I just posted the following on the New York Times website, in response to an OPED by Gerard Alexander, "Jon Stewart, Patron Saint of Liberal Smugness". As many of our longtime readers acknowledged in earlier posts, he will be sorely missed.
"Jon Stewart was first and foremost, a comic. He never tip-toed at the edge of intellectual curiosity -- a hard enough trick for humorists -- without a solid measure of self-deprecation to keep him, and us, honest. The honesty was about laughter, and for conservatives to find fault at Stewart's extraordinary ability to turn their foibles and weaknesses, inside out: well, too bad. We've needed something to laugh about in this Age of Idiocy and Jon Stewart provided it reliably. In a sense, I wasn't sad to see him go off-air. It was time, and we could feel it in his bones. At the root of Stewart's brand of comic intelligence was darkness lit by hope. Hope that we do actually have 'angels of our better nature', who sometimes his staff materialized as gospel-style singers behind his desk. In the last years, protecting the resiliency of Jon Stewart's hopefulness became an important part of the show's pacing and it was increasingly clear that the effort was starting to cost more than it was worth to the man at the center of it all. Well good for Jon Stewart. According to news reports, he and his wife will be starting a rescue farm for animals away from the city, and if that's right it makes a certain amount of sense, because with animals we love, unlike carping critics, hope springs without forethought or malice of any kind."