Why his Appearance on Colbert Proved Just How Neutered Comedians and Journalists have Become
America is a country at war. It’s a cold, uncivil Civil War where each side goes to battle every day on social media and in mainstream media. We tear each other apart without actual weapons. Clickbait headlines that go viral will do enough damage. Maybe someone will get fired. We go along with headlines and narratives we know aren’t true because they support our side of the fight.
It really did used to be the job of comedians to speak truth to power, to challenge the established order, to mock the pretentious, expose the hypocrisy and say things most people couldn’t or wouldn’t say. Any comedian still committed to the whole point of comedy has left the Left and taken to podcasts or Youtube to grow their audience outside the mainstream, where dissent is discouraged and compliance is demanded.
This is really what has happened across all institutions controlled by, or depended upon by, the new “left” of this country. While not everyone goes along with it, the climate of fear is so intense that they dare not go against the doctrine. Think: The Amish. Think: Scientology.
One of the biggest losses has been in the world of comedy. We need to be able to laugh at ourselves. Now, the only acceptable targets for comedians are Trump supporters or Republicans. Is that even funny anymore? No, it isn’t. Not in the way we need funny to be. Humor, like information, wants to be free. Right now, on the left, it can’t be.
The once sharpest and most observant and daring among late night comedians was Jon Stewart. He left the public arena on the eve of the 2016 election, which was itself a massive loss and probably the beginning of the end for any sort of balanced coverage of news. He decided to spend time on the rescue farm he runs with his wife rather than work in an industry that was gearing up to paint him as a racist way back before things really got insane…