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Stewart-Colbertism scorns extremism of all types, but especially conservative extremism, and most especially conservative extremism driven by ignorance or religious fundamentalism. It is mildly critical of liberalism, but mainly for failing to combat conservative bombast more effectively. It endorses, implicitly, whatever liberal consensus has managed to survive these past 30 years, but isn’t terribly interested in the details. All this works well as humor, but as a sentiment shouted through a bullhorn to thousands stretched between the U.S. Capitol and the Washington Monument, it will translate into, well, judging other people for what they don’t know.

Timothy Noah for Slate in Stay Home! The case against the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear.

Interesting. Sure these shows can in some ways be pretentious, but somehow the effort of doing anything physical, like a rally/march, seems to cross a boundary that Stewart and Colbert have never crossed before. It seems to cross a boundary into something unpretentious—or at least, un-elite—because it involves not being out of sight. The people at the rally will be on camera—for once, the people who watch at home will be in their own eyes. Will it be a mirror? I don’t know, but I disagree Noah, simply because I’ve never heard of anything quite like this happening and I’m very interested to see it…on TV.

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