In Defense of Tears

In a letter responding to Alexander Zaitchik’s “Brother Beck Presents,” Jenean McBrearty offers a defense of Glenn Beck’s tear dots:

While some, mostly elites, frown on public displays of emotion except in the service of “social justice” and charity—how many tears did we see displayed by those seeking money for Katrina, Haiti, Mid-east civilians killed in the war, etc.? —others do not.

There is nothing inherently wrong with patriotism, religious faith, repentance, redemption, and the physical evidence of deep emotional trauma. Indeed, without tears we, as biological, entitles would hard pressed to carry around grief, shame and empathy. Unrelieved stress is the “stuff” of heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. People need to “let off steam,” “let it all hang out” (just ask an aging hippie!) and “let go and let God” or we’d explode.

I suspect that what KtBlog is actually angry, sad, afraid of in Glenn Beck is the political spectrum he represents, not the theatrics of which he is rightfully accused. After all, people listen to Beck, and he is not “ignorant.” His programs are conducted more like college lectures, and a good college lecturer knows the value of reaching students via emotions as well as intellect. That’s where people “live” and where real education begins. Hence the term “hearts and minds” of a successful military campaign.

We did, after all, recently publish another piece on tears, that time in a positive light. So it appears we’re not against tears per se. Perhaps something else is afoot. Perhaps, in fact, the article was taking issue with Beck for something that goes a bit deeper.

Anyway, after a few stray remarks about “global socialism,” Jenean continues:

But then, I’m old enough to remember Jimmy Swaggart’s teary apology for his indiscretions with a prostitute—he set the bar for politicians, athletes, serial killers, and film stars everywhere. Only the most crass offenders (like Clinton and Blumenthal) refuse to give remorse its due. Publicized misdeeds or tragedy demand evidence of internal states of regret or sadness—or awe. Sociology 101.

Yes, Glenn Beck and Jimmy Swaggart… it actually seems like a pretty good comparison in a number of ways.

And if Glenn Beck is Jenean’s image of a “college lecturer,” we shudder at what she was learning in “Sociology 101.”