[Content Note: Privilege; tone policing; misogyny; transmisogyny; disablism; fat hatred.]
Jamelle Bouie has written a piece for Slate
about why Jon Stewart was bad for the liberals who loved him
. And it's an interesting piece, in which Bouie makes some very good points about the nature of the cynical indifference inherent to Stewart's brand of humor, although it's critical to note that "the liberals who loved him" loved him precisely because he gave them permission to be indifferent to things they already didn't want to care about; to be judgmental about marginalized people; to tone police anyone who urged seriousness about what is routinely referred to in disdainful tones as "identity politics."
I am shedding no tears over Jon Stewart's departure from The Daily Show,
and it's because I am a liberal who didn't and couldn't love him. Not for a very long time. Because loving Stewart was contingent on ignoring disablism
, fat hatred
, mockery of intersex bodies
, reproductive policing
(with more fat hatred), jokes about how feminists are so scary and violent
, etc. That's hardly a complete list. The Daily Show,
with Jon Stewart at the helm, did a lot of punching down, when it should have always been punching up.
Which might have something to do with the fact that its writing staff
was always very white and very male.
And, sure, we all like problematic things, and we all draw our lines about what is too problematic in different places.
For me, to continue to be a fan of Jon Stewart's The Daily Show
would have obliged me to navigate way too much shit. And to be a fan of Jon Stewart himself would have obliged me to overlook his contempt for people like me
I didn't share Jon Stewart's privilege. Most of the people I know don't share his privilege. And thus I had zero appreciation for his tone policing and concern trolling, rooted in the luxury of believing that our biggest problem in this country is a lack of moderation and compromise.
Some smug dipshit sneering at me a false equivalence between the left and the right that equates marginalized people fighting for our basic rights and very lives with the privileged bigots who oblige us to right in the first place isn't something I find funny or charming or cool. It's indecent.
Stewart was always contemptuous of people who yell. No matter if they leaned left or right: If you yell, you're an extremist, and extremism is what's tearing this country apart.
I yell because I HAVE TO
People die because of the hatred disgorged, practiced, legislated, and codified by people on the opposition. I'm not going to be made to feel guilty because I don't respond to deadly antipathy with moderation.
The shame belongs to someone so fucking privileged that he didn't feel obliged to yell, too.