The Mockery Report

So, apparently Stephen Colbert went to speak before a Congressional hearing on farm workers and jobs, having been invited by one of the Democrats on the committee panel… and testify he did, with his shtick. Funny, right?

You know, it’s one thing to be a celebrity and to use your fame to bring attention to a particular cause. Fine; I get that and don’t necessarily have a problem with it. It’s another thing entirely to do so “in character”, specifically before a governing body. Granted, Congress doesn’t need anyone to make a fool or mockery of themselves – they do it enough on their own and don’t need any extra help – but there is an expected level of decorum, of respect, desired and expected.

I’m not even going to go into the details of what exactly Mr. Colbert said and did; feel free to do that on your own, and considering that this occurred in the news today, I suspect it’ll continue to make the weekend news and Monday news circuit. Good going Mr. Colbert, you’re getting plenty of coverage, but is it good?

Satire is a fine art. It takes skill and few are truly good at it. It’s a fine line between satire and insult. Satire is svelte mocking. To be sure, often times, one man’s humor is another man’s boredom or inferred slander. Certainly too, Mr. Colbert mocks conservatives and conservatism by pretending to be an over-the-top boorish blowhard. Republicans in the committee and room were not amused, while a number of Democrats and their staffers found some of Mr. Colbert’s antics amusing. Yet, Mr. Colbert found himself removed and escorted from the Capitol. Clearly he had gone too far.

This is not the first time that Mr. Colbert has crossed the line from satire into outright insult, sticking his foot in his mouth at the wrong time, in the wrong place, with the wrong crowd. Several years ago Mr. Colbert spoke at a press dinner with then president Bush. You can imagine how that went down.

And if you haven’t figured out by now, I’ve no use nor respect for Mr. Colbert. I have disliked his antics long before I knew what his ideologies were. You see, Mr. Colbert got his start on The Daily Show, in a regular routine where he interviewed people. The sole purpose of these interviews was to make the people interviewed look like complete idiots and fools. Clever choice of questions and no doubt clever editing.

Don’t forget that he and Mr. Stewart have jumped on the rally bandwagon – all in the name of serious satire of course. It’s one thing to be a fool for Christ, or thought a fool having done something good, but another thing entirely to be thought a fool for being a fool.

I doubt many of Mr. Colbert’s admirers will think ill of him for his antics, instead applauding him. I doubt it will lose him many viewers, however, I suspect that he is instead harming his chances of increasing viewership. Mockery is a sword that can cut both ways and Mr. Colbert is proved a feeble swordsman, even if he has a rapier wit.

As others have noted, Mr. Colbert’s shtick could come back to haunt Democrats. I wonder if that was part of his character, or due to his own hubris. Nice job Mr. Colbert, go pat yourself on the back, you earned it well.

Crossposted at: www.wadingacross.wordpress.com