Pin It
Favorite

Stand-Up Warrior 

Publisher's Note

The spectacle of a slight New Yorker, with nothing more than a quick wit, taking on all the phonies, night after night — to me, that's America. As Jon Stewart ends his tenure on The Daily Show this week, here are a few random thoughts about his 16-year reign:

click to enlarge mcgregor.jpg

HE WORE THE MANTLE WELL: Stewart is the latest in a long line of beloved American humorists who have taken aim on the pompous and powerful. There was Mark Twain, then Will Rogers and now Jon Stewart. See if you can guess which quote goes with which: "I don't make jokes; I just watch the government and report the facts." "Evil is rare; ignorance is epidemic." "Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government when it deserves it."

HE HATED PHONIES: Yes, if Holden Caulfield had a late-night talk show, he would have sounded like Stewart. And like Toto in The Wizard of Oz, Stewart pulled back the curtain on the phonies who infect so much of our political system — aptly illustrated by the timeless Will Rogers quote that "A fool and his money are soon elected." Stewart relentlessly poked holes in the forgery of journalism that is FOX News, and he never wasted time on lame, famous-for-being-famous celebrities.

HE TAUGHT US TO READ: Speaking of literary fiction and pseudo-celebrities, Stewart always played more to the New Yorker crowd than to People readers. He took books seriously. Many guests were nerdy writers of obscure tomes; the discussion was high-minded and extremely refreshing. Doris Kearns Goodwin appeared so frequently, she was practically his sidekick.

HE LAUNCHED A THOUSAND LAUGHS: With both Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert getting their starts on The Daily Show, Stewart has a healthy comedy tree. Here's hoping that Colbert will keep the edge he honed on Comedy Central, because without Stewart, the late-night landscape is looking pretty vanilla. The Jimmys — Kimmel and Fallon — are funny, but their jokes are carefully calibrated not to offend.

HE WAS A WARRIOR: "The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter." That's Twain, and for Jon Stewart — all 5-foot-7 of him — wit was a bazooka. For 16 years, he patrolled the wall for all of us, righteously calling bullshit whenever somebody had it coming. After 9/11, in particular, when the world seemed to be going crazy — "Wait, what? Now we're invading Iraq?" — watching The Daily Show was like the French Resistance gathering around a BBC report. It sounded like... hope.

Stewart did say "ignorance is epidemic," but thanks to his inoculations, the ravages of the disease — among some, at least — have receded. ♦

  • Pin It

Speaking of Comment, Publisher's Note

  • Not Backing Down
  • Not Backing Down

    The Trump administration's regressive policies won't outweigh the progressive values embodied by our city and state
    • Jan 5, 2017
  • The Road to 2027
  • The Road to 2027

    A closer look at Spokane's entrepreneurial needs
    • Jan 5, 2017
  • Thanks, Obama
  • Thanks, Obama

    The legacy of the 44th President goes far beyond the election of the 45th
    • Dec 29, 2016
  • More »

Latest in Comment

  • Children Will Listen
  • Children Will Listen

    How art speaks to life in this particular moment
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • So Here We Are
  • So Here We Are

    Here's hoping the new president fills the office with the grace and sense of tradition it requires
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • Get Big Money Out
  • Get Big Money Out

    Letters to the Editor
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • More »

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

Today | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed
Women's March on Spokane

Women's March on Spokane @ Spokane Convention Center

Sat., Jan. 21, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Ted S. McGregor Jr.

  • The Watch List
  • The Watch List

    You'll learn a lot by watching some key people who could make or break Trump's presidency
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • Fake-News Nightmare
  • Fake-News Nightmare

    The social media dream of the 2000s is fading, but we can reset the system by sticking up for the truth
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • BOOKS
  • BOOKS

    From Twin Peaks to the darkest reaches of our galaxy, there's a new book for everyone on your list
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Thanks, Obama

    The legacy of the 44th President goes far beyond the election of the 45th
    • Dec 29, 2016
  • One Free Shave

    Donald Trump might have merited a honeymoon with voters had he managed his transition better
    • Dec 29, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

scandal


scandals


Comment


Briefs


green zone


Readers also liked…

  • To Kill the Black Snake
  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • Love Thy Neighbors
  • Love Thy Neighbors

    Opening our hearts to those who have been terrorized is our most powerful weapon against suffering
    • Nov 25, 2015

© 2017 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation