Filed under: brave new world | Tags: Jon Stewart, media, satire, The Daily Show
A new acquaintance at a new workplace once told me it was how you present yourself, not what you know. It turns out he didn’t know anything — really, almost nothing — and they found out and he’s paid the price. I, on the other hand, thought it was all about knowing stuff, and, although I did ok, I missed out on chances based on not using perception and relations to advance myself into more challenging and deserved roles.
It’s no mystery that the media, the fourth estate, guardian of freedom, whatever you want to call it, often believes more in perception than content. It’s infrequent, however, that you hear them called idiots. Here is Jon Stewart’s reaction to the crap press corps covering the 2000 election: unserious people. Jon became influential beginning with this campaign, the election of G W Bush, and has made an enormous difference in the public discourse. Can you imagine how different things would be had there been as effective a satirist beginning with the election of Ronald Regan? Hindsight is 20:20; one thing is certain, political life rots without satire.
The road trips to Philly and to the 2000 Democratic convention in Los Angeles reshaped The Daily Show,but not in the way Stewart had anticipated. “We were at that point merry pranksters—guys on a bus going, ‘That guy looks like Richard Gephardt!’ ” he says. “The more we got to meet people [in the media], it was—‘Oh! You’re fucking retarded! You don’t care!’ The pettiness of it, the strange lack of passion for any kind of moral or editorial authority, always struck me as weird. We felt like, we’re serious people doing an unserious thing, and they’re unserious people doing a very serious thing.”
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