Friday, October 29, 2010

The Stewart and Colbert "Sanity and Fear" Rally--Jesters for Truth. A Friday Journal

In older times it was said that the Jester was the only person who could tell the truth to the King.  Honesty, tempered with humor, worked then, and just might save us now.

I wondered why are there are no conservative counterparts to the satire of Comedy Central's liberal-leaning Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert?  I decided that conservatives have no sense of humor; if they did, they would see how funny they are.  If they weren't so dangerous, they might even laugh at themselves.

Mark and I have become habitual viewers of Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show", and Stephen Colbert's "The Colbert Report" (both of the "t" s are silent!).  If you have not experienced these programs on Comedy Central, or you live in an area that does not broadcast them, I invite you to check out both links for some thoughtful American satire and a lot of laughs.

Stewart is one of our smartest and wittiest pundits.  His sly honesty and irony have attracted an audience of well-informed truth-seekers to "The Daily Show".  Polls suggest that a large number of young viewers derive most of their knowledge of current events from Stewart (and Colbert).   Stewart doesn't pander; he is informative, and allows viewers to understand the events of the day, while mocking the pomposity, corruption and incompetence of those in power (and their media stooges).  He trusts the intelligence of his fans, who find the show funny because they know the score.  And Stewart is smart.  He is well-read, and is gently humorous even in his pointed and well-planned interviews. He is the iron fist in the velvet glove.  I love it!

Stephen Colbert's satire is even more wicked.  He hosts "The Colbert Report" in the character of an ultra-conservative commentator, who is just smart enough to speak to the issues, but clueless enough to render foolish the very people his alter-ego imitates (like Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck).  Because of his on-air persona, Colbert can get away with even more outlandish hijinx.  His devastatingly funny commentary and features might be considered hard journalism on the likes of FoxNews. His "political incorrectness" is understood by those who get the joke as a slam and a put-on.    He is the Ultimate Jester, and boy is he fun. 

I have been following with amusement their joint rally, which takes place tomorrow (Saturday October 30) in Washington D.C.  At first, they were "competing" events (Stewart and Colbert are good friends, with similar ideologies; Stewart even helped Colbert, a former cast member on "The Daily Show", to launch his own show).  Stewart created The Rally to Restore Sanity to counter the anger and irrational behavior that has characterized  recent American politics, encouraging the blowhards to "take it down a notch".  Colbert offered his own "March to Keep Fear Alive", a pointed reference to what has been a Republican method of generating enthusiasm among their voter base.  Although they claim otherwise, both of these events are a parodied response to Glenn Beck's August 28 "Restoring Honor" gathering.

Mark and I "feared" that we were "too sane" to drop everything to travel to the Capitol to take part in the festivities.  We actually wished we could participate, and lend our support to what promises to be a boost to rational political discourse. 

Then, today, I learned that Chicago is holding a rally of its own on Saturday.  In Grant Park from 11-2, there will be a rally and march, with a closed-circuit broadcast of the East Coast revels.  We will be there!!  I invite all of you to join us here in Chicago if you can't make it to Washington. It will be less crowded, and I believe there are plenty of hotel rooms!

Now, for "your moment of zen", here's an excerpt from an article in the Huffington Post:

Angie McMahon, of Chicago's Chemically Imbalanced Comedy, started off with an innocent Facebook post in support of Jon Stewart's "Rally to Restore Sanity" in the nation's capitol this weekend.

The event snowballed into a satellite rally that McMahon found herself at the helm of, as the Sun-Times wrote in detail earlier this week.One of the myriad headaches she's faced has been dealing with permits from the city. On Thursday night, the Park District denied her a permit for the rally based on "insufficient documentation."

Still, the District instructed her on how to go forward with the event, and even offered to provide some services, under McMahon and the group's First Amendment right to freedom of assembly.
Reports on Friday morning suggest that she may have finally secured the proper permit from the city; security arrangements were likely altered because Governor Pat Quinn has announced that he'll be speaking at the event.

What: Rally to Restore Sanity Chicago Satellite
When: Saturday, October 30, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Where: Petrillo Music Shell, Grant Park
235 S Columbus Drive, Chicago
Price: Free!

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