So Jon Stewart had his rally yesterday. From what I can tell, it was a great promotional event for his TV show and a great party for a lot of college-educated people. Don't get me wrong; I love Jon Stewart, love the Daily Show, and I love the fact that people who are not bat-shit crazy were willing to turn out for a quasi-political event (even if ironically). I don't have any problem with a comedy show holding a rally, no problem with lampooning the 9/12ers, and no problem with centrist liberals holding field day on the D.C. mall.
But something about it irks me. Perhaps it's the inauthenticity of Stewart pretending he's just a really topical comedian while hawking a crypto-politics somewhere between a librarian's shushing and a classic elitist "let the serious people talk now" attitude. Yes, we've all seen him rip Tucker Carlson a new one by pointing out that he's just a comedian and you can't pin him down on political opinions because, after all, you're just going nuts over a joke you don't get while shirking responsibility for your role in the political discourse that's destroying this country . And of course it's absurd that people prefer getting their daily news from a thirty minute sketch show rather than from a show run by credentialed journalists. And of course that should be embarrassing to credentialed journalists everywhere.
But I'll tell you what's really absurd and embarrassing: critiquing our political culture because, in the midst of all the death, destruction, and suffering it's causing around the world and at home, the big problem is that the rhetoric is too uncouth. The rhetoric! My poor, virgin ears! As if that's the major problem with politics right now. Not innocent men, women, and children dying every day because of drone attacks by this supposedly calm and concerned President. Not peaceful people being jailed everyday for political crimes connected to what they choose to do with their body. Not the economic crimes committed by the corporate-government cabal destroying any wealth and future security. No, it's the tone of national discourse we should really be concerned about.