The court jester, or court fool, was a unique character in the medieval royal administration. Perhaps this is best evidenced in Shakespeare’s plays where often the role of the fool was exemplified as the one person able to comment on the action, on the follies of the characters around him that were driving the drama with their own seriousness and failure. Only the character of the fool could say what everybody in the audience was thinking. Only he had liberty to speak the truth because no one had to take him seriously. After all, he was just a clown, meant only for amusement.
In a world where everyone is participating in the drama by saying whatever they think is to their advantage and all proclamations must be parsed for the actual aims of those making them, it’s easy to question whether you have been overwhelmed by cynicism (which is ABSOLUTELY NOT pessimism, as I often hear it mis-described). The professional cynics in a free society are supposed to be the news media. The “fourth estate” as Thomas Carlyle put it in his book On Heroes and Hero Worship. Since then it has come to mean almost a fourth branch of government. The one without civil power but with ultimate oversight on the other three. The final check and balance of power in a system where, ultimately, the people are expected to rule. But since our democracy has become a plutocracy the actually government has been bought and paid for by the rich and the fourth estate is outright owned by them, the only people left to tell the actual truth are the fools, the jesters.
Witness this last night.
Those three videos, in a form only slightly longer than the actual program as aired, are perhaps the most shocking news interview I’ve seen in the last decade if not longer. And that’s saying a lot when you consider how often the GOP vice-presidential candidate was allowed to show her true colors on network TV over the last several months. But it’s one thing to turn on the camera and have someone show themselves as an idiot in response to a few innocuous questions. Republicans chided the “media” for attacking Sarah Palin when in fact they hardly asked a question harder than “has your stupid ass even heard of any Supreme Court decisions other than Roe v. Wade?” Last night we saw what the press might be like if they took their adversarial role with the government seriously. And it wasn’t from some bloviating anacephalic bully’s self proclaimed “No-Spin Zone”, or from some pretentious Edward R. Murrow wannabe’s “Special Comments”. It wasn’t from a nightly network news broadcast or a (gag) serious newsmagazine. It was a simple case of a court jester asking an expert who claims to be a journalist why he didn’t say anything about a situation that anybody with half a brain saw coming. I’ve mentioned several times on this blog before that if you think people can own homes that cost half a million dollars with a mean family income of a tenth of that, you aren’t a financial expert, you are an idiot. And I’m sure as hell no expert. I just had basic math in school.
Thank you, Jon Stewart. You’re gonna get heat for this. The story of the Emperor’s New Clothes has a fake ending. If it had been truthful it would have ended with the loud-mouthed child beaten to death by the crowd for being unpatriotic. A few years ago you called out Tucker Carlson for being a lying, fatuous douchbag and if it hadn’t been for the internet no one would have known. So far I haven’t seen the reaction from the media but it’s going to be even more telling than your one man stand for speaking the obvious truth. (I don’t watch Joe Scarburough in the mornings because I have better ways to start my day that to have fat, rich, white guys wake me up by screaming at me about how fat rich white guys aren’t the problem. And I think that Mika Cadillac, daughter of Zibignew Cadillac, doesn’t even have the qualifications for being a woman who reads aloud on TV in the morning. If I wanted a horse-faced idiot to greet me every morning with a combination of superiority and stupidity I wouldn’t have thrown my ex-wife out of the house a couple of years ago.)
But thank you, Jon Stewart, you motley fool. Here is one insignificant Diogenese who appreciates that there is at least one honest man left.