Glenn Beck and Jared Loughner: Separated at Birth?

Is it just me, or do Glenn Beck and Jared Loughner look like they were separated at birth? Here’s Beck, of course:

And here’s Jared Loughner’s mug shot after shooting Gabriella Gifford in the head:

Jared Lee Loughner: A primer on his life so far

And look at Glenn Beck holding a gun here:


And here’s Jared Loughner again:

Jared Lee Loughner: A primer on his life so far

Is it the eyes? The arch of the nose? The smirk? At minimum, couldn’t Jared Loughner be mistaken for being Glenn Beck’s son?

Perhaps it is the emotional registry that is off (and so seems to link Jared Loughner and Glenn Beck). One of the characteristics of far right media personalities like Beck is that, wherever liberals might be expressing compassion or sympathy (as, say, toward polar bears losing their habitat), they are making a joke of it, or displaying emotions that are defiant, dismissive, sadistic, or gleeful.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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43 Responses to Glenn Beck and Jared Loughner: Separated at Birth?

  1. andrewclunn says:

    So you’ve abandoned subtlety then Santi? I really hadn’t expected this from you.

    • come on, they do look similar 🙂

    • santitafarella says:

      Don’t fall into a correlation/causation fallacy, Andrew. Just because they look alike doesn’t mean that they are any more than coincidentally similar.

      But there’s a reason that human beings have been suckered by things like astrology (I was born under the sign of a lion so I must have a lion’s personality traits, etc . . .).

      The human brain is associative. It just jumped out at me; I haven’t seen anyone else mention it.


  2. actually, he could have made it even funnier with something like:

    Separated at Birth?
    Well, they are very different. One is a delusional psychopath that hates America .. the other is a murderer 🙂

  3. Paulette says:

    You idiots of the far left make some of the most outrageous statements, making fun of conservatives, in an attempt to make the conservative look stupid and you look smart. All I see in your writings is that you are all “smart alecks”!

    • santitafarella says:

      I am very, very far from the far left. I’m an Enlightenment supporting, Jeffersonian liberal. There’s a difference. As for being a smart ass, well, I take that as a compliment.


  4. santitafarella says:


    Perhaps you are right, but I don’t think of myself as a person of the Left. To me, a person on the Left wakes up to Pacifica Radio, not NPR. I don’t wake up to either, actually, but NPR matches my sensibilities more than Pacifica. And if I sat in a room with Barack Obama, I doubt there would be all that much difference between us—and Obama managed to win the presidency. Maybe I’m not nearly as far out of the mainstream as you imagine. My religious views are definitely not mainstream. I’ll admit that.

    And, really, the mainstream is incoherent. If you have any coherence at all—you’re a libertarian, a liberal, a conservative, a leftist—then you’re out of the mainstream. Just the fact that you give any attention to your worldview at all puts you outside of the mainstream.


    • TomH says:


      The voting public rejected Obama’s policies to the extent that Republicans gained control of seventeen state houses and the House of Representatives. They would likely also have gained control of the Senate if all Senators had been up for reelection this year. Americans voted for Obama in a large measure as a reaction to republican support for the bailout. Remember the weekend where McCain went to Washington and started drumming up support for the bailout? His polls shifted eight points towards Obama that weekend. If McCain hadn’t started beating the drum for the bailout, we’d likely be talking about President McCain.

      I don’t listen to Pacifica or NPR. Does MSNBC match your sensibilities? Maybe the New York Times? The left comprises about 9% of the American electorate, while the right comprises about 25%. The clueless middle comprises the remaining 2/3. Leftist libertarians tend to follow their paranoia of the religious right when it comes to voting. Conservative libertarians tend to vote with the right.

      I find the Patriot Act to be more dangerous than the religious right.

      • santitafarella says:


        If most conservatives misanalyze Barack Obama in the way that you do above, it’s good for Democrats and liberals, so I hope that you continue to do so. The economy upended Democrats in the recent election, not general alarm over Obama’s policies. And Fox Noise got their (declining) base to the polls.

        At some point reality will set in, and conservatives will realize that they can’t win non-crisis elections running from the far right. Then again, maybe we’ll have a string of crises. And Republicans have one hell of a propaganda machine in Fox, and that can make a difference at the margins.

        But the broad demographics of the country are moving in the favor of moderates and liberals, and no amount of voodoo can mask that.

        The broken wheel grates loudest.

        Republican radio reminds me of prayer. Mouths are moving with anxious energy, but whether it’s actually accomplishing anything is far from obvious to me.


      • santitafarella says:


        Fox News’s popularity among conservatives does not seem to me a good indication of the inclinations of the country at large. I base my optimism that the country will be generally more liberal and libertarian (and more prosperous) on large demographic trends that I find best discussed in three books:

        —The Rational Optimist (Ridley).
        —The Emerging Democratic Majority (Judis).
        —The Next 100 Million.

        All three books can be found at Amazon. The next 50 years are likely to be a liberal period in our history. By liberal I don’t mean big government liberal—with oppressive taxation and a larger nanny state. I mean generally libertarian, less fundamentalist, urban dwelling, better educated, gay tolerant, ecofriendly, diverse, globalist, feminist, and not hyper nationalist or interventionist oversees. In other words, more like California, Oregon, and Washington and less like Mississippi. And the 50 years after that will be a genetic enhancement era where everyone will be much smarter and interesting than we are now.


      • TomH says:

        I see no reason to think that Fox’s base is declining. Rather, their market share is growing and that of the traditional news sources is shrinking. Keep up the wishful thinking. Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, and other conservatives maintain a huge national audience and liberal talk radio can’t attract a national audience.

        The recent census showed us that the population is moving south. Texas is the example of where the country is moving. I think that you’ve been drinking the far-left kool aid again.

        The percentage of YECs is staying steady at about 25% of the population. Not much of a shift away from fundamentalism. Most immigrants tend to be hostile to gay rights. Blacks certainly are, as we saw them vote overwhelminingly in California against gay marriage.

        I think that college education may be declining. My alma mater only has 1/3 of the student base that it had when I attended. Students are starting to get wise to the debt load that they incur from a college education. Now they can’t get jobs after graduating. Parents are having to help pay back college loans and they aren’t happy.

  5. santitafarella says:


    Whether or not Obama is popular or not, there is another issue here: the shabby way that conservatives have treated our country’s first African American president. For all your gloating about Obama’s perceived lack of popularity (which I doubt), the fact is this: if Obama is extremely unpopular in some quarters it is because of the relentless stream of slander and evil that has been directed toward him. There will come a day, perhaps in our lifetime, when conservatives will look back in shame at their lack of proportion and human decency surrounding President Obama.

    President Obama’s election will stand, fifty years from now, as one of the country’s proudest moments. And there will be a day in our cultural history when President Obama will be as revered as Martin Luther King.

    I went, for example, to a yoga class today and the instructor played a CD that interspersed snippets of King’s speeches into the meditative music (for King’s birthday). King yoga at the YMCA! Talk about the Zeitgeist. That’s a cultural touchstone, don’t you think? One day Obama will be generally loved in this way. He already is (as far as I’m concerned).


    • TomH says:


      Obama is personally popular with a substantial plurality of Americans. When it comes to likely voters, his policies are unpopular. You are merely parrotting the far-left explanation of the unpopularity of Obama’s policies as racist. His policies are very similar to those of Bush, which were also unpopular.

      Slander and evil? Only coming from you and the rest of the far left.

      Obama will be regarded about the same as Jimmy Carter–a failure. Jimmy Carter has a warmer personality than Obama, though he’s a crank. Bush was very genial. Obama loses in the personality category. I think that the only reason that many people like him is simply because of his race.

      Whoever is president needs to have business experience, preferably as an entrepreneur. Academics need not apply. Robert L. Johnson (the black founder of the RLJ Company and the BET channel) would have been far preferable to Barack Obama. Or maybe Rodney O’Neal, the CEO of Delphi. Or Ursula Burns, chairman/CEO of Xerox. Maybe John Thompson, president of Symantec. There are more than a few blacks who would have done a better job as president than BO.

      • JCR says:

        Odd that you mention Carter .. he outperformed Bush in almost every fiscal measure you care to quantify. This is the delusion of Republicans – that they are conservative. Look back at the last 80 years, Republican presidents typically outspend Democrats and leave the country in worse fiscal shape.

        When you look at other metrics of employment, wages, and industry, the picture is even more bleak for Republicans. Amazing that the party which claims religious morality as a tenet is also founded on lies and misrepresentation of information. Is it any wonder that Beck and Rush thrive? They function in exactly the same manner – ego, emotion and rhetoric that blatantly ignore the FACTS of how Republicans have mismanaged America.

      • TomH says:


        Try high inflation as a metric. That was the dominant economic problem at the end of his regime. It raised interest rates so high that, unless you had cash, you weren’t going to buy a house. Guess what that did to the economy and jobs?

        Let’s look at federal budgeting. The president starts with the previous years budget which has been adjusted by mandatory annual increases. Then he adds his own changes to the budget. Then the House gets this to work with.

        In the past, whenever there was a Republican president, there has typically been a Democratic House. With Clinton, the situation was reversed for the period where “he balanced the budget.” Clinton had a Republican House cutting his budget so that it was balanced.

        No question that Repubs have often failed to balance the budget. RINOs are a political problem that cause fiscal problems. But, if conservative Repubs try to get rid of the influence of RINOs, they are criticized for being exclusive. So, a reasoned view will blame the critics, such as yourself. Your broad brush just adds more misinformation and gasoline to the fire.

        If you read the National Review Online, you’ll find plenty of conservative criticism of repubs, including Bush.

        If you accuse repubs of misrepresenting information, you should look at your pointing hand, Jared. You have three fingers pointing back at yourself.

  6. Interesting. it seems remembrance of budget process is only relevant when it benefits a Republican administration. The big ticket spend items accrued in Obama’s first year were mostly the result of the Bush bailouts. I do not recall the tea party issuing a pass for him like you just did for W. And even while Repubs have held the house, such as almost all of Bush’s tenure, spending increased. Add to that the fact that no NEW spending can occur without the president’s signature. You have a wicked double standard, clearly.

    And the bashing of Bush and spend occurred almost entirely AFTER Bush left office. I asked you for this before and you failed to provide much of anything. Where was all this hate of spend while W was in office?

    • TomH says:

      Interesting. You fail to recall that conservatives have said that Bush was a RINO when it came to fiscal policy and that he was heavily criticized for it, despite the fact that I’ve posted a reply to you about this previously. P

      “And the bashing of Bush and spend occurred almost entirely AFTER Bush left office. ”

      Oh, let’s see, the bashing occurred in 2006 ( and Bush left office in 2009. You don’t have a tight grasp of the facts.

    • TomH says:

      Oh, and there’s this tidbit about conservative Bush-bashing from 2004:

      Try to get in touch with reality, will you? 🙂

      • andrewclunn says:

        Oh I do have a grip on reality. While I am in agreement with TomH for the most part on this topic, I feel the need to lighten the mood. So for your viewing pleasure:

      • Ah, 2 pieces. Now, lets compare this to when Obama entered office. Innumerable blogs, articles etc. Also, I guess that these same conservatives forgot what you just pointed out about a new president inheriting the budget.

        If you would like to talk about having a grasp on reality, then you must be utterly delusional to pretend that conservatives were even remotely close to “up in arms” over the Bush spend. Yet went apeshit with Obama the first year. You are pretty typical of the teaparty members I have encountered. You hold parties to a double standard, ignore the facts and make a pretense that Bush spending encountered even basic resistance.

      • TomH says:


        Only two pieces? Did you even bother to read my links? They reference many other instances of conservatives bashing Bush. Why do you think that Bush’s approval rating numbers were so low (? Liberals only comprise 9% of the population and repubs can’t have gone 100% against Bush, what with all the RINOs. I would guess that most people supporting Bush at the end were RINOs. Bush lost his conservative base because he didn’t walk the walk.

        Let me guess. You only read Reason and don’t visit National Review Online or the Weekly Standard or the Heritage Foundation or other conservative sites, so you are totally clueless about conservatism.

      • TomH says:


        Yeah, I’m probably not very persuasive because I am disparaging Jared for pushing misinformation because he is so uninformed. Reason has a habit of attacking Repubs generally based on cherry-picked instances. Some Reason authors seem to be unaware that they are committing essentialist fallacies. You just can’t package all Repubs together and present an accurate picture.

        Of course, some conservatives also commit essentialist fallacies, which are just as problematic. We could really use someone like Bill Buckley again, who would point out these problems and make conservative arguments stronger. Bill was a conservative libertarian, like me. 🙂

        Have you ever seen an economic argument against abortion or gay rights?

      • I opened the two pieces. Neither is even remotely on par with the “conservative” backlash within Obama’s first six months. Not even a fraction of percent of what happened when Obama took office and BEFORE he took any real action.

        your numbers of what % are libs and an inference of what % are cons are silly. First off, liberal and con are far from adequate representations of the vast majority of Americans. Most people are conservative on some issues and liberal on others. Blanket labeling is meaningless. This is why the majority of the population is quatified as the middle.

        I have no idea what you even referencing with “Reason.” I read pieces from all over the place, NRO and WND along with WSJ and numerous other sources. I find NRO to be one of the more ignorantly partisan sites, actually. I am not a conservative .. I am fiscally conservative. But, what you likely consider conservative stances other than fiscal are things where I likely vehemently disagree. The Christian lunacy of the religious right, hawks who ignore all of recorded history in determining foreign policy, etc. etc.

      • If you would like an example, type this into google. “national review online obama spending” Notice the plethora of NRO pieces on spending for Obama .. versus the ONE piece they did on Bush spending. Does it make sense now what I am pointing out? That you “conservatives” are only “fiscal conservatives” when a democrat is in office.

      • andrewclunn says:


        I have not seen those arguments. Though you have little chance of convincing me about abortion to be honest. I’m a real asshole, and when I see the mentally handicapped eating up public resources I shake my head and think, “That’s what abortion is for.”

  7. santitafarella says:


    Do you also, when you see a car accident, drive past and think, “Damn assholes are raising my auto premium!” More likely you’re saying to yourself, “There but by the grace of God go I.”

    In other words, why not think of the blind, the handicapped etc as possessing conditions where, except by the grace of God go you?

    What I’m trying to ask is whether an insurance model of the state could be negotiated among its citizens so that everybody pays into insurance pots to cover catastrophic incidents (blindness, disability care, car accidents, health insurance etc).

    Why isn’t a risk spreading model of insurance good for everyone in a country? Maybe putting together a package of common human risks—a pot that people can have access to if they meet with bad luck—would be reasonable, and make people less resentful at those they perceive as eating up tax dollars.


    • andrewclunn says:

      Wow that came out of nowhere. Not sure how that relates to the post, but I’ll answer. Actually, I think this video expresses my opinion pretty well.

      • santitafarella says:

        That was a good video, and I would be completely open to making the market more transparent and having the consumer cover the first, say, $2000 dollars of their annual doctor visits. But insurance has to kick in somewhere. What percentage of annual doctor bills, on average, is $2000 dollars? If the average person in the United States uses $5000 dollars in health services each year, then everybody’s still gotta kick in another 250 dollars a month, right?

        That sounds okay to me, but a lot of people might struggle with even that amount. And if they don’t share in the pool, everybody’s costs rise. Let them eat cake and let us absorb the higher premiums because they won’t play?


  8. santitafarella says:

    Tom H:

    All your protests are catching the words but missing the music. There are some things that fit the highest American narrative and some things that don’t. Barack Obama, for all your annoyance with him, fits the highest American narrative—the highest aspirations in us. He is, in the flesh, a realization of King’s dream (which is part of the American dream). To not love Barack Obama (even though you might not like his politics) is to not really love the American dream.

    There are some things that are simply indecent and inconsistent with the narrative of America’s founding. One of them is to be spiteful toward the country’s first African American president. There are ways to resist the president’s policies in a civil fashion without being hell-bent on destroying Obama as a brand. This is the problem with contemporary conservatism: it’s instinct is to go straight to personal defamation in the face of any resistance. But what works for a white politician attacking another white politician at this historical moment doesn’t (or, at least, shouldn’t) work for the nation’s first black president. If Obama is put out of office in 2012 it should be out of an honest disagreement with policy honestly and civilly debated, not because of animus directed at him as a human being. Conservatism is blowing its moment to show maturity.

    Barack Obama too sings America.

    And what you’ve also missed is the glamour that Obama represents. Glamour is something very, very important. It’s what makes us remember Jefferson, King, Kennedy, and Lincoln. It’s one of the reasons, a hundred years from now, Obama will be thought of in company with them—as part of that American pantheon of leaders who embodied the very best that is in us.


    • TomH says:


      Since Hawaii can’t even find Obama’s COLB, which is recent news and was a surprise to me, me not being a birther and all, saying that BO sings America is lame. If you want glamour, why not Arnold Schwartzenegger or Bobby Jindal, both of whom are immigrants (Arnold even came to the U.S. with nothing)? Or Condoleeza Rice, America’s first black cabinet secretary who is very intellectual?

      Rather than Jefferson, the Lees of Virginia were an early sort of nobility and had a kind of glamour. Washington was far more important than Lincoln and had far greater dignity. And for importance in the nation’s founding, none can compare with John Adams, though he had no glamour that would attract people to him.

      I’m not impressed with the puerile liberal story I got in school. MLK isn’t part of my story. Horatio Alger wrote far better about the American story than anything BO has to show. I know of one American black fellow who was brought up by his aunts, was so poor that he had to listen outside of college classrooms because he couldn’t pay the tuition on time, then worked two full time jobs as a nurse for decades and was very well thought of by his coworkers. He’s one of my heros–not BO. Or Sarah Palin, who came from nowhere to be governor of Alaska and has a kind of glamour and is showing great composure despite undergoing a multitude of slanderous attacks, unlike BO. BO’s story has been, “It’s Bush’s fault, not mine.” He’s very ignoble, unlike GWB (whose fiscal policies I detested as much as BO’s).

      When I hear BO speak, I hear an academic lecturing, not an inspirational preacher like MLK.

      Maybe you and I have different tastes in music. (I don’t consider rap to be music, since it lacks a melody.)

      • santitafarella says:

        Well, I’ve always liked Rice and Arnold. Not so much Jindal—but perhaps I could certainly warm to him if I knew him better. I had the impression he might have been a bit of a nut in college (participating in exorcisms, etc).

        If Rice or Arnold ran for president, I, personally, would never try to wreck their brand as a means to defeating them. My disagreements would be on policy and I would keep my rhetoric there. I used to hate to hear Randy Rhodes make personal attacks on Rice. Rice was a professor at Stanford and deserves every bit the respect and dignity that she has earned.

        Palin is a completely other matter. I truly believe her “brand” deserves persistant cynicism and mockery directed toward it because she is absolutely not competent to lead the country. She’s a know-nothing. And she’s incapable of sustaining a coherent thought, and so there’s nothing of substance there to actually debate with.

        I’m still angry that McCain foisted such an inane simpleton onto the national stage. And I’m still stunned that she’s never had an open press conference and has never sat down with Meet the Press, This Week, or Face the Nation. Her hiding in a PR managed “bubble of rectitude” is setting a ruinous precedent for politics.

        As for your statement that MLK is not “part of your story” should I take that to mean that you would have been on the side of Bull Conner and George Wallace in the 1950s?


      • TomH says:


        As other liberals have remarked, you don’t reach the office of governor because you’re stupid. Palin was completely competent as mayor and governor. Meet the Press is declining in importance. Why bother with it? I’ve seen Palin handle O’Reilly’s tough questions. He doesn’t give conservatives a pass. Hannity’s a shill, otoh. Palin’s not an academic and doesn’t think that way and doesn’t do well among academics. She’s proven her executive skill, otoh.

        I wasn’t mentioning people because you might like them, but because they added to the American story.

        Well, Wallace was around even into the sixties, but I was a skull-full-of-mush in those days and was against him. Now I’d oppose both MLK and GCW, though for different reasons.

        MLK isn’t part of my story because I don’t find him to be very admirable just as I don’t find Newt Gingrich to be very admirable or John Edwards. Newt’s good for out of the box thinking and he’s an academic, but he divorced his wife as she was dying of cancer. Edwards also treated his wife very badly. MLK did likewise:

        “…there are a number of other reasons left unaddressed by Perlstein for why conservatives cannot embrace King without reservation. His late endorsement of racial preferences ran counter to his earlier professions of color-blindness; despite his devotion to freedom at home, his co-option by the antiwar movement made him, like thousands of other misguided Americans, accessory to the Stalinization of Indochina; and his personal conduct was not what one would hope for from a Christian minister. On the last count, no one can doubt that King would be a prime candidate for endless accusations of hypocrisy had his public cause been less satisfying to those most inclined to generate such accusations.”

  9. santitafarella says:

    Palin didn’t even finish her first term.

    And with King, you’re looking at the trees and missing the forest.


    • TomH says:


      What a pathetic reply. Palin did what any honorable person would do–resign to prevent her family from being bankrupted by frivolous lawsuits brought by political enemies. While she was governor, she did well. She was very popular. Funny how you ignore the fact that she took on the oil special interests. I doubt that you’d do the same if she were a dem. Palin also did well as mayor. Pathetic.

      Let’s see, King was a hypocritical preacher who didn’t stick to his principles about color-blindness. What should we think of him? Hmm… Well, he’s a liberal icon so let’s give him a pass.

      Rosa Parks was a hero, but not MLK.

      • santitafarella says:

        Heat and kitchen.

        You’re one of the few people in America who thinks it’s a good sign that Sarah Palin didn’t serve out her term as governor. Most people want a president who, when they step up to the plate, stays in the box. Would half-term governor Palin want to be a half-term president, abruptly resigning if a special prosecutor started prying into the details of her administration’s affairs?

        As for hypocricy, isn’t that the clerical norm?

        As for Parks, I actually went to a book signing of hers once. She autographeded her biography for a long line of people (a line which I was in). I still have my copy.


      • TomH says:

        Oh, so you’re against anyone who isn’t rich running for office. I gotcha. Most people are morons, so being one of the few isn’t a problem. Being president is a whole ‘nuther game from being governor of Alaska. As president, you have a budget for paying for lawyers to handle frivolous lawsuits that isn’t available to the governor of Alaska. It didn’t help Palin that she listened to the wrong attorney. So much for your idea about listening to experts. Who’s the expert? You have to be an expert to know.

        I don’t know about hypocrisy being the norm for preachers, but sex education has taken on new meaning with all the teachers who have been accused of doing it with their students.

  10. santitafarella says:

    Tom H,

    Palin as St Anthony with arrows. Whatever.

    And you’ve reified sexual hypocricy. How come? To my mind, the central existential failure (if you were a white Christian minister living in the South in the 1950s) was to not walk alongside Martin Luther King and support the cause of racial equality, before your congregation, openly and in public. Far worse than a pastor who couldn’t keep his zipper up would have been a pastor who didn’t stand up in a historic moment. Unfortunately, that was virtually all of the white pastors in the South.

    And I’ve rarely met a clergy member who lived the Sermon on the Mount (or at least approximated to it). I exclude one person from this. I do know a Catholic priest—a personal friend—who I think comes very near to being a Jesus or Gandhi. He lives very differently than a megachurch pastor, but if God exists, (s)he sees.


    • TomH says:


      Don’t know the reference and haven’t found it online. I would guess that you are saying that you think that Palin should have stayed as governor and bankrupted her family. If so, you are only proving that you are against the poor and middle class, which is typical of the left.

      MLK was thick as thieves with W E B Dubois, who was a communist, going so far as to defend Stalin and the USSR through thick and thin, no matter the facts presented to him. Dubois was a creep, and so was MLK.

      It’s not for me to say what preachers should have done wrt the civil rights debate. I guess you feel yourself capable to decide what preachers should do as regards intruding into politics. Should I bow to you in worship?

      Doubtless many of those preachers were southern democrats. It was the republicans who made it possible to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 since most dems were against it.

      Living the Sermon on the Mount is a very high goal. Refraining from infidelity is somewhat more modest. Unfortunately, most black pastors aren’t even able to achieve this modest goal. If you read any black religious news sources, you’ll find that religious blacks are very open about this problem.

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