Friday, November 10, 2006

Maureen Dowd Vs. Stewart and Colbert

Okay, I am NOT a fan of Maureen Dowd. But even for her, the Rolling Stone profile she does of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert is humorless and sad. Dowd begins by saying, "I thought Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert might be a little nervous to meet with me. I was the real news commentator, after all, and they were the mock." And I think she really means it -- her happy surprise at finding them NOT cowed by her presence or trying to appear weighty is meant to be a compliment.

Dowd then allows that they all do the same thing -- use humor to tackle issues of the day, but shyly insists, "I think they do it better." Ya think? How gracious of you. She tastelessly wonders at one point if they became comics because of what happened when they were each ten years old (Stewart's parents went through an ugly divorce and Colbert's dad and two of his brothers died in a plane crash.) Yes, they're laughing on the outside because they're crying on the inside. But the article was over for me at the very beginning, when Dowd managed to ask an absurdly pompous question while working in a plug for her own catchphrase and book "Bushworld." Happily, Stewart skewers her immediately.
DOWD: A fake news show, "The Daily Show," spawned a fake commentator, Colbert, who makes his own fake reality defending the fake reality of a real president, and has government officials on who know the joke but are still willing to be mocked by someone fake. Your shows are like mirrors within mirrors, using a cycle of fakery to get to the truth. You've tapped into a sense in society that nothing, from reality shows to Bushworld, is real anymore. Do you guys ever get confused by your hall of mirrors?

STEWART: I didn't know we were going to have to be high to do this interview.


girly said...

Yeah, I thought this was a pretty lazy, self-serving piece on MoDo's part, but to cut her a break, I had the impression that she had a short deadline. Nonetheless, most of the questions she asked were either: ones that a) Stewart and Colbert have answered a zillion times before or b) tactless and embarrassing (like the whole "they're funny because they're really miserable cliché" that you cited).

However, I thought the guys were really delightful, managing to give different spins to the same old questions and both revealing what seems to be their fundamental decency and genuine level-headedness. So I'm glad the piece is out there, after all.

Michael in New York said...

You're right -- I thought both Stewart and Colbert came off well. I even wondered about the politics of it, whether Stewart felt annoyed at having to share the cover w Colbert instead of being on it alone. (Being overshadowed by someone he gave a start to, etc.) Never underestimate the ego even of people we really like. And while I'm sure the Colbert-sees-him-as-big-bro angle is exaggerated, they both did seem very comfortable with each other. Did you think MoDo was joking when talking about how they might be intimidated by her? I'm sure there was irony there, but still....

I am not Star Jones said...

i think Ms. Dowd is very jealous, envious person and that's why she did the interview she did.

Short deadline is not the reason -- she just wanted to get her shots in while she could because

she will never have the cult status & reach of Stewart and Colbert and that kills her.

Michael in New York said...

She'll just have to settle for her Pulitzer. (I have to remind myself of that every once in a while.)