I have an addiction to online debating, though the word “debating” is itself debatable. Usually on the high school debate team you aren't called a “stupid libtwat fucktard” for your stance on tort reform. I of course tend to like being called that, because it allows me to unleash the verbal hounds right back on some right wing asshole in Tennessee who thinks that Martin Luther King, Jr. was a conservative, or that vaccinations cause autism, or that the '80s was the worst decade for music ever. That last one really is inexcusable. My theory is that I do this in lieu of playing
Grand Theft Auto; for me it's the intellectual equivalent to mowing down hookers with my muscle car.
I spent the better part of yesterday furiously arguing on my smartphone with people who still believe that the Sandy Hook massacre in Newton was staged. Any sane person would turn and back away slowly from such insulting blather, but I get sucked in like a toddler to a faulty pool drain. “You NEED to watch this,” said one man, linking a YouTube video, the last refuge of idiots. His evidence of course is the fact that no one has ever seen pictures of a dead kindergardener from that day, because as you know, they always release such things. “The media are in on it too!” spouted a woman named Marie, to which a sane debater shot back, “The media is keeping Marie from seeing dead children in coffins!” LULZ.
When faced with such inanity from people who so convinced they are right, how can we ourselves be convinced our views are the correct ones? When given that question I always turn to Stephen Colbert's best quote: “The facts have a liberal bias.” Fact: MLK was far left on most issues. Fact: Vaccines are not linked to autism. Fact: Tears For Fears' 1983 album The Hurting is one of the single greatest records of all time.
I can't be the only person who turns to The Colbert Report for a dose of sanity. There have to be millions of people in small towns all across America who are surrounded by various incarnations of Michele Bachmann or Ted Nugent who need to tune in every night to recalibrate their brains.
The magic of the show lies in the satire. Colbert will always kick Jon Stewart's ass because he's not only wittier, but his shtick works on more levels. (Also, Stewart's incessant sycophantic ass-kissing of guests is really getting old.)
Satire as an art form predates Jesus, which could explain why the Immaculate Conception was really just a joke about Joseph's itty-bitty penis. The fuel of satire is truth; you couldn't stand before Henry VIII and make fun of his propensity for slicing through women's necks, but if you were his fool you could slay the room with your joke about how the king just loves to get head.
And so it is with Stephen Colbert. He says the same thing the right-wing nuts do, the words that make you wince and worry for the country's future. But then he twists them and makes them look as moronic as they are. It's doubly satisfying. He's the contemporary Archie Bunker, with Meathead as his foil, all rolled into one person.
All In The Family, however, was enjoyed by both sides of the political spectrum. Bigots and commie-haters could tune in and see themselves in Archie, and pinko flower children could get satisfaction from Michael disputing Bunker's facts. Colbert doesn't work as smoothly. I doubt a conservative can watch that show and suspend all belief that the host isn't making a fool of them.
After Nelson Mandela died, the debate pages were clogged with a whitewashing of that whole era. Mandela was a “terrorist” who loved to kill innocent white people. Ronald Reagan was a champion against apartheid. And then of course came the memorial in Africa, where Obama posed for that selfie and dared shake the hand of a communist. It was a busy day for me as I single-handedly tried to overturn everyone's warped views on the subject. I don't use YouTube videos to back up my assertions; that would be wackadoodle. I prefer to just totally condescend to people and repeatedly tell them to go read a motherfucking book, you fucking brain-dead Nazi.
My blood pressure up, I closed my laptop and cued up my Colbert on the DVR. There it was, Colbert talking about the president shaking Raul Castro's hand at the memorial. “It's sending the wrong message,” he quipped. “A message that we might talk to them again; and is Nelson Mandela's memorial really the place for reconciliation?” Boom.
Game. Set. Match: Brain recalibrated.