Is Stewart-Colbert's Rally To Restore Sanity Funny Or Damaging?
Saturday is expected to bring an estimated 60,000 participates to Washington, D.C.'s National Mall for Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert's Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. The main event is scheduled to last for two hours, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., with entertainment for another two hours on each end to keep attendees entertained for longer. (Here's a complete guide to the rally from performance times to information about the companion rally in Los Angeles.)
While some American newspaper writers are saying the rally offers comedic relief amid the most stressful weekend of the election season, others have taken a harder stance, calling the rally a blasphemous blow to Democrats.
- The Positive
LA Times Editorial
LA Times suggests the Stewart rally will be nothing more than a comedy show―so just enjoy!
“Saturday's event will probably resemble a standup comedy act more than a political rally, and the only thing it's likely to leave behind is trash on the capital's broad lawns (which Stewart is, sanely, mitigating by asking his fans to contribute to the Trust for the National Mall ). Applebaum and her ilk should stop being heartsick, grab some popcorn and enjoy the show.”
Stewart’s rally has the potential to get people excited about politics again--just in time for the midterm elections.
“Yet progressives and liberals, ranging from left wing to the just left of center, have expressed a range of reservations, missing, I believe, the larger point of this rally's potential for reordering our out-of-whack politics, if only for a moment. But if that moment lasts until the polls close on Tuesday, it will have been worth it.”
New York Times
At very least the rallies will get people more interested in politics, while providing comedic relief.
“The rallies will draw attention to a midterm election, something political parties have long had difficulty doing -- the average turnout in the last five midterm elections is only around 37 percent. If they can channel voter disaffection into greater political participation, they can only be good for democracy.”
- The Negative
Stewart is a comedian acting like a politician.
"But this rally just doesn't feel right. When all is well with the universe, you're the guy mercilessly mocking people who hold political rallies, not the guy organizing them. This "Rally to Restore Sanity" feels just a little too . . . what's the word . . . earnest for you."
Washington Post, again
Stewart’s attempt at center fails, as liberals take the rally seriously.
“I don't know about you, but my heart sank when I read about Jon Stewart's Million Moderate March , planned for the Mall next weekend. My heart sank further when I learned that liberal groups, lacking any better ideas, have decided to take this endeavor seriously.”
Stewart has the ability to do great things with this rally-but isn’t going to follow through.
“Tens of thousands of people are finding a way to D.C. -- I even know of some people crossing international borders; it is not just middle America that feels restless. This could have been a lesson in elevating the progressive community's sense of civic duty. But Stewart appears uninterested in generating enduring change; he wants a day-long party. Then people can go back to the things that matter -- lives of domesticity, and watching shows that make jokes about how seriously screwed up things are.”
Reach reporter Clare Bergman here.