A Jester in King’s Court

A few years ago I very much enjoyed Steven Colbert performance at the White House Correspondence Dinner where he appeared in full character.

He did not squander such a unique opportunity. It also made me realize that a large number of people in this country don’t understand what satire is. Colbert plays a well-meaning but misinformed blowhard but many people apparently think this is what he is. The over the top praise of everything the administration was doing was expected at that dinner and he gave them that, while subtly mocking it. It was funny at first, but then it started to dawn on everybody in the room what he was doing, making even Bush himself red with anger and embarrassment. Somebody who booked Colbert must have gotten into some trouble afterwards.

Stephen Colbert testified today before the Congress on farm labor using illegal immigrants. Again, he appeared in character.

I hope this time it was expected, although I’m still puzzled as to what the Congress tried to achieve by that. If it was entertainment they have succeeded. As if they needed Colbert to be entertaining. Colbert is doing the job that any self respecting journalist is supposed to be doing, but these days I guess, it takes a clown to do serious job. Hey, whatever it takes. Journalists are obsessed with giving “equal time” to “opposing views” even though one of those “views” is that the Earth is flat. But somehow that deserves equal coverage. In the meantime, serious reporting is a niche reserved for late time comedians.
What was interesting this time, however, is not that Steven was in character – it was that in order to drive the point home he had to step out of the character in the end and speak as Steven Colbert a citizen. Here’s what he said:

CONGRESSWOMAN JUDY CHU: Mr. Colbert, you could work on so many issues, why are you interested in this issue?

COLBERT: I like talking about people who don’t have any power. And this seems like some of the least powerful people in the United States are migrant workers who come and do our work but don’t have any rights as a result. And yet we still invite them to come here, and at the same time ask them to leave. And, you know, whatsoever you do for the least of my brothers, these seem like the least of our brothers, right now. And I know that a lot of people are the least of my brothers because the economy is so hard, and I don’t want to take anyone’s hardship away from them or diminish it or anything like that, but migrant workers suffer, and they have no rights.”

By the way, I read a profile on him some time ago, and he’s actually a practicing Christian. So I’m not surprised that he decided to recite Bible. I’m only wondering where the self-proclaimed Christians like Sarah Palin and Christine O’Donnell got their priorities. You know, shooting Commies and regulating sex lives of others?
I’m not religious and I don’t mean to sound preachy, I just love to point out inconsistencies. Apparently, brotherly love is not on the contemporary conservative agenda.


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