Thursday, August 20, 2015

I miss you already, Jon Stewart

A couple of weeks ago, I was in mourning for a man who did not die, but whose absence I felt with profound grief. Damn you, Jon Stewart. Was it too much to ask for you to anchor The Daily Show until you dropped dead at your desk? You know -- like most workaholic Americans?


Ten years ago, I met a Canadian girl at a youth hostel in Scotland who learned about American politics via The Daily Show. I will never forget her words. She said, "My biggest sadness is that one day Jon Stewart will die and he won't be around to host the show anymore." I think at the time, I was like, "Damn, girl. That's some serious love." But she was right. Except, he didn't die. It just felt like he did.

I've always loved Jon Stewart. I remember when he hosted his own talk show on MTV and introduced the world to a ridiculous game called "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon." Come on, you've all played it. That show didn't last, of course. Who could've guessed that Jon Stewart would become so influential as the host of a 30-minute Comedy Central program?

But that's the thing. Not only did Jon Stewart influence American politics, he influenced my interest in American politics. In my 20s, I didn't care much about what went on politically in this country. Sure, I voted in big elections -- governor, president -- that sort of thing. But I never paid attention to the politicians who were making the decisions that affected me. And those decisions do affect me.

My husband is a federal employee and the sole earner in our house (writing doesn't pay anything...yet). Sequestration cuts and the government shut down adversely affected my family. I called the office of my House representative Tom Marino and actually cried to the staff member who answered the phone. I was so upset and outraged that a government official, elected through bullshit gerrymandering, was screwing around with people's lives in order to make a point.

Thanks to Jon Stewart, I make it my business to pay attention to what goes on, both locally and nationally. I'm not intimidated to contact my state senator and let her know that our public library is failing. Or tweet my U.S. senators to let them know that I disagree with defunding Planned Parenthood. I once heard that if politicians receive six or seven emails or tweets or phone calls about an issue, they pay attention. Because if seven people have contacted them about an issue, they know there are many others out there who feel the same way, but who won't pick up the phone. So now, I make my business to be one of those seven.

Maybe without Jon Stewart, I would've naturally grown more political as I got older, or maybe not. I don't know. All I know is that I really miss him. I'm going to continue to DVR The Daily Show when it premiers with Trevor Noah, because I like Trevor a lot and the fact that he's eye candy is an added bonus.

But, I'm glad I lived in the age of Jon Stewart.

-KGG

11 comments:

  1. I haven't watched his final episode yet...I feel like if I don't watch it, I can remain in denial. I had a South African friend in London who learned about US politics via Jon Stewart. My favorite thing (still) is when she asked me if Fox News was real. :)

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  2. I wonder if that six or seven rule holds true in the new age of internet glurge. I remember that damn sequestration, too. What a load of horseshit. We have enough money set apart to get by, but a lot of the people I work with live paycheck to paycheck and couldn't afford that shit.

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    1. That sequestration cut money from our already tight budget.

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  3. I've only seen a couple of his monologues from recent events, and I thought, "Man, why have I never watched his show?" I still don't know what time it comes on, and I want to go back and watch from his first.

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    1. It's on 11pm. I always DVR'd it and would watch it in the morning with my coffee. It was a nice routine, I will sorely miss.

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  4. I'm gonna vote in favor of the six-or-seven rule, but in a more general context. Like, as a teacher, I found that if one or two student hesitatingly approached me with a problem, I found that invariably the problem was endemic to the whole class, and needed fixing ASAP. I described this to myself as "the cockroach issue": by the time you see one, there's likely to already be dozens living in the walls. (Lovely image, right? But it sure got people's attention, and made them more likely to be willing to be that one that spoke up.)

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    1. I think "cockroach issue" is perfect wording for dealing with politicians.

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  5. Okay, not to drop names or anything... but I graduated from the College of William and Mary in 2004 and Jon Stewart (also a W&M grad) gave our commencement address-- and it was awesome! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajPvjKFFIAo

    Have been a huge fan ever since! So sorry to see him end his reign of awesomeness.RIP! Oh wait, he's just off TV... Same thing. Okay, I am officially in mourning. Thanks.

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  6. I've been watching the Daily Show for years. That's how I, as a Portuguese woman living in Portugal, learn about American politics while having a good laugh. I already miss Jon terribly. I guess it's not very normal, but he was an important part of my day. I'm glad he literally moved on to greener pastures, but I sure miss him. :(

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