Category Archives: Jon Stewart

Once more, thank you, Jon Stewart

Once more, Jon Stewart has a clear-eyed perspective on all the craziness that’s going down right now in our national political space.  This is an extended discussion with Dave Axelrod at the University of Chicago on May 9th.  The whole conversation is worth listening to, but the first thirteen or so minutes are particularly on point, and are excerpted here.

Stewart connects the rise of Trump to the increasingly vitriolic and even apocalyptic narrative that has for years been the daily meat-and-potatoes of right-wing talk radio in particular, and the conservative mindset in general.  He’s not the first commentator to link Republican exploitation of white and particularly male anger at the social changes of the last two generations (aka “the Southern Strategy”) to the rise of a nasty, know-nothing populism (see Sarah Palin as a Trump forerunner), but he does so here in terms that make it hard to argue with his premise. Trump is, quite simply, a monster created by the Republican Party that is now running amok, out of their control, tearing through the heart of our body-politic like Godzilla with bad hair.

Frankly, this is how democracies die.  People get afraid or angry and disgusted with the existing political process– and it’s simply a non-partisan truth that at the moment there’s plenty to be disgusted with about how our government is working, or not working– a figure on a white horse appears who promises to make the bad stuff go away, while spouting slogans such as “make the nation great again” or “regain our national honor”, and the people hand the government over to the horseman.  These strongmen are frequently strong only in their rhetoric, and absolute disasters as heads of state.  Trump shows every sign of having just such feet of political clay.

We cannot, cannot, cannot allow this man even close to the levers of power in this country.  The stakes are just too high.

 

 

 

Jon Stewart and the un-funniness of some things

Jon Stewart couldn’t make any jokes in his opening monologue for last night’s show, and who can blame him–

http://thedailyshow.cc.com/full-episodes/rilcea/june-18–2015—malala-yousafzai

I am heart-sick and stunned that nine innocent people could be gunned down, at a Bible study in a church, by someone who sat there for an hour and still couldn’t hear and see the humanity of those around him. Stewart confesses a similar incomprehension, except on a broad scale. His monologue may be a little unfocused– he seems to be talking about domestic terrorism, our gun culture, racism, and racist violence, all simultaneously. I forgive him, even though these issues are not all exactly the same, because they do powerfully overlap, and who can think with one hundred percent clarity after an atrocity like this? But I think his central question comes through loud and clear– what is wrong with our culture when we spend billions of dollars and thousands of lives defending against foreign terrorism, and then (effectively) shrug our shoulders at horrors like Columbine, Aurora, Sandy Hook and now Charleston? What is wrong with our culture when deadly weapons are allowed to fall into the hands of haters and lunatics? And why, why, why is it so hard for us as a culture to face up to this void in our soul and do something about it? Stewart doesn’t really have an answer, and neither do I, but it’s way past time for us to figure this out.

Stewart redeems the show from utter despair by then pivoting to an interview with Malala Yousafzai. He himself expresses his own relief at being able to talk to this young woman on this particular day. I am a fan of this brave youngster. She is only some months older than my own daughter, so it’s easy to see my bright child in this bright child. But this young woman has faced much the same sort of hateful violence as the Emanuel AME attack and, amazingly, is still working for the education of girls and young women. Watch the whole interview, and maybe, like me, you’ll remember that there is still hope in the world.

PS– upon reflection two days later, it’s probably me who is experiencing the greatest confusion– now that I’ve watched the segment a couple of times, it’s clear Stewart is focused on this crime as racially motivated terrorism. It’s my brain that cross-connected to the other issues– but, as I said, these all overlap in our culture, so I am fairly unrepentant. I just wanted to get clear on who it was who was confused. C’est moi, clearly.

Jon Stewart gives us the straight scoop

Jon Stewart, as usual, perfectly frames both the Mohammed Cartoon shooting and the “invasion of Texas”–

http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/c54ewk/to-shoot-or-not-to-shoot—fear-and-absent-danger

I’m gonna miss this guy when he’s gone.

I’ll make one personal comment on the invasion of Texas conspiracy theory– what have we come to when fringe-conspiracy paranoia has become the default world-view for even a noticeable fraction of Americans? And how do we claw our way back to rationality?

Beats me. But I won’t be too worried as long as we can laugh about it.

Santa Claus is white!?!?! OMG!!!!!

Re: Megyn Kelly– dumb Fox commentator– I could rant on and on about Fox and its twisted, racist agenda, but I’m just gonna let Jon Stewart take care of her– thank God for Jon Stewart–

http://www.thedailyshow.com/full-episodes/thu-december-12-2013-evangeline-lilly

Proving, once again, that humor is the most powerful weapon against tyranny.

‘Nuff said.