Amber linked to this searing op-ed on how Jon Stewart is threatening the future of democracy in America - or at least of the Democratic Pary in America - by turning all of politics into one big joke. To illustrate his point, he creates a fictional, stereotypical New England, Jewish, progressive student who laughs at the Daily Show and then sells his soul to an investment bank, leaving a vacuum in the Democratic Party he now reaches through his checkbook.
To Kalin, a 2005 Harvard grad, Stewart is the public policy equivalent of the Pied Piper:
The tragedy of this portrait is not that investment banking corrupts young souls (although one could argue otherwise), but rather that the students who abandon politics out of a naive self-consciousness often represent our country's most idealistic minds. Stewart's daily dose of political parody characterized by asinine alliteration leads to a ''holier than art thou" attitude toward our national leaders. People who possess the wit, intelligence, and self-awareness of viewers of ''The Daily Show" would never choose to enter the political fray full of ''buffoons and idiots." Content to remain perched atop their Olympian ivory towers, these bright leaders head straight for the private sector.Kalin is an ignorant young pup who should'be brushed up on his history (literary and otherwise) before yammering on about the ill-effects of humor on the future of American leadership.
He may use more 25-cent words to do it, but Kalin basically echoes those who would put the kibosh on free discourse with the tried, true, and ever failing line, "that's not funny."
Everytime we laugh at our leaders we weaken democracy? We confirm that government service isn't worth the sacrifice?
More likely, however, the messages offered by Jon Stewart present more truthful analyses and a more honest highlighting of blatant administrative malfeasance than the MSM would dare dream of reporting to the public.
At what other point in history - especially the history of Kalin's generation, or mine - have we so desperately needed someone with a really big megaphone to broadcast our collective "this is re-goddamn-diculous?"
Comedy historically provides the truest light by which to examine current events. It certainly is no joke.
But Kalin's own "holier than art thou" attitude after a few months of post-collegiate experience may be.