June 29, 2011

Jon Stewart - The Third Smothers Brother

First, rather than attempt to summarize the whole thing in 400 words or less, here's Mr. Stewart to explain his situation:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Oh, for Fox Sake
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It's interesting to watch this back-and-forth...but it's also very reminiscent (at least, on an anecdotal level for me) of another time, and two other satirists who often got into hot water because of their beliefs.

About a year ago, I wrote about David Bianculli's Dangerously Funny, focusing on the Smothers Brothers and their fights to straddle the balance between comedy and social/political commentary. It's somewhat more pronounced these days, mostly because - quite frankly - our media climate has become extremely polarized.

And both sides, I'll argue, play the game all too well.

Let me give you an example from my life, complete to pseudonym - let me introduce you to Bob. Bob is the kind of guy who will watch sports all day, and halfheartedly send resumes to find a job. At public gatherings, he will do wildly inappropriate things, like flirt with women half his age and ask for hugs from complete strangers. He also lives on a diet of fast food, frozen pizzas, and soda, despite having health complications.
He's also a fan of anything leftist - whether it be Jon Stewart or Michael Moore. They are absolutely right, and everyone else is wrong. If you're right wing, you are automatically wrong.

At one point years ago, I dared to suggest that his heroes....might not always be right. That sometimes, I believe that they may shape the truth to their ends - that it's harder, but much more rewarding, to take apart arguments to find the validity behind them. That it's one thing to be open minded....but that I try not to be so open minded that anything can crawl him. He and I have not spoken since.

Some would argue that Stewart should choose between being a "pundit" or being a comedian....which is a false dichotomy. After all, there are plenty of commentators on both sides who straddle that line, and it makes for some stimulating debate. (As well as the inevitable flame wars, trolling, and other fun internet phenomenon). Some fandoms (like, say, comics or geek or nerd) could learn a thing or two about dissecting their tastes, and that at times, cool can be the enemy of good. But Stewart is smart to call out his own - and his opponents' - arguments, because quite frankly, given the venom that can be spewed by both sides, it's nice to step back and have a critical examination of our commentary.

And in the interest of equal time, here is Jon Stewart being just as harsh on a Democratic legislator:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Con Hair
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1 comment:

Rogerogreen said...

Stewart is the court jester.  It was the jester who could mock the king and get away with it.