The Wilderness | Issue 45 | 4 . 1 . 15 | Tweet
Full confession: During the Bush years I loved The Daily Show. I loved that a show could go after a presidential administration, no matter the politics, and balance it by highlighting how ridiculous and trivial news media at the time was becoming. When Stewart appeared on CNN’s Crossfire, his pleas for Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala to grow up and give the country a mature dialogue were only out done by Stewart’s ability to highlight that their show was more satirical than his. As a conservative, it was always fair to me that someone could not only go after the president who I agreed with and voted for but could also go after the media that that criticized him relentlessly. Stewart’s tribute to the World Trade Center on his first show back after 9/11 is truly humbling and more memorable than any of the media counterparts he regularly lampooned.
As much as Conservatives hate to admit it, there are valid points to Stewart’s undeniable impact on pop culture political media. But on the night when Barack Obama was elected in 2008 that all went out the window. Stewart shed his tears and with them, any propriety of news comedy satire.. He immediately became that of which he always made fun of – a rigid ideologue with a partisan agenda. Like every other member of Network Media saluting a peacock logo, he is personally invested in the narrative that Barack Obama is a success. He HAS to be a success. Obama’s failures would be Jon Stewart’s failures. Therefore any criticism of Barack Obama is an attack on Jon Stewart. Stewart was able to cleverly mask this due to several years prior to hosting The Daily Show before the arrival of Barack Obama. Newly announced host Trevor Noah, a relatively unknown, doesn’t have that luxury.
He is a choice borne of what the current news cycle demands, but not necessarily where it is headed. The Trevor Noah hire is something Comedy Central feels like something that they had to do not something that they wanted to do. It’s like Comedy Central out sourced Lex Luthor to steal a strand of Jon Stewart’s hair and then combine it with a nuclear weapon and launch it into the sun.
They went down the proper Cultural Appropriation checklist and said, “what do we have to do to take the least amount of criticism from social justice mobs and prevent them from storming our gates?” As it turns out even that didn’t work out so well in the end. Old eyebrow raising tweets of Noah’s were recycled by people on both the left and the right for everyone on Twitter to see. Noah snarked about the apartheid state of Israel (even more laughable considering he’s from South Africa), the intolerance of pretty much the entire United States between LA and New York City and committing the biggest no no of all, making ill advised shaming of fat girls. Media leftists can abide Antisemitism but they draw the line at commenting on a woman’s weight.
Soon enough, The Daily Show’s staunchest defenders in media were expressing concern. The Daily Show’s target audience — progressive millennials — was even more outraged. An audience that can’t wait to jump on the missteps of its heroes the second they stumble is how we say, problematic. It’s also exhausting. The country is exhausted. We’re exhausted because of a permanent protest culture always waiting for an excuse to gin itself up into new heights of frothing pique. It’s a feeding frenzy just circling waiting for the waters to be chummed. Last month it was protests fueled by a fictionalized media myth of “Hands Up Don’t Shoot”. This month it’s the fictionalized myth of gay discrimination on behalf of a state law in Indiana. Next month it will be something else and this will continue as it has until the clock runs out on Barack Obama’s activist presidency in January of 2017.
These aren’t conservative websites organizing online mobs and calling for entertainers, business owners or athletes to apologize, be fired, drawn and quartered.
The stories of Noah’s deeply Anti-Semitic jokes (And they were jokes, no matter how tasteless or unfunny) and tweets about fat girls were collected on the usual suspects of online mob organizing in Gawker and Gawker With Cat Gifs, the same sites that orchestrated an online outrage army against a random PR executive for making an Aids joke. We are a leftist dominated culture being spoon fed outrage from bottom feeders because the lowest common denominator clicks make them money.
By noon yesterday Noah’s really bad jokes had spread to the New York Times, Talking Point Memo ( No, I’m not linking them) Hollywood Reporter, ESPN and CNN. Vox writers locked themselves in a dark room and wrestled with how best to express their fragile disappointment without coming across the as privileged elitists that Noah may ridicule later and not give an interview with. Salon, not exactly known for their sterling reputation of ideological consistency, did a full one-eighty on Noah faster than it takes Jon Stewart to change his last name.
None of the sites where Noah’s tweets were embedded for public pillorying are exactly known as political bastions of the American Right. We don’t police thought-crime, organize protests, smash windows or demand these people be fired. We change the channel.
Any faint outrage conservatives expressed online was more directed at Noah and Stewart’s audience. This might be a shocker to the Brawndo sponsored cult of leftist, #UniteBlue Alinksyites, but there’s not even a controlling media protest entity on the right. None. We might highlight rank hypocrisy on our individual twitter timelines and Facebook posts but we also have work in the morning.
Being the targets of late night comics for decades has hardened us to the point of almost never truly being offended or shocked enough to bother lighting a torch or as Trevor Noah might put it “gerrbing ou’ pitchferk ferm the barn raight next to tha’ der shotgern” But that’s not how a leftist dominant media sees things.
Comedy Central released a statement yesterday standing behind their new host which shouldn’t really be surprising coming from the network that has those print ready after every new episode of South Park. It was too late. Noah himself spoke out in an attempt to capitulate the mob. This is the official death of Stewart’s Daily Show. The second any comedian apologizes for their jokes, it’s over. Noah now has to operate from the position that he may offend his viewers. Not exactly edgy stuff. Noah is now having to reign in an overly sensitive and triggering culture that Jon Stewart and the show’s creator, Lizz Winstead, helped facilitate.
Yes I’m enjoying this.
There is no validity in hypothetically asking “What if Noah tweeted these things about blacks, or if he was white?” There is a validity in the fact that the people standing up for Noah and fending off the SJW/PC/OFA brigade are the ones that he routinely directs his ire at the most. But that isn’t a lesson he will learn by the time he takes Stewart’s chair.
Under Noah, The Daily Show will turn into ever-more-blatant, thinly disguised propaganda, shoveled joylessly out into the gaping maws of the activist millennial masses. The one audience that Noah plans to target the most in the next coming 3 to 4 years including the next election are the ones that are most apt to defend him and his freedom of expression on Twitter and social media. The problem is entertainers like Noah will never understand this until it’s too late. The Daily Show was attempting to lock up a bright young unknown talent. Except that’s never who the host of the Daily Show has been. Both Craig Kilborn and Stewart were relatively known comedic performers.
Noah will still carry on Stewart’s traditions of swiveling around in his chair over what a GOP intern in the Secretary of State’s office in whatever red state said (more likely now especially if that intern is Jewish). But the culture of micro-aggression doesn’t come from making jokes at the expense of Conservatives. Brendan Eich didn’t resign at Firefox because of a conservative mob. Conservatives didn’t make an astrophysicist cry over a shirt. Conservatives don’t have Patton Oswalt in their cross-hairs. Conservatives didn’t care about Jaime Foxx’s Bruce Jenner joke. Conservatives didn’t make Steve Martin apologize for an off color (pun intended) joke. Stephen Colbert made millions ridiculing conservative Fox News culture and became a pop culture icon waiving his finger in George Bush’s face at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner, but it took a far left activist named Suey Park to call for the termination of his show. That’s the line. American Conservatives can handle it. We’ve been taking it on the chin ever since George Carlin paced frenetically on a stage screaming about Ronald Reagan, and we laughed right along with him. Meanwhile every reporter for Vox.com or Salon will watch every episode of Trevor Noah’s Daily Show with baited breath and puckered asshole hoping that he doesn’t stray too far from the narrative they expect from him and by all appearances, he won’t.
He is to only destroy the things they deem appropriate to destroy.
That’s why Trevor Noah’s hire doesn’t seem right to begin with. His humor isn’t born out of trying to satirize a country he loves and identifies with by utilizing goofball antics and spitwads. He genuinely comes off in his stand up routines and tweets as cantankerous and begrudged. A more outraged and less funny Chris Rock. Maybe by 2016 that’s where his audience will be but those won’t be welcome qualities to tune into every night, as MSNBC has very painfully learned. As disagreeable and repetitive as Stewart’s pencil tapping routine has become, there is never an atmosphere surrounding him that feels malicious or angry. Stewart’s goal was to always play the role of John Bender gladly asking for another Saturday from the political elite and uptight principal. Stewart’s puppetry of propaganda may misguided and dishonest, but it’s certainly not driven by hatred. Noah’s rampant antisemitism wasn’t the issue. It’s just that it’s not that funny. The second The Daily Show admits it’s own serious role in news media, the joke dies.
The risk the Daily Show runs into with Noah is he won’t be original and he certainly won’t be able to replace Stewart’s inquisitive interview style. Noah most likely won’t be filling any niche that isn’t already filled. Larry Wilmore, as Colbert’s replacement, has already brilliantly nailed the shocked & wide eyed black guy. Bill Maher has the sarcastic/angry shock host market cornered and John Oliver has quickly patented the “I just got here and I’m the kooky foreigner trying to figure out why Americans do things this crazy way?” act. Maybe Noah can be successful as a good natured, late night Xixo, trying to figure out why that crazy American Coke bottle fell from the sky, but that’s not what his stand up routines or his past Daily Show appearances suggest.
Stewart and Colbert are gone and the progressive news entertainment elites are desperate for a hero going into 2016 that can sell an old grandmother to young millenials. Unfortunately for Noah, the same audiences he will attempt to cater to won’t hesitate to make anyone and everyone their next target. Even him.
– SM –