Zhaba Zhournal
Wednesday, October 20, 2004 
Crossing fire 
Yeah, okay, I'm about the only person online—and almost certainly the only professed Jon Stewart fan—who hasn't mentioned his soon-to-be-legendary "Crossfire" appearance.* But I have better things to do with my life than watch "Crossfire" (like cleaning the mouse cages and watching silver tarnish), and I almost never go online during the weekends, so I didn't even find out about it till Monday; and I've been engrossed in that working-at-work thing, and have hardly had time to read much about it, let alone write about what I've read. And since everyone else has written about it, and probably better than I can or will, what can I add, other than, even more than ever, I heart Jon Stewart?

Adding to the "other people's writing that I can't compete with," the New York Times had a piece on it today, No Jokes or Spin. It's Time (Gasp) to Talk. It's highly gratifying to see a major and mostly-respected newspaper come right out and say what Daily Show watchers—stoned slackers and otherwise—have been trying to get people to realize all along:
All late-night talk-show hosts make jokes about politicians. What distinguishes Mr. Stewart from Jay Leno and David Letterman is that the Comedy Central star mocks the entire political process, boring in tightly on the lockstep thinking and complacency of the parties and the media as well as the candidates. More than other television analysts and commentators, he and his writers put a spotlight on the inanities and bland hypocrisies that go mostly unnoticed in the average news cycle.

Mr. Stewart is very funny, but it is the vein of "a plague on both your houses" indignation that has made his show a cult favorite: many younger voters are turning to the "The Daily Show" for their news analysis, and are better served there than on much of what purports to be real news on cable.
There, can I stop being defensive about my viewing choices now? (That sounded a bit defensive.) At any rate, as the major newspapers and magazines spend time and column inches analyzing the Daily Show and parsing its appeal to realize its relevance, when I do get defensive, I'll be able to provide citations. As the "Reading Rainbow" catchphrase goes, you don't have to take my word for it.

(By the way, if I hadn't let my TV Guide subscription lapse because I hadn't ordered checks with my married name on them and therefore couldn't mail in payments, I'd have been able to add the cover story of TV Guide to my ongoing Jon Stewart Media Watch last week. As it is, if you get TV Guide or have walked past a newsstand, you already know he's on the cover. The New York Times—or even Rolling Stone—it ain't, but it's got a much wider subscription base and vastly greater readership. And it's of a more convenient size to keep under one's pillow. [Um, not that I'm doing that. But one could, is all I'm saying.])

*I don't think I can actually call it "legendary" yet, since it happened less than a week ago; I'm not quite sure how soon after it happens something can be legitimately called legendary, but in relation to television it's probably a year or two. And in relation to legends that's soon, and yes, I do think the JS Crossfire will still be in the annals of great television talk show appearances, so I'm ending this footnote now.

[ at 11:48 AM • by Abby • permalink  ]

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