Stewart & Colbert: Scabavision
So, despite never belonging to a union myself, I'm sympathetic to unions because I was a direct beneficiary of the labor movement, which included every person who ever got their head cracked, and those who cracked a few heads in kind, to secure the kinds of rights and protections that my family did not take for granted.
While raising a little hell at A Tiny Revolution in the comments subsequent to Bernard Chazelle's post about Thomas Friedman working on his next sure-to-be-vapid book, I raised the subject of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert announcing their intent to resume The Daily Show and The Colbert Report on January 7 with or without writers. After noting that Stewart & Colbert would be standing by to help Friedman, a celebrated tool of the oligarchy, sell a few books, I posted:
Word is Stewart & Colbert are returning to work on January 7th sans writers.Mr. Stewart, host of “The Daily Show,” and Mr. Colbert, host of “The Colbert Report,” will have to improvise their monologues and interviews without the help of their writing staffs.
They're both WGA members, so, yeah, they're scabs in my book. So, too, are the late night weenies, who really don't give a shit about weakening the union so long as they fare okay. No doubt, the highly principled liberal hordes will do whatever it takes to justify and promptly forgive the scabbery since, you know, we're talking about folks who don't have much of a problem voting for stalwart supporters of The Surveillance State, kleptocracy, mass murder and ethnic cleansing, Unitary Executive rule and whatever policy du jour prevents citizens of The United States and other countries from having a voice in political affairs.
But Stewart and Colbert are such cards, and, hey, people gotta have their entertainment. Besides, in the words of an ancient Faith No More song, they
CARE A LOT -
ABOUT YOU PEOPLE...
The next commenter asked if I had entertained the possibility that the two liberal icons were returning to do a terrible job so as to emphasize the how rotten their shows are without talented writers, to which I replied:
There is zero doubt in my mind that's exactly what their M.O. will be. Their lip service to the strike will provide the necessary justification for their fans to watch and laugh and ignore the fact that what these guys are doing by returning to the air is weakening the union, period.Phoenix Woman wrote:
Where writers are involved, silence speaks volumes. The suits at Comedy Central and other other networks don't give a damn what happens as long as they can run fresh shows to support a fresh barrage of commercials. That does not help writers. It all but eliminates the sanctions which are absolutely fundamental to assuring writers to get a fair shake. Money talks and bullshit walks, and these two guys - by returning to work without a resolution - are making sure the fat cats get their money. But, then, they're fat cats themselves, so this shouldn't be surprising. It is, however, disappointing.
I long ago tired of Stewart yukking it up with any old fascist selling a book. He's an obsequious toady, and, although the material on The Daily Show (especially the correspondent segments) is good, Stewart himself is neither funny nor insightful.
Sadly, I will miss Colbert, as his humor has a caustic bite to it. But if he chooses to be a big money scab and undermine the people largely responsible for his good fortune, all I can say is see ya. I know how to hold a grudge, and will.
Actually, Stewart and Colbert are being forced by Comedy Central to go back to work. Click this petition to tell CC to cut the crap and negotiate:That really got under my skin. I replied:
It's the accountability, Stupid.
So, let me get this straight, Phoenix Woman: Stewart and Colbert are prepared to cross the picket line, but Comedy Central gets the petition.
That is rich.
So rich that if I had a dollar for every person who signs that petition and subsequently watches four hours of Comedy Central's scabfest each week, I could buy a pair of one-way tickets to New Zealand and put the rest in a Turks and Caicos account.
Meanwhile, Glenn Greenwald will continue generating a thousand letters each week from Democratic voters who can't understand why their political representatives betray them at every turn.
And liberal treachery remains an artificial construct
of the[reserved for] Nader-loving spoilers responsible for George W. Bush.
There's something wrong with this picture, but I can't quite put my finger on it. Maybe it'll become more clear after the whiskey and eggnog fade.
To the extent there is leverage to apply, it should be applied first and foremost to the person or persons committing the betrayal. Those who respect the picket line enforce the picket line. Comedy Central is doing what management is expected to do. As union members, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are not doing what union members must do - which is respect the fucking picket line.
This is all very anachronistic and quaint to those who have either never known or, in many cases, conveniently chosen to forget that supporting labor is something one does by their actions, not by issuing hollow platitudes like a guest on Meet The Press.
I write this not because there's anything particularly magnificent about The Daily Show or The Colbert Report, but because it serves as such a fine example of why The Liberal Tribe is such an ineffective one. Progressives who fail to comprehend the primary betrayal in this situation are the same ones who vilify the admittedly villainous Republicans while supporting, begrudgingly or enthusiastically, a Democratic Party which is not only scornful of its constituency, but actively complicit in the crimes blamed almost exclusively on Bush and his neocon cronies.
If writers are still on strike when Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert return to work for Comedy Central on January 7, progressives who tune in for any reason are effectively crossing the picket line themselves. Which makes them scabs-by-proxy.
Management or Labor. Tune in and support the scabs of Comedy Central or tune out and support the writers primarily responsible for their success. These are mutually exclusive options. Prog-bloggers who refuse to comprehend the necessity of choosing sides in a simple labor dispute are most assuredly unqualified to provide any valuable insights into the sociopolitical morass of life in post-Constitutional America, much less propose any measures to challenge the status quo (not that there's a lot of that anyway).