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December 01, 2005



If you're right about the evolution of the character, then Gordon sounds to me like a counterpart of the talk-show hosts and stand-up comedians who have been talking about how screwed up the government is since the '60s. Given Jon Stewart's combination of popularity and total lack of effecting any change, it's believable that a totalitarian government with no plans for listening to or pretending to humor an opposing viewpoint would let a talk-show host slide.


I love Bush 43:totalitarian government comparisons as much as the next guy, but our society doesn't exactly match Norsefire's, does it? True totalitarian regimes typically attempt absolute control over their culture, so I can't believe they'd leave any room for a Gordon Deitrich. An ineffective talk-show host who's allowed to play the role of court jester or even safety valve for public discontent could be a telling commentary on our society, but it's impossible in the one Moore and Lloyd depicted.

Also, I wouldn't discount Stewart's ability to effect change. First, I don't think he actively courts change, but he was documenting the Bush administration's lies and exploding their fantasies long before anyone else in the broadcast media, and he was willing to criticize the handling of the Iraq war long before anyone who wasn't campaigning for Howard Dean. Now the rest of the culture seems to be turning that way. He may not have people out on the streets manning the barricades, but how many entertainers ever have? The Daily Show has accomplished the more subtle, long-term, profound change of creating a space where it's actually hip to talk about politics, and it's okay to express a dissenting opinion.

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