Comedic Communication: The Only Way The Smarties Can Inform Dumbies

At Motleybloggers.com, we've been talking a lot about the level of ignorance on display at the McCain/Palin (or Palin/McCain) rallies during the last couple of weeks. In one post, I explained how upset I was at the fact that these people get to vote without problems at the polls, with out lost ballots or stolen votes, yet it wasn't too long ago that black people had to take literacy test in order to vote. But this also raises a question about how you reach any group of people who are fundamentally comfortable in their ignorance about issues of life and death or war and peace. Then the answer became really apparent... Comedy! From Saturday Night Live to Family Guy, on has to wonder: Has communication been "dumbed down" to the point that cartoons and comedy sketches have become the only way to reason with the American proletariat?

For example, how glaring is this message from Family Guy:


I'm not sure whose fault it is. is it the media that has become hamstrung by the need to appear "fair and balanced" that they've decided that it's fair to give equal time to the truth and the lie, equal time to the right and the wrong, equal time to the idiocies as the significant? Or maybe it's that journalistic integrity; the thing that actually made the media the fourth branch of government, has taken a back seat to the fiduciary responsibility of media corporations to make a profit for their investors?

Is it the fault of a carefully crafted conservative effort to scare their supporters with horror stories of a "liberal media" conspiracy to take their money and property and give it to a Cadillac wheeling "welfare queen"? You know, like when Rush Limbaugh tells his listeners to ignore the "elite" or "drive-by media" as he so frequently calls them, and urges them to listen on obey the sound of his voice for honest and accurate assessments of today's issues.

Perhaps it's our fault for being so gullible; for not trusting the media enough to heed their call for us to "do something!" as the major corporations began buying up controlling interests in and consolidating major media companies... with their screams buried in op-ed pages. I mean, wasn't anyone else worried when ABC's Nightline traded in solid structure of Ted Koppel for a format that seems more like Entertainment Tonight, than serious news coverage? If so, then you have to be thankful for Jon Stewart:



Comedy has been of great utility during the course of this election. Most people didn't seem to understand how uninformed on anything Sarah Palin was until Tina Fey and Saturday Night Live spoofed her a few times and some studies have shown that a growing number of Americans are receiving their political information from shows like The Daily Show or The Colbert Report. In fact, one Pew research study shows that The Daily Show viewers are among the most informed on world affairs, while Fox News viewers rank last.

In this regard, comedians are doing what they have done since the beginning of civilization... speaking truth to power in a way that keeps them "above the fray". After all, it was only the court jester that could make fun of the king without fear of reprise. This seems to be the most effective way to reach the majority of America, these days. It's not that it's bad, but sad. It' sad that we don't or won't take an interest in the dramatic impact of these current events. It's sad we don't want to be bothered with the truth, but would much rather languish in the ignorance and stupidity that validates the way we want to see the world. It's sad that Americans, by and large, are like little children that only take the pink, bubble-gum flavored medicine, that need cartoon dogs and bears to teach them about crime and fire prevention, and need t0 tablespoons of sugar to eat a bowl of Corn Flakes.

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