HAVING been asked to write an “appreciation” of Jon Stewart, I find myself at a loss for words. The more cynical among you may say that’s impossible but appraising Stewart is not an easy task. It requires personal experience which, God help me, I have.
Far more than a comedian dependent upon a squad of jaded writers, Stewart actually thinks about things from time to time. He’s good at spotting phonies and is quick with a quip when challenged. I always looked forward to verbally jousting with the man even though, at times, I confused him with facts and I felt bad doing it.
Of course, Jon Stewart is being held captive by a self-imposed left wing view of society. That has served him well in the marketplace as his audience of young stoners and aging guys with ponytails lap up his snarky liberal talking points. I’m sure he would reply with a sardonic put down of my audience as out of touch white people, but then again most folks who watch me actually held a job at some point.
The thing about Stewart is that he will concede a well made point. My debate with him over so called white privilege was instructive in that regard. Stewart sincerely believes that most African-Americans are still being victimized because of their skin color. I put forth that organized bias has vanished in this country although individual prejudice remains a part of the human condition and will always be there. Stewart made his points, I made mine. At the end of the discussion we had a few laughs as we always do.
And that’s what I appreciate. Unlike some of his soulmates, Jon Stewart is not a malicious man by nature. You can reason with him when he’s sober, although there are certain individuals that drive him crazy and he gives them no quarter. In that he’s human.
So the departure of every hairstylist’s poster guy will leave a void in the world of political satire. Undeniably, Jon Stewart was great at what he did.
Whatever that was.
Editors Note: Bill O’Reilly and Jon Stewart have been appearing on each others’ programs to debate since 2001, rarely agreeing on anything. In 2012, they also engaged in The Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium at George Washington University, which some navel lint gazers said might not have been the 2012 presidential election’s most important debate but was definitely the most entertaining.