Stick To Mocking Bears

Stephen Colbert’s appearance in character before a House committee today might be the dumbest political stunt since Caligula made his horse a Senator.  It would be as if I went on “The Colbert Report” and just responded to everything he said with, “Yeah, but you’re just a comedian playing a character.  You don’t really believe that, right?”  Congressional Democrats are too busy to schedule a vote on taxes but not too busy to yuck it up in a hearing room, I guess.

Besides, if you’re going to have a comedian testify before Congress, it should clearly be Don Rickles.  He would insult them for an hour and we would all nod in agreement.

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6 Responses

  1. Hmm? It was brilliant!

    1) These hearings are theater, so we might as well have avowed performers.

    2) His testimony made good points in a satirical manner.

    “This is America. I don’t want a tomato picked my a Mexican. I want one picked by an American. Then sliced by a Guatemalan, and served by a Venezuelan in a spa where a Chilean gives me a Brazilian. Because my great grandfather did not travel across 4,000 miles of the Atlantic ocean to see this country overrun by immigrants. He did it because he killed a man back in Ireland.”

  2. Vicky Woeste says:

    And as Zoe Lofgren pointed out, no one would be paying any attention to the issue of immigrant labor on farms whatsoever if he hadn’t appeared before the committee (and he did so after having worked as a day laborer picking beans, so he gets a point for street cred). If we are going to make headway against the rising tide of ugly racism and demonization of workers, this is a darn good way to start.

    Also, Seth, Stephen wasn’t sure about his grandfather’s murder rap, so he asked that it be stricken from the record. Just to keep things straight here.

  3. Gloria says:

    Congress has a grand tradition of being dramatic. Satire is a lot less damaging then Preston Brooks caning Charles Sumner.
    Recently we had the congressman who brought acorns to the meeting about ACORN, and my favorite the Hello Kitty poster during the Health Care debates.

  4. A.J. Sutter says:

    (i) Gerard, you may have just disinvited yourself from the show by laying out your gambit in advance. Is that a great strategy, considering the target audience for your books has a big overlap with Colbert’s?

    (ii) As covered by the NYT and MSNBC (click on the second Colbert photo in the mosaic at the end of the NYT clip to get Olbermann’s coverage), Colbert testified seriously toward the end of the session. Asked by CA congressperson Judy Chu why he would devote his time to the farmworkers, he said “I like talking about people who don’t have any power, and it seems like one of the least powerful people in the United States are migrant workers who come and do our work but don’t have any rights themselves. Migrant workers suffer and have no rights.” Subject-verb agreement aside, too few people appreciate this point.

    (iii) During Colbert’s delivery of his prepared statement, watch the guy over Colbert’s right shoulder: he hardly cracks a smile throughout the testimony; ditto for a woman at the back, stage right. Others struggle not to laugh, but eventually give in. But the only big laugh in the room is a cynical one at the end, when SC expresses his hope that after his testimony “both sides will work together on this issue in the best interests of the American people — as you always do.”

  5. jtanner says:

    At least Caligula appointed the whole horse.

  6. Dan says:

    Colbert was awesome.

    The hearings are a big joke anyways that’s why Colbert was perfect.