Saturday, October 30, 2010

Keeping Sanity Alive

I can't think of a better cause to promote than civil discourse.  But how do you get people excited about that cause?  Holding a rally to promote sanity seems like a contradiction in terms, but somehow today Jon Stewart (and Stephen Colbert) managed to attract at least 10 million people to the mall in Washington, D.C. for that purpose.  (They know there were at least ten million because they counted off one by one.)   I couldn't make it to DC, but did stop by the local satellite rally in MacArthur Park, where I'm sure there were a couple of million people crowded in to watch the rally on a giant TV and hold an event of their own. (Don't even bother challenging my crowd estimates.  I was there.  I took a picture, ok?)

I am old enough to remember Richard Nixon talk about how the silent majority supported him, and complain about how the media paid so much attention to noisy protesters.  So it's interesting to see that these days the angry protesters are mostly conservatives, while the "silent majority" are more liberal.  What is still true is that the media pays a lot more attention to people who shout than those who speak in a civil tone of voice.

It's also somewhat ironic that we need a satirist like Jon Stewart to stand up for civility.  Traditionally satirists are known for trying to stir up outrage and for never playing fair.  Nowadays it seems the most radical thing you can advocate is for people to listen respectfully to one another's viewpoints.  Imagine if that idea took hold.

12 comments:

  1. I watched the entire show and thought it was brilliant; especially Stewart's closing momologue. It was not a left or right program. It made fun of both sides equally, was humerous and emotional at times. It sought truth and the high road. I was impressed that John could bring people together without singly out the right. It must have been liberating for him.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, great discourse:

    http://gatewaypundit.firstthings.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/hitler-signs.jpg

    Not.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think it's kinda funny how Stewart, as a liberal satirist, stirs up the venomous public discourse with his nightly mis-characterizations of conservatives (sometimes very funny, I'll admit) but on the eve of Democrats getting ready to get socked in the eye, he all of a sudden wants a rally to "restore sanity?" Hilarious. The joke is on the poor sops who spent money traveling from far away places to be at a rally against something that has made Stewart's show popular in the first place and that will continue to be his tool--the re-enforcement of political prejudices in order to be funny.

    ReplyDelete
  4. The rally was far from non-partisan. Stewart is interested in one thing: his own popularity. At least, as Joe point out, proceeds are supposed to go to help the National Mall.

    ReplyDelete
  5. VH, that picture is like the left showing a couple goofy pictures from a Tea Party rally and calling attendees racist. It's silly.

    ReplyDelete
  6. In my view it was as close to non partisan as I have seen in awhile in politics. Colbert made fun of "fear" but so what. As far as Stewart being interested in his own popularity, who cares. He carried a good message. Between you and VH you sound like comments straight out of the talking points from the left after Beck's rally. Isolated pictures used to describe masses. Personal popularity confused with a real message. I thought Beck's rally was brilliant. So was this one (albeit a little slow in the middle). Like I said, I watched the entire show, live, and I am reasonably open minded.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Harrison and VH, you're just jealous because there are no funny conservatives.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hey! I think Willaim F Buckley Jr was very funny! Dennis Miller makes me tear up and is one funny doode. I could go on but I know you were just being funny.

    ReplyDelete
  9. "Harrison and VH, you're just jealous because there are no funny conservatives."

    Dennis Miller is pretty funny on O'Reilly and Red Eye with Greg Gutfield is funny too...both conservatives.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Gutfield is very funny. As well, he is fair while leaving no question about his position. However, he has some of the most liberal guests and they have a ball. He never makes a visitor sorry they were there. Red Eye gets guests of all types -- and they just roll. I've seen Marc Lamont Hill and others (male and female) let loose. It's a beautiful thing. The gregalouge is fun. Worth taping if you can't stay up that late.

    ReplyDelete
  11. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/30/rally-to-restore-sanity-huffington-post-_n_776541.html

    In case you missed Stewart's finishing monologue and want to see what I saw.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Gutfeld is a funny guy. When he's on O'Reilly's show he's just sad. Dennis Miller is okay... I never thought he was that funny to begin with but he does have some good one liners.

    ReplyDelete