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Stephen Colbert testimony: a mockery, but of whom?

This brings us to today's word.

The word describes everyone who says that Stephen Colbert crossed a line by testifying before Congress, everyone who refused to snicker during his testimony, and everyone who is now running around insisting that he's destroying our democracy.

True, "Stephen Colbert," is a ridiculous parody of a human being. Since when has that prevented Congress from taking someone seriously? Take off the ironic quotation marks that surround Colbert's behavior, and you wind up with some of the people strolling around the halls of the Capitol today.

To say that Colbert's testimony was surprisingly unsubstantial, if funny, would be unfair, because it would imply we expected celebrity testimony before congress to be anything other than unsubstantial. Do we? Dr. Phil recently testified, in character, about cyber-bullying. I always assumed Dr. Phil thought that meant "people who say rude things to robots." But, no. He managed to get through several pages of testimony. Did we run him out of town on a rail, screaming that he was disrespecting the political process? No.

Are we going to pretend that when Angelina Jolie talks to the U.N. about refugees, we actually believe that she is going to transform our understanding of the issues? Do we actually think that congressmen are sitting there saying to themselves, "Hey, juvenile diabetes -- sounds bad, but I want to hear from Nick Jonas before we do anything. His is the only opinion I really trust"? Because if we do, I have a celebrity who wants to sell you a bridge in New York.

Celebrity testimony before congress is a joke. Don't believe me? Imagine the headline "Snooki testifies before a congressional hearing on..." You can imagine it, can't you? Yes. Then anything you have to say about "Stephen Colbert needs to respect our democracy and stop making a mockery of the process" needs to stop.

Look, D.C. is starved for celebrities. We've convinced ourselves that Scott Brown is physically stunning. We're so star-struck that Harry Reid makes a point of responding to Lady Gaga on twitter! I hope we have a high enough opinion of the political process to admit that this whole celebrity testimony thing is a racket. We want more star-power. So we've convinced celebrities that we believe their testimony about global warming, or homelessness among yaks, or ugly people in schools, is actually going to impact the political decision-making process. "Sure," we say. "Your opinion is important to us." We have all the sincerity of the voice that talks to you when you're on hold. It's getting ridiculous. Clearly, we need to interact with these people more, so we can stop being so impressed by them. If you agree, I've written six movies you can set here, with very reasonable budgets! Contact me!

But in convincing these stars to fly all the way out to our mosquito-bitten backwater, we've gone one step too far. Somehow we've made ourselves agree that celebrities who come to commissions on climate change to talk about their Avatars are actually bringing some sort of value. Now Stephen Colbert is here, doing the same thing any celebrity does -- perhaps with a touch more substance, and certainly a good deal more wit -- and shows us all up.

So do we blame ourselves? No. We jump on him. It's ridiculous. And that's the word.

By Alexandra Petri  | September 24, 2010; 2:59 PM ET
Tags:  Alexandra Petri  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Stephen Colbert comes face to face with angry conservatives
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You have compared a extremely serious issue with a few relatively minor ones. There's a time and place for celebrity endorsements/commentary/"testimony" but this one is way too controversal to leave to someone like Colbert.
I don't read the Washington Compost too often and I am sad to say that I have not gained any respect for it via this article.

Posted by: Dianne93101 | September 24, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Calling Colbert's Congressional testimony a "mockery", given the speeches that eminate from some of its members, is redundant. They beat him to it. 

If Steve King  & co. are so concerned about American jobs, they ought to quit shilling for the people who've sent them to China and India.

"Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself....

"(W)ith Congress — every time they make a joke it's a law. And every time they make a law it's a joke."   --Mark Twain


Posted by: Rdobrick | September 24, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Conservatives are such hypocritical liars. Fox News and this newspaper daily make a mockery of the profession of journalism. What was a greater mockery than those teabaggers financed by the Koch brothers saying its a grass roots movement?

Colbert used humor to express truth. This is the same Colbert that has supported our troops. All Fox and the conservative propaganda machine as been doing is trying to marginalize Colbert.

Posted by: clearspot | September 24, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Call Rep. King's bluff. Send ICE into the Iowa corn fields at harvest time. Bust all the undocumented workers. Tell Elmer Fudd to hire legal workers.

Watch King go ballistic!

Flip-flopping conservative moral relativists are simply hilarious!

Posted by: Garak | September 24, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

A question for Rep. King:

Would he support a bill permanently banning farm welfare for any farmer caught hiring an undocumented worker?

His answer will tell us all we need to know about his real position on this issue.

Posted by: Garak | September 24, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

With a sneak peak of next months funny man rally's, any in the United States eagerly await the rally and march . One thing is sure: From the new faces of the Tea Party to the old faces of late night comedy, American’s are looking from answer outside of the mainstream political environment. At this point, politicians should be asking themselves, Why are the funny men of late night comedy more serious and reasonable than we are?

Read more:

Posted by: mlschafer | September 24, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, illegal immigration is so funny. Big business bribing congress and the executive branch to look the other way while they exploit what amounts to slave labor is hilarious. I love how they make drugs illegal and do nothing about stopping them from entering the country. Irony makes great comedy. Why limit yourself to immigration Colbert? Congress is doing all kinds of hilarious stuff. What about all the GI's that were killed in Afghanistan this month for no real reason. That should be good for a couple laughs. Or the people that got tossed out of their homes or fired from their jobs thanks to the fallout from the mortgage bubble that pretty much everyone in that room today was complicit in causing. I have to mail a mortgage check next week for a house I'll be upside down on for at least the next 10 years. I get such a good laugh everytime I think about it. That was quite a prank how they turned the american dream into a nightmare. Or how about the biggest joke of all. The ever increasing $13B federal debt. When we finally burn through the last of the borrowed money that is going to be one hell of a laugh. Can't wait to see the look on everyones face when the reality of that starts to take hold of this country.

Posted by: peterg73 | September 24, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Major brands always give out their popular brand samples (in a way it is similar to coupons) I use these guys to get mine enjoy your samples

Posted by: schoonmaker25 | September 25, 2010 3:22 AM | Report abuse

Comparing Angelina Jolie to Stephen Colbert is like comparing John Wayne to Yosemite Sam.One is a really real person the other is make believe...GET IT?

Posted by: obamanation441 | September 25, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Everybody has taken a shot at celebrity testimony, but how could anybody see marginalization when what WE are seeing is the fringe in charge of center stage and quite un-willing to give up the attention, except to those with similar gravitas. Sort of a "my show is bigger than your show", we are well paid for the gig we're on, appear with us and you will share some of the fame or infamy, as it were. So the dilema is: did this help the migrants less or hurt the at risk incumbents more? In any case, a Colbert and Pony Show can only do the Restoration good.

Posted by: RichNomore | September 25, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

VaPatriot | September 24, 2010 2:20 PM |

The whole Colbert and Pony Show is a distraction. While CNN A NEWS ROOM? WaPoo! NYT, et al, are joking and laughing at the crazies on the "Right", the Democrap Wright Wing of the apostate pack of pale rogues from Chitcago-Land, now squatting in OUR houses, water OUR feet, spit in OUR eye, and call US names when WE dare to complain. Some Blog-Hogs ask, just who are WE? WE the People .... endowed BY OUR CREATOR ....

Posted by: RichNomore | September 25, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

BTW... that is: General Welfare, not certain people's welfare out of other people's pockets. Besides in order to honor that CREATOR and encourage the adoption and adherence to those enumeratated principles, one must first acknowledge that creator-ship, with all one's heart, mind, mouth, and life. There appears to be a sad lack of that fervor on the part of today's leader's. In fact there is more effort being exerted to rob Peter to pay Paul, then mug Paul on his way home. That "DECLARATION" was "UNANIMOUS". That should be the test for bi-partisan government.

Posted by: RichNomore | September 25, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

peterg73 | September 24, 2010 7:26 PM |

Depression pretty much has set in for the 14,000,000 Joseph Robinette (she's a big ***king deal) Bite-me (your jobs are never coming back or getting any better in this life-time) Biden is the Czar over.

Everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty, but no one is obligated to presume anything. Everyone has a right to an opinion and to express it freely, without coercion, but no one should be compelled to either presume anything and/or hear that expression, ie, there is no right-endowment to be heard (idividually that is). Therefore, those who are in the business and/or are charged with presenting information related to the collective of opinion and expression thus, have a greater responsibility to protect the rights and safety of individuals over groups than even government.

Abbrogation or Responsibility

Collectivism has obscene consequences and is fair to no one but those who administer it. Freedom and Protection from collectivism has it's own level playing field. Supreme Justice-Unconstrained Representation-Limited Administration cures all problems. What if? Eh?

Men of the People, not of certain People.

Example: Representative says, "certain people need help getting loans to live in a Condo. Administration says "not so fast, there may be consequences to the availability of credit without oversight and qualification". Collectivist Lawyers say "give the loans or we will shut down the banking industry", Administration folds like a house of cards. Voila! Sub-Prime Morgue for 50% of Capital driven Business activities, a new hope and change remake of Robin Hood Politics, and USA is nearly on the ropes without one more plane through a building. Reps of certain people, WIN. Administration of Certain Business people, WASH. Collectivist Lawyers, Left of Sanity Academics, Al Qaeda, WIN WIN WIN! Cost-Benefit: $10,000,000,000,000/$0.00. Oh, except the Parking Meters now run on time.

All is not lost!

Posted by: RichNomore | September 25, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Colbert will never be invited into my home. I have too much respect for humanity.

He is just out for the cash.

Or so it seems.

Free speech means I can listen to all and make up my mind.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | September 25, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

I love all the people who are lambasting Colbert. I don't seem to remember the same Republicans up in arms when Elmo, a Sesame Street Muppet, testified to the House. Oh, right, that was for a Republican controlled Congress, so that was ok...

Posted by: groucho42 | September 25, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Colbert's testimony was disrespectful to the point of being offensive. November will stop the circus that Pelosi and Reid have instituted in our government.

Posted by: kitchendragon50 | September 27, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Here's whom:

Republicans should encourage the Democrat Party leaders to book Bill Maher next, maybe to raise awareness for some sort of colon disorder...


Posted by: jgravelle | September 27, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

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