Photo courtesy of David Shankbone's Flickr page - Jon Stewart Earth mic Shankbone: https://www.flickr.com/photos/shankbone/5035326264/in/photolist-8EXn55-rNLws-8EU8iz-8PvKqQ-8EUee6-8EUb4e-8EXhPy-dwW12T-8Pfyn4-8wBYx3-8wyY1M-8PiUiu-4ysFJb-8wyY3a-8wyXZZ-8wyY5c-8wBYBY-8wyY64-8wyY78-75WEJ2-8PiMjU-8PTCuM-9AqwY4-9AtugA-9Aqzga-9AtvMQ-9Aqxdk-9Aqyn8-9Aqx8z-9Aqx5B-9AtukS-9AtvEA-9AtvxJ-9AqwSF-9AqzyX-9AqxgV-9AqySD-9Aqz9X-9AqyFn-9AqyZk-9AtuvE-9AqzrZ-9Aqz4x-9AtvmS-9AqzJB-9Atu1b-9Atubu-9AqzTX-9AqzNa-dx2uVb
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If you are anything like me, you are kind of groaning today about the departure of Jon Stewart from his Daily Show, which brought us the news often in a more revealing and honest manner than most of the supposedly responsible major media outlets did.
This was particularly true during the Bush years, which many comedians, Stewart included, admitted was like a gold mine for them.
For the better part of two decades, we could rely on Jon Stewart bringing a comedic aspect on politics towards Americans, who prior to Stewart, seemed very reluctant to engage in serious discussion on political matters. It sometimes seems to me that one of the major faults of Americans collectively is this inability to discuss political issues and differences of opinions while still accepting that this other person actually is an American. All too often, people who hold certain viewpoints will simply dismiss opposition to their political views by insinuating that those who disagree are "un-American," which seems to suggest that they are not real Americans.
Of course, that is absurd. To suggest such a thing is the height of hypocrisy and intolerance, and it makes me wonder how we got here.
And I suspect that the rather extreme tendency by many to go to any length to avoid political discussion, and the unpleasant reality that people may actually disagree with one another from time to time, has become almost a taboo among popular society. Sure, you have the talking heads on either side who will speak their point of view. But in much of American television, movies, sports, music, and even books, people will go to extraordinary lengths not to say or do anything that could be construed as controversial, or disagreeing with either side.
That has proven harmful to the country.
Jon Stewart has helped to bridge that gap in the only way that it likely could have been done - through comedy.
With a keen eye for comedy, Stewart highlighted the absurdities of American politicians, and their too often transparent corruption, in a way that made people laugh. Americans were able to laugh at themselves, and their seemingly broken, or perhaps backwards, system of government. Or, as Stewart himself suggested in the title of his book, he highlighted "Democracy Inaction."
While he himself refuted any suggestions that he was more of a trusted and reliable source of news than the "real news" of the country was, the sad truth was that the poll numbers suggested exactly that, time after time. He was able to use the platform of a comedic news show to point out the hypocrisy and absurdity dominating American politics today.
Somehow, he managed to do all of this without backing off or sugarcoating things, and yet remained a popular and trusted figure throughout.
That is something that the country needed, but will have to do without for now, unless Stewart's replacement proves to be as good as Stewart himself was. We shall see.
One thing for sure, however, is that Stewart will be missed.
Jon Stewart and ‘The Daily Show’: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at 9 Essential Moments By JEREMY EGNER, DAVE ITZKOFF and KATHRYN SHATTUCK AUG. 4, 2015:
Jon Stewart, Sarcastic Critic of Politics and Media, Is Signing Off By JOHN KOBLINAUG. 5, 2015: