Jon Stewart: Daily Dally


I stopped watching The Daily Show regularly — three years ago, was it? Maybe four or five. “Clip of politician saying ridiculous thing” followed by “Jon Stewart staring in comic amazement and/or shouting in comic exasperation and/or speaking in a comic voice that seriously endangered the well-being of my television” had become a ritual in which I could no longer remain a good faith participant. The good bits would always show up on my Facebook wall anyway.

Stewart had come to epitomize a smug liberal pessimism that would irritate me less if I didn’t recognize it as a sensibility that could easily become my own center of political gravity. Sure, in the background was some rather pathetic hope that American politics might magically right itself — that someone might finally express, in just the right sentences, the ideas all reasonable people surely believed, and then The People would shake off their stupor and accept the truth. But mostly Stewart’s disgust with the slow-grinding machinery of the small-r-republican form of government felt rooted in a revulsion with stupidity that seemed more aesthetic than moral and has since become a widespread substitute for political belief.

Stewart was a good guy to curse at the TV news with for a few years, but he justified my inaction while nurturing my hopelessness. Colbert was different, his satire genuinely anarchic, pursuing his character’s absurd logic wherever it led like some crazily tenacious Swiftian Jesuit. And Colbert was just one of the many brilliant comics who, along with some great writers, will be the positive artistic legacy of The Daily Show. But I know I won’t miss Jon Stewart at all, because I already don’t.

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  • By The Time Has Come | The Peach Orchard on March 18, 2015 at 9:04 am

    […] a smug pessimism that infects how I and a lot of the Internet generation views everything, and none of it ever […]

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