Saturday, October 30, 2010

Rally to Restore Sanity

This Jon Stewart (and maybe Colbert?) host rally makes me giggle. They have a button that reads, "Don't click this" on their main page. If you click on it, it takes you to Colbert's page for a rally to restore fear. It's both serious and tongue in cheek at the same time, which is the kind of shtick they've been up to for quite some time with good results.

However, a rally to restore "sanity" does remind me of one of the best books on this issue I've ever read, Alasdair Macintyre's Whose Justice, W'hich Rationality. Why? Precisely because when someone claims that they are the ones restoring sanity to public discourse, you have to ask, "Which sanity are we speaking about?" I happen to agree with the overall political direction of the rally, but it is a typical move of partisan people to call their opponents "shrill," which is in some ways like being shrill with an indoor voice.

It is disappointing that the same group of people so energized in the last election (myself included) are less energized this time around, and so I commend Stewart for this work. I do wonder about the move that implies, "If you can't join them, mock them." Still puzzling over the public square issues this raises re: trust and civility.

I do think that Colbert's coining the phrase "truthiness" is one of the more prophetic and humorous contributions to public discourse I'm aware of.

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