Stewart and Colbert on the debt ceiling “compromise”

Here, for those of you without basic cable, is what Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert had to say about the so-called compromise.

And, speaking of Colbert, Linette just sent me this quote of his from December. I think that it’s pretty appropriate today.

“If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn’t help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus is just as selfish as we are or we’ve got to acknowledge that he commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition. And then admit that we just don’t want to do it.”

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  1. Caring Parent
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    The problem, if there is one, with Stewart and Colbert isn’t that they work for Viacom or make millions commenting with wit on the obvious.

    The problem is they make us feel smug. Can’t fool us! We’re wise to government/corporate shenanigans!

    Smugness seeps a false sense of control. But “I know what’s going on” is a long cry, practically, from “I’m ready to wage war to stop what’s going on.” Smugness tucks you in to a good night’s sleep with a smile on you lips. Rage rips off your blankets.

    However well meaning they may be, Stewart and Colbert are really not much more than incredibly wealthy National Amusements. They make a lot of ideological people comfortably smug and practically ineffectual … aka Democrats.

    Reading the last week’s comments, it seems the biggest threat “progressives” can muster is they may not vote Democrat in the next election (although everyone can predict they will).

    The right either has no capacity for satire or have simply long understood that satire gets sleepy guffaws but raw passion is hard to face down.

    There’s a time for laughter. There’s a time for sleep.

    Now isn’t that time.

  2. Glen S.
    Posted August 3, 2011 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    @ Caring Parent

    Excellent post.

    I think that folks like Stewart and Colbert have played a useful role in using comedy and satire to pierce through the bubble of hypocrisy, and helping many ordinary people understand what their leaders are up to.

    That said, I totally agree with you that satire only goes so far … and that it is no substitute for the very serious (and hard!) work of fighting for what is fair and just.

    I can also understand how some might feel that threats by some (like me) to withhold our money or votes might seem petty and short-sighted … although I think there is also a fair argument to be made for not wanting to be “complicit” in continuing to support a rotten, “lose-lose” system.

    Most of all, like you, I also believe that “now is the time.”

    I just wish I knew what it was “time” to do.

    Honest question: In your opinion, how best can the millions of us who know how broken our system truly is begin to work for *real* change — without once again being taken advantage of by those who tell us what we want to hear, but either don’t honestly reflect our values — or who end up getting corrupted themselves?

  3. TaterSalad
    Posted August 3, 2011 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Everything you need to know on the debt deal is right here:

  4. Mr. X
    Posted August 3, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    2 out of 3 thoughtful responses to a post is a pretty good average, I guess.

    As for the guys on Comedy Central, I’d agree that they aren’t solution. On average, though, I’d say that we’re better off with them than we would be without them. At the very least, they’re educating young people as to the situation at hand. (Several polls have shown that Daily Show viewers are better informed than other “news” programs.) There is, however, a disconnect when it comes to action. I think they’re doing a great job of raising awareness among the educated middle class, but their influence, for the most part, ends there. (I do think that, in a small way, they’re forcing other media to be more responsible, so that’s a good thing as well.) The thing is, they aren’t the right guys to be leading the charge. And I think we saw that in DC last year, when they had their show on the Mall. They’re socially aware comedians, like Lenny Bruce and Mark Twain. They aren’t our MLK or RFK. They do play a role though.

    Keep the good thoughts coming.

  5. wetdolphinmissile
    Posted August 3, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Laughter is one of the most effective ways to send home a message. Data shows brains remember more when associated with happy hormones. That said the problems facing us today are so daunting one can get into the “sky is falling” state of mind and that can be depressing and paralyzing. Glen you need to run for office or do some grassroots work that makes you happy or your own angst will eat you up.

  6. kjc
    Posted August 3, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Or Glen could just continue to be an informed citizen who shares his views. Personally I get a lot out of reading his comments.

  7. james williams
    Posted August 3, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Building an effective progressive organization that can create positive changes is not easy. The Tea Party has it a lot easier. They can just elect people who promise to gum up/dismantle the federal government.

    For progressives, a lot of the good that government can do for people takes a while to pay off. There is also the problem that most progressive programs benefit the disadvantaged/unlucky, and people tend to like to pretend that they will never end up in a situation where they may need that help.

  8. dirtgrain
    Posted August 3, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    We should start a new political party, with a spiffy name.

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