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April 30, 2006

Comments

Rebecca

It wasn't Stephen Colbert's desire to be humorous, especially to the crowd he was speaking of. He was using satire as a vehicle to speak for milliions of Americans who are sick to death of the lies and crap coming out of this administration. This administration is dangerous and what Colbert had to say was desperately necessary.

matt

NSA wiretaps? Leaking CIA agent's identities? Staged photo ops? Where did he come up with those loony ideas. Tinfoil hat stuff. Would he rather Saddam was still in power? Mr. Colbert can thank the men and women of America's armed services and their Commander-in-Chief for his freedom of speech which allowed him to make an ass of himself.

kreiz

Mr. Van Sickle raises one interesting point above. He observes that Jon Stewart missed an opportunity to take on John Kerry, contrasting him to Mr. Colbert. My initial sense was that this was simple partisanship; that is, Stewart didn't take on Kerry because Kerry was his man. But it's not that simple in Colbert's case. I asked myself WWCD- what would Colbert do had the guest of honor been President Clinton (Hillary or Bill, take your pick)? It's impossible to know, but I suspect that Colbert would've played the same satirical, deadpanned monotone, cracking back on the sitting Dem president. Would the Colbert's fans laud that performance? I don't know. So I'll ask.

kreiz

The quandry for Colbert's fans is this. Assuming I'm correct (that Colbert would play Hillary the same way he played George), the ensuing praise would be a tribute to snark and smack, hardly the stuff of heroism. If they find it off-putting, then the current debate is mere partisanship.

RW

kreiz,
Your answer probably lies in the reaction that Imus received from those quarters. Further assumptions can be found in the sectors that had no problems with Clinton bombing the dogsnot out of Iraq in December of 1998 because of WMDs (look it up) but felt that our attacking a "sovereign nation" (as if there's any other kind) under a Republican president is worthy of impeachment.

kreiz

I thought Imus was awful myself. Regardless, you deserve some props for this observation yesterday: "the guy could've farted into the microphone & as long as he posited the notion that "Bush sucks", the atriettes/kossacks would be ready to build a statue in his honor." Therein lies the truth.

Dunbar

How sad that the loss of thousands of American soldiers doesn't seem to phase the people like RW. My assumption is that you are someone who drinks that last bit of water in the glass.

And the fact that political satire was delievered so bitingly to the man and the press that deserved to be satirized for their blatant disregard for the lives of Americans is cause for celebration. Therein lies the truth.

But of course, you wouldn't know that. There are apparently people in this country that would rather sit on their hands and support a government that sends people off to war without the proper equipment and when they get back cut their funding for needed medical care.

I just love the compassion and intelligence in this country. It's heartwarming, really.

kreiz

Surely you're not suggesting that compassion and intelligence are the sole possession of of a single political faction (presumably yours). That's awfully provisional and myopic. If that is what you believe, then RW's point is well taken- that is, Colbert was simply playing to his base and his base responded. When Bush & Co. play to their base, they're derided. When Colbert does it, he's a hero. It looks to me like factionalism on both sides.

Holly

I've watched the speech three times now - it's absolutely brilliant. It's up there with Richard Pryor and Lenny Bruce - this speech will be studied for decades to come. The first time I watched it, I too, felt the discomfort in the room, and got that nervous, embarrassed feeling you get in the audience when someone is dying up there on stage. But look at the audience - made up almost entirely of evildoers - if they were uncomfortable, then I say GREAT. Bush and his sycophants NEED TO HEAR the message that I wish he were dead. (No, I"m not saying I'd like to kill him, I'm thinking double heart attacks in their sleep. I say "they" because there's no use in just one dying; Cheney's got to go too.) I suppose that if you were a right wing blogger, perhaps you would not have the impression that the criticism and contempt that a full half of Americans feel for you is muted or silenced. But Bush is cocooned from my rage, and I want him to get a full face blast of it. And Colbert delivered it for me, and for that I bless him, his progeny and heirs into eternity. He did it for me. He damned Bush, his actions, his party, his panderers, his supporters, sycophants and courtiers - IN PUBLIC - for me to watch and feel empowered by. He wasn't talking to the power elite (a room full of Yale graduates, spit here), he was talking to ME. The president is an asshole. I'd say it to his face if he ever came out in public before an unscreened audience. He's an asshole and I wish he were dead. Colbert delivered the message with jokes, but it came from MY HEART. And Bush's pinched face told me he heard it, and was not pleased, which pleased me even more. Colbert wouldn't have been invited to speak if he wasn't an entertainer; it's not about Colbert. It's about escaping the GOP echo-chamber spin machine so that it sinks through POTUS's beady eyes into his pinhead that we hate him. DTR! DTR!

Mechagodzilla

I am getting seriously sick and tired of the childish namecalling on both sides of the spectrum.

All this shit about "moonbats" and "reTHUGlicans" is probably the most harmful and stupid trend to have appeared in the American political, or even cultural, landscape. Talk like adults, please.


So, getting past the vitriol, the fact of the matter is that the "tinfoil hat stuff," as matt ironically (I hope) called it, is real. It happened/happens, and Colbert simply pointed that out, through comedy.
The telling thing is that Bush didn't laugh, and that a sizeable portion of the audience didn't laugh.
Of the points made in this discussion, I consider a few to be valid:

1) The speech was *not* dismissable or unimportant.

Beyond the obvious point that people everywhere are talking about it, the speech hit right past the audience's comfort zone. As a result, I think it's pretty clear that it was because the points made were important: important enough that key figures present took them very seriously. That ties in to point 2:

2) There have been no rebuttals.

Besides matt's "tinfoil" comment, I have not encountered a rebuttal to the to any of the points made. So clearly the lack of laughter in the room wasn't a result of innaccuracy or distortion on Colbert's part. Valid concerns were presented and the president, for one, was not able to dismiss them with a laugh as he did with "nuke-u-lar".
But, still:

3) Colbert was not the next John Swift.

Sorry, but it's true. The jokes, while equally funny as they usually are on his show, were just that: equally funny.
Some were actually taken from previous episodes. So why is it being called "ballsy"?

4) It's all about the context.

This is the important one. The jokes that everyone passively accepted on Comedy Central are suddenly on C-Span being spoken directly at the President with eye contact - and an uproar emerges. The effect is that the jokes aren't contained anymore. Not safe like "nuke-u-lar", spoken by liberals to a liberal audience. The simple fact that the jokes were being told to the President, and to the press, *and they couldn't laugh* is extremely important.

I think the majority are justified in interpreting the silence as a crack in the fascade, so to speak. At least it was a moment of sobriety. To me, it conveyed the sort of subjugation that comes from having your flaws listed in front of you in public. Colbert had the upper hand throughout, despite a flub, and the anti-laughter was a weak counter. So, it seems, are these the many, many people rushing to the President's aid after the supposed non-event.

If it were a dismissable dud, why is there a concerted effort to prove to all the supporters that they're wrong and it was actually terrible so everyone stop laughing?

Also, if it's just just baiting flames from the libJERKal eLIEte to rain on their parade, why give them the recognition, or the victory that comes from their opponents failing to present a decent rebuttal (besides "I say it's not funny" + random insults)?

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