Hawking Up Hairballs

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Daily Show

I like to watch The Daily Show on The Comedy Channel. At times it is truly funny, and nobody in the mainstream skewers the right like John Stewart and his ensemble. However, as Noam Chomsky has pointed out, one of the primary functions of the media in America is to define the limits of permissible discourse. The Daily Show performs that role by defining the limits of acceptable dissent on the left. Go to the left of them and you're looney tunes, or dangerous and perhaps even terroristic.

There was a clear example of this not long ago, when Stewart said that President Truman had been guilty of war crimes in dropping the atomic bombs on Japan. At the very beginning of the next show, he apologized for that remark, pointing out that Truman wasn't a war criminal. Bullshit. He was right the first time. I personally don't believe it was his idea to apologize. That undoubtedly came down from the executive offices of whatever media conglomerate currently owns The Comedy Channel.

There was an example of a different sort one night last week. The Daily Show is divided into three segments. It is customary for Stewart to interview a guest on the third segment. On the show in question, the guest was the producer of a clone of American Idol on TV in Afghanistan. That's right American Idol, and this fool was talking about his show like it was some great exercise in democracy because the contestants were expressing themselves and the women weren't covering their faces. This is just the sort of thing that Stewart usually skewers, but not this time. He was taking this guy seriously.

What a crock. Is this what American-style democracy has wrought, the right to appear on a stupid TV show? I would think that this kind of thing would play right into the hands of the Taliban and other Islamist extremists. All they have to do is say, is this what the Americans would give you? They've bombed your country, killed you children, and destroyed your economy, and this TV show is what they're going to give you. Hell, if I were a young Afghani man, it just might send me straight to the nearest madrasa.

As I said though, The Daily Show can also be truly funny. Last week, they also did a segment in which they made fun of those who are afraid to have convicted terrorists jailed near their homes. Like they pointed out, just what the hell would one of these guys do if he did manage to escape a super maximum security prison? At the conclusion of the segment, John Oliver, who was playing the reporter, said that he had a way to protect yourself if an Islamist terrorist escaped from a jail near you. He then showed the camera a pork chop hanging from a rope necklace. Yeah, I know, but you had to have been watching. I got a good laugh from that.


Anonymous barbara in decatur said...

So if we are all vewy vewy afwaid of terrorists, why don't the good citizens of California mind that Arnie will be closing maximum security state prisons and sending those folks to federal prisons or county jails? I can see why they would like the federal option. That's a roundabout way of making the rest of the nation pay California property taxes so the good people who actually own those over-priced dumps don't have to. But local jails? Move inmates from San Quentin to county jails and that's cool? Boggles the mind.

3:50 PM  
Blogger David Matthews said...

I wasn't even there and I'm chuckling about the pork chop necklace.

A number of good points, Chuck. Even George Will has said it's preposterous to suggest the Guantanamo prisoners can't be held safely in maximum security federal facilities.

4:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Truman a war criminal? This is liberal self-hatred at its finest folks. Ask a Nanjing teenager whose vagina was hewn open with a samurai sword if Truman was a war criminal. Ask a farmboy from Kansas whose testicles were cut off and stuffed in his mouth on Iwo Jima if Truman was a war criminal. Ask a Korean housewife shipped to a pleasure camp and raped 1,000 times by Japanese soldiers if Truman was a war criminal.

W in PDX

7:50 PM  

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