I haven't written much about Jon Stewart, save for the occasional observation that The Daily Show was a more accurate news source than most other cable shows - not just Fox Not-News but also CNN and MSNBC paled in comparison - so this is kinda out of the blue for me writing about him just as this is his LAST DAY hosting The Daily Show after 16 years. (I'm not about to live-blog the GOP debate tonight because this site's just not built for it, check with Wonkette please).
So, just to say this much:
1) For a stand-up comedian hosting a satire show that parodied the flaws of television media, Stewart took his job seriously.
2) When he took over the show, the tenor of the Daily Show went from a sadistic streak under Craig Kilborn - insulting half of everyone - to a sarcastic one that relied more on the Talking Head media elites getting caught failing basic logic. Stewart's focus could still rely on crude and direct put-downs of specific targets - Glenn Beck in particular - but that was applied more as a scalpel cutting out cancerous growths instead of the sledgehammer style Kilborn employed.
This embedded clip above - if it plays correct - is perhaps Stewart's crowning moment of political satire, shredding Beck's performance style and pointing out the twisted failures at logic Beck tried to shill.
3) I probably would have missed going to college with him as he's eight years older than me, but if the parental units had decided on staying in Virginia Beach instead of moving to Florida, I could well have gone to William And Mary. Oh well, it wouldn't do.
4) While he's leaving at arguably the most dire time our nation needs him - in the middle of the craziest, wingnuttiest Republican campaign for the White House since Wendell Wilkee - in a lot of ways I don't blame him. Stewart's made it clear that all these years fighting the BS shilled by Fox Not-News has burned him out.
For all of Stewart's efforts to point out the flaws and insanity of the Far Right, nothing much ever changed. Some of the messengers got mocked off the stage - Beck is now so fringe that barely anyone quotes him on Twitter now - but Ailes and his network simply reloaded with fresher faces and worse talent. The Far Right media of which Fox is the major hub keeps chugging along with the same message - FEAR LIBRULS, FEAR THE OTHER - in a way that belittled Stewart's efforts to slap reality into the dialogue.
5) It's DEBATE TIME. God Help Us All. When it ends, Jon Stewart is gone.