Taylor Branch on Jon Stewart's great riskHistorians in the News
Jon Stewart's announcement last Thursday of his "Rally to Restore Sanity" on Oct. 30 has, not surprisingly, generated significant interest from"Daily Show" fans. (The current number of people signed up on the rally's Facebook page is 140,000). But it also prompted some confusion, even from longtime fans. What is Stewart trying to achieve? Does this mark a more formal embrace of politics? Will this change the way he's perceived?
Salon spoke to Taylor Branch, Pulitzer Prize-winning civil rights historian and scholar of mass political movements, about Stewart's role in popular culture and politics and what benefits and risks the rally holds for him. (We also asked Branch about the controversial New York Times Op-Ed he recently penned expressing sympathy for Glenn Beck's 8/28"Restoring Honor" rally.)
What do you think the goal of Stewart's rally is?
Well, I don't know. He always says his job is straightforwardly to entertain and poke fun at the news.
Do you think that's true?
Do I believe him? I don't know. He has stepped out of that role a couple of times. Years and years ago he went on"Crossfire," on CNN, and scolded them, saying that they were just entertaining people with emotional argument for argument's sake, without any interest whatsoever in asking any questions or solving any problems. And that therefore it was just entertainment -- and that that was his job. That seemed to be a foray into serious politics, you know, saying,"I'm supposed to be the clown, not you guys." I don't know whether that's what he has in mind here or not, because he hasn't really said. But I think whenever people in a public position like that do things that are unexpected, that involve some sort of surprise and or risk, we need to pay attention to what they say, because maybe it'll provoke something new.
comments powered by Disqus
- Rubio Surges Into Second In New Hampshire
- Branstad Says Cruz Ran ‘Unethical’ Campaign
- Christie Highlights Santorum’s Endorsement of Rubio
- Portman Comes Out Against Trade Deal
- Megyn Kelly Gets a Book Deal
- A Big List of the Bad Things Clinton Has Done
- An Unambiguous Sign Sanders Won Last Night’s Debate
- Still Friends at the End
- Quote of the Day
- Trump Still Leads as Clinton Slips
- Clinton Can’t Shake Image as Wall Street’s Friend
- Maddow Doesn’t See Sanders Winning
- Why Does the Media Still Shield Chelsea Clinton?
- Bush Jokes His Mother May Have Abused Him
- Rubio Closes the Gap in New Hampshire
- Soviet Politburo Discussed CIA Billion Dollar Spy Adolf Tolkachev
- Pentagon withholds Iraq War photos showing detainee abuse
- These Rebels Have Amassed A Library From Syria’s Ruins
- Was 1916 fire at Canadian Parliament set by German saboteur?
- United Nations Calls On U.S. To Pay African Americans Reparations For Slavery
- Juan Cole says America’s inclination to turn to the military started with Manifest Destiny
- History Jobs Drop
- Paul Krugman gives credence to Robert J. Gordon's pessimism about American economic growth
- Harvard President Drew Faust Condemns Free Tuition Proposal from Outsider Overseers Ticket
- Andrew Roberts says Trump is the Mussolini of America with double the vulgarity