The talented Mr. Beck.

Of late, Glenn Beck has been going on about various weird incidents involving animals and insects and President Obama, culminating in repeatedly using the phrase “The bees know”, and even selling a t-shirt with that phrase.

The reason I mention this otherwise minor thing is to point out what an interesting technique Glenn Beck brings to his radio and TV shows. He traffics in conspiracy theories and hints of Satanic omens and the End Times, all while mixing it in with humor, political satire, semi-libertarian philosophy and other, more uplifting Christian symbolism.

Conservatives often complain that Jon Stewart is able to quickly move back and forth between being serious and being funny, and that this makes him immune from serious criticism, because he can always say he’s being an entertainer. This is true to an extent, but Beck is way ahead of Stewart in this area, in my opinion.

It’s remarkable that the man can go from being humorous to being serious the way he does and inspire such loyalty and devotion from his fans. (And no, I don’t think he has charisma, but I may be wrong.) I mean, most public figures and politicians do this to some extent, but Beck can go from very over-the-top humor to, say, apparently heartfelt patriotic sentiment very quickly, and diminish neither the humor nor the sentiment that appeals to his audience.

What's your stake in this, cowboy?