Jon Stewart took over as the host of The Daily Show in 1999, and it has been an incredible 16 years. As Stewart sat at the helm of an increasingly popular program, the global popularity of the United States hurtled in the opposite direction.
Stewart could be amusing but he never challenged the myth of the two-party system or the role of Wall Street in running the nation.
While it is so easy for us to sit around in our boxers and lob barbs at Mr. Stewart for what he does not mention regarding our understanding of the world, are we right in doing so? Let’s keep in mind Upton Sinclair’s teaching. Do we have any knowledge that Mr. Stewart shares our understanding of the duopoly? Do we have any knowledge that should he have such understanding that he would be able to “spill the beans” in his corporately funded venue? He seems to push pretty hard at the real constraints that bound his business. We should celebrate his success rather than excoriate him for not espousing what we can voice in our rarified medium. He has done much more than any of us likely has to try to awaken the masses.
Actually, Mr. Stewart exposed the two stooges on Crossfire for stating more than once that it’s all political theater. He gets it, that no probing questions are asked or pursued. That, like so many, he feels trapped by the duopoly’s grip over finance, the courts, media, academe, and congress is not so much a flaw in the man as in the System.
I have to agree, WiseOwl. I’m guilty as charged for giving Stewart grief for not challenging Obama (along with the System in general) like he did GWB & his gang. But, at the end of the day we have to ask: were we better off with a Jon Steward than without a Jon Stewart? Hell yes we were –and are. Perhaps down the road, a few years or decades, maybe his work will really start to pay off through the masses he “entertained”.
Christian, thank you very much for these video links.
While I had seen the show where Jon called Tucker a ‘dick-head’, I unfortunately did not see (nor even hear about from the media) that Jon had done such a wonderful job in exposing the massive level of racism that this disgusting and dangerous ‘system’ we live under, as subjects, has been able to so fully maintain in the 21st century. Jon deserves a great deal of credit ---- for what might have finally caused his removal from the media/propagandist-sector of this ‘system’ of Empire.
However, on one level, unfortunately, and through no fault of his own, Jon’s satire and style may well have been a factor that allowed the ruling Empire to maintain the appearance of hip culture and self-effacing humor in the country previously known as America — at least until he started to go off their reservation.
We need to remember that it was not so long ago that Empires were openly called Empires — and there were multiple of them.
Now, there is only one Empire, which is disguised by ‘posing’ as our former country, and is nominally HQed in what still passes for any kind of democratic Republic.
Jon’s humorous bite in confronting various aspects and sectors of this Disguised Global Capitlaist Empire — such as it’s media/propaganda-sector (on ‘Crossfire’) and regarding it’s racist militarist-sector’s killing of blacks in Ferguson are admirable.
However, I would have loved to see Jon unload and ‘expose’ the entire “Empire of Chaos” (as Pepe Escobar calls it), or the “Empire of Illusion” (as Chris Hedges documented and wrote about it), and the "Empire of Global Rich Elitists’, and the highly integrated (but well hidden) six-sectored; corporate, financial, militarist, media/propaganda, extra-legal, and dual-party Vichy-political facade of sociopathic murderous Global Empire that is killing ‘subjects’ like Mike Brown right here in the metropole of the Empire and tens of thousands more ‘subjects’ abroad and throughout the world.
But, of course, that’s hard to get any kind of laugh about. Because as Hannah Arendt presciently warned from her experience with the earlier Nazi Empire, “Empire abroad entails tyranny at home”. Which is also hard to get a laugh from —particularly if you think anything of your kids’ future.
“The U.S. state is a key point of condensation for pressures
from dominant groups around the world to resolve problems of global
capitalism and to secure the legitimacy of the system overall. In
this regard, “U.S.” imperialism refers to the use by
transnational elites of the U.S. state apparatus to continue to
attempt to expand, defend, and stabilize the global capitalist
system. We are witness less to a “U.S.” imperialism per se than
to a global capitalist imperialism. We face an EMPIRE of global
capital, headquartered, for evident historical reasons, in
Washington.” [caps substituted for italics]
Robinson, William I. (2014-07-31). Global Capitalism and the
Crisis of Humanity (p. 122). Cambridge University Press. Kindle
Yes, folks, this is not rocket science.
Our founders diagnosed and understood their Revolution against a more visible EMPIRE.
Today what makes “peaceful revolution impossible” is a
less recognizable, not broadly diagnosed, and far better disguised
Global Empire that is highly-integrated and hides behind this
dual-party Vichy facade in its US nominal HQ and primary power base
— but which includes many other former countries, transnational
organizations, international banks and corporations, a global media
that the Empire now employs, and, of course the new “Transnational
Capitalist Class” that drives the new Global Empire for its exclusive
Liberty, equality, democracy, and justice
Violent (and Vichy disguised)
Excellent post. The quote from Hannah Arendt makes profound sense, and with which feature I was not fully cognizant. I also like the half quote: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible (make violent revolution inevitable)” by you-know-who. In a nearby CD article by John Bucheit about conservatism, he notes the Empathy Deficit that goes to the very heart of all Human conflict, and is best summed up in another wonderful quote: “For in the final analysis, we all live on the same small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.” Pax Vobiscum.
None of us is perfect and fools and knaves may sometimes speak the truth. (I like to write in cod-Shakespearean!). Sure Jon Stewart may have his faults but he was smarter than your average neo-con. I also stand in awe of Colbert for his blistering White House after-dinner speech and film spoof. To watch GWB sit and gape not sure how to react ( a bit like when 9/11 happened…) was most telling; it was like the puppet master couldn’t operate his strings quickly enough.
Though I admire John Pilger enormously and bless his courage and commitment, even Pilger has some serious flaws: I refer to his ‘confession’ on Democracy Now in 2008 (40th anniversary of the assassination of Senator Robert Kennedy) in which he admits that he heard more gun shots even after Sirhan was disarmed. Though Pilger and others made this fact known to the “FBI” invetigators, the testimony disappeared. And what did Pilger do during those 40 years while Sirhan rots in jail still? Absolutely bloody nothing. It should not matter that Pilger loathed the Kennedys, the fact that he was a witness to a conspiracy and that Sirhan was patently a patsy (just like Oswald) ought to inspire some mild curiosity in his part. And how did Amy Goodman react? She too completely ignored this inconvenient testimony. If the US really wants to face the truth, then you all ought to read James Douglass’ “JFK & The Unspeakable. Why he died & Why it Matters”. It matters. The Unspeakable is all around and Jon Stewart did poke a stick at it for which we ought to be grateful.
I know exactly what you mean.
Ah, yes, sigh, that old critique of not being ‘perfect’ enough totally discredits Stewart