In case you missed it, Comedy Central’s John Stewart and Stephen Colbert hosted their “Restore Sanity/Keep Fear Alive” rally this weekend on Washington’s National Mall. The straight man in the act was Stewart (“sanity”), an open liberal concerned about extremism; the funny man was Stephen Colbert (“fear”), who appeared “in character” as an extremist conservative. Such an arrangement is all you need to know about what Comedy Central thinks of traditional Euro-Americans.
Though before I start bashing the rally, I’d be remiss in not pointing out that Stewart and his writers have no small amount of talent and mettle. Throughout the 9/11 years (2001-2006), the tragedy and farce of “movement conservatism,” I found myself agreeing with most of the Daily Show clips I came across in which Stewart would criticize the pompous “democracy spreaders” and their beloved “Decidor.” Certainly, no one else on mainstream cable was willing to report on then-candidate Barack Obama’s kowtow to AIPAC using a New York “Jewy” voice, as Stewart did in a now legendary segment, “Indecision 5768.”
But that was then -- in 2007, an “extremist” conservative was in the White House and Barack Obama was a plucky underdog -- and this is now -- Democrats run the country and grassroots conservatism has taken up the mantle of social protest. Stewart’s message has thus modulated to lampooning those who are anti-Establishment and offering the soothing counsel of take it easy, trust in your elected leaders, don’t question the system, in less subtle words, OBEY!
Jon Stewart is the Establishment’s court jester, a man eager to make fun of leaders for their personal failings but who’ll condemn anyone suggesting that the Powers That Be shouldn’t Be In Power. Over the course of the day, Stewart actually cracked jokes like, “Not distinguishing between Muslims and terrorists makes us less safe.” Ba-dum-bum-CHING The line was much funnier the first time, when it was delivered by George W. Bush, and the second, when it was told by countless high school principals during post-9/11 general assemblies.
And let’s be honest about Stewart’s intended target. AltRight readers, no doubt, see the “Tea Party” movement as a crushing disappointment. IN THE BEGINNING, it was about a wholesale indictment of the federal government … Ron Paul people were active … its culture was WASPy, and in a way suitable to Whites of all classes. But after close to two years of being reconstructed by Glenn Beck and Freedom Works, the Tea Party has begun genuflecting to the sainted Black welfare-statist and Communist sympathizer and looking up on high to some benign, hokey, multicultural “God.”
But to people like Stewart, even this wussified, PCified Tea Party is a source of danger. I often wonder why that is… It might simply be a matter of his fearing White people meeting in groups -- as if a smidgen of Euro-American Christian identity at a mass rally would ineluctably lead to the donning of Bavarian Lederhosen and the magical arrival of the Führer through the clouds via aeroplane.
Much like Colbert playacts as a crude Republican hawk, Stewart’s “Restore Sanity” rally offered American liberals the chance to pretend to be Tea Party yahoos, replete with crazy signs. (My two favorites were “I’M HOLDING UP A SIGN” and “I MASTURBATE TO CHRISTINE O’DONNELL.”)
In essence, Stewart held a rally for people who wanted to prove that they were of higher social status than Tea Partiers -- and what better way to do this than ironically acting like Tea Partiers.
And the “Sanity/Fear” rally mimicked the Tea Parties in other respects, too, including its noticeable lack of racial diversity. Watching the show over the Internet, I saw wave after wave of Whites, Jews, and Asian girlfriends.
I was actually in the DC area this weekned, and attended a house party in Adams Morgan full of White twenty- and thirty-somethings, each of whom seemed to have just been awarded a Masters degree from a second-tier institution in a subject like “public policy,” “development,” and/or “conflict resolution,” and who dreamt of working for the government or an affiliated think-tank. Several were dressed up as “Tea Partiers” -- and just in case you thought they actually were the people they sought to mock, the hipsters purposefully misspelled their signs, including lines like, “YOU MUST SPEEK ENGLISH.”
It’s hard to imagine conservative Red Staters dressing up like “liberals”… or even how they might go about it … maybe by wearing a “I ♥ Diversity” button while holding a brochure for a gated community. Whatever the case, an upper crust identity based on proving you’re not like the less status-conscious members of your own race reveals the true emptiness of the young elite.
The greatest irony of this weekend’s event was that Stewart’s sentiments weren’t too different from those of the man whom he sought to ridicule, Glenn Beck. For his closing pitch, Stewart showed pictures of Beltway traffic and talked about all the “diverse” Americans stuck in those cars: a stay-at-home mom who’s a NRA member and likes Oprah, a gay investment banker, who also likes Oprah, a Mormon who listens to Jay-Z, et al. Each American is safely mediocre, is an active participant in popular culture, and has no aspiration beyond his chosen hobby and ecumenical religion. National unity is expressed by the fact that few cut each other off in traffic jams.
One strains to find the difference between Stewart’s vision of a pacified, democratic America and Beck’s populist appeal, described so well by James Edwards, for Americans to “go back to your church, your synagogue, your mosque” and get to work on “refounding America.”
Both Stewart and Beck inform us that they are respectable men who seek only to protect “good” Americans from dangerous "extremists" (for Stewart, right-wing nutjobs; for Beck, “the progressives”) who control the media and want to “divide America” … and might one day want to dress up people in uniforms and order them to invade Poland. Both battle it out to prove that each is not as “extreme” or “radical” as the other, whether by dint of their devotion to an avuncular “God” or their restraint in criticizing politicians.
The reality is that both of their visions of American civilization are exceedingly boring.
And both serve as useful covers for a government and mass culture that are truly insane.