Online but ‘off the grid,’ Glenn Beck’s new Internet TV show offers a lesson in surviving post-apocalyptic America.
After all his predictions that the end of days was near, that a devious plot to subvert the Constitution was under way and that a ticking clock was counting down the last hours of America, the time has finally come for Glenn Beck to talk about real solutions.
After all, you can buy only so much gold. And you can’t eat it.
So what’s the average Joe to do when civilization comes apart at the seams? What do you eat when the ATMs don’t work anymore and there are no grocery stores open anyway? How do you get around town when you can’t buy gas to fill up the Hummer?
Well, you could throw yourself on the mercy of the jackbooted UN soldiers who — as part of President Obama’s sinister agenda — have come to install the totalitarian, communist, everything-bad “New World Order.”
Or, more to Beck’s liking, you could learn the time-honored techniques of survivalism. As in: “Take to the woods!”
To help you along, Beck in January introduced a new, Internet-streaming reality show about nothing less than surviving the end of America.
At this point, you might ask: What can I learn about going “off the grid” from a man that Forbes says is worth $85 million — a man whose media empire rakes in $40 million a year and who last year leased a lavish, 8,000-square-foot home in Texas for $20,000 a month, just after putting his $4 million Connecticut mansion on the market?
Maybe Beck can tell us how to home-harvest caviar from a hand-caught sturgeon. Or better yet, give us a treasure map to help find gold coins buried in the backyards of his former Fox News viewers.
Probably not going to happen. If Frank Belcastro has anything to do with it, the survivalist tradecraft featured on “Independence USA” will be designed more for the little guy than for those who inhabit Beck’s gilded world.
“The shit is gonna hit the fan, and we need an exit strategy,” says Belcastro, the bumbling Renaissance man with a strangely long mustache, as the first episode opens. “When everyone else is out there running around, trying to figure out how to survive, we’re gonna be ready.”
And so, presumably will all the Beck fans who tune in to his GBTV (for just $9.95/month or $99.95/year!).
In one scene, Belcastro’s wife and daughter take a shotgun into the woods to shoot a wild turkey, while the men are out killing deer. (Editor’s note: Make sure to stock up on ammo BEFORE the collapse!) In another scene, Belcastro and his eldest son try to fashion a bow-and-arrow using the rusted springs of a truck. “The way I got it figured,” Belcastro says, “there’s gonna be dead cars all over the road [and] metal like this is gonna be readily available to be scrounged.” (It turns out that life in the post-civilized world is all about recycling.)
So begin the chronicles of a “Patriot” everyman. The show represents the next logical step for Beck, who had turned during his final days at Fox News to warning about a secret United Nations plot to ruin the American way of life and, with the help of his trusty blackboard, to connecting dots all the way to the liberal billionaire George Soros. For Beck’s viewers, the end was near — night after night. Nothing, it seems, has changed. Except the end seems even nearer than it ever was.
So is Beck, ever the doom-for-dollars entrepreneur, cynically exploiting the deep-seated fears he helped instill in a certain segment of the public?
Perhaps. But maybe “Independence USA” is just plain entertainment.
Regardless, the reviews have been poor. Time magazine has said the show is “as interesting as a cup of Ovaltine at bedtime.” That’s a bit harsh. It might be better to say the show is akin to watching the Outdoor channel peppered with a bit of crazy.
Belcastro has an answer for that kind of talk. “I’m not crazy,” he says. “I know the world’s not ending tomorrow, but you know what? I’m not taking any chances. My family and I are going to learn to fend for ourselves, just like our parents, our grandparents, and our great grandparents did. For us, everyday will be Independence Day, even if it kills us.”