Saturday, May 13, 2006
In a nation that seems to have mutually lost its spine and its soul, Stephen Colbert’s performance at the White House Correspondents dinner is still being talked about all over the blogosphere, some two weeks after Colbert showed President Bush and his administration no mercy in skewering its policies, practices and indicting the mainstream media for being co-conspirators in the removal of our democratic underpinnings. There are those who might argue the merits of even using the “d-word” in relation to the United States, at any time in our recent past. That’s a discussion for another post. What I’d like to highlight, is at a time of timidity and caution, Colbert threw expediency and diplomacy to the wind and let it rip, when given an opportunity to make his case about the president.
Oddly, the one consistent place to find some “truthiness” has become Comedy Central, with its nightly duo of Colbert and former comedy partner in crime, John Stewart, tag-teaming Bush and the political debacle we find ourselves in, during the first quarter of 2006.
While it’s not the first time that comedians have provided some context for politics during wartime (anyone with a cursory knowledge of Lenny Bruce and his comedic salvos understands comedy’s ability to provide a working framework for current events), it’s been awhile since the nation’s turned its weary eyes to the comedic profession for truth and understanding.
While the late Bill Hicks provided a fringe take and hot poker to the ass of much of what passed for right-wing lunacy, Stewart, and now, Colbert, bring a needed perspective, albeit one less caustic (but just as deadly), to a much wider audience, particularly the living rooms of middle-America. Better yet, they have found a way to reach an apathetic group of 20 and 30-somethings, who have tuned out politics and rarely focus on traditional news outlets for their political or cultural understanding.
Arianna Huffington offers up her perspective on Colbert’s gutsy performance, one in which he dared to speak truth to power, when power was a stone’s throw away, literally at his right elbow. In fact, Colbert walked into the lion’s den with nothing more than his comedy routine and schtick from The Colbert Report and systematically put poor little rich boy, George, squarely in his place with a comedic, “up yours” to the commander-in-chief.
Huffington’s take is a good recap for anyone who’s been living under a rock for the past two weeks, as well as summarizing the perspective of other bloggers and pundits on Colbert’s comedic tour-de-force.