Glenn Beck during his “Restoring Honor” rally at Lincoln Memorial in August. (NIKKI KAHN)

This is terrible! Who will tell me whom to blame for natural disasters? Who will cause my grandparents to telephone late at night to hint that the mainstream media is concealing the truth from me? Who will have rallies to restore America’s honor? Who will keep hemorrhaging viewers in the vital 18 to 34 demographic?

We could see it coming. He’d gone from America’s mildly deranged uncle to a full-bore, chart-waving conspiracist. Every family has one, so we knew the signs. At first, it’s lovable and quirky. “I hope Uncle Glenn will tell us about how the mainstream media is hiding the truth about ACORN!” you say, as you ride over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house. “Or how he hasn’t seen a half-monkey, half-person yet! That’s always a highlight of the holidays.”

But then time passes. You start growing accustomed to the schtick. “I wish Uncle Glenn would stop crying all the time,” you say. “It’s like John Boehner slicing onions. And this caliphate conspiracy is a little wacky, even for me.” You zone out. You decide to get indignant about something else, like the fact that Uncle Bill claims not to know how the moon got there.

In response, he yells louder, trying to draw your attention. But after you’ve posed on the cover of a book dressed as a Nazi European military officer of some kind, where can you go? Sure, you can try to blame natural disasters on unnatural factors. But that’s always a sign of desperation.

We yelled at him, dutifully. But we’d already moved on. “There is always something ridiculous about the emotions of people whom one has ceased to love,” wrote Oscar Wilde. That’s increasingly true of Beck now. “Look, Glenn,” we say. “It’s not you, it’s me. Please stop crying, you’re psychologically scarring the cat.” It’s all been downhill since he and Sarah Palin restored America’s honor last year.

Sorry to say, America, but Beck and Palin? So 2010. Instead, for 2011, we have Trump and Bachmann. And I’m not sure if it’s a lateral move or a vertical one.

But already, I miss Beck. “Don’t be despondent,” they tell me. “I hear he’s developing new show concepts already.” Too true, too true — the only thing that would make me miss him more would be if he were actually going away.