Saturday, November 28, 2009

It's Howdy Doody Time

Why is Glenn Beck so popular just now?

Howdy Doody. That's right. Blame the Doodymeister.

One of the things that happens to you after your newspaper is downsized and the first to go are the reporters actually trying to do their jobs by looking into corporate corruption, is that you have time on your hands to ponder the wonderfulness, of Glenn Beck.
What is it that currently makes him so popular?

After months of careful study and scrutiny, and attending a Michael Moore movie, I have come to the conclusion that Glenn Beck is Howdy Doody, come to earth again, to lead his devotees.

Howdy had a high-pitched voice that always seemed to be on the verge of tears. But the similarities, complexities, and sublties of the marketing scheme are so much deeper, and playing across decades, one can only marvel at the lengths to which some god-awful power has gone, to control the masses. And I will only begin to scratch the surface by the end of this one. Nevertheless, the comparisson has been noted by greater minds than mine, and so the attempt will be made.

As Mr Moore hinted so quickly in his movie, blink and you missed it, ageing Baby-Boomers are responding reflexively to psychological, Pavlovian cues, which were ingrained into their personalities from their earliest days of sitting dunder-mugged and drooling before the neon nipple.

Howdy Doody was the popular wooden boy, the All-American wooden boy with 48 freckles, operated by 11 strings, who told the children precisely what they wanted to hear just before nappy or nite-nite time, back in the salad days of our grown-up culture; the 1950s.

At the appointed hour, all good, first-generation Boomers were dressed in their Howdy Doody PJs and night-gowns, kneeling devoutly before the great big RCA television in their living room. Surrounded by the smell of mom's cooking, a favorite Teddy bear was snugged comfortably in their arms. Up came the music and the kids all sang in unison, the Howdy Doody Theme Song (please sample now then return to the article. Let the ring of it remain in your ears as you read).

The time slot, for much of Howdy's ten-year reign was around 5:00 p.m. Is it any coincidence that on the east coast, Glenn Beck has the 6 p.m. time slot, so that in the heartland of America he's on at 5 p.m. on the dot?

Other eerie similarities and themes. (Link leads to facts about the Doody). As the Howdy Doody Show evolved, characters came into the mix, such as Clarabell, the mute puppet. During the final episode, Howdy and Buffalo Bob let the kids in on a secret. They whispered that they had a"surprise" they would reveal to all"good boys and girls", by the end of the show. The fact, nothing more than Clarabell actually uttering a few words, turned out to be a very effective advertising ploy; a pioneering move in television which led to every conceivable cliff-hanger on every soap opera going, not to mention Glenn Beck's Fox show, of course.

Beck, like Doody, always has a little secret he will reveal to the Peanut Gallery by the end of the show. Howdy's heir apparent wooden love child, has mastered the art of "when we come back," so well, we seldom notice the immense leaps in logic, or that these schemes most often lead us nowhere. Often as not, there is no connection in these whispy trails he lays down before the ad-block forks its way into our minds.

For instance, what could a tin of Copenhagen snuff possibly have to do with President Barack Obama? "I'll explain, when we come back," he says in his customary refrain with a dollish grin. But on that particular show, someone sold too much ad-space, because Beck never did explain what these two had in common.

Good boys and girls were left to infer that Beck was shaking a naughty stick at the president for going to Copenhagen in an effort to sway the Olympic Committe to let Chicago host the next Olympiad. Bad, bad, (the 'black' is silent) president!

Howdy's show was replete with double-entendre, which was good for parents who got a kick out of some of the quips between the characters. This higher-level conversation went right over the heads of the boys and girls, and Beck is also a master at this.

Beck's doublespeak of course, is the stuff the politically-correct censors would tamp down on; sticky stuff like racial overtones. For instance when Beck pointedly mentions the artists performing at the president's most recent state dinner, without specifically bringing race into the discussion of course. Why say it when a glassy eye roll will suffice just as well, to get the point across, that those people (hip-hop, soul, etc. the 'black' is silent), now hold the horns of power.

(Wink, nod: You know what I'm talking about-kids! Is this CRAZY OR WHAT?)

Other Howdy characters included Mr. X who travelled through space and time in his "Whatzits Box" teaching the children about history. Advertisers later thought this was too scary, and had Mr. X removed.

Beck is good like that; he doesn't let actual history get into the mix on his show, when he has so much fake history and fantasy to draw from. His chalkboard is the Whatsits Box of many wonders. We recently learned the sinister nature of that tall white obelisk on the Washington Mall, which is "from Egypt." Egypt I tell ya!

Do the math: Egypt=Africa="Hey kids, the 'Black' is silent"=Kenya=Barack=Axis of Eeeevil! Eeeeevil!

Before he began attacking one of our founding principals, the separation of church and state, Beck spent nearly entire shows, going over the subtext in architectural design schemes which somehow - and being good boys and girls who can catch all the hints he's throwing over those meany censors - points to a New World Order conspiracy that our president is either a pawn within, or the master mover thereof. Who knows, the trails lead right up to the ad-blocks, and "when we come back" is frequently a downer because by then, Beck and his Whatsits Board, have moved on to something else.

But why ask for substance, or concrete references when a pic of Che Guevara tossed on a board will do quite nicely?

Howdy says: "Hey, jackass, facts and specifics are what elitist journalists do! Are you one of those people? Pick up your damned blanky and get the hell out of the studio! This is the Howdy Doody Show!"

Howdy is a wooden puppet guided by 11 strings. Beck has his strings and we can see those too: big pharma, big oil, to name two. But the good boys and girls ignore the strings: whilst the meany Mr. Bumbles (and don't be an elitist Mr. Bumble) immediately point out those strings!

Aw, Looky there! He ain't nothin but a fake! Frequently suffering Facebook unfriending by our elder siblings for our efforts, much the way they bruised our biceps with childish punches when we offered such insult to the Doody altar they still lavished adoration upon, even in syndicated re-run.

Secretly deep down they knew Howdy was not for real. Most boys and girls of the 1950s were able to accept that even as they became pre-teens in the sixties. But then as today, they were subdued by Howdy's country attire, his shiny whiteness, freckles, and his glassy-eyed stare, into a state of suspended disbelief. Never mind that he's horribly, heinously artificial and operated by corprate guy-wire. No one alive or dead could possibly be that cartoonish, could they?

A good boy or girl had a right to pretend back then, didn't they? Don't they now?

This would be a childish taunt if Howdy hadn't become such a corporate tool, of late, asking us to forget where we come from, and where we would like to go: a place of peace, as well as prosperity.

If it helps, when Beck comes on, just play the song in your mind.

"Let's give a round of cheers for Howdy Doody's here! It's time to start the show, so kids let's go!"

PS! Hey Kids, scroll back to the top and take the Doody Polls located to your right. The first will ask you about your Doody connection. The second will ask about Glenn Beck. Have fun!


  1. The guilty party has answered the second half of the psychological profile that indeed they adore Glenn Beck, but neglected to answer the first question! Did you watch Howdy Doody as a child! Case in point: they DID watch Howdy Doody, they are aware of the correlation, and yet, avoid, neglect talking about the correlation because it troubles them, thus, no answer to the first question. Am I right or wrong.

  2. Aha! More results. Now that's what I am talking about. Data, to see whether my novice psychological thesis has any merrit whatsoever.

  3. Hi, David ~ Interesting post. BTW, I wasn't able to get the poll. Did you take it down?

  4. Dear Mary I didn't take the poll down. People at Google may have been on some sort of programming tear, Please do try again and let me know if it doesn't work! Thanks so much.