Here’s the man my husband loves to hate…and I just can’t figure out why.
“Admit what?” you ask. That they don’t really read all those books they talk about, nightly. How do I know? Because I barely have time, and I’m retired, for God’s sake.
Take Jon Stewart (some of you are doubtless saying, “Yeah, take him, all right, and drop him off into the deepest part of the ocean that mega-billionaire, Titanic/Avatar movie director James Cameron just visited…..”)
My husband can’t stand Stewart because of all the Marmaduke-type guttural sounds he makes as when he’s acting in mock confusion, on any issue.
He hates his theatrics—thinks they’re juvenile.
But I love JS, so when he’s on, husband and I part company, with him leaving and watching something else in the other room.
Every night—or practically—Stewart holds up a book that his guest has just released. And Stewart references what he considers the meatiest parts of it. Oh, he quotes… he quibbles with the author…he goads..he prods…He’s doing what he always does–sublimely skewering an argument of the right or pumping up and validating one on the left.
No matter—he really sounds like he’s done the research and digested every morsel of this book.
But here’s what I suspect. His staff reads the books and extracts the pithy material…In other words, they dissect it, listing the really important stuff and feed it to Stewart in bullet points.
Now, all Stewart’s got to do is deliver it and I don’t mean to undermine that, because even that takes deft handling, since tho’ he might understand the salient aspects, he doesn’t know the context…so his whole spin could become a minefield—especially if his guest lands him an unexpected counterpunch.
But maybe, that’s why the show is taped and edited in advance (Is it?) You see, I marvel at the fact Stewart, unlike some real die-hard conservatives, has guests from the other side of the political aisle.
Hell, some even appear to be from another universe.
For instance, he doesn’t really know (does he?) where his guests will go, in a given exchange? Maybe some give spontaneous answers, off-script? Perhaps one or two of the cagier ones ‘pull a Stephen Colbert’ on Stewart, and that man’s a whiz on unpredictability (even if Stewart and Colbert share the same political team.)
In other words, Stewart strides into the breach, nightly, realizing there’s explosion potential on the other end that could go off in his face. What if a guest asked Stewart a pointed question designed to show Stewart didn’t read the whole book?
Then, again, the man’s a master of getting out of a corner.
Let’s not forget, in a recent poll a few years ago, Jon Stewart was voted “America’s Most Reliable Newscaster,” beating out Brian Williams, Katie Couric, among others. That’s right, people voted him that. They didn’t differentiate, as in calling him news ‘commentator’ (which is really what he is.)
This all begs the question: “ Is his audience so enamored with him that they forget he’s doing satire? “ “Do they truly not understand he’s skewering real news and everybody in it?”
Or do they actually believe he’s, hands-down, the best news person in the business?
“What do you think?” “Are you a Jon Stewart fan?” “And do you really believe he—and his arch nemesis, Bill O’Reilly, really read the books they so casually discuss?”
And come to think of it, why didn’t her team better prepare Sarah Palin? (get one similar to Jon Stewart’s next time.) She wasn’t merely vying for nightly audience of millions but going for the second most important position in the land– that of VP.
If someone on her staff had read those newspapers and spoon-fed data to her, she’d never have failed so miserably, thus denying Tina Fey body-double immortality.
Now, what are your thoughts on Jon Stewart…Tina Fey…Bill O’Reilly (his program gets the MOST audience of all?!)