Bobbie L. Washington
The hot dog days of summer ebbs into the autumn days of copper and gold leaves. A couple of hurricanes graced the east coast but nothing came of it. Perhaps it was afraid to come near and coastal land as the summer was filled with the constant hot air of race baiters, nut jobs and whackos who were creating a pocket dome that forced any natural climate change from occurring. And while this went on, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert went on vacation giving the most radical of conservatives a field day to say and do as they please without challenge.
Glen Beck took it upon himself to create the new “Barack black army” brigade. It was Youtube footage of edited clips of black children participating in organized school and after school programs. Some of these children wore camouflage pants and black T-shirts to show uniformity and marched in straight lines. For Beck, it was if it was a factual documentation that the Barack black armies were gaining strength in numbers and he made sure that his monologue was pointed in a way to inure to these false assumptions.
And if that wasn’t enough of the screaming and shouting over health care and death panels, somebody in the temple of extreme conservatisms decided that the speech President Barack Obama was about to give to school children across the country was an indoctrinating mind puzzle for future Manchurian candidates. Members of the far right have publicly stated that they were pulling their children out of school on that day to avoid this pandemic speech that will cause children to grow up and have a sense of purpose. How dare he instill virtue on these minds of unformed clay? More protest ensues. Why is there no challenge to this nonsense from the established news organization? Where can we turn for a slap back to reality? Quick, shine the comedy light into the sky for salvation.
Whenever these politicians find themselves in the comedy spotlight due in part to their own misfortunes, it is the quick-witted comic who turns their foibles into political satire. And it is always fascinating how these satirist, and that’s with a capital S, are always discounted for not being intelligent enough to hold a conversation. However, as a person who used to write comedy for seven voices in a given period, comedians are the most well read individuals, especially when it comes to political satire. Newspapers are read from article to article to get the facts. And when these political punching bags come on The Daily Show, The Colbert Report or David Letterman, many are surprised by how the interviews are conducted. As much as Letterman acts like a bewildered old fool with often-repeated gags, he is a poker player holding aces up his sleeve during interviews. He has been witnessed asking some of the most pointed questions to George W. Bush, John McCain and other noteworthy cable and network talking heads that has been pointed out as being better than the established news figures.
Jon Stewart has been bestowed as the most trusted man in news in a recent poll. And you have to give him the proper respect for earning that reputation after going after dome of the most convoluted full of themselves pompous and arrogant mouthpieces out there. Surely some of the interviews he has given have been replayed in journalism courses across this land. How could a person like CNBC’s Jim Cramer ever look at himself in the mirror after being called on the carpet for his advice in the beginning of the most horrific financial collapse in these modern times? Stewart has challenged the status quo of CNN and Fox News in the way they go about in reporting the news.
He has crawled up under the skin of the far right that he has become the beacon of cable television’s northern light. In this current state of organized chaos where preachers are advocating killing a president, protesters are carrying weapons to rallies and a GOP Congress have no other reason to oppose a president other than just to piss him off, Stewart, Colbert and Letterman are needed as much as possible.
Many of the late night hosts were perplexed as to what would they do with a new president who is a little more aloof and smart, something totally opposite of what they had in material from the last eight years. Sure, there’s Joe Biden, but Biden has not turned into the comical foil that everyone had anticipated. But then, the far right came out and there was the gift. Dick Cheney had something to say about the current administration and the virtues of torture. Chris Wallace of Fox News interviewed him as if it was a love in. And Letterman took Chris to task for not pursuing a line of tougher questions by turning the footage into a love fest with popping hearts abound their faces. Jon Stewart takes on Betsy McCaughey, the woman who started the death panel rumor in the health care proposal. She flitted about with the health care bill in her possession in the vain hope of proving her point but could never reveal proof in the healthcare bill that it said anything about death panels. She subsequently resigned her position as a board of director of Cantel Medical Corp.
And with the newest member to this social club of nitwits, Sarah Palin has used her Facebook membership as her sounding board without having to face her liberal mass media critics. Sure, she went after Letterman for a joke she ripped right out of the Republican dirty pool playbook She twisted the entire meaning of a joke and turned it into rape and pedophilia. A poor fight to begin with and showed her thin-skinned personality before she left office. That episode will be looked at with clearer eyes somewhere in political classes as what not to do when you find yourself in a fight with a comedian who can lay back and rope-a-dope you until he comes out swinging.
John McCain learned that lesson well after bailing out on Letterman and looked more and more unreliable during the presidential campaign when it came to crisis management. After a month and a half of comedic punches, McCain relented and returned to Letterman with tail between legs and a bit more humble but the damage had been done. His political fortunes were frittered away by his lack of judgments with the looming financial crisis and his choice of a running mate with questionable intelligence.
Colbert challenges NASA in a naming contest for a new section of the space station module and wins. NASA capitulates and names a piece of equipment after him. The power of Colbert rallied his forces to vote online for the naming rights. However, the power of the vote meant little, as NASA, a government agency paid with tax dollars, could not bear to have Stephen Colbert’s name on a space station module and settled naming a treadmill after him. The power of the satirist prevailed for the people have spoken.
And as the leaves begin to fall off the trees and the seasonal holidays approach, where will we be? Will health reform come to pass or be the latest casualty of the vindictive right? It seems like we are avoiding the “R” word in these discussions as the code language persists in these approaches of opposing this president. Two wars are still at hand. The country has record unemployment and the financial mess is still looming in the horizon as the burdens of a country and the rest of the globe sits squarely on the president’s shoulders. The only thing we can hope for in these new forms of bigotry that attempts to stifle this president is for the Satirist to be a little more aware as the growing bile from the maddening crowd is drowning the other voices out.