About that sanity stuff over the weekend

Yes, I watched. No, it wasn’t funny. I’ve read various commentaries regarding the event, and Yuval Levin hits it closest for me.

To begin with, the idea that Obama and the left stand for pure reason makes it difficult to understand the election of Obama himself—both his nomination and his general election victory—which hardly amounted to an exercise in cold reason. The Obama campaign was, rather, a circus of charisma and cult of personality, complete with comically nebulous promises of hope and change, vaguely uplifting self-help rhetoric (think “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for”), absurdly messianic talk of pushing back the oceans and the like, and fevered leader-worship (think of the bizarre celebrity fawning and loyalty pledges).

For those that weren’t “in” on the joke, Colbert and Stewart held opposing rallies. Stewart wanted to “restore” sanity (assumedly from his smug, liberal position) while Colbert (in character of a conservative) wanted to restore “fear.”

. Did it not seem strange to the people involved that the voice of condescending acerbic satire should be calling on others to restore civility and seriousness to our politics, complaining about political disagreement, and arguing for “sanity”? Can one really be simultaneously so detached and disappointed, earnest and smug?

It seemed strange to me.

And unfunny.

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