December 18, 2014
The Colbert Report represented the best sort of religious mockery: that which exposes the gap between what we say we believe and how we live and act.
I will miss everything about the Colbert Report! Last episode tonight. [sob]
I will also greatly miss the Colbert Report! It was one of my favorite shows. What makes satire funny is that it contains a kernel of truth. And it can provide a way to talk about truths that are too difficult to face head on. Humor can take the edge off, while starkly revealing what is true. For example, when Stephen Colbert started his own super pac, he revealed how ridiculous our political funding process is - it was hilarious, because it was true (and that also made it a little sad). Similarly, his satire reveals truths about Christianity, especially in the disparities, in how Jesus is misrepresented by his followers. With his quick wit, Colbert could, with humor, reveal where true loyalties lie. Is it Jesus that is being followed, or other lords such as money, political ideology, or reputation. It's funny because it's true (and that also makes it a little sad).
I don't understand the praise that people have for comedians like Stephen Colbert. It seems to me they delight in tearing down the character of conservatives or subjecting them to ridicule while never addressing the faults of liberals who they agree with. I would rather see a conversation on the real issues.
Mirko - I think it's critical to allow that the function of comedy is to poke at our constructions and assumptions and see how they hold up. If they are shaky, they will fall down (no tearing down needed) and if they are solid, we can have a laugh and move on. But mocking, for example, the self-righteousness and hypocrisy with which a politician holds to a given position is not casting doubt on the fact that the politician is a precious human being loved by God... It's just saying their staged persona needs to be called on some BS. Yes, Colbert leans left, and lefties should not be exempt from comedic poking either, but the primary function of comedy is not serious conversation (which is important) so much as poking at the constructions that prevent serious conversation from happening.
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