Glenn Beck and Vladimir Putin only have one thing in common: invading foreign territory and plotting hostile takeovers, except in Beck’s case, it is not a country he is looking to invade, but Hollywood. Beck, one of the country’s most controversial and influential conservative pundits is breaking into the movie business by creating a film division for Mercury Radio Arts, the parent company of his radio show and news website, TheBlaze. In recent media interviews, Beck has stated that he has purchased a film studio and is currently in the process of refurbishing it and preparing it for numerous movie and television projects he has lined up for the future.
The studio that the infamous radio host purchased has some solid Hollywood history, as it was used in the filming of RoboCop, JFK, and Prison Break. Beck’s studio is located in Irving, Texas, and is said to be 72,000 square feet in size. According to the former Fox News host, he is currently developing three brand new films set for theatrical release. Two of the movie projects are historical period pieces, with a third one being a faith-based film. Beck also recently bought the rights for his novel, The Christmas Sweater, back from Sony, so chances are good he is going to produce a film version of the book himself.
While Glenn Beck may take a cue from Putin when it comes to invading occupied territory like Hollywood, his reasoning for doing so is no doubt vastly different from the motivations of the head honcho of Russia. Beck has said on numerous occasions in the past that he is growing more and more weary of politics, and has decided that the best way to restore freedom and liberty to the republic is to become involved in culture. If someone really wants to change the way people vote, they need to be able to influence the way they think. There are two ways to accomplish this task. One is by aggressive, brute force. The other is through culture, creating art that connects and resonates with individuals on an emotional, psychological level. These stories not only connect to people, but they also contain the message of freedom woven into the emotional fabric of the story itself, teaching lessons and impacting lives.
This approach is similar to the one that many missionaries have used throughout the centuries to bring Christianity to a foreign people. Missionaries will often engage in cultural activities that are not in violation of their faith and connect with the stories that a particular group of people love, and relate them back to events and principles in the Bible. The Apostle Paul used this same approach when preaching at Mars Hill in the book of Acts, as well as when quoting pagan poets, who were essentially the rock stars of their day, to help explain the gospel.
Cultural engagement is something that Republicans and conservatives have failed miserably at for decades, which might be why they are consistently viewed as being out of touch. Rather than constantly condemn those who disagree with a particular policy position, why not first build the relationship on common ground, then move on to discussing differences? If conservatives want to gain cultural influence, they need to find ways to create art, such as music and film, that tells powerful stories that individuals can relate to and connect with, all while including the principles of freedom laced throughout the story.
Glenn Beck is invading Hollywood, seeking to influence culture and make the country a better place, while Putin takes a cue from dictators throughout history, attempting to use force to influence how people think. One way seeks the enlightenment of a nation, the other to stifle it under an iron fist. This may be a hard pill to swallow, but the world needs less Putin, and a whole lot more Beck.
Opinion by Michael Cantrell