Jon Stewart Single-handedly Restores (In)Sanity and/or (Un)Fear

Is it just me? It seems everyone else understands what it means to “Restore Sanity and/or Fear”, but I have little idea what such a slogan might mean. Is Jon Stewart channeling Jacques Derrida? Or…?

Well, I do have a few starting Qs:

1) What does it mean that this “liberal mass” has produced such leaders?

2) What does it mean when the North-eastern  “cultural and/or media elites” are presented as bearers of “sanity”?

3) What about this strange verb “restore”?

4) What about the genuine complaints of this apparently insane, bestial, moronic, provincial, illiterate, inbred, lumpen, fascist, crazed, hysterical (nevermind marginalised, dispossessed,  disempowered, alienated, and pissed-off) mass, whose anti-state and anti-bureaucratic energies are being mediated through conservative (Republican) political hegemeony and its organisational forms, and yet which may also be coming to challenge these forms and in the process seriously shake the political status quo?

This last point is certainly a mess (though I hope you liked my pseudo-Heideggerian/Derridean deployment of écriture sous rature), but its disentanglement might be the key to a shift in American politics at the moment.

My hypothesis is that a correct understanding of this shift (the Tea Party shift, if you will) will expose the function of this Restore (In)Sanity and/or Fear rally as a containment technique, which seeks (perhaps unconsciously) to play  “liberal discontent” against “tea party discontent” in order to defend and maintain the status quo. This recuperatory function is neatly encapsulated in the following piece of too-obvious-to-be-visible ‘wish-fulfillment’ from Time: “Maybe Stewart can give a voice to the people who are not “mad as hell and not going to take it anymore” but rather, you know, pretty ticked off yet willing to keep giving it a shot.” I think it’s plain what “reasonableness” and “sanity” and “common sense” mean here.

The whole affair thus appears as one enormous Spectacle.

Read the whole Time blog piece here if you can be bothered:





~ by Wit on October 31, 2010.

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