On Jon Stewart’s Leaving

Last night, on my way to watch the GOP debate (I’m a political junkie), I caught a snippet of Rachel Maddow. She was doing a segment on Jon Stewart and the Daily Show, talking about how culturally significant they’ve been. She said she believes they made the country better, and the news media better.

http://player.theplatform.com/p/7wvmTC/MSNBCEmbeddedOffSite?guid=n_maddow_bstewart_150806

I don’t think it’s possible to overestimate the significance. And that significance is being honored by the Newseum–they’re moving the set down to DC.

In an episode from earlier this summer, interviewing Seth McFarlane, Jon joked–but only half-joked–that it’s not love for people to demand he make more shows.

 

Audience Member: We love you!

Jon: Nah. That’s not love. Love, you bring a little soup. You okay? You sit down. Love is not, Do more shows. Entertain me.

That really stood out for me, because it’s so true.

For all that I adore Jon and have loved the show, I’ve never made a practice of watching it every night. I realized years ago, back during the Bush administration, that to watch is to expose myself to the most depressing news available. It’s a collection of the ridiculous, the insane, the infuriating. Laugh your ass off because if you don’t you’ll cry.

How can I blame Jon for wanting to walk away when I won’t expose myself to all of that, day in and day out? Worse, we only saw about 20 minutes worth of it. Jon and crew spent the entire day sifting through the garbage of our politics and media. “We are turd miners,” he said once. He was right.

So that’s why I say goodbye to him with love. He’s put his soul against the grindstone for us for 16 years. It can’t have been easy. He has done a marvelous service, helping viewers through some of the worst tragedies in our nation, and finding the few bright spots in otherwise devastating events. He deserves a break. More than a break, he deserves not to be chained to it anymore.

If you love something, set it free.