Thursday, November 18, 2010

Restoring Sanity

I used to not like "The Daily Show" very much. Of course, it was hilarious, and I would laugh when I watched it. But, I must say that John Stewart got a little tiresome with his "I"m just a comedian, we follow a show about crank calling" crossed with his biting critique that was supposed be taken seriously. Either your show matters or it doesn't, . . but you can't have it both ways.

Lately, John seems to be explaining himself (and acting) in a much more helpful way. He gave an hour long interview with Rachel Maddow after his "Rally to Restore Sanity" explaining what the point was, and why the left shouldn't have been so hard him (as they were).

This was a very helpful, intellectual interview. . . I really enjoyed it. I also enjoyed the parts of the Rally that I saw, and . . .

That seems to be the norm on "The Daily Show" these days. They have really honest, helpful, well-thought-out dialogue; something, unfortunately, that is hard to come by on MSNBC, CNN, or FOX.

Every time I watch the Daily Show now, I learn something. This week, JayZ had a really insightful interview about the history of rap. John S. also interviewed the writers of the new book "All the Devils are in the Room" about the financial crises on Wall St. I learned things about the breakdown of our financial system that I had never heard before.

The biggest reason I'm a fan of "The Daily Show" nowadays is that John S. is finally an equal opportunity offender. For years, he would say this, and then proceed to bash anything that smacked of conservatism or the Republican Party. But, lately (maybe because we have a Democratic president) he's been going after everyone. He obliterated Charlie Rangel this week (that piece was hilarious), he stood up for the Palin family a bit (while taking well-placed shots at Sarah. . .but her new show deserves it), and went after President Obama pretty good when they were in Washington a few weeks ago. To be sure, John Stewart veers left. But, he can see what's wrong with his own positions. In the Maddow interview, he went after Maddow and the left for calling President Bush a war criminal. He's pushing for nuance. . . I like that.

The reason for them being in Washington was to hold their "Rally to Restore Sanity". In my mind, this was a historic gathering. John S. was criticized from the left and the right (which probably means he did something very right) but succeeded in showing the absurdity of our current poltical and media climate. The basic point was that if you shout about everything, nothing is emphasized, and that our discourse can be respectful and intellectual even though our viewpoints can be clearly divided. Crazy idea huh??

I think John S. and to some extent, Stephen Colbert are really two of the most important guys in the media right now. They're exposing the current media for what much of it currently is. . . ridiculous and laughable. They know (and can now explain) the important social place of the satirist. Here's some links to the Maddow interview, their Time Magazine recognition, and the Daily Show website.

Fair warning: the Daily Show does alot of vulgar comedy to make their point, . .

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