Thursday, February 12, 2015

On the Departure of Jon Stewart from the Scene

Not being capable of exceeding Kevin Williamson's treatment of Mr. Stewart's impact on modern America, I thought I would however provide some commentary pertaining to how I view and have viewed Stewart's contributions.  I am not a regular viewer of the Daily Show, nor are many of you if its ratings are to be believed.  I tune in almost exclusively by accident, or via cached snippets of interviews with those souls who seem competent enough to frustrate Mr. Stewart's breezy, left-of-center, we all believe the same things, wink, wink nudge, nudge patois.  But some do watch, and for many, he is sadly the purveyor of the majority of the news that they do receive on a daily basis.  So here I go.

First, the man is undeniably funny.  I am almost always entertained by him, whether he is making fun of people or ideas I support, or people or ideas that I don't.  Let's face it--that's really what he does.  He makes fun of things.  He lampoons them.  He distorts them and then compares them to--his breezy, left-of-center view of the world.  His talent and creativity makes the distortions funny.  As entertainment and political parody, I find him unmatched.

Second, he is undeniably smart (though not that smart, or he would have recognized the error of going to William and Mary) .  Not all smart people are funny, but damn near all funny people are smart.  The ability to recognize irony followed by the timing necessary to create laughter--flows from what can only be classified as innate intelligence.  Stewart has it, and he has it in abundance.  He's very well prepared, and he knows a great many things about a great many things.

Third, he is undeniably a man of the left.  His defenders--who are almost always also people of the left--point to numerous times in the show's history where Stewart's guns have been turned on liberals and Democrats as evidence that he plays both sides of the street.  But this is silly on its face.  Jon Stewart's schtick is to make fun of things, to distort things, and when he turns this distortion upon Democrats is is because they are not being Democrat enough, not being sufficiently liberal--for him or for his perception of his audience.  He skewers Democrats when they let him down, and he can be downright savage when he does it.  But the truth is, no Democrat acting, thinking, writing, and politicking like a Democrat, need fear Jon Stewart's barbs.  It is hardly the same for Republicans.  Republicans are skewered by Stewart for doing reliably Republican things.  Stewart lampoons and distorts the unremarkable and entirely predictable political practices of right of center people.  Thus, the belief of many (generally apolitical people) that he plays it straight or is a middle of the roader, is entirely false.

Fourth, as Williamson states in his piece, many people say, "why don't you guys get your own Stewart?", as if it is a desire of the conservative movement for people to get their news and information from a comedy show.  It isn't and they shouldn't. Of course I find it unfortunate that the other side has stumbled upon this unique talent, and that he has had the platform he has for so long, and that he has used it to--as Rush Limbaugh put it, "cement liberal thinking" about politics.  That doesn't mean though, that I want to replicate the asshattery.

Who knows how long this farewell tour will last, as he hasn't given a date for his departure. I wish him well, and I wish his benighted followers a speedy recovery from their sedan chairs, to which they have retired in contemplation of how barren the 2016 election will be without Jon Stewart to guide them through it.

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