Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Stevie Nicks Redux

I love Jon Stewart.
And whether I like it or not, I'm not alone; apparently ratings for his hit 'The Daily Show (with you know who!) are going through the roof. Viewers are abandoning traditional late night talk for the Comedy Central (Comedy Network here in Canada) show that has become the coolest way to get your news and a healthy heaping of yuks four times a week.
Fact is, I think about him on the other three - what would Jon say about this outrage, I wonder; how would Jon (his name lit up in sparklers, announced by a heavenly choir) treat this debacle? I sigh, then I wait for Monday to roll around and find out.
Because so far as I can tell, he hasn't missed a beat nor dropped a metaphorical ball in his bid to spread the word of the clothes-less Emporer of America and his nakedly venal cabal of cabinet co-conspirators. And you can bet if they didn't before, Rumsfelt, Rice, Powell et al are hunkered down in front of their TV sets, just praying Jay or Dave or Conan are featuring naked ladies (I mean real naked ladies) or a Beatles reunion show, 'cos 'B' list celebrities and Howler monkeys (I mean real Howler monkeys) just aren't going to lure viewers away from the downlow no mo'.
Last night, as I sat picking the sequins off an Abercrombie and Fitch T-shirt (hence the Stevie Nicks ref) bathed in the televisual glow of my crush, I was treated to a brilliant contrast and compare, duelling press releases show of force between National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan. Rice, achieving the nearly impossible feat of appearing on every single national morning news show (seemingly several simultaneously) and McClellan, pontificating from the White House podium, spoke in near identical word by word sound bites in their efforts to discredit Washington scourge Richard Clarke.
(Former anti-terrorism Czar of three - or is it four? - administrations, Clarke himself doing the Condoleezza thang by whizzing around the usual suspects of insider political talk shows, discussing his book 'Against All Enemies' which claims to lay bare the truth about 9/11, Bin Laden, al Qaeda, Iraq, Hussein and Bush. What they knew, when they knew it and what they didn't do about it.)
The question is, why does it take Jon Stewart to point out that the ferocity of the attacks has been stage-managed to such a degree, that all the actors are reading the same lines? One sincerely hopes that at the highest levels of government, each of the interested parties has their own take - their own expertise to bring to bear, their own point of view - each damning in their separate areas of knowledge. But it seems they're all singing (if you can bear another cliche) from the same hymnbook, as believable a group of Republican henchmen and women as those Democratic spokesmonkeys sent out on the 'Save Clinton From Himself' mission a couple of years ago.
You just wish they'd save placing their hands on their hearts and declaiming insider rhetoric for a time when they might really need it... say at their dying Granny's bedside... or at least at something as fair and open as a Fourth of July pie-eating contest.
The problem is - as Stewart's brilliant ego-skewering show so neatly points out - is that it's all a sham; a sham that becomes incresingly obvious with each written, prepared, edited, synthesized, put to committee, then passed out wholesale to the attack dogs explanation. And who else is going to pay attention? Who else is going to watch every press conference and newscast to make the cynical point? The big three main networks? CNN, MSNBC and the rest of the cable ilk? From competitiveness alone, they'd never show another's channel logo. It's left to Stewart and Comedy Central to tell the tale. And tell it 'a spoonful of sugar' funny.
Canadians too have taken Stewart to their bosoms with amazing alacrity and speed. Stewart seemingly able to achieve in a couple of months what thousands of disaffected fans were unable to do over the last three years - throw Mike Bullard (our own and only - and screamingly unfunny - answer to the late night lineup) off the dial. For that alone we thank him.
For bringing an open and equal approach to the right/left discussion - you'll likely never find an interviewer so completely fair or respectful to both sides, nor one so willing to find merit in the individual's point of view - and for bringing both sides of the discussion to the fore, our cracked-open-ever-so-slightly-more minds thoughtfully appreciate him.
But for bringing excellence, intelligence, humour (not to mention a dazzling smile... sigh...) and a manner that suggests we're smart enough to get him, I offer him my undying affection...and all the discarded sparkles from my t-shirt... and all my money, if he wants it... or the dog - yes, he can have the dog!... and my Gucci purse, and my 91 Mazda, and my hand in marriage...
Damn it. He's married.
But you never know...

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