Sorry, We're Closed

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Colbert Retort

Stephen Colbert's announcement that he's running for President--but only in South Carolina and as both a Dem and a Rep--gives me the inspiration to write about him, which I've never done before.

In short, I don't get it.

Jon Stewart I understand. He's mocking people in power and occasionally tries to give viewers the real goods--he'll interview writers, politicians, etc. and trying to get to some point that most mainstream media morons don't have the time, guts, or intelligence to ask. Good on ya.

But Colbert...he's just playing a mean-spirited caricature that I don't find fun or edifying. What's left once you've sorted your way through the meta-concept? What separates watching him from watching sewage like Glenn Beck or Bill O'Reilly? That it's all supposed to be some kind of a joke? I'm not laughing, anyway.

Maybe it's that I personally find it useless to watch a show so expertly parodying, or is that parroting, mean-spirited right-wing bigots. Don't we have enough of them in power right now? And it's supposed to be must-watch TV because it's all a joke?

This is hard to say, because I know someone who works on the show, but the inside-jokiness of Colbert, the tail chasing its own tail, just drives me batty. People love the guy,'d better count me out. I guess on a basic level, I don't feel a need to watch a parody of something I'd never watch in real life--especially if that thing is so harsh and hectoring.



Blogger ann-marie said...

i'm with you, stu. i simply don't think colbert is funny.

give me jon stewart any day. make that every day. :)

6:56 AM, October 18, 2007

Blogger Winona said...

Ditto to what Ann-Marie said, pretty much verbatim.

7:54 AM, October 18, 2007

Anonymous jamesfinngarner said...

Have to disagree, I think Colbert is hilarious. His character has developed from merely a parody of Bill OReilly to include just about every personality on TV. Should I care about Barbara Walters favorite charity? No more than I care who's on Stephen's "Watch List." Should I buy George Foreman's grill? No more than I'll buy Stephen's frozen sperm.

His most important contribution has been to show that the gasbags on TV aren't speaking from conviction, they're just saying whatever will keep their viewers happy and preserve their place at the trough--logic, humanity, history be damned. To watch Colbert's ridiculous gymnastics to support his "point of view" shows how fundamentally hollow that point of view is.

Finally, to enjoy only parodies of what you already watch is pretty limiting. Young Frankenstein? Spinal Tap? The humor is in the human weakness, not the manipulation of stylistic elements.

9:53 AM, October 18, 2007

Anonymous Jonathan said...

I've got a midpoint -- I find some of his stuff clever and entertaining (the interview with the born again GOP congressman who couldn't name more than a few of the 10 Commandments) but I don't go out of my way to tune him in. Then again, I only like Jon Stewart in small doses too: my idea of political humor is Mark Russell.

12:24 PM, October 18, 2007

Blogger Crotchbat said...

I'm not wild about the Colbert Report either, Stu. However, I did enjoy him on Strangers with Candy and the Adventures of Tek Jansen always makes me laugh.

Control: Watch your yaw. Tek: I'm watching my yaw!

10:59 AM, October 19, 2007

Anonymous adenia said...

my thoughts center around how CNN ran with the story, interviewed him and turned it into NEWS.

what would kucinich have to declare to get on with Lou Dobbs


6:26 AM, October 20, 2007

Blogger Stuart Shea said...

To respond to Jim Garner's post, I would simply say ask whether we didn't already know that these TV gasbags speak from greed and vanity. As far as only watching parodies of things I like, that's just a matter of personal taste; it's not about just manipulating stylistic elements, but about what you choose to fill your head with.

And I must agree with Adenia, too. This tail-chasing-tail crap--treating Colbert like he's a real candidate, who's important, at the expense of other, truly important issues--is not funny or even to be mocked, but rather to be mourned.

8:02 AM, October 20, 2007

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