Glenn Beck and Manufactured Outrage: How Did You Celebrate August 28, 2009?

All those old white people out on the Mall sure were something, weren’t they? In the New York Times, Anna Holmes and Rebecca Traister got a little sidetracked by the weekend’s spectacle during an otherwise OK essay about Sarah Palin and feminism :

Ms. Palin, now a Fox news contributor, and her cable colleague Glenn Beck planned a rally for Saturday on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, 47 years to the day after the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington, a wily usurpation of an anniversary cherished by progressives and civil rights activists.

On the facing page, Frank Rich noted it too , a rally “on the same spot where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had his dream exactly 47 years earlier.” Beck himself called it “divine providence” that this particular Saturday in August happened to fall on the same day of the month that the March on Washington had happened, a nice round 47 years ago.

If that’s God’s handiwork, Glenn Beck prays to a pretty sloppy, cheapjack deity. Or, more to the point, when Glenn Beck invokes a higher power, he’s worshiping the idiocy of the news-and-spin cycle.

Who came up with this dopey meme? Where was the uproar on June 26, when Sarah Palin chose to give a speech attacking President Obama on the 47th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s “Ich bin ein Berliner” address ? Why are the Dodgers wearing a patch this year celebrating the 55th anniversary of their 1955 World Series victory, but refusing to celebrate the 47th anniversary of their 1963 championship? Why didn’t you throw your parents or grandparents a big party on their 47th wedding anniversary?

Forty-seven is a prime number, for cripesake. It doesn’t match up with any counting cycle at all. The 47th anniversary of the March on Washington means even less than the 46th anniversary. And here’s what happened on that unforgettable date, a year ago: Arne Duncan gave a speech on the Mall.