29th September 2010
Jonah Goldberg has had enough.
Stephen Colbert’s “testimony” before Congress last week was a clear sign that ironic rot (if you’ve got a better term, let me know) is sinking into the foundation of our political system.
In the 1990s, Washington fell in love with Hollywood in an unprecedented way. In countless films, politicians, reporters, and pundits played themselves. There was also an influential — and occasionally funny — sitcom called Murphy Brown that jumped back and forth from make-believe to reality. Things got particularly confusing when Vice President Dan Quayle criticized the show for glamorizing out-of-wedlock births, and the show’s creators responded by having the fictional Murphy Brown whine about personal attacks on her lifestyle.
Colbert’s testimony reduced the topic to a black-and-white issue in which people on the other side are fools or bigots worthy of cheap mockery. I thought the whole point of Colbert was to stand against that sort of thing by making fun of it, not by doing it. Are our politics really improved by making congressional hearings even more of a joke? Were they truthiness-deficient?