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Sidesplittingly Funny

October 29, 2010

Jon Stewart is beginning to really get on the French Cowboy’s nerves. Sure, his show is entertaining and obviously popular. But I always found it kind of sad when conservatives excitedly pointed to his show when he happened to make fun of Democrats for a change. Stewart is a liberal, and while he’s not the way-out-there lunatic type of liberal (I think) he’s the type who’s too lazy to think two steps beyond his personal opinion where he would realise that the logic behind his views is fatally flawed. The only reason he’s bearable is that he’s a comedian and has to make fun of things, even his own side, if he wants to stay a comedian. (Naturally, when he becomes too partisan he ceases to be a comedian and to be bearable.)

I bring up the subject because… well, the subject is already brought up by the fact that Stewart is organising a political rally in DC. The motto is “Restore sanity” which, one has to assume, is meant to say that political discourse has somehow gotten out of hand. Alternatively, it could mean that Obama should stop pushing a far-left agenda onto an unwilling American public, but the French Cowboy isn’t that detached from US pop culture to believe that.

It’s been suggested that, here, “sanity” is just a code word for “Democratic”. Given the Left’s obsession with code words (eg, when a conservative notes that it’s raining it’s code for “let’s reinstitute segregation”) that may well be the case. But publicly Stewart is saying that his message is “to take it down a notch”.

This message would have been timely two years ago, when the Left went berserk in an attempt to burn Sarah Palin and scatter her ashes over an elephants’ graveyard. There’s nothing uglier than hysterical liberals showing their rage in a desperate fight against a chosen enemy. We saw that in 08 against Palin and, heck, that was a time where we would’ve been grateful even for comedians asking to “take it down a notch”.

This year things are different. Bien sûr, Liberals are desperate again, but they have no specific person against whom they can direct their anger during their prolonged Two Minutes’ Hate. The electoral tidal wave that’s been building up during the last months is not composed of one single person but of hundreds of political candidates, the Tea Party movement, and a large chunk of American voters who simply use their common sense.

It’s easy to direct fire against a single vice presidential candidate. But you can’t make ad hominem attacks against a leaderless political movement that comprises about half of the nation. (Not that it kept the hard Left from trying, though.)

Times are contentious, all right. But have things gotten so out of hand that we now need comedians to tell us to calm down? Certainement pas! Politics often get people excited and, this election, stakes are especially high. In ’08 the Left and the more persuadable types from the centre were behaving like teenage girls with a crush, so strong was their bewitchment over Obama. Nobody asked “to take it down a notch” then (oh well, some did, but it was an unpopular thing to say) and restrospectively that’s really regrettable because, just like the teen crush, now that it’s over it’s pretty embarrassing.

But this year it’s the Right that’s leaving the Left behind in the enthusiasm gap, not the other way round. So for Stewart  that means that “sanity” has to be restored because, if Republicans are threatening an electoral wipe-out and Glenn Beck can collect a mass of people at the Washington Mall that doesn’t leave a single piece of trash in their wake, then that’s nothing if not insanity.

The Tea Party’s been called extreme, but it’s the policies that they stand against that are too far removed from the centre. The Tea Partiers protest because the policies coming from the White House and Congress are a provocation. It’s not even Obama’s policies “only” that are provocative, it’s also his arrogance and the pathetic habit to blame everyone but himself.

According to Obama, Americans are leaning Republican again because they’re scared. And they’re scared because they’re confused. And they’re confused because they didn’t pay attention. And they didn’t pay attention because they’re scared. So all Obama has to blame himself for is that he underestimated how little attention Americans were paying. Stewart should be directing his plea to “take it down a notch” at Obama.

Joining Stewart in his super-funny political rally is Stephen Colbert with his “March to Keep Fear Alive” — because it’s just so thigh-slapping hilarious when people protest overarching economic and social policies, you just have to ridicule them. A “predominantly white” group of average Americans who are asking not for a hand-out but for recalling the simple values of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness are obviously an ideal target for Stewart and Colbert to deride.

It’s certainly an embarrassmet for Obama that comedians are running to his aid. But I also think that Colwart have stopped being funny long ago. With their “Let’s tell the conservative paranoid racists to shut up” rally they’re no more comedic than your run-of-the-mill liberal idiot.

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