More Sanity and Fear!

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52 Comment

  • Does anybody know if the rally will be replayed on Comedy Central, C-SPAN, Fox News, etc., at some point?

  • What a waste of time and energy. Instead of actually improving the world, let’s just go hang out on the Mall and pretend to be engaged and make fun of those who are. I enjoy the Daily Show and appreciate the intent to restore civility into the culture, but the weekend before election day when there are so many problems that need fixing? A self-indulgent party is pretty ridiculous.

    • So what’s the answer to improving the world? What else should people have been doing?

      • Feeding the poor, healing the sick, getting out the vote, fixing up homes for the homeless, doing a walk-a-thon or some similar activity for your favorite cause, anything really that actually helps a living person. In short, actually improving the world. Think about it, if Jon Stewart can mobilize 200,000 plus to hang out and listen to music and watch comedy routines, and this is an already politically motivated group, why not mobilize those 200,000 plus to actually do something? Something other than partying on the Mall. Doesn’t have to be partisan and it can be very civil and even incorporate comedy and music into it. This “rally” did none of that. It was basically an entertainment event and I believe that the time, energy and resources needed to organize hundreds of thousands of folks ready to do something political can be much better utilized than on an entertainment event.

        • Wow, you wrote the same message as I was thinking of posting.
          Instead though, I realized that what I was going to say would have been entirely hypocritical, because I spent my weekend doing nothing productive.

        • So what did you do to improve the world on that day? Please share and show us how to be better people.

          • I worked. But you’re missing my point. The point is that 200,000 people inclined to act, motivated to act, were mobilized . . . to do what? Be civil and laugh and listen to music. Okay, so it was a rock concert/comedy show. Fine. But folks came from all over with politics on the mind judging from the signs and quotes. Those folks’ energy and power were wasted, even though I’m sure most had a great time. That’s what makes it kind of self indulgent.

        • I went down there to be entertained and have fun. I didn’t consider it a political event or a sincere rally of any kind. (this is why I found Stewart’s speech at the end off-putting) I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Not every event has to be earnest (thank God) or something to change the world. It’s cool to kick back and have a good time in good weather with a couple hundred thousand witty strangers. Not every day has to be Save the World day. If it were a serious rally, I wouldn’t have gone and I think it’s safe to say the same for a lot of folks in attendance.

          • So you’re only interested in having a good time and nothing else. If that’s the prevailing sentiment among most folks, how does the world get improved?

          • Even Gandhi and Mother Theresa relaxed and enjoyed themselves every now and then.

    • Wow, who peed in your bag of candy?

    • the world is always going to have problems. why cant people have some fun?

    • Complaining about a rally that doesn’t affect your life in any way is pretty ridiculous, too. I assume you were bringing meals to the homeless and working on that cure for cancer this weekend?

      After nearly two years of watching teabaggers foam at mouth over their incoherent complaints, I rather enjoyed seeing the calm, rational and literate have a turn in the spotlight. They aren’t nearly as mockable as the teabaggers, but that’s the point. The teabaggers are not representative of normal Americans. Most Americans can have honest discourse without getting ugly and calling each other Hitler. Right before a particularly gross campaign season, I sure needed reassurance that I don’t have to tune out and disengage from the process. There ARE people who feel like me out there. LOTS of them!

      So, thank you to all who attended. Your efforts were not wasted. You renewed my optimism in the American public. Kudos.

      • These things effect my life. 200,000 people with the motivation already to do some good could have had their energy focused on doing something real. Perhaps they could have helped elect someone who would not repeal my health care coverage. Perhaps they could have been motivated to mentor a kid in my neighborhood that instead will grow up to shoot bullets near me in a few years. These are just two hypos, you and I could come up with many more.

        Instead, 200,000 plus were told that caring and being civil is enough. Caring and being civil are very very important, but they are not enough.

        • No one was told that being civil and caring is “enough”. That’s an overly simplistic reading. Stewart’s speech at the end portrayed civil discourse as the beginning of dialog between disparate and mutually tolerant peoples. How we use this ability to dialog is what allows the us to overcome cultural challenges that effect us all.

          You don’t think this rally does anything to move the Democratic numbers come election day? Even though it won’t stop the inevitable GOP pickup, it does help. This rally you denigrate was a milestone for liberals everywhere, whether you realize it or not.

          • I guess one man’s milestone is another man’s wasted opportunity. And to answer your question, I don’t think the rally did anything to move Democratic numbers. If anything it takes away from Democratic numbers as others have stated cogently in this discussion.

          • Well, others here have said that it motivated them to vote, so those are real votes created. Now extrapolate that across the 200,000 people who attended, to the millions of people who watched on Comedy Central, millions more who read about it in the paper, and the million or so viewers who watch Stewart’s show every night.

            Also, keep in mind Stewart’s demographic is those that are least likely to vote out of the entire population — they sorely need prodding, whether it’s direct or indirect (as it was in this case).

            Do you see how this works?

    • Self-indulgent?! besides that most people there helped to give over $500,000 to teachers and kids in need. I would say get out from in front of your computer but this Rally and the outpouring of charity to our public schools were the result of a group of “computer nerds”(the redditors). If the show had been political and attacked individuals then the point of the rally would’ve been lost. It was entertaining and the final words from Stewart SHOULD resonate with every American, it was about common decency. We were not “hanging out on the Mall”, we believed in the message and wanted to show everyone that a gathering could be polite, civil and FUNNY! Lighten up!

  • So having fun and being entertained is self-indulgent now?

    This was an entertainment event for people who are amused by politics and satire (pretty sure that includes most DC residents) – people were motivated to go be entertained. Just b/c they are politically aware doesn’t mean the event was anything more than that. I’ve never attended any protest or rally in my life (and probably never will, although I’m growing increasingly sympathetic to the DC Statehood issue… ) and attending this event doesn’t change that. Why should Stewart (or anyone else) use their celebrity to do anything other than that which they are paid to do? I know I personally don’t give a crap about his opinions or politics – I think the guy’s funny in a smart way that I like. That’s all. If I’d gotten down there and then he was like, “Okay, let’s go feed the hungry,” I’d have left and gone home – it wasn’t what I signed up for. Most of the people I encountered were just looking for a good time.

    • “Why should Stewart (or anyone else) use their celebrity to do anything other than that which they are paid to do?”

      Because that’s the only way to make things better. People have to do more than just what they are paid to do. Otherwise the status quo is perpetual. And if you’re going to spend the time, money and energy on mobilizing 200,000 plus people, that energy shouldn’t be wasted on simply entertainment. The entertainment could have been combined with real action.

      • This wasn’t simply entertainment, it was about politics. Even Jon Stewart is wrong on that score — or being coy as it suits him.

        Start with the portrayal of Colbert’s right wing pundit as a fear-monger. Apolitical?

        Stewart also made a couple veiled jabs at notable conservative opiners — Beck, O’Reilly.

        You may not realize it, but this show was indeed a political call to action, albeit one hid under a cloak of humor and satire.

        • There were jabs made at both sides, and having been a registered Republican for most of my life (now a Dem b/c I vote in DC and care about local politics more than national)I’m very sensitive to that sort of thing. Stewart didn’t even ask attendees to vote; he asked people to basically stop being assholes and learn that being thoughtful and compromising are good things. I hated every second of his speech at the end, despite the fact that he made points I can support (except of course his assertion that “no one lives here”) b/c I was there to laugh and have a good time – that speech wasn’t political though, as much as it was a cry for civilized discourse.

  • @Anonymous – Yes, on Saturday, I was only interested in having a good time. It’s the weekend for Christ’s sake. I’ve working in politics and advocacy nonprofits my entire adult life, so yeah, on Saturday I wanted to kick back and have fun. You should try it sometime.

  • Maybe Anonymous can organize a Rally Against Self-Indulgence And/Or Fun.

  • I attended the rally and enjoyed myself.

    However, the sad fact is that because of the timing (a few days before the election) the rally served to sap the energy/resources/time of politically motivated people that could have been better used on other activities.

    For example, if even 5% of attendees had gone down to the 5th District of VA to GOTV for Tom Periello, that would have been a significant and tangible activity.

    Don’t get me wrong, this was not going to be a total game-changer this late in the election cycle, but it was still frustrating to hear that “pundit” criticism and know they were right in my heart.

    • I don’t think that 5% of the attendees on Saturday would have been motivated to attend a gotv event though. That’s the point. They were motivated to have fun; only a small few that I saw didn’t get it and were there in some earnest fashion. And those people are probably already active in a real way. This was a comedy/music event – not a political rally. To say that everyone there (or even a large minority) was there for political motives is simply false, I think. I think you’re overestimating the political motivations of Fear/Sanity attendees.

      • Yikes, not even 5%? OK let’s say 1%. That’s still 215 k people! That’s a LOT of potential voter contacts.

        There were an awful lot of people who came from pretty far away to be a part of the rally.

        I can’t help but think that if it had been scheduled 2-3 weeks ago, and the Stewart/Colbert folks made a simple, nonspecific call to GOTV on behalf of Sane candidates in their home districts (no explicit endorsement of course) that a substantial number of people might have converted their enthusiasm into action.

        Isn’t that how the whole “rally” thing has worked all these years? Firing up otherwise tepid supporters to take action?

        • So that’s 5% fewer people annoying the hell out of voters with door-knocking and phone calls – probably did way more to help get out the vote!

    • The Bill Press argument you’re putting forth is a little naive. It treats people as if they were enlisted men, willing to do the bidding of whatever their hypothetical pundit-masters order. In reality, you can’t just take people from one cause and drop them into another like they were toy soldiers on a game board.

      • While I completely agree that there needs to be a “thematic connection” across causes…I’ll also suggest that “toy soldier redeployment” is pretty much exactly what the Republican party is doing with the Tea Party…with great success.

  • Don’t be a douche. Enough said.

  • Whatever. They brought a ton of money into the city.

    • Agreed. Not to mention the $500,000 that was raised by by the folks at Reddit in honor of Stephen Colbert. How about the $188,000 raised to help the National Mall trust?

      Any rally that helps my city economically, makes people happy in a time when a lot of people need a little bit of happiness, and manages to raise almost $700,000 for great causes is OK in my book.

      Oh yea and P.S. I phone banked on Wednesday. The two are not mutually exclusive.

  • The thing is, (1) most of those folks (myself included) could not have been motivated to do anything else. (2) that mobilization DID inspire a lot of people that there IS hope this election cycle and they WILL be voting (indeed, at least a few of the people I met at the rally said they would be voting after initially feeling apathetic about it).

    All in all, I found the event to be fun, inspiring and entirely appropriate. And it did make the world a better place — when was the last time a bunch of tourists on the mall or the metro or anywhere really were polite to each other? And that locals were polite to tourists?

    it’s the little things, my friend, the little things.

  • Well said, anonymous. I just wrote something along those lines for the Columbia Journalsim Review

  • I went to the rally for the same reasons Jon Stewart describes, I am not on the extremes and I typically have s–t to do. These are reasonable people who spend time giving and donating as previous posts suggest they should (I know I and others that attended do). The rally was about being reasonable about the issues. The problems are likely not as good or bad as they appear or sound from the deafening volume in which they are described.

    Jon Stewart’s and Steven Colbert’s shows are about revealing the essence through the message of comedy. Its very funny and also very powerful.

    The take away I got from the crowd is that we are all different and that’s ok.

    • You need a rally to get the message that “we are all different and that’s ok?”

      Also, that rally was pretty homogeneous as far as demographics go. The message was more like, we’re all the same and that’s okay.

  • I think Stewart and Colbert could have done more to parody and/or make a total fool out of Glen Beck and Sarah Palin. I think they had an opportunity to mobilize people that attended to vote this Tuesday. If you’re someone who covers politics, it makes it hard for you to not get involved or to eventually show your own views, the ideal that Stewart & Colbert could ever pull off a non-political event was short-sighted, they are not just entertainers, they frequently provide news and commentary on real issues, therefore, they have a certain level of responsibility for their message.

    The rally seemed a bit ambiguously Democratic, which prevented it form being all the way funny in this day and time with so many people taking direct shots against our president. Otherwise, I’m thankful that the event went well, and gave DC a nice influx of non-crazy people.

    • No one needs to do more to make total fools of Beck and Palin. They’ve managed to max out being fools on their own.

    • Define “color.” Within 5 feet of me at the rally were a black couple, a fierce black gay drag queen, three people of arabic descent, several south asians, a number of hispanics and a Japanese woman, as well as a couple dozen Euro-descended causcasians. Pretty close to actual per capita representation.

  • I see DCDirewolf is now posting anonymously here. Sneaky.

    • Who’s DCDirewolf? I was kind of under the impression this person was some overly idealistic 23 year old who just got back from the Peace Corps, and has spent the year living off his parent’s dime until he can get his first real job in DC. But that’s my imagination running amok again.

      • DCDirewolf is that, if that 23 year old was actually 50, but with the same level of wide-eyed idealism. He loves kite shops and hates wine bars and thinks he speaks for everyone in Columbia Heights who doesn’t read blogs.

  • “Also, that rally was pretty homogeneous as far as demographics go”

    I take it, there weren’t many people of color attending the rally?

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