Friday, September 24, 2010

I'm For Keeping Fear Alive

On the Colbert Report tonight, the eponymous host lamented the fact that his "March to Keep Fear Alive" only had about half as many RSVPs on Facebook as Jon Stewart's "Rally to Restore Sanity". So, I'd like to speak out in support for Colbert's march.

The reason why has to do with the way Stewart presented his competing event. And I realize that this is the third post criticizing The Daily Show in one month; I really do like the show, which is why I find it disappointing when it falls short of expectations. Anyways, the problem: Stewart positioned himself as a moderate, situated between the extremists of both the left and right, which right away made me suspicious because the left wing really has no political representation in the United States, so whatever "middle ground" there is between political parties is skewed to the right. He showed clips of political activists acting kooky. I didn't recognize most of the left-wing activists. The one clip I did recognize was of Lady Gaga (natch) screaming, "ARE YOU LISTENING?" into the microphone at a gay rights rally a while ago (the question was directed at President Obama). 

Now, I am of the opinion that marginalized people demanding their rights, no matter how uncivilly, are not in the same category as those insisting that the President of the United States is a Marxist-terrorist-antichrist. In fact, I find it profoundly unreasonable to expect marginalized groups to rationally argue that they should enjoy equal rights. As I am fond of saying, it is the nature of equality that it cannot be "given" - equality can only be claimed. I think it's presumptuous of Stewart to position himself the way he has, and that it sets up a false equivalence between activists on the left and on the right. 

Oh, and I'm also tired of hearing that only left-wing extremists accuse W. Bush, Rumsfeld and Cheney of being war criminals, as though the accusations spring from zany opinions, instead of from the fact that engaging in a war of aggression makes them war criminals, by definition. 

Colbert, on the other hand, just straight-up satirizes right-wingers. And that's something I can get behind. 


  1. Good post. When I saw the announcement of the rally, I had some similar feelings but I wasn't quite sure how to word it.

  2. This is great. I had the same reaction when I watched Stewart's announcement.

  3. ...the left wing really has no political representation in the United States, so whatever "middle ground" there is between political parties is skewed to the right.

    How is this true? The left currently controls the House, and our president is a Democrat.

    The left (and the media) demonizes the right, and the right makes up bullshit conspiracy theories about the left.

    If you don't think anyone in the left is worthy of being lumped into the same category as Beck, Hannity, et al, you apparently haven't heard of Michael Moore or MSNBC. The BS, lying, cover-ups and lack of credibility exist plentifully on both sides.

  4. Slightly off-topic, but April, from an European perspective, your Democrats are nowhere near the left. They're more like the mid-right. :P

  5. @April

    The Democrats are a right-wing party. The Republicans are an extreme right-wing party. Obama is a conservative president. There are individuals in the US who could properly be termed "left-wing," but the Democrats do not represent them.

    The point is that US politics are skewed so far to the right that it makes me skeptical of anyone trying to position themselves as a "moderate" in that context.

    Stewart didn't show clips of the people you mentioned. He showed a clip from a gay rights rally. That's what I was commenting on.


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