NY 23 rd-er Lee Marcus wanted to share her thoughts on Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart, who has announced that he is leaving The Daily Show.
An Open Letter to Jon Stewart:
Before you came along, it was common knowledge that liberals could not be funny. People said it all the time, and, sad to say, I believed it myself. As a liberal, I was so bummed about this. I wanted us to be funny. But liberals championed the environment. Women’s rights. Peace and justice. We fought for the underdog. The narratives behind those causes were never funny.
Then one day I came across The Daily Show. TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, I thought. You know, Jon, your show turned out to be the only too-good-to-be-true thing I’ve ever seen that was true, stayed true, got truer and truer by the day.
When my smart, funny, liberal mother was in her late 80s and slipping toward full-blown dementia, just about when her absorption in The Nation, dissolved in fog, I sat her down in front of The Daily Show. At first glance, she recognized “the news,” her comfort zone still, even if she couldn’t precisely follow it. There you were, Jon, talking earnestly about something, intermittently running a Fox clip on the left side of the screen. Suddenly you rolled your eyes and did a face-palm. My mother’s jaw dropped. “Did you see that? What is this? Turn it up,” she said. Thank you, Jon, for this memory of my mother throwing her head back and laughing like her good old self. She’d been waiting longer than I had for liberal comedy, and even in her fragile state she recognized the beauty of it.
Yeah, I’ll go with beauty. It’s a good word for what you gave us at a time when there’s so much blight: a resurgence of racism, misogyny and greed, with most of the filters torn away, and a brand of public discourse so coarse you have to wonder if humanity is doomed. And why is lying the new normal for broadcast news, and why are the liars getting the ratings?
Frankly, Jon, I don’t know how we’re all going to live without you. Without your wit and your analysis, without someone to call out the liars and hypocrites with the delicious art of the replay. Oh crap. I was hoping to thank you and not fall on my knees begging.
Thank you, Jon Stewart. The gift you have given our culture is a jewel, and it will last because you made it out of hope. I think there’s still some of that around. Clearly, the myth you shattered (see first sentence, above) cannot be rebuilt. So there’s hope right there. Thank you, a million times over.
And here’s wishing you and your family every happiness, every satisfaction and a long, sweet sojourn without the slightest sacrifice.