Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Voices of Reason

The New York Times
I fell in love with the standup of David Cross during the last four years of George W. Bush's presidency. I was an angry girl, in recovery from the first time my heart was truly broken. He was recommended to me by multiple friends, and I laughed, but more importantly, I let go of the rage I was harboring deep in my belly.

David Cross was mad, and the title of one of my favorites of his is a good indication of that anger: Shut Up You Fucking Baby. It was glorious. He railed against Rumsfeld, the whole lot of goons surrounding the biggest goon in the White House; the tension in my neck relaxed. It was science, catharsis.

He took on 9/11 and the pure insanity that gripped the nation long enough to re-elect the man that got us there in the first place. Well, the man that opened the door for the men. I can't blame Bush for the shit that ensued in the years following my undergraduate study. I blame corporations. For everything. And David cross took it on with the kind of joy a child who has just received a Star Wars Lego set would exhibit.

And that was his job. The joker. Counsel to the king, to remind him that he is still human. I've been so confused these past months, feeling out of sorts, pulled apart, a bit undone, I feel less human and more experiment to see what happens to a woman in low boiling water.

During the Bush administration we had Jon Stewart for our unveiling of the irony within the political world, then we got Stephen Colbert, and even Larry Wilmore. Then, we lost them all. And for a moment, no one realized what was happening.

But now it's happened, and I honestly have no idea what tomorrow will feel like, or the day after tomorrow. I learned my lesson. I'm still awash with emotion, but I noticed Jon Stewart's name the other day in the closing credits for Stephen Colbert's new project: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, in which Colbert Executive Produces, writes, and stars.

I've been watching the opening monologues of a lot of late night hosts, including the lovely Samantha Bee whose show Full Frontal is on Wednesday nights on TBS, as well as the charming and intelligent Seth Meyers. They are all taking up arms, in a sense, aware of their jobs as the tellers of jokes, the tellers of truth. It's the worst of what we need to hear as a species, and that is why it must come to us in words that are gentle on our ears. Our laughter softens the blow without making the blow any less effective.

Stephen Colbert has been especially hard on the newly elected president, not as his previous character from Comedy Central, but as himself, as we've come to know him through his many projects and interviews.

Stephen Colbert is mad. And he is not backing down. He is coming at what has happened with a collected fury, using as soft a voice as possible to shout that we must not normalize what is happening in our government right now. It must never be normalized.

Do you miss Jon Stewart? Don't worry. He is also an executive producer for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. He knows what his job is, and he is ready to work.

I know what it feels like to be that girl, to be confused and angry about everything that is happening around me. It's an exciting time, though, when you find your voice, your voice of reason. We all thought George W. Bush was the worst, but we were probably wrong. I hope we aren't, and I'm going to do my best to remain calm.

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