Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Glenn Beck Can’t Take Glenn Beck’s Heat

The website is clearly labelled satire and parody; in fact, it says so in very strong language on the home page for anyone who can’t figure it out for themselves. But Glenn Beck, never known for possessing a sense of wit – although some may call him a half-wit – is livid that Isaac Eiland-Hall launched glennbeckrapedandmurderedayounggirlin1990.

Essentially, Eiland-Hall turns Beck on himself, using his own tactics in a way that is vaguely reminiscent of a time, one hundred lifetimes ago, when Edward R. Murrow demolished another rabid demagogue, Sen. Joe McCarthy by using McCarthy’s own words.

As if channelling Beck’s writers, Eiland-Hall’s site proclaims it, “exists to try and help examine the vicious rumour that Glenn Beck raped and murdered a young girl in 1990. We don't claim to know the truth – only that the rumour floating around saying that Glenn Beck raped and murdered a young girl in 1990 should be discussed. So we're going to do our part to try and help get to the bottom of this.

“Why won't Glenn Beck deny these allegations?” the website asks. “We're not accusing Glenn Beck of raping and murdering a young girl in 1990 – in fact, we think he didn't! But we can't help but wonder, since he has failed to deny these horrible allegations. Why won't he deny that he raped and killed a young girl in 1990?”

Beck uses this identical approach to everything from claiming Pres. Obama is a white-hating racist to accusing him of indoctrinating young children by urging them to stay in school to insisting health reform is really a hidden plot involving death panels for granny.

Warning: Satire Ahead

Unlike, say The Onion, which everyone knows is satire as it tears apart every mainstream American convention, apparently many people going to Eiland-Hall’s site are missing a few pencils in their box and don’t get the joke. To assure the world – and protect himself legally – the site’s creator has a prominent disclaimer along the bottom of the home page.

Notice: This site is parody/satire. We assume Glenn Beck did not rape and murder a young girl in 1990, although we haven't yet seen proof that he didn't. But we think Glenn Beck definitely uses tactics like this to spread lies and misinformation.

Read the last sentence again. That's the point. Read it a third time and ignore the name of the site itself, because anyone who believes that we're trying to actually get people to believe Glenn Beck raped and/or murdered is *whoosh* missing the entire point. So don't be dumb like a lot of people are. I greatly expanded this text because so many people *read* it, and *still* didn't understand.

Not even an obviously fake video of a supposedly distraught woman convinces some that the whole thing is a grand send-up of someone – Beck – who increasingly parodies himself on Fox every day.

Et Tu, Glenn

Gee, here’s a surprise: Beck doesn’t like the site. Uninformed bullies seldom enjoy seeing themselves parodied.

But knowing full well that a federal lawsuit to block the site would fail miserably because courts have held for more than 50 years political satire and humor are protected by the 1st Amendment, Beck’s lawyers are trying an end-run. They’ve filed an administrative complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organization. WIPO handles disputes over domain names. The complaint claims that the site was improperly using a trademark and the domain name was registered and being used in bad faith.

Yesterday, Eiland-Hall's lawyer, Marc Randazza, filed a response. In it, he says the site should be his because it's a valid critique of Beck's politics.

"The Web site is a legitimate criticism site, consists of political satire, and thus the Respondent has legitimate rights in the domain name," the brief says. "Mr. Beck's attempt to censor this criticism is improper and should be rejected."

To help the tribunal, Eiland-Hall’s lawyers helpfully offer a history of esoteric inside jokes that became Internet phenomena from "Mr. Spock Ate My Balls" to Richard Gere's unflattering "Gerbil story." But the case also makes a political point, noting an interview Beck conducted with Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN), a Muslim, in which Beck said on air, "I like Muslims, I've been to mosques … And I have to tell you, I have been nervous about this interview because what I feel like saying is, sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.”

Mr. Beck, what I feel like writing is, sir, prove to me that you are not completely unhinged. And, anyway, why won’t you deny rumors that you raped and murdered a young girl in 1991 so this whole thing can be put to rest?