After several days, the NYTimes finally figures out how to discuss Steven Colbert’s appearance at the White House Press Dinner last Saturday — see how the Blogosphere is reporting it. Can we all say “cop out?” After Press Dinner, the Blogosphere Is Alive With the Sound of Colbert Chatter
In an online survey begun yesterday, the snarky Web site Gawker sought to boil down the matter to its essence by asking readers to vote on whether they thought Mr. Colbert’s performance, broadcast live on C-Span and since then widely available on the Internet, was “one of the most patriotic acts I’ve witnessed of any individual” or “not really that funny.”
Meanwhile, on its Web site, the trade journal Editor & Publisher posted more than a dozen letters from readers under a headline that reflected the broad range of electronic opinion: “Colbert Offensive, Colbert Mediocre, Colbert a Hero, Colbert Vicious, Colbert Brave.” Mr. Colbert’s employer, Comedy Central, said it had received nearly 2,000 e-mail messages by Monday morning â€” a response, it said, rivaled only by the contentious appearance nearly two years ago of Jon Stewart, Mr. Colbert’s comedy patron, on the now-defunct CNN shout-fest “Crossfire.”
Others chided the so-called mainstream media, including The New York Times, which ignored Mr. Colbert’s remarks while writing about the opening act, a self-deprecating bit Mr. Bush did with a Bush impersonator.
Some, though, saw nothing more sinister in the silence of news organizations than a decision to ignore a routine that, to them, just was not funny.
Later, from Salon: Making Colbert go away
Colbert’s deadly performance did more than reveal, with devastating clarity, how Bush’s well-oiled myth machine works. It exposed the mainstream press’ pathetic collusion with an administration that has treated it — and the truth — with contempt from the moment it took office. Intimidated, coddled, fearful of violating propriety, the press corps that for years dutifully repeated Bush talking points was stunned and horrified when someone dared to reveal that the media emperor had no clothes. Colbert refused to play his dutiful, toothless part in the White House correspondents dinner — an incestuous, backslapping ritual that should be retired. For that, he had to be marginalized. VoilÃ : “He wasn’t funny.”
This is a battle that can’t really be won — you either got it Saturday night (or Sunday morning, or whenever your life was made a little brighter by viewing Colbert’s performance) or you didn’t. Personally, I’m enjoying watching apologists for the status quo wear themselves out explaining why Colbert wasn’t funny. It’s extending the reach of his performance by days without either side breaking character — the mighty Colbert or the clueless, self-important media elite he was satirizing. For those who think the media shamed itself by rolling over for this administration, especially in the run-up to the Iraq war, Colbert’s skit is the gift that keeps on giving. Thank you, Stephen Colbert!
Later: A WaPo oped with a chilling argument: So Not Funny
Why are you wasting my time with Colbert, I hear you ask. Because he is representative of what too often passes for political courage, not to mention wit, in this country. His defenders — and they are all over the blogosphere — will tell you he spoke truth to power. This is a tired phrase, as we all know, but when it was fresh and meaningful it suggested repercussions, consequences — maybe even death in some countries. When you spoke truth to power you took the distinct chance that power would smite you, toss you into a dungeon or — if you’re at work — take away your office.
But in this country, anyone can insult the president of the United States.
So, is he actually suggesting that there’s something wrong with that? Jackass