Posts Tagged ‘Jon Stewart’

Jon Stewart makes me laugh. He also makes me think.” Those words, coming from a young friend of nearly twenty certainly got me thinking and what I came up with is: Jon Stewart makes me thankful.

This is a guy who views comedy as a way for dealing with and bringing forth serious issues. He is, according to his compatriot, Stephen Colbert, a “clear thinker” but it’s pretty clear that he’s also passionate. About what, you may ask? About exposing hypocrisy, debunking ideology, rejecting the self-important bloviating that passes for cable commentary (Colbert does a brilliant enough job of skewering those shows on “The Colbert Report”).  And where else can you find an Elmo-like puppet named Gitmo as a way of addressing the issue of torture that isn’t, as Stewart puts it, “not torture to listen to.”

On September 20, 2001, on or about the first time I managed to turn on the television after the attacks, Stewart got on the air to talk about how privileged he was to live in a country where he was free to make wisecracks and he let us know “why I grieve but why I don’t despair.” After which, I was hooked. I’m telling you, I can’t wait to see “The Daily Show” team cover the conventions.

In a terrific piece on Stewart and Company in the Sunday New York Times, Colbert explained Stewart’s approach to satire as a distilling process. “You have an enormous amount of material, and you have to distill it to a syrup by the end of the day,” he noted. “So much of it is a hewing process, chipping away at things that aren’t the point or aren’t the story or aren’t the intention.”

That is a perfect description of critical thinking, a sadly neglected way of dealing with information that asks us to examine and sort through the tons of junk coming our way rather than automatically accepting all things as equal, true or relevant. My god, if Jon Stewart, with his mild-mannered, low-key, lightly self-depricating (“I’m just a comic”) ultimately hopeful demeanor can get the next generation to think thinking is cool, well, that makes my heart swell.

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