Jon Stewart is getting serious

cul_jon-stewart_61815_539_332_c1What will we do without Jon Stewart?

I hear that a lot.  Of course I hope his writers will be able to make more magic with his successor, Trevor Noah.  And no matter what happens on “The Daily Show,” we will still have John Oliver and Larry Wilmore, and I’m praying that Stephen Colbert will find room for political satire on “The Late Show.”  We can keep counting on the openers on “Saturday Night Live,” the closers on Bill Maher and the vicious brilliance of “South Park.” But the question remains: How will we survive the mendacity and imbecility of American politics and the media that cover it without Jon Stewart? Continue reading Jon Stewart is getting serious

The ironic ma nishtana

passover If you’ve been to a seder, you know that the Four Questions are about things like why do we eat matzah instead of bread, and what’s up with this biting into a horseradish; they also prompt the telling of the Exodus story, which is the purpose of the holiday: to pass the once-we-were-slaves-in-Egypt legacy to the next generation. Continue reading The ironic ma nishtana

Hillary, Helmets, ‘Crossfire’ and Cash

U.S._Secretary_of_State_Hillary_Rodham_ClintonWhen Reince Priebus pressured Comcast’s NBC to drop a miniseries starring Diane Lane as Hillary Clinton, the hostage that the RNC chairman threatened to snuff was the network’s access to the 2016 presidential primary debates. When the NFL forced Disney’s ESPN to pull out of a documentary about concussions jointly produced with PBS’s Frontline, the league’s leverage was its deal with Disney’s ABC to air Monday Night Football. And when Time Warner’s CNN hired Newt Gingrich for its exhumed edition of Crossfire, its motive wasn’t political journalism in service of democracy; it was stunt casting in service of ratings. Continue reading Hillary, Helmets, ‘Crossfire’ and Cash

Okay Trent, I’M ONE!

Politicians usually love: the impossible-to-disagree-with premise. That’s when politicians pretend to take a stand by asserting a belief so general nobody in the world would disagree. Like being for democracy, justice—or freedom.

What to make of “GOP Ideals that unite—not divide,” the recent Washington Post op-ed by four Republican ex-Senators—Bill Brock, Jack Danforth, Trent Lott, and Don Nickles—writing under the pretense that they can speak frankly? Here’s how they define the “fundamental values … Republicans believe.” Continue reading Okay Trent, I’M ONE!

Jon Stewart’s Tea Party

Rally to Restore Sanity Crowd

In the 1960s it was the angry left who seethed at the Establishment and indignantly voiced their view that America had become a “sick society.” It was the Establishment that told them to tone it down, to restore sanity, to engage not in protests and campus shut-downs but in rational and civil discourse.

Today it’s the right that seethes. Continue reading Jon Stewart’s Tea Party