Thursday, October 28, 2010

Weekend in DC

I thought that Jon Stewart's and Steven Colbert's rallies (now rally) were such a good idea that I was willing to pay money, brave the TSA, and get on a plane to DC, where I would stay with friends. But by the time I checked, the fares were above my budget.


It sounds like it will be fun, the weather looks like it's going to be good, and the Mall is a cool place to be.

Meanwhile, the commentary seems to be, in large part, clueless.

You can take Stewart's demonstration at face value: encouraging sanity just now seems like a very good idea indeed. I am developing a headache, so I think I'll leave all the reasons to your imagination. Earlier, I linked to a couple out of thousands of possible links in this category.

Colbert's demonstration, of course, is of a piece with his on-show persona and a perfect match to Stewart's. I understand there are people who believe that Colbert really is the character he presents on his show.

You can also take Stewart's demonstration ironically, in several directions. As a response to Glenn Beck. As a reminder of political action to those who are soo cool that they can't be bothered to vote. As a riposte to those liberals who feel that Obama has been captured by the Republican Party. As the antithesis of a political demonstration.

And I see that all those ironical meanings also have face value. Nice interweavings of levels of ontology there. I hope Helmut will correct me if I've used that word wrong.

But the commentators. Carlos Lozada made a plea (ironically?) that Stewart not do it, that he remain an uninvolved comedian. Except, since Stewart's material is the news and he does seem to have a political viewpoint (to say nothing of Colbert), he's hardly been uninvolved. And the weekend before Election Day? Oh yeah, that was just a coincidence, just like with Glenn Beck's choice of date. (See ironical meaning above.)

Jesse Singal says flatly it won't work, addressing only one of the face-value meanings. No humor there, perhaps proving Singal's point.

Alessandra Staley earnestly reviews the show, noticing that Stewart was somewhat deferential to the President. I suspect it's hard not to notice that, even if you're Jon Stewart. And hard to be harsh on someone as good-natured as his guest.

Adam Serwer gets a lot right. The Daily Show is not The Nightly News.

And I can't help but chuckle at the timing. Three days before the election. And the President on one of the run-up shows. When wingnuts are imploding and the polls for many Democratic candidates are improving.

Well done, guys.

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