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Without fail, it turns out that our folks have all been sitting at home watching Fox News Channel all day – especially Glenn Beck’s program.

Used to be I would call my mom and get updated on news from the neighborhood, her garden, the grandchildren, hometown gossip, and so forth. I don’t know when it happened, exactly, but she began peppering our conversation with red-hot remarks about President Obama.

Even though we’re all conservatives, I found myself having to steer our phone conversations away from politics and current events.

It wasn’t that I disagreed with their opinions – though I often did – but rather that I found the vehemence with which they expressed those opinions to be so off-putting. Spending a few days in the company of the channel – especially Glenn Beck — it all became clear to me. They weren’t always like this, but since they retired, they’ve gotten into Fox, and you can’t even talk to them anymore without hearing them read the riot act about Obama.” I started to wonder how common this Fox Geezer Syndrome was.

We live in a time and place that puts high value on emotion, and that views emotions as self-validating.

To feel something is thought by many to be sufficient evidence of its truthfulness, or at least its authenticity. I understand why post-Sixties liberals make the mistake of believing that nonsense. I love my own Fox Geezers, who are big-hearted, salt-of-the-earth folks when they’re not talking about politics.

“This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! “And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then?

He writes: “It seems to me that Olbermann’s show often brought out the worst impulses in people: petulance, self-righteousness, and blind anger at ‘the other side.’” Sounds familiar to me, though from the other side. It’s my conservative parents – and maybe yours too.

(more…) Conor Friedersdorf remembers what a pain it was to live with a liberal roommate who watched Keith Olbermann every night, and would subsequently sulk around in a pissed-off mood.

Passion is inevitable – we are only human, after all – and can be constructive when properly channeled.

But passion is the enemy of clear thought and, when given free reign, is the prerequisite for mob rule.

Bush political appointee in Washington – told me that yes, they had observed a correlation between the fevered emotionalism of their elderly parents’ politics, and increased exposure to Fox News.

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