Thursday, October 28, 2010

Restoring Sanity

This Saturday, from noon to 3 p.m. ET, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are hosting a rally on the Mall in Washington D.C. entitled "Restoring Sanity and/or Fear" (Colbert's preference is "fear").

What a great idea.

The rally is for all of us out here who have opinions but shy away from name-calling and stomping on opponents' heads. (Oh, I'm sorry. I mean "shoulder, which crunch into the head, and might as well have been stomping on the head itself.") Poster slogans will include "I disagree with you, but I'm pretty sure you're not Hitler."

I am one of the many who gets news from the Daily Show because it is about the only delivery style out there (television, anyway) that is tolerable. That doesn't mean I don't watch "Morning Joe," or sometimes flip on other news shows. And I do like Rachel Maddow - she's smart, and careful with her facts. But I just as often turn the channel than stay with a particular news show, even though I'm tuning in specifically to get headlines from a talking-head perspective. These days, it is just a lot more palatable to get my current events information from the Internet, where I can choose the source - where I can exchange vitriolic spew for even-handed delivery, where I can get the same story from three different viewpoints in an effort to get the full story and not just a part of it.

And then there's the Daily Show. They are - well, just funny. Pithy. And they get to the point of the craziness right away. It's hard not to watch the Daily Show.

So this idea that there are others like me out there - who just want the rhetoric toned down while hearing the news - well, it's so exciting!

And the other very-cool thing: Comedy Central is going to air a live version of the rally for those of us who can't actually make it to the Mall. In Spokane, there's a viewing party at Isabella's (near Main and Division), starting at 9 a.m. I might go.

The Daily Show has been airing in D.C. all week long. It's been really funny, especially for me since I lived in D.C. for years, before coming to Spokane. On Monday, they had their "on-the-street" reporters in various places in D.C. Jason Jones was supposed to be standing out in front of the Supreme Court, but when Jon Stewart caught up with him, he was still fake-driving his car. When Stewart asked him where he was, Jones said, "I'm in a six-lane traffic circle that leads to an underpass! And then that leads to another g-damned traffic circle! I mean this Frenchified city layout makes no f**king sense! How hard is it to lay down a grid!" When Stewart told him that all he needed to do was get to the Supreme Court on Second Street, Jason Jones said, "There are four Second streets! They don't even intersect! And the columns — everywhere! The indistinguishable columns. This town is simultaneously magnificent and useless. It's like they designed the whole thing as a metaphor."

This is very funny, especially if you have spent any time in D.C., because it all is true. Metaphor included. In fact, the D.C. audience roared. They knew exactly what he meant.

The next night was also very funny. Jason Jones went supposedly to the "legendary Avenue of Lobbyists - K Street" but when the camera panned on him, he was standing in front of what appeared to be a dump. Jon Stewart looked quizzical as he said, "Actually Jason, it looks a little more down-market than I imagined." Jason Jones said how the lobbyists "must be true believers - they're spending all their money on advocacy and not on aesthetics..." Stewart asked him, where are you, exactly? And Jones read the "gang-tagged" street sign as saying "K Street S.E." - which, of course, is gang-torn southeast, not lobby-town northwest. Stewart points this out to Jones, who says, "There's more than one K Street, too? Motherf**ker, I hate this town! It's so broken!"

Then last night - and on a more serious note - President Obama was on the show for the entirety of it. In my opinion, it is absolute-must viewing, regardless of party affiliation. For me, it helped put things in perspective. Take a look:

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