Satire and coping with reality

Orly Mercado

Posted on October 16, 2006

Jon Stewart for US President

One of the frustrations of living in Japan for a movie buff like me is missing all those movies people are talking about. I saw director Barry Levinson on American talk shows promoting “Man of the Year” but I have to content myself with my regular dose of “fake news” from Jon Stewart while waiting for it to hit the movie houses here if it ever will.

The movie, about a fake news TV anchor who runs for president, has focused attention on recent polls that indicate that not a few Americans have ranked Jon Stewart as among their possible choices for President in 2008. The fact that the comedian is not running is of no matter.

Of late, I have noticed myself unable to tolerate even the sound bites of US President Bush on TV news, but can’t get enough of Stewart. I think if I were an American, I would be among those rooting for Stewart.

I agree with him that for television and the internet, this is the golden age of political discourse. He is sarcastic but, for now he helps me cope with the subterranean depths apologists for the war in Iraq have gone to in explaining themselves out of the rut they are in. Listening to politicians trying to exclude actual meanings behind people’s actions is a heavy mental burden. We read and try to understand the contending points of views, but somehow Comedy Central can just make sense of it all, while lowering our blood pressure.

Satire is defined as the use of ridicule to provoke change. The technique is to take a situation and exaggerate it to show its shortcomings (Wikipedia). My problem is that the more I watch Stewart, I am beginning to see less exaggerations and more one-to-one correspondence with reality.

World leaders are inescapable bodies. There is no way we can avoid them even if we wanted to. Some leaders think a mandate confers intellect, and may unintentionally insult our intelligence. Their bumper sticker sloganeering, is oftentimes just too much to bear. Spontaneity is almost totally absent, specially during an election year (remember Howard Dean). Ah, fake news, what you do for my sanity. Jon Stewart for President –He Lightens My Load!

No Comments

Leave a response