Monday, May 01, 2006

Aristophanes reincarnated... ?

Either Stephen Colbert is brilliantly channeling Aristophanes and the spirit of his original comedic satire... or else Aristophanes has chosen to inhabit Stephen Colbert's skin in his newest incarnation. We don't really care which it is... let's just hope it lasts long enough to effect a lasting change, if not in the current administration, then at least in the [com]media lazily basking on a raft in the main stream's current.

Comedy did not begin as the self-deprecating sort of humor we have grown so accustomed to in recent years, the kind that the president tried to use last Saturday night to blunt the devastating effect of his plummeting poll numbers. Comedy, that is, satirical comedy, began in the days of Aristophanes, as a way of needling those in power who often deserved it.

Stephen Colbert hearkens back to those ancient times. Then, in those days before journalists and political correspondents and press secretaries, we had playwrights, storytellers and poets. True, Colbert doesn't wear a mask or a codpiece, or even a toga; nor does he speak in verse. Yet, he does wear his persona as sycophant to an incompetent, war-mongering, president to devastating effect. And he does it with wit and charm and style.

Update: Political Humor has the best video and transcript of Colbert's fearless performance that we have found. Thank you, Political Physics!

Another Update: from Greg Mitchell at Editor & Publisher, an autopsy on the media's slant:

Many say Stephen Colbert went too far in lampooning President Bush at the White House Correspondents Dinner, or was just "not funny." Where was all that disapproval when Bush, at a very similar gathering two years ago, built a whole comedy routine around not finding WMD in Iraq?

In this same piece, Mitchell quotes former CIA analyst Ray McGovern:
At that same Downing Street memo forum at the Capitol last year that Milbank mocked, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, after cataloguing the bogus Bush case for WMDs and the Iraqi threat, looked out at the cameras and notepads, mentioned the March 24, 2004 dinner, and acted out the president looking under papers and table for those missing WMDs. “And the media was all yucking it up ... hahaha,” McGovern said. “You all laughed with him, folks.” Then he mentioned soldiers who had died “after that big joke.”

Dana Milbank, who seems to like a good laugh, did not mention this in his hit piece the following day.

Another Update Called For: Follow the links from Peter Daou to Digby to Marshall and back to Digby, for their reasons on why the Press deserved everything they got from Colbert on Saturday night.


Blogger Thursday Next said...

Perhaps we would laugh harder if Colbert did wear a codpiece.

6:48 PM  
Blogger Tiresias said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:32 AM  
Blogger Laughingcat51 said...

They can dish it out but they can't take it!

6:58 PM  
Blogger Thursday Next said...

Well ... you know, if you can't stand the heat and all that ;-)

11:15 PM  

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