Monday, June 1, 2015

The Daily Habit!


Whenever it is that Jon Stewart leaves his current post at The Daily Show I will stop watching it. I've been, along with thousands of others, a fan for years and years of this show's incisive commentary on the politics and the news media's coverage of same.

For years liberals hustled fruitlessly to recreate the success of the noxious Rush Limbaugh on the radio, but they did eventually discover success on that level with Stewart in the other medium of television. Stewart is the guy who broke it down and made some sense of the chaos and pablum which is the news, and he and his writers did it with wit and laughs, which made it even more palatable.

Critics complained that Stewart was not qualified to comment (being a mere comedian) but they were wrong. Critics complained that Stewart was too liberal, but he never made much of a secret of his leanings, unlike many of his critics (and poorly kept secrets they are indeed).

Modern news media have descended into entertainment, so this entertainment show which mocked them so effectively was difficult to fathom at first. The crudeness could be off-putting, but the arguments always seemed to ring true, as Stewart time and again cut to the nerve of many issues, bringing clarity to almost always overheated controversies.

Like true satire, an all-too rare thing in our society rich in simple parody, the humor here had a point, to showcase the absurdity of public policy production and some of the policies themselves. It also cast a hard light on the absurd people who claim wisdom and seek to fondle the levers of power, bringing those folks down a few notches. Stewart was a ferocious satirist who was unafraid to tackle targets on all sides, though the barrel of fish which is FOX News was always making itself available.

There is nothing more painful to watch on TV than news folks who think they can be funny in the manner of The Daily Show. They fail and deserve to. Limbaugh often tries for humor and is never funny, only even more harsh. Funny is damn hard, and only true professionals should attempt it.

I'm not stopping watching The Daily Show out of protest of the new host. That would be silly. I'm just not going to make it a part of my regular day anymore. I'll miss it, but then at my age you get used to things ending. Sigh.

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8 comments:

  1. I'll give the new guy a chance but Stewart is sure to be an impossible act to follow.

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    1. The show will have to become something fundamentally different I suspect. I'm sure it will be clever and possible insightful. I'll give it a watch, but I won't make it an appointment.

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  2. Obviously we don't get The Daily Show in the UK but I watch YouTube clips of Jon Stewart in action and I agree it's a pity he's leaving (in September I think) - his replacement, Trevor Noah, was recently interviewed on BBC radio and he's been at the Edinburgh Festival. Fox News would be illegal here due to laws on biased broadcasting but we do have the menace of Rupert Murdoch via right-wing newspapers although both he and they are a bit of a busted flush these days. I also use YouTube to watch American liberals like David Pakman, Sam Seder and the Young Turks - it's really heartening to see them fighting back against Fox News, the Republicans, the Religious Right et al.

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    1. There's plenty of voices on the left these days. Unfortunately those on the right have found a real sweet spot blending grievance with all manner of ugly notions ideas which find traction in times when folks feel vulnerable.

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  3. Boxing Month for the covers. This is going to be great. I dig the "sweet science."

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    1. There are some nifty covers coming up.

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  4. What will be most missed is Stewart's level of intelligence, tempered as it might've been with juvenile crudity. One of the reasons his stories had impact was that the humor was backed by research, often simply digging up footage of blowhards destroying their own arguments, but sometimes burrowing deep into minutia to expose an outrageous, otherwise unreported, injustice. Over the years he has earned enough credibility with his audience to occasionally be dead serious about something he feels is important and manages to make his points in a manner both lucid and precise. And he was always willing to have an adversarial guest on, and managed to hold his own while at the same time treating them with respect. All of this stuff is rare, and I'm hoping he'll find a new forum to express himself on behalf of those of us less famous and less articulate.

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    1. It's the real reportage I will miss. There were stories covered on this show and on Colbert which I never saw on other actual news shows. There's a lot of hard work which made this stuff not only funny, but informative.

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