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.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
The philosophy of Jon Stewart
Holt's book, subtitled “Moments of Zen in the Art of Fake News,” contains chapters grouped in five segments: “Headlines: faux news is good news,” “Correspondent's report: Jon Stewart (not Mill) as philosopher, sort of,” “Regular feature: critical thinking and the war on bullshit,” “Interview: religion, God, and Darwin,” and “Checking in with Stephen Colbert / Your moment of Zen: Beyond The Daily Show.” My own contribution is a chapter focused on a four-part series that Stewart ran in 2005, during the Dover, PA trial on Intelligent Design, and entitled “Evolution, Schmevolution.”
I have actually seen Stewart in action a few times in New York, and I have to admit that I subscribe to his show on iTunes (most of the clips are now available on the show's own web site). The guy is impressive, and it was a lot of fun sitting in my office, repeatedly going over the video of “Evolution, Schmevolution,” all the while explaining to curious colleagues that this was, in fact, work.
Of course, that a satirical show is both a rich source of philosophical discussion and an insightful view on current affairs is a reflection on the state of our society. Is it a sad reflection? Perhaps, but it sure is fun to tune in on Comedy Central every weeknight (Fridays excluded) and see which politician of either party is going to be in the lethal line of Stewart's fire.