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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Jon Stewart at the Rally for Sanity

(h/t Dammit Janet)

Man, it's just one extreme to the oth ...

No. No, I can't complete that thought, because to finish that sentence would be to betray a complete misapprehension of what Stewart seems to be aiming for: namely, a swing away from extremes.

Someone much brighter than me once wrote about how civil society and civic decency are based, at their foundations, on appeals to the better parts of our nature. I may be misquoting, I may not be remembering accurately, and in any case, if this is about what's at the core of people's souls, then I'm definitely in over my head. Because I'm not qualified to talk about souls, or metaphysics, or the myriad components that make up human nature. Ironically enough, it was George F. Will, of all people, who once equated statecraft with soulcraft – and for all his other faults, I think he had that right. I'm not sure he'd enjoy being juxtaposed with Jon Stewart, but that's his problem, not mine.

I don't know what's going to happen next week as a result of America's midterm elections. I'm torn between being scared shitless – see my previous post – and allowing myself, if only for a moment, a tiny sliver of hope as a result of watching stuff like this.

I'm Canadian, so of course it doesn't matter what I think or what I say – I'm not going to affect the outcome. All can do is pray, and hope, and appeal to my American friends. For all our sakes, look and listen to what's going on around you – and on Tuesday, listen to the better parts of your nature.

Update: the text of Stewart's speech.


  1. I'm sorry but pitching false equivalences between left and right pundits is just wrong. Being moderate and in the middle is great for news reporting but terrible for comedy and opinion. Using a phony equivalence between the raging pundits at Fox, radio and blogs with the left is just lazy pandering to the right.

  2. You're right, and I don't like false equivalencies either. I don't believe that Stewart is guilty of pitching them as often as you seem to imply, though. What concerns me more than any false equivalencies, frankly, is how effective he is at skewering the moral vacuum and intellectual desert that characterizes the far-right fucktards ... and how little impact it ultimately has.

  3. I enjoy Stewart and Colbert's work. That said, it troubles me that comedians are marching for sanity. What happened to our leaders or public intellectuals?

    Perhaps, as Yeats wrote, "the worst are full of passionate intensity and the best lack all conviction."