There’s something behind Jon Stewart’s boyish smile. And that shoulder-bouncing chuckle. It puts us at ease. To be able, night and night again, to dissect the absurdity of the mainstream, 24-hour news cycle and smile through it, well, most of the time anyway, relaxes us. It comforts us in a soothing, everything-is-going-to-be-ok way. (Like what I do with Hank in my arms when I get home, typically more so to comfort myself, though.) And it doesn’t hurt that he, and his brigade of writers, are beyond informed and damn well articulate, especially when it counts. Like tête-à-tête with a political ideologue wearing whatever political stripe selling such and such rhetoric of the day. And when the subject calls for gravitas, like it did when Jim Cramer came on after the financial meltdown, Stewart had the gravitas. And a bone to pick.
As a, ahem, educated 20-something that devours the news oft hourly, Stewart is my last laugh and smile before bed at night. As he has been to me for years. (Colbert still has a warm spot as well, but in a different, over-the-top way.) Part of the lasting allure comes from Stewart’s ability to cut through the hubris and coherently, eloquently make a point. A point that is always pragmatic. A word, a concept, a way of thinking that seems to be absolutely lost in our politically-divided, strange days. The ability to dredge through the bullshit and maintain a principled point and argument, all the while being humourous, dumbfounds me.
There he is on late every night—in a bland suit, with graying hair, holding a pen, which is always accompanied with a couple pieces of blue paper, waving his hands around wildly, sometimes making use of the bleep button for effect—our time’s arbiter.
He holds influence, an enormous amount. And he’s a comedian.
That says a lot about our times.