The Court Jester and 9/11 Truth
Attacked by the Left. Attacked by the Right. Attacked by “edgy” political comedians for scant, confused laughs – with no discernible purpose other than to discourage and further isolate those seeking justice. No matter if their political affiliation is Coke, or whether they lean hard towards Pepsi, everyone in the corporate mainstream media can agree that 9/11 truth is a target worthy of derision.
Yet, strangely, none of them can seem to get their story straight.
When left-wing commentators denounce 9/11 truth activists, the activists are derided as right-wing conspiracy freaks – lumped in with the Tea Party and various hate groups. When it’s the Right’s turn to attack, those seeking answers about 9/11 are uniformly painted as Bush-burnt America haters, the very worst of the left-wing losers.
Sometimes – just to mix it up – a lefty journalist will agree that 9/11 truth is indeed a scourge of the Left, and even concoct a bizarre conspiracy theory to explain it away.
When it comes to political humor in the corporate media, the drill is exactly the same.
Last week, comedian Jon Stewart of The Daily Show announced his upcoming “Rally to Restore Sanity” in Washington DC. Using 9/11 truth as an example of the “insanity” that plagues this country, Stewart mocked the cause as right-wing kookiness, the equivalent of believing Obama is a secret muslim.
Stewart’s shtick is the exasperated moderate everyman, a lone voice of reason in a sea of insanity – willing to question or poke fun at anyone or anything. But, as with fellow “edgy” political humorist Bill Maher, some things simply must not be questioned. And those who do question them must be mocked.
“The people that believe George Bush let 9/11 happen to pad Dick Cheney’s Halliburton stock portfolio,” Stewart intoned to minimal laughter, describing the “dumb” 15 to 30 percent of the population that he says is holding the country back.
“You’ve seen their signs.”
Stewart then whipped out a sign of his own reading “9/11 Was an Outside Job” – as a sample of what would be an appropriate message at his rally.
Some have noted that Stewart’s routine of mocking political leaders while seeming to lull his audience into a state of further complacency resembles the historical role of the court jester. On 911blogger.com, filmmaker Scott Noble, creator of the recently released PSYWAR, commented to that effect, quoting The Psychology of Adaptation to Absurdity:
“It is apropos in this respect that the early court jesters were assigned the role of protecting the king against the chaotic and uncontrolled forces in the universe. The jesters were considered to be qualified for such a role because their foolish strangeness and deviance intimated they were in contact with, and could potentially influence, analogous outlandish phenomena. Paradoxically, even as the funny ones soothe and protect, they also provoke. They go out of their way to conjure up images of threatening, forbidden stuff (variously relating to sex, death, anality, and hypocrisy). But each provocation is bathed in humor and the reassurance that there is nothing to fear from the threatening theme because it is, after all, only one more example of something ridiculous and absurd.”
There is something distinctly distasteful about making jokes about mass murder and destruction when they are happening in the here and now, which is what Stewart and Colbert do on a nightly basis. Defenders will argue that if we don’t laugh we cry; it’s a form of catharsis. There is more “truthiness” in Stewart than in the nightly news.
Yet these programs also reassure us, subconsciously, that all is well in the world. And there are lines that they will not cross. When it comes to the interviews of *controversial* figures, ie politicians/mass murderers – 9 times out of 10 they throw softballs, giggle together, shake hands, and proceed with the commercials.
I have no doubt that disaffected youth will flock to these rallies, but it all seems so… empty.
Another commenter on the site pointed out that one of The Daily Show’s staff writers – Kevin Bleyer – has contributed material to President Obama’s speeches and is a member of the influential Council on Foreign Relations. Bleyer is also a Truman National Security fellow and one of the founding contributors to The Huffington Post, a site which strictly forbids questioning of 9/11. In the past, Bleyer has worked with Bill Maher and Dennis Miller, two other comedians who have regularly disparaged 9/11 activists. Surely this is all just a coincidence, but one that’s interesting enough to note.
What is it about 9/11 and its unanswered questions that makes it so hard for mainstream journalists, media figures and even comedians to address it in an honest, straightforward manner? Is it because if it became common, verified knowledge that we were lied to about those attacks that changed the world and launched us into endless war, the establishment would be too threatened? Would too many comfortable jobs would be lost?
Is this all about cowardice and greed?
After nine years of solid, stonewall resistance to dealing with reality and an unending onslaught of mindless mockery and derision, it’s easy to think that might just be a big part of it.
RELATED: Jon Stewart: “I can’t handle it”
Screenshot courtesy of John Parulis
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