This is what happens when one very delusional, very opportunistic grifter makes more money than he knows what to do with thanks to easily-tricked disciples who willingly endorse his madness. Yes, Glenn Beck is building an amusement park called -- what else? -- Independence Park.
But he's pitching it to be much more than a roadside tourist trap with a tilt-a-whirl, concessions and skeeball. Beck and his ridiculous imagineers want their herd of followers to believe it's a real city -- their own version of Ayn Rand's "Galt's Gulch," a place that's entirely divorced from the rules of American society, yet it ironically claims to be a facility for elevating the Beck version of American values and teaching it to suckers who pay the price of admission.
Realistically, it's a monument to the conservative entertainment complex.
On his website, Beck released a series of videos in which he unveiled his Disneyland, and when I watched each of them, I felt like I was observing the meandering schemes of a mental patient who impulsively scrawled his manifesto onto the walls of his padded room using his own feces.
He began by describing the park as based upon "patterns." I'm not sure what that even means, and he certainly didn't elaborate on these so-called "patterns." The only thing I can figure is that he and his people designed the park based upon how best to exploit human psychology to most efficiently and rapidly indoctrinate visitors to Beck's far-right-Cleon-Skousen-revisionist-history-meets-Mormon-dogma cult without knowing they're being indoctrinated, and therefore the Beck empire will attain more paying customers to augment his brand: his books, radio show, paywalls, performance art, merchandizing, etc.
But of course he'll never say that out loud. He'll never publicly confess that it's a one-stop shopping mall for all things Glenn Beck. Instead, he's pitching it as a place of learning -- learning, that is, to waste money on Beck's crackpot version of history and current events. Make no mistake, this is a money-making scheme for Beck. Nothing more.
So naturally the first section visitors will experience after entering the park is "the marketplace." But it's important to note that Beck intends to construct a replica of Ellis Island at the entrance before the marketplace. I'm not sure what the message is here, other than this: visitors are like immigrants entering a new nation -- but hopefully not enduring the typical immigrant experience which included interminable lines, the stripping of ethnic identity, and invasive medical examinations only to either be tossed into inner-city tenements or, worse, to be rejected and sent home. Where can I buy tickets?
Continuing our journey into Beck's magic kingdom, once visitors pass through Ellis Island, they'll be shoved into an area where they can buy stuff. Beck insisted it'll be a place for entrepreneurs to develop their own small businesses, but in reality the business owners will very likely be servants of Beck's fortune. Obviously they'll have to apply, probably with an application fee, and be approved by Beck's people then assigned one of the limited numbers of storefronts, and they'll probably have to pay a criminally inflated rental fee once they're accepted, not to mention being forced to sign some sort of liability waiver in case a visitor chokes or falls down or catches fire.
How are storefronts allotted? What happens if a business fails and has to file for bankruptcy? Will they be allowed to engage in government assistance like grants? If it's free enterprise, can someone open a store that sells liberal anti-Glenn-Beck knick-knacks? Can someone open a porn store? Of course not. Because it'll only be a replica of a marketplace. All of the businesses will end up being subsidiaries of Beck's empire and, it appears, tightly regulated by him. Interesting.
The park will evidently have several sections based on educating visitors, including an underground archive in the middle of a centrally located island where Beck will keep important documents that will reportedly reveal "the truth" about America to visitors. Yep, it's always a great idea to stash irreplaceable documents underground on an island where they'll be surrounded by water. Smart.
Just above the archive will be a giant tower that Beck describes as symbolizing our struggle to attain knowledge from God. This tower, Beck says, will also "collect light" during the day, then "create light" at night. So is this a solar collector? Or a gigantic glow-stick? It would be interesting if it was encased in solar panels, but Beck made sure to crap all over the idea of renewable energy, later emphasizing that the wind turbine farm pictured in the autoCAD schematic was a bad joke. There won't be wind turbines.
In the same building as the archives, Beck plans to have a newsroom for broadcasting school curriculum because he said he wants to redefine how education is delivered since schools are obsolete. He'll also have a facility where college students can be "deprogrammed" during their Summer breaks; where they can unlearn all of the liberalism they experienced in a real school. I can only imagine the hokum he'll dish out there.
The education broadcast studio will be connected to an entirely separate media center via an underwater tunnel. (I'm not making this up.) The media center will be the broadcast hub for Beck and his morning zoo crew, and it'll be a full-fledged movie studio in which Beck will produce feature film versions of his mass-produced books and so forth.
Near the back of the park, Beck announced there will be an amphitheater inside a replica of a canyon. Think Fake Red Rocks. Here he intends to have cowboys killing indians (his word) and then the cowboys will explain why they're killing the indians. After that, an indian "medicine man" (his words, again) will explain his side of the story. In the end, both sides will confess to being partly wrong -- you know, because there are indeed some valid excuses for genocide against indigenous people. And besides, Beck said, as long as the cowboys will agree to do better in the future, the atrocities don't matter. Again, I'm not making this up.
Oh, and then there's the residential area. That's right, people will be able to live inside Beck's Six Flags where somehow Beck will successfully feature expensive houses for rich people right next to cheap houses for poor people. I'm sure Beck will own all of the properties anyway and have strict regulations and penalties for the upkeep of lawns and interiors and so forth, because, you know, independence. But here's the weird thing: the streets will lead to the backs of the houses and the front yards will be the new back yards. In other words, the whole idea of driving up to the front of your house is offensive to Beck, so he's reversing everything. And some of the roads will be underground. As I listened to Beck describing this, I thought the next thing out of his pudgy yammer would be, "The basements will be in the sky -- I'm calling them "skyments" -- and the roofs will be under the houses because [in his weird cartoon voice] don't try to tell me where to put my roof, Big Government."
The price tag for this freak show? $2 billion. But you know what? If it comes in on-budget, Beck will make all of it back within the first several years because his fans are more insane than he is. How is that possible? Because they believe that his phony-baloney televangelist-meets-Disney act is genuine, while all Beck really cares about is making as much money as possible via this easily-duped, easily-frightened and highly desperate market segment.