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Take a cue from comedians

Justin Tardiff | Tuesday, November 2, 2004

Presidential campaigns bring with them a constant barrage of media, whether in the form of written articles, television ads, bumper stickers or news reports. With Election Day finally here, I sat and thought about what I really remembered from the past few months of campaigning. I suddenly realized that the bulk of everything I could recall came from either watching “The Daily Show” or reading “The Onion.” Once I realized that “The Daily Show” was the unintentional source of most of my political knowledge, I really began to wonder about myself. Was I just one of the “stoned slackers,” as Bill O’Reilly called “The Daily Show” viewers, who watched the show and then voted? Was I really that politically irresponsible? I pondered this thought for a long time. I wondered if I had watched Fox News, CNN, MSNBC or any of the myriad news networks available to me whether or not I would have been more up-to-date on issues or more certain about where to cast my vote. Every time I sat down to watch something, I would hear that this channel had a liberal slant, this one had a conservative bias and so on. As an extreme moderate, where could I turn to for news with the least bias possible?Then I had an epiphany. What ensures a lack of bias better than comedy? Comedians will discuss anything as long as it will get a laugh, and their only bias is whether or not something is funny. Comedy often comes from pointing out the ironies and inconsistencies of our lives, which is a particularly effective means of not only generating a laugh during the election season, but also revealing the real issues and ideas within a campaign. In the particularly confusing and convoluted media surrounding the Presidential election, watching Jon Stewart call every candidate, regardless of party, on their errors was refreshing. Reading “The Onion’s” “coverage” of the election, which mercilessly mocks both candidates, their positions on issues and things they have said equally, in a way that makes you laugh and think at the same time.I personally believe that politics as a whole could take a cue from comedians. Not to say that any major issues should be taken lightly, but sometimes things are treated with almost absurd seriousness. It’s okay to make a joke, and in the end, I think comedy keeps everyone more honest and makes overwhelming things a little more manageable.