Monday 19 October 2009

Comedy: The Only Way to Make Us Pay Attention

As a journalism and political science student, I have been made incredibly aware that young people no longer read the news. While perhaps this can be generalized to Americans in general, it’s much more fun for teachers and adults to criticize the upcoming generation, and attempt to scare them into political and social involvement.

The most important thing to teach an aspiring journalist, it seems, is that journalism and the news industry are dying. News has been taken over by Entertainment (cleverly dubbed Infotainment). What are we to do? People are uninformed and apathetic, participation in government is dropping, and democracy is dying!

Along come two comedians to save the day. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, the geniuses they are, seem to be the only people that can make young adults pay attention to current events. Their ridiculous bias makes their shows hilarious and entertaining to watch but, wait, isn’t bias something that should not be found in news?

Many feel that it is a crying shame that our generation’s main news providers are these two mock-journalists. I think, that while there are downsides to this type of “news”, comedy news is doing some great things.

Right after South Park, and before Tosh.0, a witty Jewish man from New Jersey pops up on the screen to deliver the day’s news and controversies with an incredibly liberal bias. Between the mocking of public officials and replays of their mistakes and mess-ups, the sarcastic observations of current social events, hysterical outbursts of frustration, and extremely uncomfortable interviews with real-live distinguished politicians, authors, and public figures, Jon Stewart might surprise you. What, what was that? Yes, it was, in fact, a moment of sincerity. Now and then, if only for a minute, Stewart’s acting talents slip him and his true beliefs and passion show through. It’s refreshing and somewhat incredible to see a journalist, if you can call him that, poke fun at an issue to lighten the mood and then actually deliver a point.

Immediately after, follows a egotistic “mock” super-Republican, Stephen Colbert. Actual Republicans, beware: he is not sincere. Stop nodding your head in agreement. He stole the words right out of your mouth? Republicans, I’m hoping you know and I don’t mean to insult your intelligence, Stephen Colbert is mocking you. He is, in fact, liberal (gasp). If you’re offended by this paragraph, thinking, “Of course I knew Colbert is liberal!”, well I’m sorry, but I’ve met several Republicans that were sincerely hoping that Presidential bid would work out for him.

The true danger of shows like the Daily Show and Colbert Report are just that – people who don’t catch on to the sarcasm, who don’t understand that things on that show are biased for the sake of comedy. Most people my age are still trying to sort out politics, and figure out what they believe in. Shows such as these could impact their developing views drastically, if not taken in the right light, or in union with other news sources.

Personally, I would love to see a similar show from the other side of the spectrum. Stephen Colbert does NOT count as a conservative comedy news show, and I would like to see someone poking fun at liberals (someone who is not a real-life liberal).I’d like a mock-liberal news show, in the way that Colbert is a mock-conservative. I’m surprised this niche has not yet been filled, although I’m not sure what network would carry it. However, when taking the rest of the conservative media into account, I’m not sure I’d really like to add to that pile of extreme, incredibly biased programs. I suppose that Glenn Beck provides enough entertainment from that ideology. Sadly, most are laughing at, not with, him.

1 comment:

Zack Rules said...

See Fox News Channel's 1/2 Hour News Hour for a failed attempt at starting a conservative alternative to Stewart/Colbert. Seriously, you know people that think Colbert's for real?