Thursday, February 12, 2015

On Jon Stewart Leaving the Daily Show

I like the Jon Stewart I see on the television. He seems like a very intelligent, witty man with a social conscience and a fair amount of courage. I've had a couple of problems with some of his work. And he did let the network walk back his having called Harry Truman a war criminal for dropping two atomic bombs and thereby killing 250,000 people (mostly civilians). But the occasionally inappropriate humour is unavoidable when you're doing a nightly comedy program about current events. And it's not as if Jon Stewart caving-in to pressure helped Harry Truman escape justice or prevented his quarter-of-a-million victims from coming back to life.
The "Daily Show" accomplished a lot. It was funny, informative and shit-loads more daring at questioning the powerful than mainstream television news. It showed penetrating insights on the vapidity and uselessness of the highest level of corporate infotainment propaganda.

But lately, I've been feeling that Jon Stewart is just going through the motions. (He's been working really hard to appear so, but that's just an indication of how talented he is.) Because, shouldn't all the devastating satire of "The Daily Show" have, you know, devastated something by now?

Perhaps it's always been this way. If "The Daily Show" had been mocking Nixon in the 1970s, things wouldn't have been any different. But the thing is, there wasn't a "Daily Show" in the 1970s. There is now, and people laugh, and it's cathartic, but then, well, ... nothing.

Ha-ha-ha! We're all being lied to, exploited, spied on, and there's no accountability for ruling class criminals! Ha-ha-ha-ha!
Nobody expects that ANYTHING is going to result from "The Daily Show" 's expozays of elite malfeasance anymore. Just like the system didn't crumble because some leftists camped out in parks in the Occupy movement. Just as Canada didn't stop being a racist, colonialist, criminal state in the face of Idle No More's rallies and flash-mobs. Just as no afternoon demonstrations, petitions, or small circulation progressive media is able to do much of anything.

Maybe I'm "seeing" only those things that fits my (generally negative) view of the world. But isn't it odd that Obama is cooking-up a war (of sorts) against nuclear-armed Russia, and nobody is even bothering to protest? Or harper has completely LIED his way into getting Canada involved in combat in Iraq and nobody is really moved to do even their usual token protesting?

Are we all at the stage Jon Stewart is at? That speaking truth to power, five days a week, year after year hasn't really changed anything so why bother going through the motions?


Tal Hartsfeld said...

That final paragraph is classic and straight to "the ultimate point".
Someone once stated that in most countries, much like the U.S., one is free to be as critical as they want about those in power and those with high status. So long as one never tries to actually make efforts to DO something about whatever it is they find problems with.

lungta said...

"je suis jon stewart"?
well ya....pretty much
minus the bankroll and huge audience
think a lot of his success
might have been his usefulness in focusing millions of viewers on the absurd diversions
while in the background the rigged game could carry on without catching our attention
and it is rigged behind the political puppet show
what to do?
i can't think of a single act that can convince the rich to join the human race

thwap said...

Tal Hartsfeld,

Happily for the elites, so few of us even think about doing something.

thwap said...


I think Stewart and the gang did a lot within the confines of the system to show that the game was rigged.

Capitalist media isn't going to allow th advocating of revolution.

I think it's up to people who claim we need a revolution to articulate how that's supposed to happen.