The Truthiness of Political Theater


Since the beginning of 2012, a mere twenty-eight days ago, justice, or more accurately, injustice has been the theme of the Errant Aesthete. Beginning with the ominous opening day greeting of the new year with the announcement that “you can now be detained — indefinitely” as a result of the new year’s eve signing into law of the National Defense Authorization Act, and the following call to action a few days later to occupy the courts in protest of the Supreme Court’s ‘United Citizens’ decision, the year, thus far, is spawning a tsunami of rage that seems destined to happen.

This morning’s news that Twitter is preparing to clip its own wings is just the latest in, yet, another assault waged against freedom:

“One year after the beginning of the Egyptian uprising that it helped make possible, Twitter began its descent down what media commentator Jeff Jarvis called the “slippery slope of censorship,” announcing that it would begin to locally censor tweets that governments find objectionable.”

While the renegade in all of us might want to rant, riot or ruffle the collective ennui, comedian and South Carolina’s foremost satirist, Stephen Colbert, of Comedy Central, tilted the scales of justice in his own bold and truthi-way last week by reviving the Cain Train (you may remember the former presidential hopeful), with a “Rock Me Like a Herman Cain South Cain-olina Primary Rally” at the College of Charleston in South Carolina on January 20.

While many could accuse Colbert of ratings-driven motives for staging such a showy antic in his home state, there is no doubting the earnestness of civic service behind his latest prank on a political system that all too frequently veers into self-parody without any help from the good people at Comedy Central.

“Announcing that he was running for president (again) was one way to demonstrate, by simple insinuation, that any clown with the requisite money and vanity could buy a chance to become this season’s hanging chad (with a follow-up book deal and a stint as Fox News pundit in the bag). And attempting to sponsor the S.C. primary was a witty strategy to point out how branding and voting are disturbingly codependent activities in this, the America of the 21st century.” Amen.

Truthdig, in naming Colbert the “truthdigger of the week,” supported their choice with a few truths of their own:

“We think Colbert deserves the laurels this time for the work he’s done to share his platform with the unfunny problem of campaign funding gone berserk. Establishing what is now known as “The Definitely Not Coordinating With Stephen Colbert Super PAC,” thanks to a mysterious induction ceremony involving Colbert, his lawyer, Jon Stewart and intentionally bad special effects, was an intentionally confusing way to bring the Supreme Court’s scary Citizens United ruling into focus on a national scale. Certain operatives from all points along the political spectrum would do well to fixate less on crashing their fellow Americans’ commitment ceremonies and instead channel their energies into busting up the unholy marriage between money and politics over which our enrobed friends at SCOTUS presided back in 2010.”

It would seem that loosening up flimsy campaign finance regulations that still hang over the body politic “like a cheap camisole” has made way for some pretty bawdy power grabs by parties with deep pockets and questionable intentions toward our civil liberties. So, though Comedy Central’s funnyman may not be president anytime soon (nor, thankfully, will Herman Cain), mockery might make for good policy if Colbert can make his super PAC ‘play money’ talk in the preferred language of our country’s prevailing corporate politicians.


Image: Clown, David Teniers, oil painting, Russia, Moscow, Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts




~ by eaesthete on 01/28/12.

4 Responses to “The Truthiness of Political Theater”

  1. I agree wholeheartedly! I could not have said it better.

  2. Exquisite articulation as always Ms. Errant Aesthete – the irony of ironies is that it is highly doubtful that the Colbert effect penetrates the anaesthesed network television masses – erudite ‘reality’ programming combined with digital ‘gaming’ has captured the imagination of a nation. Disturbing is my generous characterization of what is taking place in mainstream America.

  3. Je suis de votre combat pour un monde libre, Rebel Aesthete.
    I more or less follow American politics one thing I can say, I’m often astonished by its ways. And I dread many of the men and women involved.


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