October 21, 2007
He Might Not Be Serious, But Colbert's Not Kidding
“This is not a dream. You’re not going to wake up from this.”
— Presidential Candidate Stephen Colbert. Meet The Press. 10/21/2007
If you love parody….
If you were completely panicked — immediately following 9/11 — that irony really was dead….
If you miss Andy Kaufman….
If you can’t bear to watch most of the talking heads on TV because they are almost complete parodies of themselves (with the majority of politicians not far behind)…
… then you might agree with me that yesterday’s Meet The Press program (with the Palmetto State’s Stephen Colbert) was a sort of Dadaist version of your usual Sunday talking head chatter.
Sadly, but not unpredictably, Russert showed what a sham he is by playing straight man, and typical Beltway softball pitcher, with someone playing him for the same. I mean, I’m sure Timmy still has no idea what a demonstration of a tool he provided by pandering to Colbert’s furrowed forehead, raised eyebrow, reverse-Borat con-artistry.
If Russert wasn’t, well, Russert, and TV News wasn’t bootlicking, a real interviewer (still willing to be played a bit) might have taken Colbert at face value and made a not-fake interview out of it, vigorously challenging why SC felt the need to making a joke out of the political system. (In contrast — and this was so sad — the real faux interviewer, Russert, actually dared to ask Colbert what he was getting at during last year’s White House Correspondents Dinner with his scathing ridicule of the beltway media.)
Even more pathetic, though (especially with the sound off), was Russert’s wooden attempt to replicate Colbert’s schtick, completely fake-seriously probing about the pronunciation of Sesame Street star, Bert’s (or “Ber’s”) first name.
I wish Colbert well in picking up where the You Tube debate concept got run off the road, aiming to force-inject some authenticity into the Campaign ’08 fashion show. For the sake of democracy, wouldn’t it be great if parody’s “favorite son” ended up, if just in some small way, forcing Hillary or Rudy or Obama or Mitt to break role? If so, what a contribution.
If Colbert (R + D – S.C.) fails, however, the result (for those that get it) will be that much more demoralizing for American politics, proving that: even if a really good (show-) man makes his best attempt to differentiate between inauthenticity and completely fake authenticity, the system will still defeat him.