“Bullshit is everywhere.” Those were the opening words of Jon Stewart’s final homily on his final show, and they pretty much sum up why my Mate and I feel such gratitude for the man.
Jon got us through the early years of the Iraq War. The collapse of the economy. The rise of Fox. You know–bullshit.
“There is very little in life that you will encounter that has not already been infused, in some way, with bullshit.”
In good anchorman fashion, Jon proceeded to break bullshit down into categories, beginning with the most innocuous:
- Organic, free-range bullshit: “Oh, what a beautiful baby!” Important for preserving the social contract.
2. Premeditated, institutional bullshit, designed to obscure and distract: “Whenever something’s been titled ‘Freedom/Family/Fairness/Health/America,’ take a good long sniff. Chances are it’s been manufactured in a facility that may contain traces of bullshit.”
Jon goes on to subdivide institutional bullshit into three other categories…but I’ll let you listen to him tell it:
When our boys were middle-school aged, the Mate and I used to turn The Daily Show up loud when it came on (oh, how I’m gonna miss that annoyingly repetitive theme music!) and call, “Hey, boys–time for Social Studies!”
Jon loved America so much he aggressively went after the most America-lovin’ of hypocrites. He looked where institutional bullshitters of all stripes didn’t want him to look, and he spoke up. He made us laugh, but in his best moments, like after the shooting in Charleston, he made us resolve to stand up to bullshit. Can you think of a better social studies teacher?
What will you miss, or not miss, about Jon Stewart? Go ahead and share. Listening to your thoughts will ease my withdrawal pains.