Mar 19, 2010

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Intro - Progressivism Is Cancer

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Jon Stewart's takedown of Glenn Beck is a little frantic for my tastes — I prefer Stewart when he cruises, not when he floors it — but it does answer something I've long wondered about Beck, which is: is he serious? or more particularly: do his fans take him seriously? Or is it just fun to get all riled up like that? Take his view that Obama is Stalin. Nobody honestly thinks that. They understand that Stalin was very bad guy, though, and that to compare Obama to him is sprightly mischief. It gets a rise out of people. Ask them to bet their house on it and they will shortly retract the statement. They were just joking. It is the like the "Obama is a muslim" meme. Nobody honesty thinks that. On the contrary, they know it is wrong. That's why they say it, because saying wrong things about Obama riles his supporters. Same with WWW wrestling, whose supporters both know and don't know that the whole thing is a put on. Say it one way and they will strenuously deny it. Ask them to bet their house on the answer and they will say: of course it's just a game. Its a peculiarly American trait — certainly one that is baffling to outsiders — this tendency to accord play all the weight of reality. In England that would be called irony — not meaning what you say, but deliberately, as a game. Here it is more like irony without the deliberation: not meaning what you say, but with a straight face, a look of cherubic innocence on your face.

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