I’m not one for celebrity worship. Frankly I get annoyed by the public competition that follows a celebrity’s death or retirement, as writers try to one-up each other with maudlin remembrance–often quoting words spoken in-character, written by someone else.
That said, I am going to take a minute today to talk about Jon Stewart, because Jon Stewart to me is more than just some celebrity.
It’s so cliche to say “this celebrity touched my life,” but Jon Stewart’s work on the Daily Show really does have personal significance for me. It might be exaggeration to say “the Daily Show kept me sane,” but then again it might not. I remember one day in particular, during the darkest days of the Bush regime, when I felt especially lost and hopeless. I don’t remember the reason–maybe it was another failure by Congress to repeal the Patriot Act, maybe something to do with Gitmo–but I remember going home from work feeling really despondent. I remember it was the Daily Show that night that turned me around, that made me laugh at the very thing that had felt so crushing, that shrunk it down and made it manageable. Continue Reading
I have a confession: I have long harbored a secret fantasy that I would one day be a guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. I knew exactly how I would approach it: I’d find a way to make it about him, to thank him for having the courage to take a silly little news parody show, a half-hour Weekend Update, and turn it into a substantive critique of governance, politics, and media culture. There was no way for him to know that formula would succeed–that people in their teens and 20’s and 30’s would not only take a sudden interest in policy, but come to view him as their most trusted name in news, but he did it anyway. I’d tell him why I think he is the one to thank for President Barack Obama (because he made politics cool) and then I’d ask for a hug. If there was any time left, I’d maybe talk about my book or whatever I was there to plug, but if I didn’t even get around to it that somehow felt better.
I knew it would never happen–even if I was somehow fortunate enough to write best-selling novels, Jon’s preference for door-stopping nonfiction is well established. But now there’s another reason it will never happen: The day has finally come, that tragic day we all knew was inevitable, and Jon Stewart is leaving The Daily Show. Continue Reading