Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Speaking Truth to Power...

So the Washington Press Corps invited Stephen Colbert, a satirist (as opposed to comedian), to speak at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, to President Bush, the White House administration and the press. Now the press says he wasn't funny. America disagrees. Yes, the first time watching makes your jaw drop. The second time through is hysterical.

A sampling of comments from thank you letters to Stephen Colbert, and in response to an article about whether it was funny:

"Thank you for using your position as comedian to gain access to the King’s Table, where you could be the modern-day jester who is the only one in the room who dares to speak the Truth to the King."

"John Cleese once said that when people laugh, you knew they got the point. The people in that room didn't laugh. "

"You did the unthinkable, and played to the audience far grander than the capitol hill crowd, knowing they might not laugh, but the we would."

"He wasn't funny like Swift isn't funny, or Voltaire, or Rabelais. No, he wasn't ha-ha funny; he was brilliant and devastating. A chill breath of fresh air, and all the more chilling when it becomes apparent that the MSM cretins apparently don't realize, recognize, or remember that satire is supposed to have a bite, and that the more rotten the body politic, the closer to the bone that bite penetrates."

"When was the last time we had a president whose greatest desire is to be kept separate from the people he “serves,” and deaf to their voices? You forced this man to hear our voices, loud and clear. What a great moment for all true Americans. "

“To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”–Theodore Roosevelt

"It reminded me of that Shakespeare bit: “I came not to bury Ceasar, but to praise him.” "

"Thank you, Stephen Colbert, for showing us that freedom of speech is not a luxury to enjoy, but a powerful weapon for those who have the courage to really use it. "

And billmon notes in his blog:

"Colbert used satire the way it's used in more openly authoritarian societies: as a political weapon, a device for raising issues that can't be addressed directly. He dragged out all the unmentionables -- the Iraq lies, the secret prisons, the illegal spying, the neutered stupidity of the lapdog press -- and made it pretty clear that he wasn't really laughing at them, much less with them. It may have been comedy, but it also sounded like a bill of indictment, and everybody understood the charges."

You can watch him and thank him at

although I think it's easier to view on the Salon website (it was youtube), although you have to watch an ad if you're not a subscriber


Also a link to a Salon article that really gets it:


Brad said...

Stephen Colbert is my new hero.


Carey said...

LOVE the Stewart/Colbert hour! I just wish I was able to stay up late enough to watch, these days *sniff*