Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Fun: The Colbert Report

 So it's Friday, which means it's time to have a little fun. Right? Noni and I have been busy this week, searching for just the right video. Okay, that's a bit of a lie. Both of us have been busy, and this is a video we found a while ago that seems to fit the moment.

I mean, last week's video featured my husband's band, The Fentons, and it was presented in terms of romance. This week you're going to see the guy I'd dump my husband for in a second. (Sorry dear...)

Steven Colbert.

I think he's brilliant, and not just because he's smart and he can sing and he's a good Catholic boy. I love the way he's playing with irony to get his point across. So much of what's considered humor right now is pretty sophomoric - T&A, potty jokes, angry strings of F-words. Irony is a higher level of humor, and day after day, Colbert just nails it. defines irony as "the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning". In Colbert's case, it goes beyond words. It's his persona, his attitude, the deft way he covers his anger with a smiley face. He's been accused of promoting 'ironic rot' by the National Review, and, along with Jon Stewart, of being a symptom of the decaying politic system that defines this country. 

In his 2010 Los Angeles Times article, Will Bunch compared Stewart & Colbert to Glen Beck, the pundit they're supposedly lampooning. His assessment shows more similarities than you'd expect, although I doubt the crowds of people who went to see them on the National Mall would agree.

I would offer that this disagreement is a symptom of the real problem with our political system. People of opposing viewpoints don't listen to each other. Consider some research findings published in The International Journal of Press/Politics:

Using data from an experiment (N = 332), we found that individual-level political ideology significantly predicted perceptions of Colbert's political ideology. Additionally, there was no significant difference between the groups in thinking Colbert was funny, but conservatives were more likely to report that Colbert only pretends to be joking and genuinely meant what he said while liberals were more likely to report that Colbert used satire and was not serious when offering political statements.

So he's on both sides? That doesn't bug me at all. I'm glad there's a place liberals and conservatives can find common ground. IMHO, only a united front will fix the things that are wrong with this country, and only real dialogue will get us there. And if we're laughing at the same things, maybe some of that dialogue will happen.

Wow. That went much deeper than I'd expected. Noni's crying in her cocktail over here. In the interest of keeping to the Friday Fun theme, let's make a little hay with one of our major corporation person friends. Here's Mr. Colbert talking about a fave snack...


  1. You went there and even though I was expecting pure humor, I'm glad you did. Dialogue between people with opposing viewpoints is definitely what we need. Colbert is one of my favorites. And I'd probably drop my hubby for him too. Well, maybe not drop him, but put him on the back burner. :)

  2. Thanks Sara. Part of my motivation for this post is the current kerfuffle here in WA over an initiative drive to overturn the gay marriage ruling that our governor recently signed. The Catholic Archbishop has encouraged Catholics to sign petitions to get the initiative on the ballot, but left it to individual Pastors to decide whether volunteers can collect signatures on Church property. I personally think they should not be allowed to, but my Pastor is allowing the collection of signatures, framing it as an opportunity for dialogue, to bring people together. He has a point, but all over the place people are walking away from their parishes over this issue. I'm trying not to get to that point, so this is my personal attempt at opening up to dialogue.
    I hope people hear that.
    Thanks again...

  3. I love Colbert and Stewart. Luckily they replay the night before's show on Comedy Central at 6 and 6:30. It's a little tough for me to stay up as late as they are on. The tears roll down my face I laugh so hard at those two :)

    I remember when CT passed the gay marriage law. We were one of the first states to do so. People protested but no initiative ever came up to overturn it, which I was glad. For the groups that did have concerns, CT is fine. We're thriving, Armageddon did not come, the sun did rise the day after the bill was signed, God did not take his wrath out on us as one church minister suggested.

    Good luck in Washington.

  4. I LOVE Colbert! Great clip - was laughing out loud throughout. Wouldn't leave the hubs for him (someone else has that distinction) but would have him over for dinner every night if I could.

    And I'm glad you WENT THERE. Positive, constructive dialogue is a good thing and I think you've opened the door for that.

  5. I'm glad God has left the churches of Connecticut in peace, Deb, and hope some of my neighbors find that reassuring.
    If we're lucky they won't get enough signatures to put the initiative on the ballot.

  6. A dinner party with Colbert!?! I wanna be there.
    Thanks Tami!

  7. Certain people say that Colbert and Stewart are symptoms of a decay, but I think I understand it differently than those conservatives do. Great satire (Juvenal, Jonathon Swift, et al.) came to the forefront as satirists because politics and society was in a deep decline. They did not cause it; they commented on what they saw around them every day.

    In one of those "who would you want at dinner" quizzes, I would definitely have my two favorite fake newscasters. They are f*(&^%g brilliant.

  8. Brilliant point, Julie. If society didn't give them so much to work with, Mr's Stewart & Colbert wouldn't have much to say.
    Thanks for the comment!

  9. Lol! Poor hubby :) This is a fabulous clip! Happy Friday :) Tell Noni hi from me!!

  10. Nah, my husband's position is secure.
    Thanks Ann! I'll pass your good wishes along to Noni.

  11. LOL, this was priceless and was just the laugh I needed tonight. I'm wondering how many politicians he lost though, when he got to the math relating to overconsumption??