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Sunday, October 24, 2004

Eric Spratling on Jon Stewart

The Condiment King posted an entry on the Dixonverse Message Board stating that Jon Stewart is is personal hero and subsequently laid down the public challenge to convince that Stewart is a "media puppet". Eric Spratling responded
Puppet?

Stewart isn't a puppet. Jon Stewart is, in fact, in my estimation a very funny personality and a supremely talented comedian. And the Daily Show is written by some very funny people.

However, they just let their hatred show too much. I used to watch it all the time when I was a bit younger, but after so long the gratuitous liberalism went from being an aspect of the show's commentary to practically replacing it. I'm serious: Stewart would half the time just repeat liberal talking points with a smartass tone of voice, and the audience cheered. It wasn't even phrased cleverly. Example:

[clip of President Bush talking]
Bush: "Ever since I was elected, I've increased education spending by-"
[clip cuts off back to Stewart]
Stewart: "You weren't elected!"
[audience CHEERS]

The show just grew eventually so venomous and bitter that I stopped watching it altogether-- although admittedly, this was partly helped to me not having cable anymore. But every time I catch it now and then, I'm reminded of why I'm not watching it.

I haven't actually SEEN Stewart's appearance on Crossfire, but I did read a transcript. It was almost painful the way he ambushed those guys. Reading Stewart's "accusations" against Crossfire (which I don't watch either) was flat-out laughable; he didn't really get out any specifics of why they're "hurting America" (good Lord, can you IMAGINE the outcry if the situation were reversed and a conservative had been shouting that at the liberal half of Crossfire?) just the usual litany of class warfare applause lines. The evil "corporate media" is just so big and mean that they're leaving us "ordinary folks" out there to "mow our lawns". As if Stewart even has a lawn in his high-rise New York penthouse. It was all just bland rah-rah populist empowerment language I'd heard a zillion times before.

And folks, this is coming from someone who cannot STAND watching the news either! Like I said, I don't have cable, but whenever I catch some CNN or FOX News or even local stuff, I'm usually horrified by just how juvenile, sensationalistic and stupid it all is. I hate the flashy graphics, news crawls, pretty anchors, and generally ill-informed mainstream media reporters like nobody's business. I hate the way the press basically sets or tries to set the agenda for what's important enough for the public to be paying attention to; can someone please explain to me WHY exactly I should be paying particular attention to trials over Laci Petersen and Lori Hacking, or what Paris Hilton is up to on any given day (actually, why is that completely useless whore even famous in the first place?!)??

A while ago I was in a lobby waiting for my car to be fixed, and CNN was on. They had a reporter on the floor of the frigging Republican National Convention, and what was he talking about? The Kobe Bryant case. Bite me, TV media. This is why I get my news from the Internet.

But Stewart's not helping a damn thing in this regard either. If anything, he may actually be contributing MORE to the downward spiral of political discourse. For goodness' sake, the Daily Show staff's idea of hard-hitting political analysis is to play a clip of Bush fumbling during a speech, and then cut back to Jon Stewart laughing at him! This isn't even good satire, let alone good discourse.

Just about everyone knows deep down that it's just about impossible for a man to receive the education that Bush has, been at all the business stations in life that Bush has, and ascended to as high an office as Bush has, if he were genuinely "stupid" (and by "stupid" I don't just mean that you disagree with his outlook on life or how the country should be run, I mean actual, honest-to-gosh DUMB. By way of an example: I believe that Jimmy Carter was one of the most--if not the most-- singularly incompetent people to ever sit in the Oval Office, but when I say that I don't mean that he was a drooling idiot; I mean that his way of conducting policy at home and around the world was simply wrong in every possible sense-- he was certainly a very well-educated and pious man, besides that). Yet when I have actual political discussions with real actual people, I'm always left on the defense as to proving why George Bush isn't so stupid that he can't tie his shoes without Karl Rove's help. And before I can even finish telling them, "The man graduated from Yale and Harvard, you numbskulls!" I get the typical response back that "daddy" "bought" W's grades. They don't even stop to think how outlandish an accusation that is to make, because it's become just an accepted assumption amongst the Smirking Class of political discussion represented none better than by Jon Stewart.

Jonah Goldberg (a conservative, and someone who's actually both an intelligent political pundit AND funny-- on a rare appearance on the Daily Show, in fact, Goldberg matched Stewart nearly laugh for laugh) once had a perfect summation (certainly better than my rambling post here) for this "movement" represented by Al Franken, Garofalo, et al. They get to say whatever they want about Republicans: we're mean nasty retarded evil racist homophobic troglodyte bigoted Nazis who like to eat babies, and they get applauded for their "political insight". Yet if someone questions them on their dubious assertions or demogogic rhetoric, they just look bewildered and hide behind being a "comedian." Didn't like what they say? Well, you just didn't "get the joke".

Jon Stewart is hilarious and gifted, but if anyone thinks that his whole "funniest smart man in comedy" (or whatever) label hasn't gone to his head... well, I'd like to sell you some oceanfront property a couple miles away from my campus. And if Jon Stewart actually thinks he's earned that label for any other reason than because he tells liberals exactly what they want to hear... then maybe you'll end up neighbors with him.
I concur with Mr. Spratling for the most part. I, however, have had less exposure to Mr. Stewart's program and from what little exposure I've had to the Daily Show, I don't see him as that funny. I just can't. I can't believe he's a "media puppet" but I don't see how this leftist was judged funny enough to host thirty minutes of comedy; I can see ten minutes, but not thirty.

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Posted on October 23, 2004 at 04:12:56 PM

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