Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Godspeed Jon Stewart

One of the main reasons I started writing this blog was to cover the stories the mainstream ignores. To buck the system, slaughter the sacred cows and by all means avoid jumping on the meandering bandwagons of the zeitgeist but this week I'm compelled to join the masses, whom I usually despise, to bid farewell to a dear old friend who's spent the last 17 years giving my TV set meaning. I talk of coarse of Jon Stewart.

By and large, people, most people, are like sheep. They dutifully do as there told by there corporate masters. They listen to the music there told to listen to. They read the books there told to read, that is if they read at all and they watch the movies and TV shows there told to watch and are somehow content with this banal existence, leaving the rest of us in the minority to tinker angrily and occasionally gleefully in the grimy expanse of the underground with our tattered rags and tinfoil hats and alone we dance, naked and free in the shelter of the subcultures we foster in the shadows of the herd.

But once, every so often, something truly amazing happens. Something or someone springs forth from the shadows of the underground into the mainstream and creates an unbreakable bridge between these two worlds. Something so undeniably brilliant that even the sheep take notice and join our dance, leaving there crooked shepherds powerless to stop it.

This happened in 1991, when Nirvana released Nevermind. It didn't matter if you were a punk or a jock, a queer or a breeder, if you were alive at that point or after, you bought that album. You bought the ticket and took the ride and together we were heavy. That unifying A-HA! moment doesn't come very often but when it does its beautiful. My generations greatest A-HA! moment was discovering The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. It didn't matter if you were political or apathetic or liberal or conservative or even a bitter Anarxist like myself. We all came together to buy that ticket and take the ride and what a fucking ride it was. It makes that childish part of your soul wish it never had to end but all truly beautiful, heavy things must come to an end.

As I wright this, its been less then 72 hours since the last episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart aired and it still doesn't feel fucking real. Please pinch me Jesus, I don't want to be awake. It had everything we have come to expect from The Daily Show, including appearances from all of the unfathomably brilliant comedic talent to pass through that studio, my personal favorites being master rantologist and obvious influence Lewis Black and real life Jewish manic pixie dream girl Kristen Schaal, as well as cameos from countless political superstars, most of whom I wouldn't piss on if they were on fire. There was one last, spotless Goodfellas parody featuring Marty Scorsese himself, threatening litigation and one final Quixotic call for sanity from the man we have all come to know and love. All topped off with a performance from Stewart favorite, Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band who, naturally, I usually hate but in the heat of the moment, nearly brought me to tears. Oh hell, who the fuck am I kidding, I was balling like a bitch, we all were and just like that it was over.

If your not from my generation then you cant possibly comprehend how much this half hour TV show meant to us. We didn't have a Dan Rather or Walter Cronkite to bring some sense of sanity to our chaotic universe. We were left with nothing but a circus of barking thieves and liars, with there own twisted agendas, to turn to and we had Jon Stewart, a snarky veteran of the 90's alt comedy scene, who was the one man we could rely on to tell us the fucking truth but for me he was something more then that.

During my darkest days of despair and depression, when it seemed like the whole ugly world was burning down at my feet, when everything felt utterly hopeless and I had nothing, I had the comfort of knowing Jon Stewart would be waiting for me at the end of the day, like a light at the end of a dark, dismal tunnel to bring some sense of justice to this rancid place.

I didn't always agree with Jon. Like most people, he occasionally pissed me off, mostly because he refused to pistol whip Henry Kissinger, something high on my bucket list, but by and large, with the sole exception of Democracy Now's Amy Goodman, his was the one voice I could trust to set the record straight. A Gen-X cult hero, weened on a steady diet of Eugene Debs, Lenny Bruce and punk shows at City Gardens, Jon never seemed like a mainstream celebrity, he was one of us, only better. Always more of a bull shitting left wing populist then a liberal, Stewart wasn't afraid to dish it out to both ends of the paradigm, whether he was calling out the Republicans for being bloodthirsty, hate-mongers or the Democrats for being lying, glad handing, pussies. Stewart was always ruthless and hilarious.

While generally cordial to his guests, regardless of how disgusting they were, Jon was also given to mercilessly thrashing untouchable creeps like crooked, hedge fund rodeo clown, Jim Cramer and unrepentant, war cheerleader Judith Miller ( which made my fucking year ). Best of all, he never thought twice about furiously caning the ass-hats of cable news. Once again, his hilariously spot on impressions of race bating, neo-McCarthyist, shock jock, Glenn Beck, made my fucking year. Jon Stewart was the anti-news anchor.

But there is only so much shit one man can wade through before drowning in filth. So, much like fellow silver haired, progressive ass whooper, Ralph Nader, Jon Stewart grew tired of the endless struggle to save a people content with there fecal graves and finally threw in the towel, so he could spend more time with his family ( who he's told are wonderful people ) and he's more than fucking earned it. As much as it pains me to see another truth crusader lay down the sword, no one deserves to ride off into the Jersey sunset more then Jon Stewart and no one will ever be able to fill that void he's left behind that desk, certainly not that South African frat-bro dip-shit the network's dumped on us, and maybe no one should.

So godspeed Jon Stewart and thank you, from the bottom of my bitter, jaded, Anarxist heart for keeping the light on for us. We'll do our damnedest to return the favor.

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