On Saturday in Washington Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert held their Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Keep Fear Alive. The purpose of the event, which drew more than 200,000 people, was to help Cat Stevens win support for his fatwa against Salman Rushdie.
What, you didn't know that? You must have missed the rightblogger
coverage. You probably also missed that the rally was a huge failure and
not funny. Well, that's what you get for relying on the Lame Stream
You probably recall that Cat Stevens some years ago converted to Islam, took the name Yusef Islam, and backed the Ayatollah Khomeini's death sentence on author Salman Rushdie.
Stevens/Islam now claims he was kidding, so maybe it was his sense of
humor that got the planners to invite Stevens to the stage. Or maybe it
was the idea of him doing "Peace Train" with Ozzy Osbourne doing "Crazy Train" and the O'Jays doing "Love Train" that they found exciting.
Or maybe Colbert and Stewart just wanted to do their bit for militant Islamic jihad.
"It's worth remembering the insanity that this man has endorsed," said the American Spectator. "Remember when Jon Stewart was against those who use threats of violence to suppress freedom of speech?" asked Patterico's Pontifications. "A Fatwa at the Sanity Rally," said Solomonia. "Jon Stewart likes to lecture about political extremes," huffed Say Anything. "Is there anything more extreme than wanting someone to die because of something they wrote?"
"Are [Stewart and Colbert] such shallow middle-aged men that they have
the need to tell adults they think it would be cool if America were
destroyed, so that they feel as if they have street cred?" cried The Infidel Bloggers Alliance. "They are telling us they are cool with Muslims destroying the First Amendment."
claimed to have heard from Rushdie himself regarding the rally: "If
[Cat Stevens'] a 'good Muslim' like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar then I'm the
Great Pumpkin." Well, it sounds like Rushdie, anyway.
"Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert," asked Roger L. Simon,
He didn't wear his Muslim clothes, either. That proves he was trying to pull something.
"Are They Pro-Islamofascist or Just Stupid?... why not invite Khalid
Sheik Mohammed to perform? He actually took the head off Daniel Pearl.
He didn't just talk the talk. He walked the walk." After many insults,
Simon finally decided Stewart and Colbert were stupid, and that the
Democratic Party, dragged into it at the last moment for some reason,
was both stupid and evil.
"The irony is, that the organizer of this insane wankfest, Jon Stewart, is a Jew," said Winds of Jihad.
"For him to suck up to Islamofascist ex-pop idol Cat Stevens aka Yusuf
Islam... is the ultimate irony. Sanity is hard to come by in a
madhouse. Among these loons, drug addled Ozzy Osbourne is probably the
sanest of them all." Oh, well, at least they liked Ozzy.
Those rightbloggers who noticed anything else about the rally hit a few
basic themes. For one: That there weren't many black people there. For
the most part, this was a joke, because liberals are always making fun of the whiteness of conservative events, and turnabout is fair play -- though some of the brethren seemed not to be kidding.
wrote, "AN OVERWHELMINGLY WHITE CROWD at the Stewart/Colbert rally.
Well, Stewart and Colbert are Stuff White People Like." "Just look at
the predominantly white crowd at their rally," said The Scratching Post.
"If that doesn't make them racist, nothing does." "At right a rare shot
of the only African American within 10 miles of the Mall yesterday,"
said Phil Butler, who also said the attendees were "stoned." "WHERE ALL THE BLACK FOLKS AT?" asked Angry White Dude. (If only these guys had been around for the Million Man March! We bet they would have loved it.)
of "Racism & Hate At 'Restoring Sanity' Rally" -- a guy who said
that in America "we're lynching niggers," and that U.S. soldiers called
Arabs "sand niggers." The fellow seems to be going for irony, but
As if their racism wasn't bad enough, some ralliers also compared conservatives to Nazis.
at the San Francisco Examiner said, "Rally for Sanity mostly zany but
somewhat hateful too as Palin, Beck, Boehner tagged with Hitler
-- "It just goes to show," said BFV, "that in the end, the left is
motivated by hatred, and dare I say bigotry." "Stewart rally shows a
Jewish congressman as Hitler," reported Don Surber.
Hitler mustaches! Comparing public figures to Hitler! Whoever heard of such a thing?
Given that the rally's comedians and ironic signs and costumes
predominated media coverage of the rally, charges of racism and
indiscriminate Hitler accusation probably couldn't be expected to get
much traction. So the smarter play would be to find something wrong with
the satire itself. Some went with the venerable America-hating angle. Doug Ross noted at the rally a flag "made up of destroyed American flags. But don't you dare question their patriotism."
"Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart openly advocate Fabien Social Communism," said World News Heard Now. "Both are traitors and should be treated with the contempt that entails." "Colbert & Stewart Bash America," added a YouTube poster, "& Mock America in Worst Rally Song Ever."
Others complained that the thing just wasn't funny. "It was a lot less bitchy and biting than I thought it would be," said National Review's Jonah Goldberg. "It was also a lot less funny." Goldberg then told his laugh-starved readers to check his own Twitter feed.
I'm here all week, try the veal.
Samples: "I like Stewart & Co, too. But the MSM ass-kissing of
these guys is really an amazing thing to behold. Why R nerd-boomers so
enthralled?" and "Shorter Stewart: If all media commentators were David
Gergen or David Broder, America would be super-awesome." This man is
obviously qualified to school Stewart and Colbert in the art of getting
OK, so maybe the jokes were funny, but they were also mean. And partisan. just a conservative girl
saw a bunch of snotty signs (e.g., "Don't Like Government? Move to
Somalia. [Take Your AK-47]") and called it "More Moderation from Sanity
Rally." American Power
saw a "Death to Rightwing Extremists (But In a Nice Way)" sign and
exploded, "Kinda like 'humane' executions." They see through your
"jokes" of death, Sanitards!
"Why, it's almost as if they intended to appeal to the nuts," said Jay Tea of Wizbang. Also, Cat Stevens!
Given this, you have to admire the restraint of the many rightbloggers
who kept their composure, and simply dismissed the ralliers as smug.
video which supported the point mainly by playing a funny song ("I'm in
love with myself") over clips the rally's humorous signs and costumes,
which are signs of elitism.
offered a photo funny in which a self-professed "clueless, vapid,
ironic hipster doofus" who didn't want someone to "kill my smug buzz,
man" with the news about the UPS bomb threats (the proper response to
which, we assume, would have been a denunciation, at the very least, of
"it was hard to watch the footage and breathe a breath of fresh air."
"There was an atmosphere of imperial smugness in the air," reported a HillBuzz
correspondent, who also denounced the attendees as "rude" seven times,
as well as "accusatory," "nasty," and given to "bad language."
"Sane or Smug?" asked National Review's Brian Bolduc.
Smug, racist bastards.
Guess. While some attendees were non-partisan funny, "most ralliers
were unabashedly liberal," and some even "blatantly partisan," said
Bolduc, Stewart and Colbert "showed a similar bias in their mock
debate... true," he noticed in a moment of clarity, "these were
comedians joking around... But standing in the crowd, you got the sense
that when the ralliers applauded Stewart, they also applauded
themselves." Aha, smug, then! For a moment we thought he was going to
And the best antidote to the ralliers' treasonous humor? Anti-Democrat humor! Instapundit
linked to Gateway Pundit's video of Democorps, which attended one of
the satellite rallies and mocked Dem corruption ("The only good deal is a
backroom deal!"). It's a miracle they were tolerated; presumably the
other ralliers were too smug to beat them up.
which accused Stewart and Colbert of "Mocking Serious Ralliers For A
Few Laughs." Several Serious Ralliers were shown being serious, and
compared with clips of Colbert's and Stewart's "culture of mockery."
"While the liberal elite joke," said ALG, "many people have been
involved in these events to voice their opinions seriously."
And maybe that's the final lesson. Satire's been around for a long time,
but there's little evidence that it does much more than provide comfort
to those who notice that the world around them is more than a little
mad. It's a refuge for the powerless. Seriousness, on the other hand, is
for closers, and conservatives feel themselves on the verge of closing a
great electoral victory. That's why rightbloggers, even the smart ones,
admired the August Glenn Beck rally -- it was imbecilic, but it was serious as hell, and they knew it represented a source of power for themselves. They can't laugh when they're not winning, and they'll never understand anyone who can.