Monday, May 01, 2006

Holy. Living. Crap.

We interrupt our regularly scheduled musings on the nature of being to comment on Stephen Colbert's appearance Saturday night at the White House Correspondents' Dinner. I doubt anyone reading hasn't already seen it, but if not, it's here (if you haven't seen it, watch it. Do it now). It's probably extremely telling that our first reaction upon watching this was, "How was this allowed to happen?" He rips apart everything the administration has tried to pass off as, you know, some version of reality, and he's standing ten feet from the President of The United States while he's doing it. It's not just that Colbert lambastes the President, the press, and pretty much everyone in between, it's that he never breaks character. He's Stephen Colbert, the television persona, the entire time and it's brilliant.

The second thing that's simply incredible is the way it's being covered by the major news outlets. Here, for instance, is the A.P.'s report. Reuters' take is here. Colbert was the featured speaker and he's barely mentioned in either story. The Reuters story states that he performed to "muted laughs," giving the sense that he bombed with his audience, rather than, as is clear from watching the clip, that his audience became increasingly uncomfortable as they realized he wasn't going to let them off the hook. Ever. Notice that in the first five minutes of Colbert's monologue, CSPAN shows a couple of reaction shots of GWB. After that, they stop and we never see him again. Try and guess why.

It's late Sunday night and I don't know if anyone will pick this story up come Monday--so far the only things I've seen written about this have appeared in left-leaning blogs. If, indeed, the news cycle these days is still determined by the major news services, then this already won't be in it, and that will be that. No doubt Colbert's scathing critique of the media in general has played and will continue to play a large part in that. But on the other hand, holy crap. It would be hard to sum up the state of the nation in 20 minutes or less better than Stephen Colbert did on Saturday night.

Next: Meaning of Life, Redux
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2 comments:

dan said...

Seriously, it must have been really awkward at the reception following the ceremony...

Brent said...

Your prediction is mostly true -- the mainstream media has, throughout Monday, largely ignored the "Colbert incident". There were a few journalists who called the event "not funny", which in itself is pretty hilarious. These people probably fall into one of two camps. Either they are so entrenched or enthralled with the established media that because the room full of white house correspondents didn't laugh, their impression was empathetically the same, flat. Or, they are on the defensive because they were a target of Colbert's "ascerbic routine", and feeling guilty.