The Veil of Laughter

The easiest way to shut up a critic is to bring down a veil of laughter.

More effective than using a racial slur, and more reliable than accusing someone else of racism, is a tactic as equally as disgengious: presenting .

Two personalities who excel in this sort of sleight-of-hand are Sean Hannity and John Stewart. The difference between them is that Sean Hannity acknowledges himself to be a political activist, and so maintains his intellectual honesty. Jon Stewart pretends to be a comedian, and so doesn’t.

I use to watch The Daily Show with Jon Stewart back when it was derivative of Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update. It was funny. There is very little humor that is actually original (even Family Guy is derivative of The Honeymooners), and I took it for what it was.

Over time, however, Jon Stewart morhped into a younger and thinner version of Al Franken. Laughter was no longer used to make people laugh, but to silence critics and support a political agenda. It’s too bad, because unlike more honest political hacks (like Hannity) or even honest political commedians (like IowaHawk), Stewart uses humor to bring down a veil of laughter on those he disagrees with, and then hides behind that laughter, by pretending to be a comedian.

Stewart uses mockery and derision. This has become most recently appearent in his reflexive criticism of media personalities who critize Barack Obama. To Stewart’s barely educated primary audience, I’m sure it is effective. And this is who he is after. Politics runs on votes, not ideas.

Still, the baselessness of Stewart is impressive. In attacking CNBC, he managed to demonstrate evne less understanding of market operations than CNBC. This is impressive. CNBC itself favors an easily corruptive speculator class, and the bias and superficiality of most of CNBC’s on-honor comments are apparent to anyone with evne a loose understanding of the subject matter. Jon Stewart is clearly not one of these people. Like a college freshman who angrily denounces Hitler for failing to be vegatarian, Stewart’s factually untrue criticisms are made the more astonishing in that he apparently fails to see any of what is wrong.

But of course, you cannot criticize Stewart. He brings down a veil of laughter on those who do. As I said, he is a dishonest political hack.

Don’t you know it’s just a joke?

(I want to thank a tweet by NYkrinDC for making this my first twitter-inspired post)

9 thoughts on “The Veil of Laughter”

  1. One of the ironies, Cramer is that network’s most friendly host to Democrats. He is supposed to appear on Stewart’s show on Thursday.

  2. most ancient greek texts were lost when the vatican decided to let constantinople burn. ok, that wasn’t fair, but here’s my point…

    of the ancients, we have x # of dialogues by plato. x # of treatises by aristotle. x # of plays by sophocles. x # of plays by euripides.

    guess who we have the most volumes of?

    aristophanes. yeah, you ever heard of him? unless you studied ancient greek, unlikely.

    he was an ancient greek comedic playwright. apparently, the monks translating all this stuff were kind to aristophanes. they saved 11 of his plays (i think its 11). anyway, a lot more than they saved of anyone else. i mean, who can blame them. translating ancient greek into curly cutesy latin couldn’t have been much fun… but it makes me think….

    comedy is more likely to persist than tragedy or truth.

    come on, have a chuckle tdaxp. we’re all human afterall.

  3. “If you’re going to tell the truth, you better make them laugh; otherwise they’ll kill you.”
    — George Bernard Shaw

    Not that I am necessarily disagreeing on your point of Stewart’s intellectual honesty (or lack thereof).

    On one hand, laughter makes something easier for a person with an opposing viewpoint to digest, but given the lack of credibility that you are supposed to put in something that is “just a joke,” laughter isn’t the best way to mobilize the masses either, therefore forgoing any benefit of veiling.

  4. The point of ridicule as a warfare tactic is not to rally support to side of the issuing the ridicule, but to deny support (and demoralize the supporters of) the target of the ridicule.

  5. sonofsamphm1c,

    Noted.

    Stewart appears to have little situational awareness. The inability of the Daily Show to actually form a coherent criticism of CNBC demonstrates this. His attacking a fellow Democrat based on a general search-and-engage routine meant to discredit critics of Obama does, as well.

    Fed X,

    Aristophanes was covered in high-school English.

    Nothing in your comment is persuasive, or even attempts to be.

    Jeffrey,

    Purpleslog addresses your contention very well.

    Lexington,

    I thought 5GW was merely a “Value-Destroying Formulation of Contemporary and Future Problems” 😉 [1]

    [1] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2009/01/22/call-for-chapter-titles-5gw-the-fifth-generation-of-war.html

  6. “More effective than using a racial slur, and more reliable than accusing someone else of racism, is a tactic as equally as disgengious: presenting” (tdaxp)

    I don’t believe anything is more reliable than accusing someone of racism?

    Anyway, I’ve always felt that the left is–in general–more mean spirited and hateful than the right. The right has some tendency to try to be “honnorable” in the political sphere while the left will use any degenerate act to “win” in politics. To me, Steward is just a degenerate personified. Leftests feel they’re allowed to vandalize, attack people, spit on people, and ruin reputations. Despite all the attempts at “originality,” the leftest strives for acceptance more than anything. Their moral indignation over issues should be seen for what it is; and that’s a strategy for status. Leftests like to be “cool,” while being “brave” when they take on the “oppressor” during the big march against the college administration for under-paying the kitchen staff on campus. Their heroes and high priests are overgrown children who never had the guts to leave the safety of mommy’s tit (campus).

    Here’s American political life summed up:

    People on the American Right believe in the irrational, while people on the American Left ARE irrational.

    * Now I say this as someone who tends to be “on the right” when it comes to the free markets, free speech, and guns. However, I tend to be socially “liberal” when it comes to religion, abortion, queer marriage, and progressive tax policies. I also see the need for social programs for the “less fortunate.” Not becuase these people lack opportunity, but becuase something has to be done about people who lack the ability to survive in modern civilization. Two hundred years ago these people would have died, or made a living as subsistence farmers but today, this doesn’t and can’t happen.

  7. Seerov,

    I don’t believe anything is more reliable than accusing someone of racism?

    It never works if you are trying to defend a right-wing cause. For instance, how effective have been criticisms of affirmative action that it is anti-jewish, anti-white, anti-asian racism?

    Despite all the attempts at “originality,” the leftest strives for acceptance more than anything

    Here’s American political life summed up:

    People on the American Right believe in the irrational, while people on the American Left ARE irrational.

    Clever!

    I once heard, “In America, the conservatives don’t believe in evolution, and the liberals don’t believe in biology.” Yours is pretty good, too. 🙂

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