Daily Show Flaw: Laughing at Politics Isn't Enough

Clive Crook writes that jokes are fine, but so is a little engagement
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 12, 2015 1:44 PM CST
Jon Stewart during a taping of the 'Daily Show.'   (AP Photo/Brad Barket, File)

(Newser) – Jon Stewart has been the subject of countless glowing, even saintly, tributes since he's announced his imminent retirement from the Daily Show, but Clive Crook offers a bit of a counterpoint at Bloomberg View. Stewart, according to conventional wisdom, has shaped the views of an entire generation, one that now "engages with politics mainly through jokes." But why is this something to be celebrated, wonders Crook. "There's something wrong with a generation whose involvement with politics is mostly confined to laughing at it."

Mocking politicians is a fine thing, writes Crook, but over the years, the Daily Show began to take itself too seriously, to "lack a sense of its own absurdity." It also became predictable. "Clip of politician saying something stupid. Extended shot of Stewart's operatic incredulity. Audience roars, cheers, whoops. Repeat endlessly." Stewart is smart enough to have realized this and the fundamental problem it reveals, writes Crook. "Once you've finished laughing at politics, you have to engage with it to get anything done." Click for his full column, or to read about potential replacements for Stewart.

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