We both sell snake oil. But, here [on The Daily Show], we at least admit it's snake oil.
I love Jon Stewart. I watch the Daily Show more than any other TV show. I think it's great when he attacks politicians. But that's easy. Everyone does that. What I really like is when he goes after the media. When he indicts Crossfire and CNBC and all these talking heads for contributing to the aura of bullshit that pervades our country.
But one thing I don't like that he does: He plays the "but I'm just a comedian" card. Bullshit Jon. We all know you're more than that now. You can pretend you run a fake news show and that no one should take you seriously. But we all know it's not true. We all know what you're doing matters. We all know people trust and respect you more than most "real" newscasters. You have real power and real authority. And you have it because you speak in a way that demands it.
It just doesn't seem fair for you to run around pointing fingers all the time but then as soon as anyone fires back, you pull up your bubble that makes you bulletproof or Teflon or whatever analogy you want to use.
"This is fake news." Maybe it was. But you've mixed in too much truth to pretend you're a phony anymore. "My show is followed by sock puppets making prank phone calls." So what? Maybe that's the place we're most likely to find the truth in our society right now.
You don't hear Bill Maher doing the same thing. He throws his daggers and then he stands right there and takes his shots. He doesn't hide his attacks behind a cloak of "I'm just a comedian so you can't hold me to the same standards." His attitude seems to be: Yeah, I said it. That's what I think. And I'm right. If you don't think so, take your best shot.
I think that's a nobler approach to take. Stand up for what you believe in. I don't think you'd ever hear Bill Hicks end one of his political bits with, "I'm just a comedian though. You shouldn't take me seriously."
Of course we should take you seriously. You're the only one telling it like it is. If we can't take you seriously, who can we take seriously? You're not peddling snake oil, Jon. You're peddling the truth.
So man up. No more hiding. No more special rules because you're funny. No more using comedy or sock puppets as a shield. It's the easy way out. You said it. You meant it. And you were right.
Permalink | 3/18/2009