Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Comedic Intellectualism

"If I'd only followed CNBC's advice, I'd have a million dollars today -- provided I'd started with a hundred million dollars."--Jon Stewart

Jon Stewart, despite being a "comic" is actually a very well-respected (at least in my peer group) interviewer and commentator on political and social issues. This man is well-educated with one of the sharpest minds I've seen. I don't have to look up his bio to find out what college he went to and what degrees he earned to know that. The intelligence he wields during his interviews is high above most of what I see on cable news. And his humor is always the right touch. Screaming "F*** You!" after rolling clips of errors in information presented by the MSM is merely an echo of what the rational-thinking world is saying. Making us laugh while doing this is just a bonus and let's face it, with the world today, we need a good laugh.

This week's "Daily Show" is really turning into a must-watch. CNBC's Jim Cramer should have just kept his trap shut and moved on after being exposed for his idiocy. Or better yet, made a promise to do better. Instead, he chose to go to battle with a comic with a "variety show."

Oooohhhh, not the words to use, man. You have opened the tiger's cage and smacked it on the butt.

Cramer has to rely on props and sound effects to try to get laughs. He is so off-putting that I can't believe anyone actually watches him, much less acts on the stock "advice" he gives. So what if he once started his own hedge fund. He's a stock market weatherman. Just like meteorologists and weather "persons" who study all they want, most of the time they don't get it right. (And if you'll notice they really rely heavily on technologically advanced radar to actually track storms.) You yourself can read the papers and study the stock market and do just as well--if not better--than he does.
And if Cramer reads this and tries to argue that I'm oversimplifying the process, fuck you, buddy. Go push your little crybaby button on your soundboard. I wouldn't buy a stock you recommended even if you paid me a million dollars. And put away the sad puppy-face you pulled on the "Today" show yesterday morning. If you can't stand the heat, don't start the fire. And I can't say your media blitz garnered much sympathy.

To give Cramer credit, he is going on the "Daily Show" this Thursday to go head-to-head with Stewart. From the LA Times' Matea Gold: "The sardonic comedian and kinetic former hedge fund manager may make for an odd match-up. But the tussle between the two television personalities reflects a larger debate raging about whether the media did an adequate job covering the lead-up to the recession."

And that's exactly what's at the base of this situation. It's not about comedian versus pundit. It's about truth in reporting. Where was the objectivity in reporting facts? Did the media try to put a smiley face on the situation by reporting around what was actually happening? Shame on you. If there's an elephant in the room, dude, ask it what it's doing there.

After the Watergate scandal and the job done by Woodward and Bernstein in getting to the truth, attendance at journalism schools skyrocketed. People wanted to dig and uncover what was really happening inside our government, whether it be on the national or local level. Uncovering truth and seeking justice were their driving forces in protecting the American way. (Hey, notice that Superman's alter ego is a reporter?)

Now, anyone with a blog is a reporter.* Anyone with an opinion based on a few facts is a pundit. Or even an opinion based on no facts. Jon Stewart and his comedy "variety show" covers more information than an hour of "Morning Joe" and digs straight to the heart of the matter.

People have tried to dismiss "The Daily Show" before. Remember some of the comments from 2000 about how his viewers are unemployed pot smokers? Not so, says the studies. Viewers of "The Daily Show" are more likely to have college educations and white collar jobs. People trust Jon Stewart to cover the news, warts and all, and he makes us laugh while doing it.

I have a message for Mrs. Stewart--Don't let this man go. An intelligent guy who can tell jokes based on something other than scatological humor and have intelligent conversations with politicians and authors is a keeper. Does he have a twin? Preferably single?

*For the record, I do have a journalism degree with a focus on news editorial from one of the toughest schools in the state of Texas. And I go weak at the knees over funny guys with brains.

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