Friday, October 01, 2010

It's a funny thing (not a political thing)

On a politically themed podcast I heard recently they touched on the upcoming Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert rallies (which I mentioned last week). They did expressly mention how it was an obvious parody of Glenn Beck (everyone seems to be on-board with that), and reflected on how these rallies were now only being held by TV personalities, and how that has been accepted as the new paradigm for expressing political views. It was noted how apparently there was some concern by Democrats that the timing of the events (on the Saturday before Election Day) could take away from the chances of that party (in that those who might volunteer in door-to-door get-out-the-vote efforts (not that the panelists were of that opinion). One panelist thought the rallies brought a necessary bit of fun to the side that's lacking in enthusiasm, while the others were skeptical that reaching disaffected voters was best achieved through the "fur coat of irony."

I continue to be amused and bemused by the way two silly shows on a comedy channel are considered to be leading voices for a political party. These rallies are not striving to encourage the ostensible agenda of one party or the other; the one is suggesting that it would be spiffy if those who are acting in alarmist ways could "take it down a notch" and the other is lampooning that alarmist rhetoric. They're not get-out-the-vote events; they're entertainment presented by entertainers.

Anyone who conflates those masters of irony with being shills for one party or the other is not paying attention to their shows. It's an opinion, certainly, but a terribly uninformed one. So it fits terribly well with the general tone of 21st century discourse.

However, clearly there are those who perceive them as being politically relevant, but that I'd chalk up to the dearth of perceived political relevancy by actual politicians, not to any intent by the comedians. Perhaps the main reason that those who discuss politics like to throw the likes of Steward, Colbert, and Beck in to their conversations is because most politicians are far less fun to cover than TV entertainers.

Can't blame 'em for that.

But to the extent that it's alleged that Stewart and Colbert are effective tools for shooting holes in the right wing agenda, that's not going to sway anyone who isn't already of the opinion that the right wing's agenda has holes; it's preaching to the proverbial choir, not convincing the unconvinced. It's amusement for those who are fairly cynical about politics, but like any message that seems to denigrate one's enemy it can be co-opted by the left to seem like it's their propaganda. However, that's merely the left ignoring the moments when Stewart or Colbert take them to task (usually over being a bunch of ineffectual wimps).

When politicians stop being so worthy of having their foibles mocked we'll have a much better country but far less entertaining comedy.

1 comment:

  1. True. I tend not to watch any of them. I read The Wall Street Journal if I want to be amused. ;-)


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