Blog 12: The take away blog
Before I begin, I think I would be amiss not to mention the recent developments in the Osama bin Laden news cycle. As we know, The Navy SEALs managed to kill him by all accounts, and I spent a good six hours watching the real news getting updates on the whole ordeal. I feel it necessary to share a small portion of my mindset on the issue, since it does play a pretty large role in the political communication realm. When talking to my hippy-dippy ex-girlfriend, she texted me, “I like how Osama is a reason to start a fucking worldwide frat party.” While I am glad that the world is rid of a terrorist threat, a man willing to kill civilians to advance his hateful intolerance, my response to her was thus: “I was glad that they managed to kill a guy who spread hate, but singing ‘Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye)’ in the streets was worthy of a douchechill.”
Whether the death of Osama bin Laden was the outcome of a carefully planned mission that was carried out on May 1st, or whether bin Laden’s been dead for a few days and President Obama decided to make the announcement coinciding with the 8 year anniversary of George W. Bush’s “Mission accomplished” proclamation for the sake of political vote pandering will be interesting to discuss. But as of yesterday, I think it’s less appropriate to celebrate bin Laden’s death as it is to celebrate, soberly, the elimination of a hateful man who sought to spread hate. If nothing else, let’s celebrate how hard President Obama got laid when he found out he managed to eliminate the number one face of terror during his presidency, something that hadn’t been done over 10 years. If he isn’t getting some, none of us should be either.
Perhaps the most interesting discussion I took away from this class was that of how soft news, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert managed to affect the news media and the citizens in our fine democracy. That their satire, be it of the news media itself or of the blowhard pundits that pontificate like Pharisees from their pulpits, can have such a profound affect on the voting public, how news stations cover the news and what journalists cover is fascinating. From the cancellation of Crossfire to Stephen Colbert’s ability to be adopted by college liberals and staunch conservatives alike shows the power of their pulpit.
Further, I think it’s important that I mention that from this class, I was able to determine precisely what the difference between what Stewart/Colbert do in terms of their comedy (satire) and what other comedians, such at Leno and Letterman do (pseudosatire) is. More importantly, the importance of understanding the difference between these two are, i.e. satire calls for change through comedy whereas pseudosatire fans the flames of apathy by giving up on the the tenants of democracy became paramount to me. Since I tend to consume my politics with the sugar of comedy coating its bitter political pill, to know what each’s goal is allows me to understand the political atmosphere and what the goals of comedy and democracy are. Rather than giving up on politics, this class has actually instilled a hopefulness that democracy can work, primarily because most of the comedians I respect actually believe in the tenants of democracy (save for late Carlin, who was as cynical as the come toward the end).
The paper that I wrote, on how comedy affects democracy, did precisely the opposite of what I expected it to do. Rather than further removing me from a democracy that I already haven’t been participating in (I think I’m the only person in class who didn’t vote in ’08), it made me proud to be part of a democracy. While it may have its flaws, it isn’t entirely hopeless, and researching and writing this paper, coupled with the discussions we’ve had about political comedy and its affect on democracy re instilled a pride in this nation that I had lost in the past few years. So thanks for assigning it!