Thursday, February 12, 2015

Jon Gone

Jon Stewart is leaving The Daily Show.  He's done about as good a job as possible in the seat, and I suppose after seventeen years anyone would get antsy.  Truth is, though, it may have been better if he left about six years earlier.  The Obama presidency has not been a good time for left-leaning satire.

Here's the first paragraph from a Slate piece entitled "We Don't Need The Daily Show Anymore":

On last night's Daily Show, Jon Stewart led with a segment highlighting the way conservative pundits have praised the assertive military swagger of Jordan’s King Abdullah while slamming Obama’s military hesitancy in the face of ISIS. He rolled a montage of the same pundits in the past calling Obama pro-Muslim and characterizing him as a “tyrannical king.” Stewart’s juxtaposition was clever and damning. But on the subversive scale, it barely registered. After all, this is the same exact argument that has been the bones of the invaluable Daily Show for almost two decades. So it’s not that America no longer needs tough, smart, sarcastic voices speaking truth to power. But as Stewart bids farewell to the franchise he shaped into a cultural powerhouse, it’s finally time to retire The Daily Show for good.

I saw the piece referred to above.  Far from "clever and damning" it was lame.  The comic point was conservatives support King Abdullah's approach to ISIS over President Obama's, but have also criticized Obama for acting tyrannically.  Hypocrisy is a minor crime in any case (thus the weakness of so much satire), but I don't see any hypocrisy here.  No one is saying they want Obama to assume all political power, they just want him to fight against ISIS more aggressively.

The audience laughed on cue, but really, this is weak tea, similar to so much stuff Stewart has done over the years.  The real problem is that Stewart, unlike what Slate believes, is hardly a voice "speaking truth to power." He's more a partisan snickering with like-minded people at how stupid anyone is who disagrees with him.  And with Obama as President, it's even worse, since he's essentially become an apologist for power.

Stewart leaving is the end of an era.  But Slate is right, this sort of humor will continue.  Hard to say if that's a good thing.

PS  We should retire the phrase "speaking truth to power," since it's almost invariably used to describe people in a position of privilege criticizing their alleged inferiors.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Butt Disapproves of Jokes"

10:25 AM, February 12, 2015  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't question his privilege, say the privileged.

3:01 PM, February 12, 2015  
Blogger ColumbusGuy said...

A man with a brain and wit--I speak of course of Victor Davis Hansen--commented the other day on Obama's snark, and it actually would make a great deal of sense for Obama to step down as president an take over the show. More important, more lasting, and a nice transition.

Actually, were they Ohio Republicans, that's exactly what they would do. Biden would step down, Hillary would take VP, then Obama would step down, and Hillary would run as an incumbent. It's pretty much the only competent move the Ohio Republicans have down.

3:33 PM, February 12, 2015  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is he any relation to Victor Davis Hanson?

5:37 PM, February 12, 2015  

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