Sunday, March 15, 2009

Beck, Cramer & Stewart: 3 Showmen

An over-sized post, so it'll stand for today and tomorrow: I started writing about Glen Beck, then one thing led to another and the post, like Topsy, "just growed".

Right-wing commentator, Glen Beck; TV's financial guru Jim Cramer; comic commentator Jon Stewart: one led to the other by coincidence or current event. I was part-way through writing about a single topic: Glen Beck when I happened across a note of Jim Cramer's birthday. It's the same as Beck's, though different year. I couldn't miss a chance to comapare so, it'll be a look at their charts drive-by style: briefly - concentrating only on salient factors related to their public image. I was later tempted to add the third character, currently connected to Cramer.

What we should keep at the forefront of our minds when considering these characters is that they are primarily showmen, garnering and expanding the TV audience for commercial advertisers. They are akin to performers outside tents at a fairground, beckoning you in with their fancy costumes and outlandish calls.

So, what have we here? Glen Beck: another extreme right-wing Aquarian! Well I never! I'm becoming more disenchanted with my own Sun sign as days go by. Let's not forget though - he's a showman who thrives on controversy.

Glen Beck was born in Mount Vernon, Washington State on 10 February 1964. I can't find a time of birth so a 12 noon chart must suffice. The rising sign isn't accurate (barring miracles) but his natal Moon remains somewhere in Capriciorn whatever time Mr. Beck was born.

I suspect that Mr. Beck has another case of Aquarius overload - as in Sarah Palin - also a show(wo)man, beckoning her audience into the Conservative Tent. The Aquarius in Beck's chart is powerful: three personal planets there, Sun, Mars and Saturn. Saturn was traditionally Aquarius's ruler, and retains connection still. Mars represents energy and aggression. Here we have Aquarian mental dexterity allied to aggressive tendencies and Saturn's tight-ass conservative mindset. The lunar eclipse of last month hit Beck's Sun/Mars by the way. Perhaps some changes in the offing for him?

With Moon and Mercury in conservative Capricorn it becomes even clearer why Glen Beck seems not to be yer stereotypical socially conscious Aquarian do-gooder. Uranus and Pluto are close together in Virgo, opposing Chiron, the asteroid known as Wounded Healer. I'm wondering whether this very close opposition (particularly from Pluto) might relate to Mr. Becks tragic early life. Wikipedia tells that

"His early life was pitted with tragedies. His mother committed suicide when he was 13. One of his brothers-in-law also committed suicide. Another sibling reportedly had a fatal heart attack.
Beck is a self-described reformed alcoholic In the aftermath of those three family tragedies, Beck said he used "Dr. Jack Daniels"and marijuana to cope." "

Glen Beck, by the way, is another individual with Pluto conjunct Fixed Star Zosma, and one of Zosma's traditional interpretations is "loss in childhood" (here) . I've come across this star before, but not exactly in this context. Interesting!

Next astro drive-by: Jim Cramer, also, coincidentally born 10 February, but in 1955, and in Wyndmoor PA. He is TV's supposed financial wizard, former hedge fund manager, who has been hauled over the coals recently by that other consummate showman, Jon Stewart (about whom, more below).

Cramer commented at the beginning of the Month, on the Today Show, that President Obama's budget sets a "radical agenda", (what else would solve the problem, pray tell!) He added, "This is the greatest wealth destruction I've seen by a President." After what the Bush administration did to the country's finances over the past 8 years, I'd say that Cramer's comment is rather odd, to say the least!

Jim Cramer is said to be a Democrat, but he's not giving much support to the new President, so early in his term of office. Of course, showmanship must come first - he must feed his masters, the capitalist companies who pay for the numerous commercials scattered through his show.

A 12 noon chart for Mr. Cramer as no birth time is available. First though, some pointers to his public persona from here.

"Jim Cramer, who as the host of CNBC's Mad Money is the cable network's biggest star, is probably the first person in the history of television to wear a Little Orphan Annie wig and a football helmet simultaneously. Or to grill rubber bears and then eat them. Or to tell a caller who asked about a stock that Cramer had thought of buying, "You must be inside my head with another 20 people. I'm calling the fire marshal!"
There is, seemingly, almost nothing Cramer won't do to get a laugh or hook his viewers. One of the show's running gags is a barking-dog sound effect. "Oh, it's Vonage the dog," says Cramer, referring to one of the year's most pitiful initial stock offerings. Cramer, a founder of and a former hedge-fund manager, is famous for throwing chairs on the show. His explanation: "I hate chairs."
Perhaps because of his self-aggrandizing theatrics, people have trouble taking him seriously. His most egregious flaw, from an advice taker's perspective, is that he changes his mind a lot.
He is a passionate "extremist." He is a man who can't help but speak or write hyperbolically, a person who seems to use all caps ALL THE TIME. He abhors shades of gray, which can sometimes be a disservice to those attempting to profit from his knowledge.
In all likelihood, Cramer isn't really trying to misrepresent anything. He's simply a chronic exaggerator, an extreme personality who can't stand being wishy-washy -- or, heaven forbid, boring -- about anything."

I'm looking to identify factors in the chart which relate to above remarks.

Aquarius Sun and Mercury endow intelligence, intellect, and a lively mind. Venus in Capricorn orients him towards business - the business of making money. Mars in its own sign, Aries, unadulterated and clearly reflecting the energy of his lively on-screen persona. So where's the exaggeration and hyperbole the quoted article kept emphasising? Jupiter is planet of exaggeration and expansion - note where it is! Conjunct Uranus, ruler of his Sun and Mercury. Uranus is planet of the unexpected, the zany, and all kinds of change - so: his frequent changes of mind as highlighted in the quote above.

As in Glen Beck's case, the lunar eclipse of last month hit Jim Cramer's Sun - perhaps there are changes for him in the pipeline too, especially as Pluto, transiting through Capricorn, is close to his natal Venus - the conjunction won't be exact until around this time next year though, due to Pluto's slow back-tracking.

Moon's exact position isn't clear without time of birth, but unless he was born within a narrow slot from midnight to 2am, Moon would be in Libra. A very early birth would place it in late Virgo. Without more information as to what Mr. Cramer is "really" like in private life, it's hard to speculate. Chances are that Moon was in Libra, and that in reality he is a far more tactful and charming chap than we might assume from his TV antics.

Saturn in Scorpio is in harmonious trine to Jupiter/Uranus in Cancer. I'd expect Saturn to be putting a bit of a damper on Cramer's excesses, but apparently it's stoking them instead. Saturn is square his Aquarius Sun and Mercury though - a hint of lack of self confidence? Surely not! Or perhaps hyperbole is compensating for an inner insecurity: there's a thought! But this is a drive-by, not an all-out interpretation of his natal chart, so I'll leave it there.

Third drive-by: Jon Stewart, Jim Cramer's current sparring partner, at least during their TV time (see video linked at end of post):

Born 28 November 1962 in New York City. If you want a proper astrologer's take on Jon's chart, Robert Wilkinson wrote about it back in 2005 (here)

Here's his chart, set for 12 noon - Sun, Mercury and Moon in Sagittarius (Moon will be in this sign whatever time of birth). According to his natal chart, Stewart should be, and is, another exaggerator and hyperbolist (is that a word?) Sagittarius is the consummate exaggerator. Jon Stewart exaggerates to make a humorous point which also contains a nucleus of hard truth. That's quite a talent! It's aided and abetted by Saturn in Aquarius sextiling his Sun/Mercury, symbolically inserting that center of cold hard fact into the happy-slappy gift wrapping of Sagittarius.

By the way, his Saturn at 6.47 Aquarius was hit by the solar eclipse of January this year - I know this because my Sun is just 1 minute of arc away from his Saturn!
So.... all three men featured here had eclipse hits a few weeks ago!

Jupiter, in its old home sign Pisces, lies opposite Uranus in Virgo - in contrast to Cramer's chart where Uranus and Jupiter are conjoined. Without interpreting the opposition in detail, the difference between these two characters appears to me to be that whereas Cramer blends Jupiter/Uranus characteristics, manifesting as constant hyperbole, Stewart generally balances them in order to portray a more measured attitude and make sure of getting his message across.

There's a 21 minute video of a recent interview between Stewart and Cramer in full at The Daily Show website.


Wisewebwoman said...

T: I've commented elsewhere on a scenario analysis blog on this whole Cramer:Stewart 'confrontation'.

----I keep counting the wrongs in all of it. A comedian takes down a shill of the financial monsters who pillaged the commoners? Where on earth are the real journalists who should be doing this job? And the affectation of the shirt sleeves (disrespect for the interviewer?)and the chastened and abject demeanour of the financial 'expert' apologising to the righteous comedian had an air of the surreal to it. Weird is my take on the whole effort.

Reply Mar 13, 2009 at 09:45 PM

AJ said in reply to wisewebwoman...
How starved we are for truth, that feeding us tiny, insufficient, crumbs of it with commercial breaks can make us stand and cheer----

Yup, sez it all I think.....


anthonynorth said...

I was once told that 'experts' in the media are only there 'cos they were rubbish at their expertise.
I think there's a lot of sense in that.

Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ Very apt comments, both!

The opening line from "Evita" keeps coming to mind

"Oh what a circus, oh what a show...."

Twilight said...

AN ~~~ Yep! If he was any good at it he'd be out there doin' the darned job, not pontificating to the Great Unwashed (and now also Un-monied!)

R J Adams said...

"these characters....are primarily showmen, garnering and expanding the TV audience for commercial advertisers. They are akin to performers outside tents at a fairground, beckoning you in with their fancy costumes and outlandish calls."
An apt and succinct analogy. Unfortunately, these modern day clowns have the advantage that much of the populace hangs on their every word.
Jon Stewart is wasted as a comedian. His demolition of Cramer was carried out with a degree of intelligence and knowledge of (not his) subject that could make him a excellent straight interviewer.
I very much enjoyed reading this very fine post.

Twilight said...

RJ ~~~ Many thanks! Glad you liked it.

I agree that Jon Stewart is wasted (though much appreciated). I suspect he's so jaded by what he's seen on the political scene, that he's decided the only sane way to deal with it all is to make it into fun. :-)