Sunday, March 05, 2006

And The Winner Is....

Welcome Skeptics' Circlers. Thanks to Ahistoricality for the nomination and to Paige for accepting the piece. Also, thanks for the kind words, Ed.

In honor of Jon Stewart's hosting of tonight's academy awards, the votes are in, and the 2006 award for Stupidest Thing Appearing in A Major US Newspaper goes to...Micheal Kalin of the Boston Globe:
THE SELECTION of Jon Stewart as the host for Sunday night's 2006 Oscars undoubtedly marks a career milestone for the aspiring king of late-night comedy. Unfortunately, however,
Unfortunately, however, forthwith, per se, a fortiori, and without a doubt, Kalin enjoys excessive throat-clearing.
the ascension of Stewart and ''The Daily Show" into the public eye is no laughing matter.
Comedian. No Laughing Matter. Oh the sweet and sour irony. It's like rain on your wedding day.
Stewart's ever-increasing popularity among young viewers directly correlates with the declining influence of progressive thought in America. Coincidence? I think not. Let me explain.
Direct correlation you say? Please continue with the wealth of empirical evidence at your disposal.
Meet Joshua Goldberg, a fictional composite of the typical apostle of ''The Daily Show."
Never mind, actually evidence is unneccesary. Just create a character. It's like writing a biography of a dude from The Sims.
Born in Newton, Goldberg attended Newton South High School where he played an integral role in securing the school's debate championship. His 3.8 grade point average and impressive array of extracurricular activities earned him a scholarship to Vassar, where he majored in political science and joined a Jewish fraternity. Throughout his formal education, Goldberg stayed up-to-date on national politics through nightly coverage on ''The Daily Show" and even led a petition to protest the genocide in Darfur.
See, even though Goldberg is jewish, he's an alright guy. Though he is a nerd, and I would never invite him to one of my kewl kid parties.
Many of Stewart's die-hard supporters might use this persona as proof that ''The Daily Show" engages disillusioned viewers who otherwise could not be reached. This argument, however, fails to consider the ultimate career path of Josh Goldberg: Upon graduation in 2004, he accepted a prestigious job as an analyst at Morgan Stanley. Although he no longer follows Washington's daily political squabbles, Goldberg gives a significant annual contribution to the Democratic Party.
He no longer follows much of anything outside of his 100+ hour work weeks. But he's still a dirtie liberal hippie at heart.
The tragedy of this portrait is not that investment banking corrupts young souls (although one could argue otherwise), but rather that the students who abandon politics out of a naive self-consciousness often represent our country's most idealistic minds.
Not only does this not follow from the previous statement, it barely coheres internally. Or, shorter Pooh: Huh?!?
Stewart's daily dose of political parody characterized by asinine alliteration
Asinie Aliteration is opening for Green Day's latest tour, right?
leads to a "holier than art thou" attitude toward our national leaders.
Alternatively, our national leaders' status as morally bankrupt, empty-suited, easily corruptible gasbags serves to inspire said attitude.
People who possess the wit, intelligence, and self-awareness of viewers of "The Daily Show" would never choose to enter the political fray full of "buffoons and idiots." Content to remain perched atop their Olympian ivory towers, these bright leaders head straight for the private sector.
Funny thing about a top-notch education is that it's expensive. Many people go into debt to finance the experience. Debt which they expect to be paid back. Hence the private sector, Morgan Stanley, etc, etc, etc. I'm not going to speculate that Kalin is a trust-fund baby, but yes, yes, I am going to so speculate.
Observers since the days of de Tocqueville have often remarked about America's unique dissociation between politicians and citizens of ''outstanding character." Unfortunately, the rise of mass media and the domination of television news give Stewart's Menckenesque voice a much more powerful influence than critics in previous generations. As a result, a bright leader who may have become the Theodore Roosevelt or Woodrow Wilson of today instead perceives politics as a supply of sophisticated entertainment, rather than a powerful source of social change.
Next year, Kalin, you're gunna' be in here regurgitatin' Gordon Wood. Talkin' about, you know, the pre-Revolutionary Utopia and the capital forming effects of military mobilization. . . Is that your thing? You come into an [op-ed column], you read some obscure passage, and then pretend you, you..pawn it off as your your own idea just to impress some girls..? Embarrass my friend? Do You Like Apples?
Most important, this disturbing cultural phenomenon overwhelmingly affects potential leaders of the Democratic Party.
I'm still waiting for the 'direct correlation' announced above.
The type of folksy solemnity brandished by President Bush does not resonate with "The Daily Show" demographic.
. . . (crickets) . . .
According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, only 2 percent of the show's audience identify themselves as conservatives. At a time when the Democrats desperately need inspired leadership, the show's self-conscious aloofness pervades the liberal punditry.
Yes, because the "reality-based community" hates actual evidence, preferring to make inscrutable pronouncements from on high.
Although Stewart's comedic shticks may thus earn him some laughs Sunday at the Oscars,
Wait, I thought it was no laughing matter. My simple brain cannot keep up with this dizzying display of logic.
his routine will certainly not match the impact of his greatest irony: Jon Stewart undermines any remaining earnestness that liberals in America might still possess.
The horror. The Horror.
Michael Kalin is a 2005 graduate of Harvard College.
Ergo, respect his authoritah, you ignorant philistines. Only a graduate of Dartmouth or worse would dare find Jon Stewart funny. Uncultured simpletons.

Upon hearing of his win, Kalin was quoted as saying: "With great power comes great responsibility. Jon Stewart is messing with powers he cannot possibly comprehend."


Ahistoricality said...

That was fun!

I think he should ask Harvard for his money back....

Kaiser said...

Well done Pooh.

Sebby said...

It's nice to know that we live in a country where our freedoms are given so the government.

Oh, and you've been memed, by the by.

Frankie said...

I'd complement you on this wonderful post...but I am still waiting for a public apology. (sniff!)

Greg said...

What? What? Did an editor read this thing before they printed it?

Krista said...

That's right, the problem isn't with the fact that government is full of ignorant, incompetent buffoons and their cronies! The problem is that Jon Stewart pokes fun at them.

Ye gods.

Anonymous said...

>I think he should ask Harvard for his money back

Bartkid sez,
I think Harvard should ask him to give the degree back.

Abel PharmBoy said...

Great takedown!

BTW, my wife is a Harvard grad AND she would probably leave me for Jon Stewart if given the chance. So there.

Gdr said...

Kalin has managed to invent a new kind of fallacy, which I think is quite an achievement.

Criticising someone by proxy of their supporters is the fallacy of guilt by association (for example, "Hilter liked Wagner, so Wagner is evil").

So maybe this ought to be the fallacy of guilt by straw associate...

Pooh said...

It's not so much guilt as shame. Shame on Stewart for not being oh-so-serious because There Are Children Starving. So how can you possibly laugh?