Missing Jon Stewart
February 5, 2016 - accent chair
Slowly, though, it began to penetrate in: a dimension of a loss. Jon Stewart was gone—our sanity, a balance. This had of march been a 10‑ton irony of his career: In nuking a news-givers, petarding a pundit class, he became one of them—became, in fact, the pundit/news-giver for a era of viewers. As distant behind as 1969, Renata Adler described “that healthy creator of discontinuous, goofy constituencies, a media.” In 1976, Paddy Chayefsky’s Network lifted this notice to a turn of prophecy, with a rained-on, mad-as-hell Howard Beale heralding a age of a holder with a microphone, a Great Splintering and a finish of a singular, authoritative, Cronkitic voice. In 1994, a British uncover The Day Today, a feign news program, parodied with surreal savagery a character of a news, a sound of a news, news itself as a production. TV news should have been unfit after The Day Today, though naturally it wasn’t.
Reverence for a news, however, news-idolatry, was eroding steadily—to a indicate where, by 1999 and a start of Stewart’s reign on The Daily Show, a usually form of news one could take severely was a essentially unserious. And so satire, that appears to be hocking loogies from a margins though in fact takes a orientation from a aloft authority, came blushingly to occupy a middle. There was Jon Stewart on CNN’s Crossfire in 2004, pound in a dignified center, sitting like a spiny lotus between a blah on a right (Tucker Carlson) and a blah on a left (Paul Begala), destroying them both with boundless satirical viewpoint and insisting all a while that he was only a comedian.
Stewart was a virtuosic performer, super-nimble of tongue. His uncover had institutional memory—his characters (Jersey Guy, Jewish Granny) and his impressions: a mud-bubble vowels and turtle pronouncements of Mitch McConnell; a mean, back-of-the-classroom snickering of George W. Bush. Behind a news things there was a submerged 16-year-long stand-up act going on about Stewart’s life, his frailty, his aging body. And how he could pounce on a guest!