I’m cool like that

Turns out watching Jon Stewart’s Daily Show is a contradiction in personality terms. Who knew.

Last week I read that I’m cool – apparently, according to the Globe and Mail’s TV columnist, Conan O’Brien’s move to cable was a brilliant tactical move because only stodgy middle aged people watch Leno and Letterman at 11 on whatever networks they’re on; the truly edgy folk (such as yours truly) watch Jon Stewart on cable.

This explains why I keep having these urges to shave my head and make up rap lyrics.

Then again, I can’t understand why anybody would ever watch the two L’s – wherever they were. Never seemed like a good notion to me to watch creepy guys telling recycled, antediluvian jokes that weren’t funny when Henny Youngman told them, particularly as you’re getting ready to go to sleep. Bound to give you bad dreams.

Then, tonight, I found out – on Jon Stewart naturally – that according to Fox News’s Bernie Goldberg (Bernie Goldberg?!  What kind of name is that for a person on Fox, I ask you) Stewart is merely pandering to his small, “unsophisticated” cable audience (when he points out some of Fox News’s’ idiocies and contradictions).  All in patronizing tones that made me want to hit him – particularly when he seemed to take umbrage at Jon Stewart actually being polite to his guests, even when he disagreed with them. Wow. What a concept. Politeness. Obviously one Fox is unaware of.

So there you have it. According to Fox,  only unsophisticated people watch Jon Stewart.

Now I’ve been called a lot of things – cranky, curmudgeonly, stubborn, irritating, even childish and idiotic – but unsophisticated? Please. I’m sophisticated enough to recognize a gentleman when I see him and Mr. Stewart is a gentleman. And clearly a very nice man.

We don’t get the Fox News Network in Canada which is just as well. Even flicking past it would probably make me apoplectic. It seems to embody the absolute worst of this experiment they call America: boorish, xenophobic, crude, partisan and – let’s not mince words – stupid. The snippets I’ve seen on the Daily Show and the first segment of Colbert make me shudder and do not bode well for the future of the American republic. Particularly since Fox is the fastest-growing network in the U.S.

That’s even scarier than Letterman’s face, frankly. (Since that poor man had quadruple bypass surgery he looks like a zombie walking). Someone should have told him that a massive heart surgery is not “preventive” of anything, particularly dying of heart disease.

But back to Fox. I guess they’re trying to prepare America for the challenges of the 19th century.

My  impression of Goldberg and Glen Back and Sarah Palin and the Tea Party movement they’ve spawned is of a sad, scared group of people who are so terrified of Obama and any change – even if it means an improvement to what’s been – that they will literally cut off a nose to spite a face. Who seem to think the fifties were some kind of Xanadu. When men were men and women were women and little green men were little green men from Mars.

It was a time when America was #1 (because Europe was still rebuilding after the second world war) and in many ways the idea of America was amazing.  As a Paris cab driver once wistfully said to me, when he was a child in the sixties, America was jazz and cowboys, civil rights and the space program, walking on the moon. It was science and innovation, Hollywood and glamour.  American was cool. No more.

Now, it’s Goldman Sachs and Wall Street, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Walmart and kids’ toys made in China contaminated with lead (because nobody’s willing to pay more than $5 for anything).

It’s a pity the folks at Fox haven’t twigged to the fact that things have changed and being unpleasant ends up working against the America they profess to love. In any event, change, no matter what they think about it, simply happens. It doesn’t care. Seasons change, babies grow and later grow old and die.  We change. Things evolve; true, not always for what you or I might consider as the “best”, but hey, that’s life. Life is change.

Screaming just makes you hoarse. And rudeness and spite, as Robespierre found out, only begets more anger and sometimes that guillotine you’ve built to get your enemies with ends up getting you. Fox should perhaps be careful what it wishes for – it might not like the result.

But hey,  I’m cool with that.