DC Trawler

Great Moments in Civility, with your host Jon Stewart

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I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching ever since Jon Stewart’s brilliant closing statement on Saturday. It was kind of a long speech and I didn’t understand much of it, probably because he’s a genius and I’m stupid. But here’s a bit of it:

I can’t control what people think this [rally] was. I can only tell you my intentions. This was not a rally to ridicule people of faith. Or people of activism or to look down our noses at the heartland or passionate argument or to suggest that times are not difficult and that we have nothing to fear. They are and we do. But we live now in hard times, not end times. And we can have animus and not be enemies.

Unfortunately, one of our main tools in delineating the two broke. The country’s 24-hour politico pundit panic conflict-onator did not cause our problems, but its existence makes solving them that much harder. The press can hold its magnifying glass up to our problems and illuminate problems heretofore unseen, or it can use its magnifying glass to light ants on fire, and then perhaps host a week of shows on the sudden, unexpected dangerous-flaming-ant epidemic. If we amplify everything, we hear nothing…

The press is our immune system. If it overreacts to everything we eventually get sicker. And perhaps eczema…

And then there was this weird metaphor about people being like cars in traffic and needing to cooperate in order to get through a tunnel, and a bunch of other stuff that sounded like he was making it up as he went along because he’s scary-smart. But I think the main message Jon Stewart was trying to send is that everybody needs to cool it. Things have become so polarized, but it doesn’t need to be this way. Don’t let the people on TV turn us against one another. We should all try to treat each other with respect and, as he so eloquently phrased it, not let our animus make us enemies.


Like this.

Or this.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Governor Palin Clarification
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Rally to Restore Sanity

This was a good one, of course.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Obama Must Pass a Health Care Bill
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Rally to Restore Sanity

And who could forget this?

So let’s amend that: We can have animus and not be enemies, unless it’s guaranteed to trigger an applause break from an adoring studio audience. We should all try to get along and respect each other, unless you just don’t like the other person. Be nice, unless you think being a jerk will get a laugh.

And if you’ve got a problem with that? Well, I think you know the answer to that one:

Go have a nice day for yourself.

P.S. Salman Rushdie: “I’ve always liked Stewart and Colbert but what on earth was Cat Yusuf Stevens Islam doing on that stage? If he’s a ‘good Muslim’ like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar then I’m the Great Pumpkin. Happy Halloween.”

P.P.S. Big Hollywood’s John Nolte defends Keith Olbermann from Jon Stewart’s sanctimony. Somehow I don’t think he should expect a thank-you note from Keith…

P.P.P.S. James Taranto: “Stewart is smart and talented, often entertaining and sometimes interesting. But he is a creature of the ‘conflictinator.’ His claim to be an opponent of it is a fraud. The more charitably inclined will call it an ironic pose, but it’s phony either way.”

Jim Treacher