Socrates in the City or Beckelfest?
Originally slated to feature Cal Thomas and his new book, What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America, last night’s Socrates in the City (SITC)event turned into a Bob Beckel therapy session. Now that may be a little strong, but the event was definitely different than normal.
SITC is an event masterminded by Eric Metaxas (author of Bonhoeffer, daily commentator on Breakpoint). The event is a sophisticated evening of wine, cheese, intellectual discussion, book promotions, and, of course, Metaxas’s wit and humor. A truly enjoyable experience.
Something different happened this time. Oh, the refreshments were there, the books, and the humor. I am not sure how intellectual it was. But the evening was different. Metaxas called it historical because it is customary at SITC to feature only one guest. A feature whose value was reinforced at last night’s event.
So, here’s the deal. Thomas wanted Beckel there because they are friends, so he invited him to come along. They are working together under the guise of having somehow demonstrated that they have found common ground on issues such as welfare, term limits, even school vouchers. But for the most part, Beckel just did what Beckel always does: he slammed the Republican Party, the tea Party, the war in Iraq (that old chestnut), all the while treating us with his course language and his homespun rambling. He even declared that Hillary Clinton was not a liberal! (It’s amazing how conservative people can look after six years of Obama!)
Did Beckel Fall Asleep?
The fact is, Beckel kind of hi-jacked the event. He spoke the most, rambled quite a bit, and I could have sworn (if I were a swearing man) that he had fallen asleep! I’m not kidding! About three quarters of the way through the event I began to hear regular breathing. I looked at Beckel and his eyes were closed and he was very still.
A few times, Metaxas looked as though he was not sure what he had gotten himself into. He had given a humorous but sort of Don Rickles-style introduction of the two men. Once they came to the platform a bit of an insult war erupted. It was tongue in cheek but still a little uncomfortable. No matter how hard he tried, Metaxas could not get Thomas and Beckel to share some of their common ground solutions to America’s problems. No less than five times he had to prompt them for solutions instead of definitions of the problem.
As for solutions, both men were able to gather applause for some of their sentiments. Thomas waxed bold on behalf of traditional American values and Beckel for his passionate concern for those less fortunate. But for the most part they raged against the machine.
After what can only be described as a “testimony” given by Beckel, in which he owned up to his dark days and his turn to faith due to the influence of Thomas, Thomas said that we would all leave with a different opinion about Beckel. He commended Beckel’s great heart and their very close friendship. At one point Beckel did, in passing, say he was a Christian. I was glad for that.
All in all, the two men were both a little salty, low on solutions, and seemed to have been a handful for Metaxas. It wasn’t what I expected it to be. I don’t it was what Metaxas thought it would be either!
Let’s Talk About Metaxas
Regardless of the uniqueness of last night’s Beckel-fest invasion of SITC, it remains a must attend event. It is worth all the time and effort you have to expend in order to be there. I took it as an opportunity to enjoy some time in Manhattan before I made my way to the Union League Club where it was held.
As for Metaxas, he was as sharp as ever, though he found himself dealing with a less than delicate personality. It was good practice for the future talk show he wants to host!
When SITC hosted Dr. Stephen C. Meyer, Metaxas said, “I want to ask you about your book, do you mind? Because we have a lot of copies here, we’ve gotta move some product.” It was classic Metaxas humor. (You can watch the video and catch that funny moment 31:40 into the interview). While he was at least semi-joking, make no mistake: the product being moved at SITC is Eric Metaxas himself! As he promotes others he is also indirectly promoting himself. I don’t think that is a negative thing! In fact, I think it is a rather good way to do it! It must be working because he seems to be everywhere these days. So, if you’d like to hobnob with him for only $35, you should do it while you can and be in attendance at the next Socrates in the City event. But you’d better hurry! I don’t know how much longer he will be able to fit it into his schedule!