Beck is certainly the media’s bright shiny object right now, isn’t he? (The shot comes from the slide show accompanying the TIME cover story.
What the photo nails is the way Beck frames himself as an intellectual — but plays it as a front. (Notice, for example, how much the reading glasses compliment the pose.)
It’s elegantly simple, really. By creating a cheap veneer for his gullible audience that he’s deep, thoughtful, and really cares about the historical stuff (the straight-faced caption with the “patriotism clap-trap” also plays a key part), you can almost miss the obvious — in this case, the media pilgrimage to The Alamo (no connection to today, of course!) with Glenn getting off on the guns.
(image: Darren Abate/PressPhotoIntl.com. April 15, 2009. San Antonio)