10 December 2010

Not Disarmed or Disenchanted

Or, Against the Philosophy of the Daily Show

I'm going to have to come down on the side of seriousness here and this should not be a surprise as more than one has asked me why I can't post anything that is "happy".

I will own up to a love for much that is ridiculous; I tend to laugh out loud and explosively at a brilliant piece of physical comedy--the more contextually ridiculous the better.

However, comedy in the face of evil seems very misplaced. I stand against the ditherings of Jon Stewart in it's political "apoliticalness". He works to ease the pain of the evil, not dispute it, not counter it...but to make it funny. That laughter leads us to our doom.

I came to this conclusion after reading a brief preface to an 1896 book called "Transendentalism in New England: A History" wherein the author, O.B. Frothingham, says, "An unsound system requires as accurate a description and as severe an analysis as a sound one;...Error is not disarmed or disenchanted by caricature or neglect."

Satire will not save us--it's just a bit of sugar on that dollop of evil you've been offered.


  1. I wonder at those who feel your posts are not “happy” – certainly there is a glint of hope in all of them, right? :)

    First of all, I’m reminded of Peter Sellers masterful physical comedy in the “Pink Panther” movie - more precisely, the “parallel bars” scene. So, thank you for randomly and inadvertently reminding me of that today.

    But, on to your thesis – I could not agree more! I’ve never cared for the likes of Stewart and Colbert because I feel that too many Americans, who unfortunately cannot think for themselves, find TRUTH not in the horrible atrocities that are being reported, but rather in the hilarity that ensues by satirizing that which we should be scared, skeptical, and/or concerned. They believe Stewart to be some sort of journalistic Messiah who through his ignorant comments will eventually save us from the reported harm – not to mention his consistent journalistic fallacies, which the public tends to ignore. Mel Brooks was a huge proponent of comedy as a means to fight Fascism and Hitler and all the likes – and in many ways, he succeeded. However, I think society (as a whole) is changing and morphing into something far different than Brooks’ skits. Perhaps, the “newsroom” setup is to blame. I don’t know. And I’m not sure how to articulate it… I’m too busy teaching ACT V of Romeo & Ethel. But in regards to your thesis – thank you for summing up what I have felt for years and was somehow unable to articulate.


  2. Eric, I like to believe there is "thinking" in them and in that I do hold out that "glint" of hope.

    Pink Panther--nice.

    You cannot make the regime with killing weapons bow before killing jokes. Plus, Fascism has no sense of humor.

    We do not have truth-tellers in positions of power. They are all co-opted. Stewart does not do Truth or Righteous--he does "truth" and "righteous".

    Keep up the fight! I love Romeo & Ethel and the Pirates Daughter!