Dystopia Needs Comedians
Every time some new poll comes out talking about how Jon Stewart has become our most trusted news anchor, the reaction on the comments threads (where everyone is civil, and has a reasonable opinion to add to the discussion), generally goes this way:
- “Yeah, I gotta agree, I get a lot of my news from the Daily Show.”
- “UM HELO, JON STEWART IS NOT A ANCHOR, HES A COMEDIAN WITH AN LIBERAL BIAS!”
- “Stewart would be the first to say he’s just a comedian, but the show tends to take shots at all sides.”
- “IM SO SICK OF JOHN STUARRT!!! OVERATED!!!!!!!!!!!”
- “Who wants to see upskirt pics of Mischa Barton?”
And so on in that fashion.
The truth, obviously, is far more of a gray area (it always is, which is why it’s baffling that that has to get reiterated so often). On the one hand, while “The Daily Show” is often informative, its general aim is to be funny – it is, after all, a comedy program about current events. It’s on fucking Comedy Central.
On the other hand, the reason people put so much stock in TDS is because our “regular” news has become utterly useless. Perfect evidence: the way, say, CNN “equally” covers something that does not bear ANY coverage at all, such as the “Birthist” movement claiming Obama can’t be president because he doesn’t have a birth certificate.
Now, this is something that can be (and has been) easily investigated and put to rest. And indeed, it WAS, on “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” where fill-in anchor Kitty Pilgrim rebutted Dobbs’ own “no birth certificate” nonsense using her strange powers of research and fact-checking.
Of course, this did not matter, as Dobbs continued the line of thought days later as though it had never been said.
This isn’t conflicting networks, or even competing shows. This is ONE NEWS PROGRAM CONTRADICTING ITSELF over the course of a few days.
It’s Media Matters and other nonpartisan watchdog groups that notice this. But it’s “The Daily Show” that puts it out for the most people to see: the news we’re supposed to be able to trust does not believe in an objective reality.
This is shit that fricking Robocop and Max Headroom warned us about. And, some book about a year or something. This is our daily living condition – in a dystopia where news is whatever people say on TV, regardless of facts.
So if this is our life, why wouldn‘t we trust the people who point out ludicrous inconsistencies over the people who try to sell them as an objective news program?
This is why we trust comedians. They are the people who are paid to point out obvious, awful things we are supposed to accept. Good comedy is not about acceptance. It is about well-aimed indignance.
With that in mind I offer a couple videos, first of Craig Ferguson, who, in the course of a few minutes, outlines how Everything Went Wrong:
And Louis CK, wondering why everything’s amazing and no one is happy: