Stephen Colbert is good for more than just a few laughs; in fact, some scholars wonder if he's "America's Socrates." As a result, the Colbert Report has sparked its own mini-discipline in academia, the Washington Post reports. (Writer Paul Farhi pokes a little fun at the "ivory-tower eggheads" leading the charge.) A raft of scholarly articles and books have examined the political satirist's work, from Essays on the Real Impact of Fake News to The Word Made Fresh: A Theological Exploration of Stephen Colbert.
Meanwhile, both Boston and Towson universities are offering courses on Colbert. Schools say his exaggerated hard-right antics can be traced back to the satirical musings of classical poets and playwrights. "Colbert deserves to be held against the greatest satirists in American history," including Ben Franklin and Mark Twain, says one Penn State professor. The reasons behind the show's success are worth exploring as it inspires viewers to learn about their own political system, adds another scholar.