Brent Bozell

-- "The Daily Show and Rhetoric: Arguments, Issues, and Strategies" (Stewart on the cover)

-- "Satire TV: Politics and Comedy in the Post-Network Era" (Colbert on the cover);

-- "Entertaining Politics: Satiric Television and Political Engagement" (Stewart and Barack Obama on the cover).

This is a partial list (one mostly different from a Post list of treatises). Farhi reported, "The college crowd says Colbert is worthy of study because his single-character political satire is unique in the annals of television. His character, an egomaniacal right-wing gasbag, connects him to a long Western satirical tradition going all the way back to the Roman poet Horace and the ancient Greek playwright Sophocles."

Obviously, these educators wouldn't insult the ancient Romans and Greeks to make comparisons to a conservative topical comedian like Dennis Miller. Professor Don Waisanen analyzed Miller after his turn to the right and lamented that he was "disoriented" and his humor was destined to "neuter socio-political action."

Professors, being professorial, add gravitas to the unbearable lightness of their comedic heroes by applying jargon, explaining that Colbert and Stewart ably employ "parodic polyglossia," "satirical specificity" and "contextual clash" to evoke both laughter and social change.

Farhi even found one super-fan: Penn State Professor Sophia McClennen. McClennen compares Colbert to Ben Franklin and Mark Twain as one of the greatest satirists in our nation's entire 236-year history and argues that "our democracy is in a tough spot now, when corporations are exercising increasing power over government, and that Colbert captures this moment as they did."

I bet even Colbert laughed at that.

As much as liberals claim to treasure irony, McClennen didn't grasp that Colbert is "exercising increasing power over government" through a large media corporation called Viacom. This corporation's greedy devotion to the bottom line led them to spit on those obsessed academics who watch Colbert and Stewart via satellite on DirecTV. Viacom not only cut off 20 million subscribers to DirecTV after a failed attempt to wring an estimated $1 billion in additional carriage fees, but they removed online streaming of full episodes on the Comedy Central website.

After all, applying "parodic polyglossia" to promote progressive politics is only worthwhile if a corporation is maximizing their profits. That is certainly a "contextual clash" the academics were not expecting.

Brent Bozell

Founder and President of the Media Research Center, Brent Bozell runs the largest media watchdog organization in America.
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