John Stewart Sucks - Why?

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redeyezman
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John Stewart Sucks - Why?

Post by redeyezman » Sat 8th Nov 2014 08:30 pm

Source: The Political Sterility of Jon Stewart

Political satire has a long and honorable history: Aristophanes, William Shakespeare, Jonathan Swift; W.S. Gilbert; George Orwell; Lenny Bruce; Dick Gregory; Tom Lehrer, David Frost, and That Was the Week That Was; George Carlin; Spitting Image, Yes, Minister; the Smothers Brothers; the early Saturday Night Live, Dave Barry, The Onion, South Park, Family Guy, and so many more. Unfortunately, while it would be a slight exaggeration to say that political satire is dead in America, it’s been on the critical list for some time. That’s too bad. We need it more than ever.

Throughout history, satirists have risked their liberty and even their lives using humor to engage in deep commentary about the reigning political system and its exalted political figures—they’re called leaders, though surely better terms are rulers and misleaders. But no satirist risks his life or liberty in America today, which makes the scarcity of good satire so puzzling. Is it fear that keeps it safely limited? Or is it simply that so few people today can see the fundamental flaws in the American political system, which trashes liberty in so many ways?

You tell me.

By now most people who pay attention to these things know that The Daily Show’s host, Jon Stewart, who is probably regarded as America’s premier political satirist, felt it necessary to recant after apparently uttering a heresy according to America’s civic religion: democracy.

In an election-day interview on CNN, Christiane Amanpour asked Stewart if he had voted. He said, “No”—to which Amanpour reacted with (or perhaps feigned) amazement, “No?!”

Stewart continued, “I just moved. I don’t even know where my thing is now.”

That night on his own show, Stewart, after assuring his audience that he has known where “his thing” is since age 13, acknowledged that his answer created “a bit of a story.” So he felt compelled to say,

To set the record straight, I did vote today.… I was being flip, and it kind of took off. I shouldn’t have been flip about that.… It sent a message that I didn’t think voting was important or that I didn’t think it was a big issue. And I do, and I did vote. I was being flip, and I shouldn’t have done that. That was stupid. So, I apologize.

Where to begin?

First off, how did his flip answer create “a bit of a story”? He’s a comedian for heaven’s sake! Several nights a week he makes fun of politicians and government bungling! He does flip for a living! Who got upset with his reply, aside from U.S. Secretary of War Amanpour? Whether one believed Stewart’s answer or not, how in the world was it the stuff of public controversy? Does no one have a sense of humor? Must he say “just kidding” after every sentence?

Maybe one reason political satire is so scarce is that Americans don’t get it. Paul Fussell, who wrote excellent books on how war degrades culture, said that World War II killed Americans’ sense of irony. (See his Wartime.) We have here good evidence for Fussell’s claim.

But even allowing for the irony-impairment of American culture, did Stewart really feel he had to apologize? Did he think he’d lose his audience if he became known as one who is “flip” about the holy rite of voting? I realize that ratings are a matter of life and death, but come on. I doubt that his career was in jeopardy. He might have even picked up a few viewers.

My son, Ben Richman, a fine rock guitarist who also has a keen eye for politics, had a different take on Facebook:

I don’t think he was giving into public pressure, either. I think he genuinely felt that joking about it was wrong. At the end of the day, Stewart loves the system.

I’m inclined to agree. After all, he favors mandatory national “service”:

There should be a draft where every young person has to do one year of something — military, public works — something so that we all feel invested in the same game, because that’s the part that we’ve lost. [Emphasis added.]

Stewart can be funny when he pokes fun at politicians for their gaffes and indiscretions, and occasionally he ventures into a minefield. (He’s done some surprisingly good stuff on Israel.) But if you watch closely, you’ll see that he doesn’t plunge the dagger in too deep. He is a man of the system, a progressive, of course. Thus, he believes government is good, the more active the better. He rarely gets down to fundamentals, and on the rare occasion when he does, he quickly retreats.

Remember when in 2009 he called President Harry Truman a “war criminal” for the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which killed or maimed nearly 200,000 Japanese civilians? Now, actually that statement was neither satirical nor ironic. It was the unvarnished truth. Truman’s victims threatened no one, and the war was essentially over. Yet those civilians were subjected to the most ghastly of fates. Some were vaporized on the spot, literally leaving only their shadows behind. And don’t forget that Truman dropped the second bomb three days later. He considered dropping a third, but decided he didn’t want to kill any more children. Reading about what the victims’ experienced will turn your stomach, if you have a scintilla of decency in you.

But, nevertheless, Stewart recanted a couple of days later. On his program he said,

The other night … I may have mentioned during the discussion we were having that Harry Truman was a war criminal. And right after saying it, I thought to myself that was dumb. And it was dumb. Stupid in fact. So I shouldn’t have said that, and I did. So I say right now, no, I don’t believe that to be the case. The atomic bomb, a very complicated decision in the context of a horrific war, and I walk that back because it was in my estimation a stupid thing to say.… Sorry.

Stewart did not bother to explain why the statement was “stupid” (he also called his voting remark stupid) or why Truman’s decision was “complicated”; that’s what every Truman apologist says. But we know what Stewart meant. In America’s civic religion, it is heresy to talk about an American war as though it was a massive series of crimes committed by “our” misleaders. You must not say that. Actually, that’s not it. You must not think that. Two and two is five. Never forget it.

Yes, it is permissible to say the war in Vietnam (never WWII, however) was a blunder, a colossal mistake. But don’t say it was mass murder and a humongous criminal operation. Don’t say the perpetrators should be brought to justice. Noam Chomsky did that and was thenceforth barred from publications that had regularly published him. It is a rare mainstream publication that would let you say that Bush 43, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, Rice, Tenet, Petraeus, McChrystal, et al. should be hauled before the International Criminal Court to stand trial for their wars of aggression against the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. Has Nuremberg been erased from the history books? (Since writing this, I’ve been reminded of Stewart’s obsequiousness before court historians like Doris Kearns Goodwin and ex-political appointees like former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Hillary Clinton.)

Getting back to Stewart and voting: his remark was actually pretty lame. All he said was that he couldn’t vote because he didn’t know where the polls were in his new location. He didn’t say he was happy about it. He could have said,

Did I vote? Of course I voted! Would I pass up a critical opportunity to add my one single drop of water to the vast ocean? Why, every vote counts! Had I stayed home, the whole country—heck, the whole world—might be different. You must be crazy to think I’d let that happen.

That would have been satire. But it also would have struck too deep at America’s civic religion, which holds that trudging faithfully to the polls every few years is the be-all and end-all of freedom. (That voting majorities by nature must violate the rights of voting minorities and nonvoters is curiously overlooked.)

What I wouldn’t give to see Americans react to Emma Goldman saying on television, “If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.”

Excuse me, but I grew up watching George Carlin. So call me spoiled. Jon Stewart is to George Carlin what Joe Scarborough is to H.L. Mencken.

Here’s how Carlin handled politics:

I don’t vote. On Election Day, I stay home. I firmly believe that if you vote, you have no right to complain. Now, some people like to twist that around. They say, “If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain,” but where’s the logic in that? If you vote, and you elect dishonest, incompetent politicians, and they get into office and screw everything up, you are responsible for what they have done. You voted them in. You caused the problem. You have no right to complain. I, on the other hand, who did not vote—who did not even leave the house on Election Day—am in no way responsible for what these politicians have done and have every right to complain about the mess that you created.

George, we need you.
Shells sink. Dreams float.

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Re: John Stewart Sucks - Why?

Post by USbongLord » Sun 9th Nov 2014 12:31 am

I like John Stewart
rockin into the night

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Uncle Ron
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Re: John Stewart Sucks - Why?

Post by Uncle Ron » Sun 9th Nov 2014 01:57 am

John Stewart sucks? Ok, so do billions of other people (all people suck), so what makes him any different and why should I care?
Right, because he is a comedian, and a satirist who has been in the cross hairs of everyone that is 1 degree to the right of center, and more recently the left.
He made a glib, off the collar remark about voting, and the tweeting twats/two-faced farcebookers/mass "hysterical" media have built another cliff on bullshit mountain in which they will eventually fall off, they always do.
I invite everyone to do some research - post 9/11, how many journalists have been detained/arrested/tried and convicted/sentenced to prison, in the United States of America? How many whistle blowers are facing federal charges for conspiracy (and whispers of treason) and obstruction of justice, for blowing the whistle on suspect government actions? Too many, and that number WILL continue to increase given the current political climate.
So I say this to my fellow Americans - while you watch, our 1st Amendments Rights are being marginalized for the sake and in the name of national security.
Ben Franklin said it best - “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
My fellow Americans, we are on a precipice, one misstep and the rights and freedoms we so enjoy, that so many sacrificed their lives protecting and defending, will be gone forever. I fear that there are those who will push America into a second civil war, even more bloody and costlier that the first.
People may mock me, however I called these - multiple attacks on American soil due to religious/economic bullying, housing collapse, wall street collapse, etc..., and I'm right this time. Prepare yourself America, you are about to fall completely from your own humble bragging grace.
I wonder who the righteous ones will blame? Best they have a long look in the mirror, point at themselves first.

So, what will my fellow Americans do about the current state of affairs? Nothing.......................................................... :cry:

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redeyezman
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Re: John Stewart Sucks - Why?

Post by redeyezman » Sun 9th Nov 2014 01:28 pm

USbongLord wrote:I like John Stewart
:D Thanks for the smile, Bong. Burn another one, because I can't say I've heard that one. :mrgreen:
Uncle Ron wrote: What makes him any different and why should I care?
yada...yada...yada...
So, what will my fellow Americans do about the current state of affairs? Nothing.......................
Different? Television, books, media tours, money, influence, power, and probably addiction to fame. You'r "average" person doesn't do those things...


Do? ... Well doing and succeeding are two different things. You said do, however.

Step 1: Be in America
Step 2: ????????????
Step 3: BIG PROFIT (profit is defined in this case as: incentives earned, either tangible or non-tangible)

WARNING: EXTREMELY BORING - White Collar Crime Press Coverage - Active vets & citizen arrest - Grab buds, your gonna need em... PAINT DRYING!

Emma Lazarus wrote:Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Shells sink. Dreams float.

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Uncle Ron
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Re: John Stewart Sucks - Why?

Post by Uncle Ron » Sun 9th Nov 2014 03:52 pm

Edited for brevity...
redeyezman wrote: Different? Television, books, media tours, money, influence, power, and probably addiction to fame. You'r "average" person doesn't do those things...
Do? ... Well doing and succeeding are two different things. You said do, however.
Step 1: Be in America
Step 2: ????????????
Step 3: BIG PROFIT (profit is defined in this case as: incentives earned, either tangible or non-tangible)

WARNING: EXTREMELY BORING
Emma Lazarus wrote:Not like...the golden door!"
The average American has fully bought into the bullshit "have's and soon to have's"...
Stewart is a typical American, no different from you or I ($$$ doesn't make one different, people make people different), and guess what? I still don't care. ;)

Step 1: Be in America
I take that as being meant for me. I was in America, served for 24 years defending and protecting as well...and she spat on me, told me I'm part of the 47% problem, wants me to die so that precious tax dollars won't be wasted on Veterans health care, instead, made available for more tax cuts for the wealthy and more in the coffers of the military industrial complex.
Step 2: ????????????
If you don't know, and you are living in it, then perhaps don't be in America and maybe you will see things a little bit differently...nay, you will see things differently.
Step 3: See my comment ref. the fallacy "have's and soon to have's".

Jon Stewart is a comedian and a political satirist...how am I not surprised by the attention given towards a glib comment? Why waste energy and focus when there is so much that needs it more? Right, here is why....... Put into perspective, where does all of this rank on the list of issues that really matter? See, much ado about nothing... or is it? Perhaps beat this story beyond it's 15 minutes (didn't even deserve 1, and just for laughs), so that the newly (re)elected politicians can avoid pressure to answer what should be the question on every American's lips - will Congress govern now that there is a clear majority in both the Senate and House (and Supreme Court)? The short answer - no.
Best we start again, this time for keeps - kill all lawyers first! (figure of speech)
...and let's not forget an absolute separation of church and state. Time to end all state supported wars on religion and faith based ideologies, then too shall all wars end.
But then again, it have never been about religion or even faith, it has always been about power and control. Holier than thous, get over it and yourselves, you've been played...and soon you too shall be laid to waste when the powers no longer require you. Now there's food for thought...

Moving on, this topic is done.
Peace...
... :mrgreen:

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Re: John Stewart Sucks - Why?

Post by macky » Sun 9th Nov 2014 05:14 pm

[quote="USbongLord"]I like John Stewart I have to agree in the media world of the USA.He tells it like it is ,the problem is most of it go,s over the average american head.No malis to my yankee friends Cheers
[

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redeyezman
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Re: John Stewart Sucks - Why?

Post by redeyezman » Mon 10th Nov 2014 12:39 am

Step 1:Some light reading.
Step 2: ???????
Step 3: Big Profit


This thread is done, when i say its done, private. 8)
But in all seriousness... if you dont understand why a shitty comedian who ridicules (for profit) the very system of corporate gob'mint (that makes disposable hero's possible mind you) and then is actually totally for it, because after all it is the corporate commercials paying his salary, and the horrible politicians the butt of his jokes....then yeah...this thread is done. :arrow:

....now then.... for the matter of others being duped....again, i must argue...if it is this painstakingly clear you are duped into corporate (ahh-ten-shin!) culture, then why, oh why, are we to listen to you about being duped by power hungry holier than thou types?.....even if you remove all religion, and judging is now left up to mortals, then wouldnt you want to base that judgement by observing if someone is feeding their evil side, or their good side? Can atheist types at least admit that good and evil can dominate an individuals mind?

As far as being spat on.....forgiveness, and reconciliation are two very different things. We'll leave the light on for ya. :idea: In the mean time, think I'll go find some homeless vets, and pass out some grass. Damn churches only give out food. :roll:
Shells sink. Dreams float.

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Uncle Ron
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Re: John Stewart Sucks - Why?

Post by Uncle Ron » Mon 10th Nov 2014 03:11 am

...unless one is in Florida, then they are arrested for feeding the homeless. See the latest story about an elderly gentleman who was arrested at a church for feeding the homeless. Some real honest to goodness true American christian values being displayed by god fearing people. GOD BLESS AMERICA!
Red, you are way over your head here mate, best you move on or else face more ridicule.
Remember, if anything you take away...this isn't a simple matter of opinion, you went on the attack, for a glib comment made by a comedian...while the elderly are being arrested for feeding the homeless. This by itself is deserving of ridicule...
...hehe, let's go shark fishing...
Peace...
... :mrgreen:
Go salute your flag...

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redeyezman
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Re: John Stewart Sucks - Why?

Post by redeyezman » Mon 10th Nov 2014 04:20 pm

that man was being civilly disobedient. he knew he would be arrested. yes its fucked up, but its the first step in solving whats wrong. (insert huge list of civial disobedient people who effected change) If only the elderly would show the young more often how to properly not give 2 fucks, but the youth are trapped in corporate culture hypnosis, which can last decades by my theory...

i did not bring up symbolism by citing the culture inscribed on the statue of liberty. it was offered as an alternative to corporate culture, but everything has to be about someone's ego vs. your ego. sharking...how do you know what I'm or anyone is doing? a few medical books authroize you to make pshyc judgements on people? sharking? nah man...im 3 years from 20 years on the internet...time for me to retire perhaps i've made a career out of the wrong thing? :cry: :lol:
your ego says you know more than the next guy (constant witch hunt proof of sharking/trolling by everyone, but you?) ...what have we done so differently?

served: check
lived abroad: check
photosynthesis: check
being laughed at: check
being misunderstood: check


must we go on? yes of course! we're born to talk :lol:
...my ego says we know more together...but the internet is not what it used to be...unfortunately it doesn't have the answers. i thought it might, i was wrong, corps took over, and now even niche forums do not exchange in open mindedness. there are simply to many individual realities for people to co-exist, it seems....shame too....oh well....back to the workshops of yesteryear :arrow:

so to review, the not-haves will not be soon to have, and trickle down is fake too....so everything is doom, and gloom, you will never succeed? :roll:
Shells sink. Dreams float.

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