It was clear last night that Jon Stewart is himself a member of the Writers' Guild of America, the union that is currently on strike to win a slice of Internet revenue for their repurposed content. The lameness (lame-ity?) of his return show demonstrated that he was still on strike and had nothing to offer his fans. His guest, a labour relations professor from Cornell, was as boring as he probably is in a lecture hall. The best Stewart could do was to change the "The" in "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" to "A."
Contrast this performance with that of Colbert (pronounced last evening as "Col-Bert in support of WGA). He was as sharp and acerbic as ever, lampooning not only his own tropes, but the intransigent position of the Alliance for Motion Picture & Television Producers, against which the WGA is striking. One of his guests, author Richard Freeman, an economist and author who argues for strong unions, could barely contain his mirth sitting opposite Colbert, delivering his simple but effective lesson with good humour. His other guest, Andrew Sullivan, delivered the sharp political commentary we have come to expect from Colbert (and Stewart) during the marathon run-up to an American election. For his part, Colbert clearly showed that he needs neither unions nor writers to make his true position eminently clear. His "The Word" segment was ironically silent - a succinct Menippean commentary on the situation. But in an odd way, Colbert is indeed correct. His return to the air showed that his ultra-right-wing persona can do quite handily without writers.
(And, of course, you do know that I argue that unions are obsolescent in a UCaPP environment, right?)
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