claims to be a follower of Gods laws and behaves this way is just claiming membership to the club and not paying dues.

    Yes and the small portion of humanity that is truly pious have been outnumbered by normal old fallible humans for the entire history of mankind.

    What is it with people looking back at history and thinking they were the “good old days” that were full of purity and honesty and puppies?

  11. chris23 says:

    Frankly, I agree that The Story of Stuff is leftist propaganda. But it’s leftist propaganda I can get behind.

  12. Xopher says:

    Most of the “religious” people I know inherently follow the basic rules of life. Things like the 10 commandments “should” be common knowledge.

    The 10 Commandments are “basic rules of life”? Let’s just start at the top, shall we? This list is from Deuteronomy 5:

    6 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; 7 you shall have no other gods before me.

    Now why should that be “common knowledge”? I see no reason I should obey that one (and just as an aside, he sure as shit didn’t bring ME or any of my ancestors out of Egypt). It’s definitely not a “basic rule of life.” FAIL

    8 You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 9 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents

    I take it my images of Ganesh-ji, to which I bow and chant every morning before breakfast, are right out. Again, not a reasonable “basic rule of life.” But you know what is? Not blaming kids for their parents’ behavior! I have to say I don’t much like this God of yours. FAIL

    Moving on to Rule #3:

    11 You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.

    OK, that’s pretty cryptic, and I really don’t give a rat’s ass about it. Pretty harmless, I guess, especially since literally no one in the world knows the correct pronunciation of YHWH and it could be Yahoo-Wahoo for all we know. Still, that would definitely not qualify as a “basic rule of life,” in this case because who the hell cares? FAIL

    12 Observe the sabbath day and keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. 13For six days you shall labour and do all your work. 14 But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, or your son or your daughter, or your male or female slave, or your ox or your donkey, or any of your livestock, or the resident alien in your towns, so that your male and female slave may rest as well as you.

    I don’t know anyone who keeps that one (I used to know some Orthodox Jews, but I’ve lost touch with them). And it says you’re supposed to work a six-day week, which I have to say I don’t much care for. PLUS nothing is supposed to be open on Saturday (yeah, Saturday, look at a calendar). Kinda sucks if you want to go somewhere and need to stop for gas, or if (say) your house catches fire and you need firemen to put it out. And note the implicit endorsement of slavery; again, your God is not a nice one, and I’m not inclined to do as he says. FAIL

    16 Honour your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, so that your days may be long and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

    OK, that one’s pretty good. PASS

    17 You shall not murder.

    Basic as it gets. PASS

    18 Neither shall you commit adultery.

    Now, if this one just meant “Don’t cheat on your wife,” I’d give it a pass. But I believe it means “no sex outside marriage,” which I believe is counter to the best interests of the individual AND society. FAIL

    19 Neither shall you steal.

    Pretty good rule. PASS

    20 Neither shall you bear false witness against your neighbour.

    Again, sounds good to me. PASS

    21 Neither shall you covet your neighbour’s wife.
    Neither shall you desire your neighbour’s house, or field, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.

    OK, this one sounds good at first, until you realize it’s about WANTING stuff. Trying to take it was covered under stealing. This one means that you can’t see your neighbor’s fancy new car and say to yourself, wow that’s nice. Wish I had one. This one is more about making sure people feel bad all the time than about controlling behavior. Note that Yahoo Wahoo repeats his endorsement of slavery here, along with classifying your neighbor’s wife among his property. FAIL

    So that would be 60% FAILs as general rules of life. Feel free to keep them, if you’re OK with treating women as property and working six days a week and stuff. But “basic rules of life”? “Should be common knowledge”? Not on your life, because America is a diverse country, and I can worship a Hindu god if I want to, and work on Saturday if I have to, and covet my neighbor’s ass if he has a nice ass, and it’s none of your damn business.

    Speaking of asses, you’re talking out of yours.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I was forced to watch “The Story of Stuff” in church. (And hated it.) So I’m getting a kick, etc…

  14. rationalist says:

    The fact that a believer is happier than a sceptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one.
    - Bernard Shaw

  15. grimc says:

    I would also balance the heavy-handedness of the message with the incredible good that our industrious, inventive, and innovative culture has given to the world.

    What, the millions upon millions of dollars that corporations spend on self-congratulatory advertising campaigns isn’t enough? Puh-leeeze.

  16. noen says:

    RE: “The Story of Stuff is leftist propaganda.”

    One – There is a huge difference between Liberal and Leftist. Please learn it.

    Two – I see lots of people claiming it’s propaganda but I don’t see many facts. Parts of it could be ideological but for the most part is seems factually correct. As in the following:

    Mike1234
    “In part 3 of the video the woman tells us that we sleep on pillows doused in neurotoxic (brain cell killing) chemicals. Give me a break.”

    “My brain cells are being killed by watching this drivel.”

    Annie Leonard is right. You are wrong pillow breath.
    The Sustainable Scientist

    As I said, Reality has a liberal bias. Is there a single fact contained in “The Story of Stuff” that can be shown to be false??

    Thought not. Buncha ignorant Glibertarians… grrrrrr….

  17. Freerangestudio says:

    Thanks for the coverage, BoingBoing!

    Free Range Studios
    http://www.twitter.com/@freerangestudio

  18. Anonymous says:

    Glenn Beck is dead on in stating that “The Story of Stuff” is “un-American”. Rampant consumerism is the heart and soul of American culture and the economy. I just can’t see America making a smooth, non-violent transition to any other kind of economy.

  19. Aloisius says:

    8 You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 9 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents

    I take it my images of Ganesh-ji, to which I bow and chant every morning before breakfast, are right out. Again, not a reasonable “basic rule of life.” But you know what is? Not blaming kids for their parents’ behavior! I have to say I don’t much like this God of yours. FAIL

    Never mind that that giant cross many Christians focus on while praying is pretty much idolation. Plus all those little figurines of Mary and what not fall under this category.

    No one follows the 10 commandments and they certainly don’t follow the other 603 commandments Christians somehow glossed over. And don’t give me that whole Peter, et al excused you crap. If that was true you wouldn’t have to follow the 10 commandments either.

  20. Value Pack says:

    A trivial point, but Beck also makes a common error in saying “The reason… is because…” It’s redundant, and I often stop listening to anyone who speaks this way.

  21. das memsen says:

    I love “the story of stuff”, but if you’re asking for facts that can be proven false… well, the big one is the quote that she uses as a sort of mandate from corporate america, by Victor Lebow, which makes it seem like the powers that be were consciously following this guy’s formula for world domination via capitalism. Lebow was actually a small-time dude with no such connections, he just happened to make a very intelligent prediction about where we were headed. This film is one of those that happens to be right even if the specifics are wrong- not as extreme as Mr. Moore, but still, some of the facts (check out wikipedia for more info) aren’t exactly how she paints them- such as saying that we have less than 4% of our original forests left. Yeah, if you ignore all the reforestation we’ve done, perhaps- but cutting down a tree and then planting another one does not count as environmental irresponsibility. We’re actually much better off than how she paints that particular image, and it’s a bit deceitful for her to present it that way.

    What makes the film great is more the model that she uses to show how idiotic our manufacturing process is, and how it is simply doomed to fail for lacking a sound economic (never mind ethical) structure. It’s not leftist propaganda, but it does have a strong point of view that’s just a tad to the left of merely passing on facts. No more so that my grade school history book, though. If it’s going to be biased, hell, at least this one is motivated by the right reasons. The facts are mostly accurate, and the philosophy is dead-on.

  22. Xopher says:

    Aloisius, that’s why core-Protestant churches have crosses but no crucifixes. The body seemed too much like an idol. The fact that something not shaped like any animal including a human could be an idol too (in this case the cross) doesn’t appear to have occurred to them.

  23. ill lich says:

    1. You can’t worship God and mammon both, Mr. Beck.

    2. Glenn Beck should live for a couple of years in a third world country and see how that effects his opinion. I think the Peace Corps would be a good thing for him– actually a church group might be better: he can see for himself that all the bibles in the world won’t help the poor when they are being kept down by powers much larger than them (be they corporations or governments bribed by corporations).

    3. Whenever you think he’s outdone himself, Glenn Beck goes just a little bit farther. I try to guess what paranoid logic he will come up with next but he’s always one step ahead of me.

  24. Teller says:

    #5 Anonymous: “Also, pseudonyms should be outlawed, so Michael Savage has to go back to being Michael Weiner.”

    Thanks, Anonymous. Best laugh all day.

  25. AirPillo says:

    Unfortunately, telling people stupid, irrational shit that they’re likely to want to hear in order to control their minds and command their respect is a tactic that is always going to work.

    How do we fight that? I think that’s a big problem in civics today. How does a thinking, rational system thrive in a world where a significant amount of people are more easily swayed by illogical, obviously incorrect arguments… as long as they sound good and/or are repeated ad nauseum?

    With a lot of people it’s a lot easier and more effective to be loud and patronizing than it is to be smart and insightful. That’s a hell of a hurdle to try and overcome without the shortsighted tactic of stooping to the same level.

  26. IWood says:

    #12 posted by stupidjerk

    And as for america being a “socialist slophole” because of corporate bailouts, well, a classic quote usually does the trick:

    “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power” Benito Mussolini

    You know, use the proper terms. Fascist slophole is closer to the point.

    You, like everyone who uses that quote to make this point, are wrong.

    The corporatism of Mussolini’s fascist state does not refer to modern, American-style business corporations.

    See “Fascist corporatism” for details, but here’s the key bit:

    Italian Fascism involved a corporatist political system in which economy was collectively managed by employers, workers and state officials by formal mechanisms at national level.

    Emphasis mine. Italian fascist corporatism referred to the centralized management of the economy wherein various interests formed organizing bodies which were then directed by the state. Mussolini’s corporatism nothing to do with kind of corporations that we’ve been bailing out, and “corporate” was simply a collective, organized body that represented a particular group’s interests–including that of the workers. It was, in fact, a mechanism intended to achieve state control of the economy, not private business control, and was thus much closer to real-world (as opposed to idealized) communism as practiced by the Soviets.

    To quote further:

    Corporatism has been supported from [sic] various proponents, including: absolutists, conservatives, fascists, progressives, reactionaries, socialists and theologians.

    Finally: it’s likely that Mussolini never uttered those words.

    So, yes, use the proper terms. Don’t use fictional quotes to make your point, either. If you want a real quote to make the same point, use FDR’s:

    The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism—ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.

    Still highly debatable, but at least we know that FDR actually said it.

    /pedantry

  27. Roger Krueger says:

    I’m convinced that Beck, Coulter and Limbaugh are really closet liberals doing their best to hijack and discredit reasonable conservatism. Kinda like the band they marched into the alley in Animal House.

    Yeah, yeah, a little implausible, but to me less implausible than them being sincere in this nonsense.

  28. demidan says:

    The 1950′s of course was a happier time in America and why not? We (nobody else helped) ended WWII,(which helped end the Great Depression), in just a few years everyone would fly to work in a car/plane, poverty was dropping, education’s importance was waxing,we built Every Thing and shipped it Every Where, we had the bomb and Freaking Elvis was gyrating his hips!
    2009 we have: Unemployment as high as 20+% in places,(Muskegan MI for one example), we make Nothing and ship it No where, two wars that are already longer than the last Great War and no end insight, and For Gods sake that Fascist/Commie Kenyan in the White House,(Sorry about the birther reference), is trying to take away our guns!

    None of above that has anything to do with religion or socialism not too mention every time in history has it’s crazies. Lucky us (heavy sarcasm) we get Glennn Beck the wonder mensch and the 50′s had McCarthy. Hopefully history will let us spit when we mention Blech and not salute.

  29. grimc says:

    @ill lich

    Beck has already shown that personally experiencing a problem makes no lasting difference on his opinion. His botched hemorroid surgery last year led him to make a video decrying the US health care system. Now? The US health care system is teh awesum.

  30. Xopher says:

    Ah, GrimC, I get it now. Beck is suffering from ‘rhoid rage.

  31. Anonymous says:

    “It has been so well-received that many schools include it in their curricula.”….and it has been so ill-received that it’s been criticized by many more than just Beck……School curriculum not a highly regarded benchmark in many cases.Just read any old school textbook.

  32. buddy66 says:

    He’s a zoo radio retread, a typical morning drive-to-work jock waaay out of his depth.

  33. grimc says:

    Nicely played, Xopher. :D

  34. Anonymous says:

    Glenn Beck is a moron!! Oh yes, lack of faith is what is wrong with this country!!! Give me a break!!! The problem with this country is people like Glenn Beck who spout their ignorance, hatred, bigotry and selfishness. Please, would someone shut this guy up! Aren’t his 15 minutes over yet???

  35. Saint Holiday says:

    If we will turn to the Lord, repent of our sins and sincerely endeavor to keep His laws and commandments, He will deliver us, and we will prosper as a nation. If we continue in our pride, corruption and covetousness, we will have no claim upon the blessings of Heaven, and we will fail as a nation and suffer in the calamities the Lord will send upon us. That is the plain truth.

  36. AirPillo says:

    Glenn Beck reminds me of those radio personalities in Rwanda who coached the public into genocide. It’s scary that someone so wrong-headed has an audience.

    People actually have caught several conservative American “shock jock” radio talk show hosts of uttering the exact same phrases (in their English equivalents, obviously) that those Rwandan radio personalities used.

    They remind you of them because they are their equals. It is absolutely a correct connection to make.

  37. Jason Rizos says:

    Seriously, if “buying less stuff” is socialist doctrine, this country is way more fubar’d than I ever imagined. Also, I’m frickin’ Vlad Lenin.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      I’m frickin’ Vlad Lenin.

      Vlad’s a nickname for Vladislav. Vladimir would be Volodya or Vova.

  38. ReverendFaux says:

    Because God has always driven the economy.

    That Great Depression thing? Blame that on the atheists.

  39. AirPillo says:

    Shoot, I forgot to blockquote the first paragraph of my comment. That’s a quote from #90.

  40. Anonymous says:

    @#4 Ignorance is bliss – as they say.

  41. MrJM says:

    “The reason why America is not as happy as it was in 1950 or 1920 or whenever, 100 years ago, is because our priorities are wrong, but it has nothing to do with exploiting the planet and has everything to do with losing faith in God.”

    And a strong faith in God is why the people of Iran and Saudi Arabia are notoriously happy.

    – MrJM

  42. TJ S says:

    Yep, Great Depression was the fault of the atheists. We started worshiping the stock market, and look at what we got: God’s punishment*

    *sarcasm

  43. jimh says:

    Faith in God anna brannew ipod!

  44. Xopher says:

    If there was a just god, Glenn Beck would be swallowed by a whale and THEN turned to salt.

    How hath the whale offended, that this be justice?

  45. GeorgeStanton says:

    I hate to agree with Beck, but “Story of Stuff” does look like an opinion piece, with a fairly obvious political perspective. I don’t see what business it has being taught in school.

    Also, studies have been done and it is empirically true that religious people are happier, on average, than non-religious people. Obviously there are very happy atheists around, but you have to look at averages. So, he’s not necessarily wrong about that either.

    Although, I’m not convinced people are less happy now than they were in the 50s.

  46. Ito Kagehisa says:

    I consider Glenn Beck to be a facist corporate shill; in my world, if you don’t believe in conservation, you’re not a conservative, regardless of what you might call yourself.

    Rural folk, like farmers and hunters, are mostly conservative. There are a lot of them, and they are the people that Beck and his ilk are trying to exploit by setting up an us/them dichotomy with city folk (aka “libruls”) as the enemies of traditional values.

    Lots of you intelligensia types feed the fire by accepting that dichotomy as fact. You call yourselves liberals proudly, and loudly state that liberal and conservative are opposite value systems (they aren’t; many people are both). You demonize Republicans and hunters and religions – typically by painting with too broad a brush, as if every Republican voted for Bush, every hunter were a stupid sadist, and every churchgoer secretly harbors a burning desire to torture infidels. You’re working for Beck and Rove when you talk and act that way.

    In the USA, if the cities burn and go dark, the country folk will survive. If the cities manage to stay lit and feed their citizens after the collapse of the petro-dollar and the dissolution of US global economic dominance, the country folk will still survive. Think about that in the context of political power bases. Is it any surprise facists and armageddonists want to divide rural and urban populations ideologically?

  47. Anonymous says:

    I think pundits should have to advertise themselves by the career that first got them noticed, so we can have Glenn Beck, mediocre stand-up, and Michael Savage, new-age nutritionist. And Ann Coulter, dominatrix. I think it would help clarify their level of authority on the subjects they discuss.

    Also, pseudonyms should be outlawed, so Michael Savage has to go back to being Michael Weiner.

  48. SKR says:

    Grrr the video “The Story of Stuff” just made me want to break stuff if only to piss off that sanctimonious twit. And surprisingly I’m not using that phrase to describe Beck.

  49. Pruette says:

    God is destroying our school systems and global foreign relations (among other things) NOT the economy, duh!

    But Glenn does have a sharp eye for the socialist leanings of the video, yet he called it un-American which if you look around a bit you will realize is more antiquated crap. America IS a socialist slophole of bailouts and transfer payments so the video is Uber-American; and will become our banner as we push gloriously ahead at the new super safe and piously green growth rate of .02%. Full Employment never tasted so “rice cake” yum.

  50. SamSam says:

    @ #12 stupidjerk:

    “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power” Benito Mussolini

    What a completely absurd piece of poppycock.

    Having never heard this utter nonsense, it took me all of 12 seconds to look it up and find that, as should be obvious to anyone, Mussolini said no such thing.

    Ok, back to your other discussion.

  51. freeyourcrt says:

    Glenn Beck has in on special place in hell just waiting for him.

    At various times he has claimed to be: a libertarian, a republican, an advocate for the free-market, an American, a human being….
    He is none of these things. He is a shill for the corporate fascist police state we find ourselves living in.

    I am including a link of a fine example of his toxic ramblings.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hf33g9ep4YU

  52. Cheqyr says:

    I refuse to listen to anything Glenn Beck says until he comes cleans about whether or not he raped and murdered a young girl in 1990:

    http://www.examiner.com/x-19545-Anchorage-Liberal-Examiner~y2009m9d10-Did-Glenn-Beck-rape-and-murder-a-young-girl-in-1990

    If he’s innocent, why won’t he just step forward and say so?

  53. jfrancis says:

    …and God says, “You can’t take it with you.’

  54. Anonymous says:

    “Keith Dennis, called in and told me that his sons have had the “The Story of Stuff” played at their school for the last two years and he knew nothing about it until yesterday’s segment aired.
    +
    “Keith, I appreciate you being on the program. I appreciate you being an active parent in your kids’ lives.”

    Wait, what?

  55. Stefan Jones says:

    There’ll be pie in the sky by and by.

  56. stupidjerk says:

    Glenn Beck blaiming atheism?! NO WAY!!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhbbGF4Y9yI&feature=player_embedded

    Also, I AM commie propaganda.

    Also, #4, cite your sources, even though I believe I know the study you speak of and have no dispute with what you said. Heh.

  57. AirPillo says:

    Myself I’d hate to get dragged into debating any tangent of the accuracy of people like Glenn Beck. Being inaccurate, hateful, and condescending is exactly what it’s his job to do. Glenn Beck quite likely knows he’s typically in the wrong.

    If people were to put him on the spot and call him on it, hell, he’d be delighted! He could spin it into a storm of free publicity that would swell his ratings. “He’s hitting the other side where it hurts so bad they have to fight back with no holds barred! He’s a rebel, a champion of your cause!” … and that sort of nauseating distortion.

    Glenn Beck and every entertainer like him at all points of the political spectrum: they’re professional assholes. If you get pissed off because they’re wrong, puerile, and insulting, that is because they are doing exactly what they set out to do.

  58. Alex_M says:

    It is NOT empirically true that religious people are happier. SOME religious people are happier than atheists and other religious people, but religious people in general are not happier.

    Oh and what about the fact that countries like Denmark and Sweden, with some of the most atheistic populations on the planet, consistently rank as happier than the much more devout USA?

    And for those religious folks who equate atheism with materialism, why do those countries have a much more even distribution of wealth than the US?
    And unversal health care?
    And generous welfare? And perhaps we should ask

    (Sarah Palin why mentally handicapped folks in ‘atheist’ Sweden are provided with custom jobs, personal assistants and their own apartments by their government, whereas hundreds of thousands of mentally handicapped in the USA are still in public or private institutions?)

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      religious people in general are not happier.

      Denmark and Sweden, with some of the most atheistic populations on the planet, consistently rank as happier than the much more devout USA?

      Citations?

  59. Anonymous says:

    If there was a just god, Glenn Beck would be swallowed by a whale and THEN turned to salt.

  60. DeWynken says:

    Why even give Beck the space here on Boing Boing?

    I know content has been suffering lately, but come on.

  61. Anonymous says:

    posted by The Thompson Five

    “Religious people are happier than Atheists the same way that children are happier than adults.”

    Wow, I’m not religious at all and even I find this comment wildly offensive. Way to show your open-mindedness. Call people stupid, childish and ignorant because they have religious beliefs or because they honor the culture within which they were raised.

    (Anonymous not because I’m ashamed of who I am, but because I can’t remember my stupid password. :D)

  62. Anonymous says:

    Yes it does have to do with losing faith with God. The last time I read through the bible, there were many exhortations for giving up your possessions and caring for the poor. Where are all the devout Christians that were out in droves against gay marriage and abortion – where are they for health care, for reining in mortgage companies, for unemployment benefits. How does that fit in with conspicuous consumption?

  63. jingleyfish says:

    Wow – the antibodies are ‘a swarming eh? Clearly the last thing the rabid right wants is America’s schoolchildren exhibiting critical thinking skills…particularly around what is arguably the LEAST political issue you could imagine – ie: our survival as a species.

    If anything, Beck and the Foxabillies are highlighting just how desperate they are for a legitimate oppositional stance on Cap & Trade. Now that Climate Change denial is no longer available, they want to frame the issue as part of a socialist plot.

    The whole point of the Story of Stuff is just that – to tell a story of how stuff ends up made, used, and discarded. Since our current approach to making, delivering, using, and discarding stuff in our economy is a major reason we are facing a global eco-pocalypse, telling the story of how it all works today is pretty dang valuable, IMO. We are going to need these kids to grow up understanding the problem so they can help design and demand solutions.

  64. stupidjerk says:

    And as for america being a “socialist slophole” because of corporate bailouts, well, a classic quote usually does the trick:

    “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power” Benito Mussolini

    You know, use the proper terms. Fascist slophole is closer to the point.

  65. Teller says:

    I watched that thing. It’s meant for nine-year-olds and certain portions of it have that lefty indoctrination vibe. But it’s well-intentioned and I wouldn’t mind having a rye with Miss Leonard.

  66. Anonymous says:

    glen beck is an idiot in a journalist’s disguise.
    to quote Gump, ‘that’s all i have to say about that’

  67. Anonymous says:

    Sure, religious people might be happier than non-religious. If you bury your head in the and and wrap your life around some imaginary system of rewards, you can be happy too. But if you actually open your eyes to reality and understand and comprehend it, then reality takes over and invades your happy little bubble.

    And why shouldn’t it be taught in schools? Not everything in school is hard fact. Literature class and philosophy class is full of opinions and points of view and agendas. The point is the kids need to learn to think for themselves and analyze everything, including “The Story of Stuff” AND Glenn Beck’s insane drivel. Let them read both, and then DISCUSS.

    As long as the teacher remains neutral, the kids should be able to conclude as they wish, and that makes it valuable as part of a curriculum

  68. ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive says:

    Where does he say that it is “commie propaganda”? I don’t see that in there at all.

  69. Anonymous says:

    I think religious people are happier than people who think stuff will make them happy. But i am not sure how that negates the value of “The Story of Stuff” I’d say they agree.

  70. theawesomerobot says:

    Glenn Beck is a troll. Has always been so, as this has been clear from his earliest of radio days. He’s almost the ideal example of a troll; and being a troll has made him incredibly wealthy.

    The only way to stop a troll: completely ignore it. Reason and ridicule will only encourage and empower it.

    So, I suggest to you, kind comment reader – that you don’t combat Glenn Beck, you ignore him. Don’t talk about how idiotic he may be – if someone mentions him to you, just slyly respond with: Who’s Glenn Beck?

  71. Peter K. says:

    @ STUPIDJERK:

    Not the study it’s self, but the Scientific American article “Bowling For God” did reference some stats on the comparative happiness of religious vs. secular individuals.

    There are pros and cons apparently.

  72. Thac0 says:

    I listened to those right-wing talking heads when they screamed that “Obama is a Socialist! and He will push through a sweeping Socialist agenda!” so i voted for Obama because i was hoping they were right.. Hes just another Corporatist like the rest I am disappointed.

  73. theawesomerobot says:

    @ANTINOUS

    It’s not something that has been studied extensively – but here’s an article about one of the most referenced studies.

  74. theawesomerobot says:

    Oops, I think I forgot the link:
    http://www.physorg.com/news73321785.html

  75. batu b says:

    “why America is not as happy as it was in 1950 or 1920 or whenever”
    Whenever this sentiment is raised, I have to wonder, does this mean america was happier when it was lynching black people or segregating schools or do you think that maybe, just maybe there is a romanticizing of those eras?

  76. Anonymous says:

    There is an indication that people are trending towards being unhappier today, but we have not been polling people for very long on levels of happiness so we cannot really know if it is significant.
    However, the first stock market crash was caused by atheist and, big shocker here, Christians alike behaving like unethical, immoral, and greedy jerks. He is not saying it is entirely the atheists fault, but he is saying people without true faith are responsible. A person who really believed in God or any good ethical system would never behave in this manner and any person who claims to be a follower of Gods laws and behaves this way is just claiming membership to the club and not paying dues. So his point is they are not behaving in a godly or ethical manner, but liars that have lost their faith and hurt others with their lies. Essentially they have forgotten God and ethics and brought harm to the country and others because they do not practice what they believe.

  77. Kibble says:

    Ah! I remember grandfather! That gentle, kindly soul! Waving his cane, purple in the face, shouting cheerily about the coloreds and the hippies and the women libbers, stuttering with wizened rage, smashing brick-a-brack, then oh! his gentle hand clutched his chest, and he toppled down the porch steps, be-knocking the concrete with his sage hoary head, foaming at the mouth, clutching at a fistful of his prize dandelions as he gasped out his last, beloved, never to be forgotten, vitriolic hate-filled rant about why goddamn college students think they goddamn know every goddamn thing…when I reflect back on that, I remember that Americans once knew a happier, simpler, kinder time, a time when they sat on their front porches on summer evenings, and praised God, and cursed each other, and themselves, and the government, and the world, but most especially, coloreds and women and college graduates who think they goddamn know every goddamn thing.

    Bring back those happy days, Mr. Beck! Lead us back into the Golden Age!

  78. EMJ says:

    #14

    BBC: Denmark ‘world’s happiest nation’

    …”Dr Inglehart says that gender equality is also an indicator of happiness, as is rising social tolerance.”

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7487143.stm

  79. chris23 says:

    Religion aside, the most interesting thing to me is that the Right (with G.Beck as its mouth) is starting to frame the debate about sustainability and carbon reform in the same way they have attacked health care reform. Beck is a vehicle to mobilize the conservative base (especially the religious right) to unwittingly defend the interests of primary GOP campaign donors, IMHO.

    See also: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113087233 for an NPR interview with researcher David Weigel about the tactics & strategies of the New Right.

  80. noen says:

    “Why even give Beck the space here on Boing Boing?”

    BB is the place for all us happy mutants.

    “Denmark and Sweden, with some of the most atheistic populations on the planet, consistently rank as happier than the much more devout USA?”

    Mumble mumble, something about correlation is not causation mumble…

    GeorgeStanton
    “I hate to agree with Beck, but “Story of Stuff” does look like an opinion piece, with a fairly obvious political perspective.”

    Reality has a well known liberal bias.

  81. Anonymous says:

    I hate to agree with Beck, but “Story of Stuff” does look like an opinion piece, with a fairly obvious political perspective. I don’t see what business it has being taught in school.

    Gee, that’s just what I thought about every chapter of every book we ever had to read in “history” class when I was a student.

  82. klenow says:

    GeorgeStanton: “Although, I’m not convinced people are less happy now than they were in the 50s.”

    Nah, everyone loved the 1950s. It was one big happy nation back then. Well, except women, blacks, and homosexuals, but they don’t really count. It was all love, flowers, and sunshine, just like baby Jesus promised it would be.

    And I have to agree, that video is an opinion piece. It shouldn’t be played in schools.

    Oh, and I know I’ll get flamed for this, but as for religion & happiness: the results are generally mixed. They range from positive to nothing, but lean towards a correlation between happiness & religion. A quick sampling of recent stuff:

    1. Positive correlation, but only if you *really* mean it

    Happiness, Materialism, and Religious Experience in the US and Singapore, Journal of Happiness Studies, Volume 2, Number 1 / March, 2001

    “For the US data … we found a significant, positive, relationship between life satisfaction and religion as means [intrinsic: being religious] … however, we found a negative relationship between life satisfaction and religion as end [extrinsic : acting religious]”

    2. Doesn’t matter at all (if you’re German & in school).

    The Relationship Between Religion and Happiness Among German Students , Pastoral Psychology, Volume 51, Number 4 / March, 2003

    “These data provide no evidence for a relationship between religiosity and happiness among German students, contrary to the conclusions of recent studies that have employed the same indices in the UK and in the USA.”

    3. It does matter, probably b/c it helps reduce stress.

    Religion and the Quality of Life, Journal of Happiness Studies, Volume 3, Number 3 / September, 2002

    “The percent of religious adherents in a state is correlated with the harmony domain of the QOL [quality of life] and negatively with an indicator of stress”

    4. Damn straight it matters!

    Correlation between religion and happiness: a replication. Psychological Reports. 2003 Feb;92(1):51-2.

    “For a sample of 89 students in Wales who completed the Oxford Happiness Inventory and the Francis Scale of Attitude Toward Christianity scores correlated”

    Now…repeat after me: “Correlation does not imply causation”

  83. EricT says:

    Gawd he is such a tool

  84. country_girl_183 says:

    This commentary, while often thought-provoking, has been very entertaining. I would like to personally thank each and every commentor for the deep-belly-laugh-until-I-cried! Some of these are priceless!

    What’s really funny to me, given the topic above, is my spam block words below. I have to type:

    received rifleman

    C’mon. I thought these were supposed to be random!

  85. petezombie says:

    The sooner people stop paying attetion to Glenn Beck the sooner his spirit will die it’s that simple!

  86. Thac0 says:

    @ Batu B
    Americans were smarter (or less brainwashed) in 1920 . Hell in 1920 Eugene Debbs got 6% of the popular vote from behind bars. I would be a lot happier if we had a population that was that free thinking and progressive like in 1920. Our media has tricked everyone somehow into letting them vet our candidates, set our agenda its sick and lull us into blind consumerism and mass debt.

  87. Anonymous says:

    Glenn Beck reminds me of those radio personalities in Rwanda who coached the public into genocide. It’s scary that someone so wrong-headed has an audience.

  88. TheCrawNotTheCraw says:

    Since Beck wasn’t an adult in 1950, and wasn’t alive in 1920 or a hundred years ago, he really has, no first hand personal or mature understanding of why America is or is not as happy during the years mentioned.

    Mr. Beck, if you are going to make blanket statements about how happy the COUNTRY was, surely even you must see the bombast, egotism, and idiocy of your own remarks.

    Now go have a good cry, and take your meds.

  89. trippcook says:

    Can we live in a world where Glenn Beck is a dumbass AND the Story of Stuff is preachy and overwrought? I say “yes.”

    THAC0 (lollerz D&D omg), can you please shine your brilliant light on the sheeple of this great nation, who’ve been so blinded by THE MEDIA (which, against all odds, you and only you are able to see clearly through) that they’ve forgotten how to think freely? The world would appreciate it.

  90. Anonymous says:

    There’s an old saying, “Ignorance is bliss,” which is demonstrably true. Retarded kids are some of the happiest people you’ll ever meet.

    Perhaps we should consider happiness to be neither a measure of success nor the ultimate goal in life.

  91. P1rat3 says:

    I think what Beck is trying to assert is that the more a country believes in whatever they believe is a god, the happier, and perhaps more successful, the citizens of that country are.

    How obvious!

    Thus, this BBC story’s graph that ranks countries by their believers should also be a ranking of the happiest places on earth!

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/wtwtgod/3490490.stm

    That makes Nigeria the happiest place in the world.

    Logically. ;)

  92. Thac0 says:

    @ Trippcook: my proof is the rating for FOX hows like beck and how many sheeple think what shows like his are NEW and not heavily biased commentary. There are millions unfortunately.

  93. fataltourist says:

    Non-whites were so much happier back then, sure.

  94. Ugly Canuck says:

    You can laugh and put them down
    But these one-way people are gonna mow us down:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cj4C_RCEkj4

    There is nothing at all even remotely funny about Mr Beck. Stuff like this manifests as piles of bloody and broken corpses in other parts of the world.

    Mr Beck seems just another well-paid spokesperson justifying (and instigating) hatred : on both/all “sides”, it would appear from the Comments above.
    Perhaps simply justifying and legitimizing hatred itself, hatred of any kind, directed at any object, in the space of public discourse is what this is all about…how this hatred will be directed in the future is the key, eh? Making the public sphere “safe for hatred” appears to be the present design, though. Particularly the hatred of people.

    Apparently advancing the cause of hatred with “humor” (or “analysis”) directed at the personality of one’s opponents, as the weapon of choice. Which for people pursuing ends at odds with the public welfare, would be acceptable coming from any and all sides – just so long as reasoned public discourse is subverted, or supplanted, or hindered.

    Beck is “created noise” in the space of public discourse (crowding out other discourse): a roundabout way to hinder the creation and implementation of sound public policy, at a time when the political levers of power are actually in the hands of those who have opined in the past that such policies are worthwhile to put into place. Like pounding pots and pans to drown out a speech…

    More particularly, I ain’t gonna hate nobody, even Mr Beck( who seems to crave attention and esteem – a “typical case”).
    Nor shall hatred of anything or anybody motivate my policy. I suggest that others may also find such an approach useful for living.
    In fact, IMO hatred of people – any people – as the basis for any public policy whatsoever has historically always ended very badly. Direct your hatred at the bad/evil act (and its bad/evil consequences), not at the actor, if you wish things to improve.

    I personally think Mr Beck (and this IMHO goes for all haters everywhere, of any political caste) simply needs more unconditional affection and cuddling.

    C’mere, you !

  95. Beelzebuddy says:

    So an appeal to morality is refuted by an appeal to common belief? I am outraged, good sir.

  96. Tensegrity says:

    @hiteque

    America does not “over consume” – we “produce” most of the world’s inventions, food, ideas, medicine, you name it.

    The US trade deficit is on the line and would like a word with you.

  97. bdragule says:

    Obviously it’s propaganda, have you seen the video? I’m not a right-winger, nor am I religious, but I think it’s pretty clear that this is an opinionated cartoon.

    What’s funny is that if you don’t see it that way, it just means that it’s propaganda thats WORKING.

  98. Mike1234 says:

    The video “the story of stuff” is pretty idiotic. Definitely not something that has anything remotely enlightening to say.

    In part 3 of the video the woman tells us that we sleep on pillows doused in neurotoxic (brain cell killing) chemicals. Give me a break.

    My brain cells are being killed by watching this drivel.

  99. Ugly Canuck says:

    Hmmm…that last “anything” goes too far.
    Excise the words “anything or” from my text above.

  100. The Thompson Five says:

    Religious people are happier than Atheists the same way that children are happier than adults.

  101. chukarlady says:

    The top marginal tax rate in 1920 was 73%. The top marginal tax rate in 1950 was 84%. Let’s go back to something like that. Good call, Glen Beck.

  102. muteboy says:

    Buy. Buy more now. Buy… and be happy.

    Political propaganda in school when I was a kid was limited to the teacher leading us in the chant, “Thatcher, Thatcher, milk snatcher”

  103. bcsizemo says:

    I think the word you are looking for is “develop” not “produce”. America develops most of the worlds technology/things. Well at least until the mid 90′s, and now it’s mostly multi-billion dollar multi-national companies…based out of tiny islands because of tax reasons.

    Well I’ll inject this point. Most of the “religious” people I know inherently follow the basic rules of life. Things like the 10 commandments “should” be common knowledge. I also know a good deal of church going, god loving, people who probably don’t follow half of the 10 commandments. Much less live a respectable life. But yet there they are in church like 5 times a week.

    I don’t see lack of religion as being the problem with this country. It’s lack of common sense, lack of understanding, and a general lack of self respect with a good bit of independence. (I’m sorry, but I will thank the left for the general attitude of someone else will do X for me.)

  104. pfh says:

    I am reading some stuff by Harvey Cox at the moment.

    He considers mass media a form of religion, and as such in competition to other religions, and often directly contradictory to, say, the Christian message. Your lack of stuff represents your fallen state. The obtaining of stuff brings you toward an ecstatic state of perfect existence depicted in commercials, packaging, magazines, movies, TV shows, etc etc.

  105. Antinous / Moderator says:

    we “produce” most of the world’s inventions, food, ideas, medicine, you name it.< ?i>

    Just because we have huge corporations that can buy the credit for everything doesn’t mean that we invented it all.