This is first and foremost a technical blog, but on occasion, when I think it’s merited, I would like to comment on other topics, and this is a topic I have to comment about. This is more probably for me to come to terms with it than probably it being any value to anyone else, I understand, but here it goes….
Jon Stewart’s run as the host of The Daily Show has ended.
You have to understand I used to teach US History in public schools. Naturally, US history, current events, and politics are going to be important to me. And that world for me has been forever changed upon discovering The Daily Show, and it’s going to change now that Stewart has left it.
I unfortunately discovered Stewart’s incarnation of TDS several years late. I don’t know specifically when, but it was sometime just prior to the 2004 Presidential election, because I do remember TDS coverage leading up to it. And it grabbed me almost immediately, and through the years, it was a staple of my life. I went through periods of watching pretty much no television to keeping up with several shows, but the constant? TDS. I don’t think I missed an episode from 2004 to now. And when it was on break, I missed it.
Now, I know some people who may be reading this might not like Stewart, and perhaps it’s because he was on the wrong side of the political spectrum. But if so, you probably missed the point. During an interview with Mike Wallace on Fox News, Jon Stewart asked Wallace what he thought was Stewart at his highest aspiration, and Stewart told him plainly – Mark Twain. And this is why I admire Stewart so much. Nobody cares today if Mark Twain was a Democrat or a Republican. Mark Twain was great and important because of his insights, and his ability to articulate ideas. Make no mistake – Jon Stewart is our Mark Twain.
Nobody articulated better the reality of our current political landscape than Jon Stewart, from corruption within the government on both sides of the aisle, to systemic problems within the political system, and, most of all, his insights and relentless critique of the media. And I mean all media. While Fox News attempted to illustrate what they felt was the problem that the mainstream media has a liberal bias and attempted to counterbalance it, Stewart held seemingly all media outlets accountable for lacking journalistic integrity, from the network news, to the 24-hour news networks, and the overtly partisan news networks of Fox and MSNBC. He even called out all financial news networks such as CNBC, culminating in the incredibly popular confrontational interview of Jim Cramer in an interview on TDS.
He spoke out about incredibly important issues, and didn’t just take a side, but provided invaluable insight. And most of all, he was very often disarmingly sincere. When he spoke to Cramer, after making his point about the financial news networks seemingly promoting behaviors like stock speculation, or spreading false information to gain advantage in the markets with clips of Cramer doing these things, which when done systemically contributed partly to the downfall of the economy, he vividly told Cramer, “this isn’t a f***ing game.”
His calling out of Congress for not helping first responders to 9/11, his relentless attacks of anyone promoting disingenuous talking points on either side, whether it be the Swift Boaters or attacks by the New York Times against Marco Rubio finances… I could go on and on.
Stewart helped millions of people, including me, not just see through various outlets plays to distort the truth, but to understand how and why it was happening. And that’s something that isn’t something valuable to one side of the political aisle or the other. It’s something that’s helpful for all of us.
And… his show was funny! From political humor, to somehow being able to laugh at the Crocodile Hunter’s passing thanks to Stewart’s uncomfortably hilarious interview with Norm McDonald after it happened, to making fun of Arby’s repeatedly for absolutely no reason, and more…
I’ve watching Jon Stewart and The Daily Show for over a decade now. Jon Stewart’s departure for me is the emotional equivalent of losing a family pet, which is a horrible comparison, but it’s the best one I can come up with that can approximate the emotional punch to the gut it is for me. It’s like being told, “Yeah, Mark Twain’s around, but you’re not gonna hear from him as much anymore starting NOW.”
There won’t be another Jon Stewart, just like there won’t be another Mark Twain, but I’m ultimately glad we got him as long as we had him.
Are you a Daily Show or Jon Stewart fan? What are your favorite moments? How are you taking his departure?