About Rationally Speaking
Rationally Speaking is a blog maintained by Prof. Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City University of New York. The blog reflects the Enlightenment figure Marquis de Condorcet's idea of what a public intellectual (yes, we know, that's such a bad word) ought to be: someone who devotes himself to "the tracking down of prejudices in the hiding places where priests, the schools, the government, and all long-established institutions had gathered and protected them." You're welcome. Please notice that the contents of this blog can be reprinted under the standard Creative Commons license.
Friday, May 05, 2006
Yet, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that there is a serious issue concerning comedians-turned-journalists who mock the establishment and manage to tell it like it really is. Jon Stewart, also of Comedy Central fame, did a similar number last year with those buffoons who used to conduct the now thankfully defunct “Crossfire” show on CNN, taking them to task for the idiots they really are. Very much like Colbert did with Bush, Scalia, McCain and an assorted number of generals who were sitting right next to him the other night.
The issue is this: why don’t we see people who actually have a frank (and even funny!) view of reality actually run for office? Why not start a campaign for a Colbert-Stewart (or Stewart-Colbert, I don’t care) Presidential run in ‘08? Oh, you think it’s ridiculous to ask two comedians to run for an office of such importance? But we have had a bad actor (Regan) in the past, and we have a bubbling idiot (Bush) at the moment. We even have a former body builder-turned-mediocre-actor in charge of California, where he has had the galls of coming out against immigration, despite delivering his speech in a thick Austrian accent. I seriously doubt that Colbert-Stewart would do worse than these characters.
You might say, yes, that’s fine for you to say, since you are a liberal, but that kind of candidate would polarize the country, which isn’t a good thing, we want bipartisan cooperation. No, we don’t. First of all, the country is in fact polarized, split right down the middle, and it will stay this way for a while, until either enough progressives give up and move to Canada and Europe, or enough conservatives will abandon their country bumpkin attitude toward life (especially the part about controlling how people behave in their bedrooms, and the one about starting wars on false pretenses). Second, I don’t want Democrats to embark in bipartisan operations with people who are determined to turn this country into a theocracy, or to roll back the social net to the levels of England’s industrial revolution, or whose idea of capitalism is so simplistic that even Adam Smith himself would laugh at it. No thanks, I’d rather have a multi-partisan system, possibly with several more parties joining the fun.
In this blog I usually try to stay as level-headed as possible, while true to my convictions. This is about dialog, not one-way monologues. But Colbert’s spectacular performance a few days ago reminded me that occasionally one simply needs to hear the brutal truth – better yet if presented with intelligence and humor. Therefore, I hereby invite readers to start a petition to get Colbert and Stewart to run for office in 2008. You can visit the iPetition web site and add your name to the call to be sent to Colbert and Stewart. Come on, we need you, and besides, imagine the ratings of the Presidential debates!