The past ten years have brought this world an unbending line of overtly serious and at times tragic moments. America, the last country on earth where it was okay to poke fun at our leaders and ourselves, seemed to have fallen into a world wide morose habit of whispering our thoughts to avoid potential offense. After all, this is the decade of the nuclear menace of Iran and North Korea, the tragedy of 9/11 and the menace of world wide terrorism, the impending destruction of all life due to global warming, the collapse of trust in financial institutions world wide, the impending crisis of suffocating national debt, the never ending wars, the lack of identifiable common sense leadership….on and on…..Gees!
Where has our wit gone, the salvation of all hard times? The ability to laugh at ourselves and our foibles has been a American tradition with unbroken lineage from Mark Twain to Will Rodgers to Johnny Carson’s nightly take. It seems that the information age has distorted our shared capacity to laugh at our own seriousness regardless of the source of the joke or the direction of its arrow. The politics of correctness have made casualness and levity politically incorrect and risky. The results are that the satire has become hurtful and stupid, rather than satirical and insightful.
Well, maybe except for John Stewart. Stewart’s show on Comedy Central unfailingly gets to the heart of societal humor and does not let its obvious political bias get in the way of good satire. John Stewart let’s the cards fall where they may, and maybe single handedly rescuing humor from the politocrats who have taken their transient position in the public eye way too seriously. Take a moment to appreciate the hundred directions of Stewart’s skewering of the pundits that prop up the myth of this particular President’s “seminal” place in history. I don’t know if this President and this time in history is the Defining Moment of our times, but I do know John Stewart is an old fashioned American comedian in the best traditions of who we have always been, the society that understands ourselves and our journey, through our laughter.