Thursday, October 4, 2007

The John Stewart Paradox


Watch the video above. On the one hand, I bet it makes you feel good that John Stewart tears Chris Mathews a new asshole and pretty much savages his book. It's fun, and you should like it, because Mathews is an ass whose livelihood depends on soundbite politics and well, people who treat life like a campaign.

On the other hand, at the end of the video, they share a laugh and Stewart and Mathews are still friends. I don't necessarily know what I expect of John Stewart. He is, after all, merely the host of a satiric, albeit popular, news show. But, as was demonstrated by his insane appearance on Crossfire so many years ago, he's also very capable of expressing complete distaste for the kind of moronic jockeying that goes on during cable news programs.

What does it mean when they say they'll still be friends at the end? It's not as if I or any other Daily Show viewers have a right to demand that Stewart continue that public humiliation by say, not shaking Mathews' hand or telling him never to appear on the show again. Especially since Mathews is hardly the most loathsome person to ever be on the Daily Show. Am I reading too much into these situations by thinking that his friendliness sometimes makes Stewart part of the problem he professes to fight? I don't know. I'm grateful that Stewart is sometimes wiling to confront his guests, but sometimes I think those guests are a little too comfortable with their grilling.

(Gold coin to cross the River Styx to The Largest Minority)


Annie said...

Comfortably grilled? I think it's more a case of not wanting to look like a "bad sport". You don't want to be the big crybaby interviewee on the Daily Show because you'll end up a news item on Colbert and gooned over at Defamer or Tyler Durden or some other place.

It's a game. Stewart is not a real politico, he is a comedian. He doesn't have to invest his ego because as he pointed out....he's already succeeded. Wildly. Which is why real politicians and those who make their livings off of politics are forced to go to Stewart to pimp themselves. There is the irony. Pop culture trumping "real life".

I don't think Stewart is a paradox. He objects but he doesn't froth at the mouth about it and he probably doesn't lose sleep over it because, after all, he is rich and has a passport - presumably, so when the rest of America is trapped within the U.S, borders come January 1st he and others like him will have means for escape.

Pulp said...

You know annie, sometimes I feel like I'm gonna wake up one day to find you've replaced me here at the Experience.