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Old 03-03-2006, 08:14 AM   #1
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It's All Jon Stewart's Fault

Why Jon Stewart isn't funny

By Michael Kalin | Boston Globe March 3, 2006

The selection of Jon Stewart as the host for Sunday night's 2006 Oscars undoubtedly marks a career milestone for the aspiring king of late-night comedy. Unfortunately, however, the ascension of Stewart and ''The Daily Show" into the public eye is no laughing matter. Stewart's ever-increasing popularity among young viewers directly correlates with the declining influence of progressive thought in America. Coincidence? I think not. Let me explain.

Meet Joshua Goldberg, a fictional composite of the typical apostle of ''The Daily Show." Born in Newton, Goldberg attended Newton South High School where he played an integral role in securing the school's debate championship. His 3.8 grade point average and impressive array of extracurricular activities earned him a scholarship to Vassar, where he majored in political science and joined a Jewish fraternity. Throughout his formal education, Goldberg stayed up-to-date on national politics through nightly coverage on ''The Daily Show" and even led a petition to protest the genocide in Darfur.

Many of Stewart's die-hard supporters might use this persona as proof that ''The Daily Show" engages disillusioned viewers who otherwise could not be reached. This argument, however, fails to consider the ultimate career path of Josh Goldberg: Upon graduation in 2004, he accepted a prestigious job as an analyst at Morgan Stanley. Although he no longer follows Washington's daily political squabbles, Goldberg gives a significant annual contribution to the Democratic Party.

The tragedy of this portrait is not that investment banking corrupts young souls (although one could argue otherwise), but rather that the students who abandon politics out of a naive self-consciousness often represent our country's most idealistic minds. Stewart's daily dose of political parody characterized by asinine alliteration leads to a ''holier than art thou" attitude toward our national leaders. People who possess the wit, intelligence, and self-awareness of viewers of ''The Daily Show" would never choose to enter the political fray full of ''buffoons and idiots." Content to remain perched atop their Olympian ivory towers, these bright leaders head straight for the private sector.

Observers since the days of de Tocqueville have often remarked about America's unique dissociation between politicians and citizens of ''outstanding character." Unfortunately, the rise of mass media and the domination of television news give Stewart's Menckenesque voice a much more powerful influence than critics in previous generations. As a result, a bright leader who may have become the Theodore Roosevelt or Woodrow Wilson of today instead perceives politics as a supply of sophisticated entertainment, rather than a powerful source of social change.

Most important, this disturbing cultural phenomenon overwhelmingly affects potential leaders of the Democratic Party.

The type of folksy solemnity brandished by President Bush does not resonate with ''The Daily Show" demographic. According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, only 2 percent of the show's audience identify themselves as conservatives. At a time when the Democrats desperately need inspired leadership, the show's self-conscious aloofness pervades the liberal punditry.

Although Stewart's comedic shticks may thus earn him some laughs Sunday at the Oscars, his routine will certainly not match the impact of his greatest irony: Jon Stewart undermines any remaining earnestness that liberals in America might still possess.

Michael Kalin is a 2005 graduate of Harvard College.
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Old 03-03-2006, 08:30 AM   #2
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So what...the solution is to be Republican lite again?

I think the solution is for the Democratic Party to actually be relevant and come up with unique ideas to long-term problems, rather than seemingly getting all their "ideas" from hysterical news exposés. It's no longer an issue of image or presentation anymore. The greatest image in the world isn't going to mask the fact that they have zero original ideas.

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Old 03-03-2006, 10:03 AM   #3
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You'd think a Harvard graduate would get that. Clearly he himself is not leader material with a sense of civic duty.
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Old 03-03-2006, 12:29 PM   #4
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> "People who possess the wit, intelligence, and self-awareness of viewers of 'The Daily Show would never choose to enter the political fray full of ''buffoons and idiots."

Nice generalization...not to mention condescension. Maybe people would be inspired to lead, and less intimidated, knowing if mental and moral degenerates can make it to the top, perhaps others with more progressive ideas can also.

This writer interprets more meaning to the Daily Show than the Daily Show reps, including Stewart, do themselves. To them, it's just a funny show, done in a smart way.
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Old 03-03-2006, 02:12 PM   #5
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I couldn't disagree more with this article. I think that The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are providing a valuable service in a time where many people have lost their trust in television news and rightly so. Yes, they use humor as a tool but there are very good points at the heart of these jokes. By using satire as a vehicle, Stewart and Colbert can say some pretty subversive things and we are in great need of people like them right now in this country.
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Old 03-03-2006, 06:19 PM   #6
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What a bunch of utter crap.

Quote:
Meet Joshua Goldberg, a fictional composite of the typical apostle of ''The Daily Show."
Note the term "fictional composite." To put it plainly, this guy made up his supporting evidence. And he actually refers to this imaginary character and his imaginary life path as if it somehow lends credence to his theory.

Well, I dunno about the rest of you, but I'm convinced!

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Old 03-03-2006, 06:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Diemen
Note the term "fictional composite." To put it plainly, this guy made up his supporting evidence. And he actually refers to this imaginary character and his imaginary life path as if it somehow lends credence to his theory.
indeed.

this story is more truthy and less facty.


jon stewart
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Old 03-03-2006, 07:26 PM   #8
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Umm young people don't think politicians are idiots because of a satire tv show...watching the regular news itself is enough to convince us of that.
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Old 03-03-2006, 07:32 PM   #9
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I've never read such a load of crap in my life.

First of all, young people don't exactly need to watch The Daily Show to become disallusioned with the political process. The politicians are doing a fine job all by themselves of disallusioning people.

Second of all, as a daily watcher of TDS, I've noticed Jon Stewart isn't always above it all and mocking everything. In interviews I've heard him ask serious questions - or at least questions with a tone of seriousness underneath the humor.
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Old 03-03-2006, 08:00 PM   #10
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Yeah he honestly doesn't strike me as the type whose lost all faith in the political process which is more than a lot of people can honestly say...he just does a comedy show with a kind of liberal slant.
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Old 03-03-2006, 08:24 PM   #11
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I'm just glad that Colbert at least is still holding the line for good conservative values! I mean, he's serious, right?
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Old 03-04-2006, 02:52 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bono's shades


First of all, young people don't exactly need to watch The Daily Show to become disallusioned with the political process. The politicians are doing a fine job all by themselves of disallusioning people.
No shit, what could you call it? A form of generational myopia?

People have been disillusioned with the political process for decades and decades, if not centuries or more.

This editorial was complete tripe.

It was basically a full-on idealistic dissenting apology for the popularity of a show that points out the painfully obvious.

Worthless.
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Old 03-04-2006, 03:19 AM   #13
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Iowahawk does it better
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Old 03-04-2006, 04:41 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Calluna
I couldn't disagree more with this article. I think that The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are providing a valuable service in a time where many people have lost their trust in television news and rightly so. Yes, they use humor as a tool but there are very good points at the heart of these jokes. By using satire as a vehicle, Stewart and Colbert can say some pretty subversive things and we are in great need of people like them right now in this country.
Quote:
Bono's Shades
I've never read such a load of crap in my life.

First of all, young people don't exactly need to watch The Daily Show to become disallusioned with the political process. The politicians are doing a fine job all by themselves of disallusioning people.

Second of all, as a daily watcher of TDS, I've noticed Jon Stewart isn't always above it all and mocking everything. In interviews I've heard him ask serious questions - or at least questions with a tone of seriousness underneath the humor


Jon Stewart. Can't wait to watch the Oscars!
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Old 03-04-2006, 11:42 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by VertigoGal
Umm young people don't think politicians are idiots because of a satire tv show...watching the regular news itself is enough to convince us of that.


true enough
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