Friday, September 17, 2010

"That's the Way it Is"

As Bill Carter reported last night on his Media Decoder blog for The New York Times, Jon Stewart used latest broadcast on The Daily Show to announce that he would be staging a rally of his own in Washington. He has apparently secured the National Mall on October 30; and the name of his event is "The Rally to Restore Sanity." He has every right to this name. After all, he is as aware as anyone of the number of people who now trust The Daily Show for news over any of the more "authorized" network sources. Furthermore, there is a good reason for this apparent disruption of sanity in choosing the Comedy Channel over any of the major networks: Political humor is at its best when it can attack both ideological extremes with the same dosage level of satire, irony, and other forms of wit. Stewart's sanity lies in his commitment to the position that anything that disrupts government from doing the people's business should be open to attack (and, as regular readers probably know by now, in my own book "anything" includes incumbents spending time on the campaign trail that they should be spending at their respective desks). With his usual rhetorical skill, Stewart has also christened (if a Jew can perform a christening) the event a "Million Moderate March." This reminds us of another element for sanity that needs to be restored: There is nothing wrong with having fringe groups. For the most part those groups are entitled to freedom of expression under the First Amendment to the Constitution. However, sanity is jeopardized when too much of the public begins to believe that one of those fringe groups speaks for the majority of the electorate. If people trust the Comedy Channel more than Fox, perhaps it is because Fox is part of that consciousness industry that manipulates the country by endowing the fringe with a stronger voice than the prevailing majority. The moderates belong on center stage because, well, it's in the center. If it takes a rally by a skilled satirist to remind us all where that center is, then more power to the satirist!

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