RSS Feed

The Sweet Relief of Jon Stewart

 

This has been a rough year for me. Just when Donald Trump took over my television set last summer, Jon Stewart left The Daily Show for parts unknown (or to help his wife rescue animals on their family farm, whatever). I’ve tried to take comfort in Samantha Bee (Full Frontal), Larry Wilmore (The Nightly Show), and Trevor Noah (The Daily Show). I’ve come the closest to finding sustenance with the one-two punch of Rachel Maddow’s comprehensive historical take on the news on MSNBC, and Steven Colbert’s giddy musical review of the news on The Late Show. But no one filled that Jon Stewart void.

IMG_0995

Butterfly sought comfort from Duckie.

IMG_2306

Cricket went for the food.

I’ve watched this year as the Republicans moved from disbelief, to disgust, to acceptance, to an embrace of the post-factual Trumpian world view that we witnessed at the Republican National Convention this past week. Jon Stewart showed up Monday night on The Late Show, as promised, but only to do spit takes and reintroduce Colbert’s alter ego from The Colbert Report. It was not enough.

I watched this week as the media refused to blame Melania Trump for plagiarizing Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech, as if she is a child. But, she speaks, what, five languages, became successful on her own long before meeting Trump, and is, in fact, a forty-six year old adult woman. If Michelle Obama had been caught plagiarizing, would her speechwriter have been blamed? Or would we assume that she is an intelligent human being who can tell the difference between her own words and someone else’s? I wonder if the media think that Melania is a moron because she was a professional model, or because she’s a non-native English speaker, or if it’s because she chose to marry Donald Trump, and they assume that any truly intelligent woman would know better.

Then I watched the media fawn over Trump’s odd waxwork children, none of whom seem to be able to breathe outside of Trump’s sphere. All three of the older children work for their father, and Tiffany seems to be on her way into the organization too, now that she has been indoctrinated and proven her loyalty. How many families do you know where all of the children go into the family business, and no one goes off in another direction? Is it not allowed in this family?

But I almost lost my mind when, after Ivanka gave a lovely speech on Thursday night, seemingly advocating for Hillary Clinton’s and Bernie Sanders’ policies and pretending that her father is just a lovely man, Trump came out and patted her butt with both hands. That just broke me.

People have been joking about his inappropriately sexual relationship with Ivanka for a long time, ever since some disturbing pictures surfaced of her as a very young model sitting in seductive poses on her father’s lap. Trevor Noah on The Daily Show, has been making jokes all year about Trump wanting to have sex with Ivanka. There are interview clips where he talks about her sexy body, and how he would date her if she weren’t his daughter. Ivanka sits there awkwardly in these interviews, as if she isn’t taking it seriously and is just embarrassed by the silly things her father says. I took her lead and didn’t take it very seriously, either. I thought the jokes were in bad taste, actually, and that the things Trump said were just more evidence of his “word salad” problem. But when, on National television, in front of the world, in response to the air kisses she gave him from what looked like a foot away, he grabbed her ass, it all came together. This is an incest family.

In her speech, Ivanka presented her idealized father – who bears very little similarity to her actual father – and she made it clear that she advocates political beliefs that are not in concert with the Republican Party. Either she is delusional about who her father is (which would be a sign of a deeply dissociative state, common among incest survivors), and/or, she was giving a public, lady-like fuck you to that man.

People have talked about how Trump is a dictator and a narcissist and a sociopath, but all week the media have been saying that he can’t be such a bad guy with such wonderful children. Ivanka is his “closest ally and confidant,” and she is the “princess,” (according to one of her brothers), and she is going to be the “real first lady.” But Trump reminded her, in front of everyone, that he can do whatever he wants to her and no one will stop him. He owns her.

How is this man being lauded and supported by a political party that supposedly believes in Christian values? I can’t imagine what kind of moral convolutions Paul Ryan (Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives) must be going through to make this seem okay.

I did not watch the seventy-five minute speech Donald Trump went on to give at the Republican convention that night. I took the dogs out for as long a walk as possible, checked Facebook and Twitter, and then twiddled my thumbs waiting for the after shows to offer some perspective. Alex Wagner, a guest on The Daily Show, commented on the “inappropriate touching.” Larry Wilmore talked about his discomfort in finding that, for one strange moment, he found himself, eek, agreeing with Ted Cruz (“Vote your conscience.”). And then, finally, Steven Colbert came on, live, after Midnight. He looked like he’d slept in his iridescent blue suit, but he was still awake and giddy and dancing, which gave me some energy and some hope.

029

“Did Donald Trump pee here?”

And then, Jon Stewart popped up from under the desk, and gave me the rant I’d been waiting a year for. There’s something about his mix of outrage and earnestness and humor that digs deep into my sternum and makes room for me to breathe again. I have missed him more than I ever thought possible. I have needed his no-bullshit voice all year long and it was such a relief to breathe deeply again. But it’s not enough. It was over too soon.

I know that animal rescue is important, and I understand that Jon Stewart’s kids need his attention, and that the daily grind of the show was getting to be too much for him. But I need rescuing too, Jon. Please, come back soon!

 

Cricket & Butterfly waiting for Mommy

Cricket and Butterfly are waiting.

About rachelmankowitz

I am a fiction writer, a writing coach, and an obsessive chronicler of my dogs' lives.

138 responses »

  1. The Americans in my family (I am not American and have no vote) are voting Trump, mostly because they can’t stand Hilary and her corruption and lies. What a choice you Americans have.

    Reply
  2. A perfect read…thanks for saying it all!

    Reply
  3. I feel exactly the same way! Hooray for Jon Stewart and thank goodness Colbert of Colbert Nation came back, I miss him too. 😀

    Reply
  4. Thank you, Rachel, for “telling it like it is”. (Have you heard that before?) I admire your bravery, but we all need to speak out. Hatred for one another (“other “) has no place in America.

    Reply
  5. How I sometimes wish I could be a Lily or a Lulu. Dogs just transcend all of the political garbage that insidiously finds its way into unwanted places. This, too shall pass.

    Reply
  6. There are so many ‘ick’ factors about Donald Trump. Thanks for this post. I think I will join Cricket and seek my solace in food.

    Reply
  7. Great post, Rachel!

    Reply
  8. It seems like Americans have lost their collective mind.Is there really that much hatred in our country?

    Reply
  9. Excellent post. And I love Cricket and Butterfly!

    Have you seen John Oliver? It;s on Sunday night at 11 pm on HBO. This is a link to some clips from his show. I first ran across him on twitter. https://www.youtube.com/user/LastWeekTonight/

    Reply
    • I watch him religiously, but he has been on break lately and therefore I forgot all about him. Oops. He does incredible pieces on issues I (usually) know nothing about. But he’s still not Jon Stewart.

      Reply
  10. I can’t wait for your takedown of Hillary.

    Reply
  11. You wrote what I have been thinking. Thank you for putting my thoughts into coherent words! I do miss having my little dog distracting me from the things that I find upsetting.

    Reply
  12. Thank you! Awesome blog! I was such a proud mom when on Friday, Tucker lifted his leg and peed on the newspaper stand that held papers with Trump’s face on it!

    Reply
  13. I’m not so fond of the political posts.

    Reply
  14. “Odd waxworks kids!” I love it. Wish I’d thought of it. You go, girl!
    Thanks for educating me about the disturbing implications of the Trump father/daughter relationship.
    Hope you saw Friday night’s Colbert show, Jon Stewart was on it. Please do more political posts as the campaign progresses.

    Reply
  15. sallyinthehaven

    I am not American, but the thought of Trump becoming ‘the leader of the free world’ scares the crap out of me. Great post. 🙂

    Reply
  16. I heard someone say recently that the world seems a safer place when one turns off the tv and radio. To which I add, have a game with one’s pooches. I’m sure your Cricket and Butterfly would agree. I know my Chicki does!

    Reply
    • Cricket would prefer that I spend all of my time focused on her, even when she’s sleeping. Seriously, if I seem to be too interested in something other than her, she wakes up and glares at me!

      Reply
  17. I’ve just been listening to a program on Australian radio about Trump supporters. I get that people are angry with the system and are hurting economically – what I don’t get is how they don’t see that Trump represents the big-money-rules system that’s ripped them off. I get that they want America to be “great again”- but do they think he’s going to wave his magic wand and do that? And terrorism is going to end the day he takes office, apparently.

    It’s like children having a tantrum and throwing all their toys out of the high-chair – then all they get is the same high-chair and no toys.

    And how, how, how, can anyone stomach a man who shouts all the time?

    Reply
  18. We have a similar politician over here, Nigel Farage. His slurs and quarter-truths helped win the EU referendum campaign for LEAVE. He represents himself as standing up for disadvantaged (white, UK-born) people but he’s a rich banker who went to a very expensive private school. Some of his supporters really are in places that are going downhill and get too little attention, but many have nice houses, gardens and cars and are retired on a good income in places inhabited almost entirely by people like them, but obsess about immigrants and how the country’s going to the dogs (because of immigrants).

    Farage, though, is sane and cynical, in fact a classic old English stereotype, the charming “bounder”. Trump appears to me to be a self-obsessed megalomaniac. Americans used to be worried about politicians who might cause a nuclear war: this was used against the much more decent if out-of-touch Barry Goldwater. They – and the rest of the world – should be worried about Trump.

    Reply
  19. The UK is being bombarded with Trump footage but very little of Hillary Clinton. I can’t help but think of him firing everybody if they don’t achieve the tasks set. Sometimes I think our pets would do better if there wasn’t a language issue !

    Reply
  20. I love this post and totally agree with every word. As someone said in an earlier comment, there is so much ‘ick’ about Trump.

    Reply
  21. So much ick, so very true, but I think for most this election is about voting against someone (still loving Bernie). Thank you so much for eloquently describing someone who sometimes gives me nightmares. I will be so glad when the election is over and I hope to God it goes the way of the most sanity.

    Reply
  22. I saw this twice on Colbert’s show and likewise found Jon Stewart to be brilliant and just what I needed to see after the ugliness of Trump’s entire convention. I am a strong pro Hillary advocate and am appalled at how DT is trying to bamboozle the American public with fear tactics. George Lakoff has done an excellent social science analysis of the whole presidential race divide. I encourage folks to check that out…I saw it on Facebook the day after the RNC was over. I worry for a country so divided.

    Reply
  23. I’ve been following the election year activities pretty closely. I’ve read a lot of editorials and commentaries about Trump and his distorted views of how to lead, I’ve watched first hand the debates and his various interviews over the months. I can’ recall a written summarization better than yours that so succinctly and accurately captured this guy and his world. It’s easy to have emotional and subjective views and opinions when it comes to politics; especially with this guy. Your post was really really good not just because I agreed with it but because it was so on target and objectively presented.

    I did watch the entire 75 minute speech because I wanted to hear first hand in real time what Trump had to say and to see how he would present himself, during the pinnacle of his campaign so far, to the world. All I could think of was Hitler from real life and President Snow from the The Hunger Games movies.

    BTW – I too sorely miss Jon Stewart, his rants, and his perspectives.

    Reply
    • Thank you so much! I could barely look at still pictures from that speech; I don’t know how you survived the whole thing in real time. Steven Colbert’s “Hungry for Power Games” satire is an all too accurate a portrayal of this election. Very scary.

      Reply
  24. “But no one filled that Jon Stewart void.” OMG I agree with you with every fiber. We used to watch him every day and I have missed him so much too. When I heard him on Stephen Colbert I felt just like you….PLEASE COME BACK! He is like the guy from the movie Network only on steroids and (he lives! For a time I was worried about Jon in this regard!). I am sharing this on my WordPress and FB Rachel — what a great piece of writing today girl.

    Reply
  25. Pingback: The Sweet Relief of Jon Stewart – from WordPress’s Rachel Mankowitz – completely agree — come back Jon! | As I see it

  26. Thank you Rachel for voicing what so many of us are thinking. It is hard to look up to someone who says he speaks for “us” yet has never had to struggle, or do without, or wonder where the mortgage payment will come from. I don’t see much warmth or generosity from him, and I think a president should have empathy and compassion. And yes, it is going to be a loooong time until election day.

    Reply
  27. Great post! Thank you! Agree wholeheartedly.

    Reply
  28. Thank you so much for your post!!

    Reply
  29. FINALLY! Someone else noting the double standard about holding Melania accountable for plagiarizing Michelle Obama’s speech. Everyone would have had strokes if Mrs. Obama would have done that. And don’t get me started on the butt grope. I nearly threw up. The media waxes on about Trump but give short shrift to his disgusting behavior with his daughter (as well as any of the other disgusting behaviors this knuckle-dragging cretin has done and said). Sadly America gives him a pass as well. I guess it is true, he probably could shoot someone on 5th Ave. and wouldn’t lose a vote about it. What does that say about us? Oh Jon…we need you more than ever if for no other reason to make us more accountable for allowing this man to hijack politics.

    Reply
  30. Rachel, thanks for reading one of my recent posts about how we cannot expect Trump and the GOP to keep us safer given their positions on gun governance and Trump making the world a less safer place, much less the US. I saw Jon Stewart’s piece and it was indeed excellent.

    If you have not watched John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight, it is not only funny, but one of the best news shows on the airwaves. He learned well from Stewart. I watched the convention coverage on PBS Newshour and their view of the GOP convention was much more even-handed. David Brooks, a conservative columnist was very saddened by the affair noting the theme of hate is not a policy. And, the key issues on Melania’s speech was the sloppiness beforehand and afterwards. The finger pointing and various forms of denial revealed a campaign that cannot manage a convention, much less a country. While Trump is a master salesman, he is not a very good manager and it shows time and again.

    So, I am hopeful the Dems will present a more positive convention. Things are not perfect, but they are going much better than the GOP is describing. I actually do not know which country Trump is talking about. Thanks again, Keith

    Reply
    • Thank you! I’ve been loving David Brooks this year. He’s a Republican and a conservative by temperament, but he sees Trump for what he is, and I have taken great comfort in that.

      Reply
      • Rachel, I was catching up on John Oliver’s Sunday night show following the GOP convention, which is worth the watch. Too many things to comment on, but the interviews with Newt Gingrich and a couple of others on how they insist their beliefs are as good as facts, is priceless. Plus, Oliver shows a parade of speakers who say things that are not even close to being accurate and often not even in a cohesive sentence, but as Oliver notes, it does not seem to matter as the candidate and party are known for just making things up that suits. Keith

      • That Newt Gingrich interview was amazing – as long as you feel something strongly enough, it’s a fact. Wow.

      • I thought Bill Clinton did a superb job of filling in so much personal detail about his bride and how she shared her passion with him for doing something about social injustice. It was on before 10 pm, but the first responder and victim who survived 9/11 that spoke so admirably about then Senator Clinton fighting so hard and so long on their behalf to gain needed benefits was very telling. They also spoke of her continued contact with them to make sure they were doing OK well after 9/11.

        Contrast this with what made Jon Stewart furious before and during his tirade on Colbert’s show following the GOP Convention. He noted that Blue Lives Matter, but they have always mattered. These same GOP folks voted down providing benefits to first responders, who in essence were lied to by the EPA that the fumes were safe to clean up the debris from Ground Zero. Stewart has been a long time advocate for these police and firefighters, so he is keenly aware of who fought the law – it was not Clinton it was the GOP legislators.

        Blue Lives Matter has to be more than a slogan. Just as Black Lives Matter. By the way, I am proud of Michael Jordan who has donated $2 million to help the police and NAACP on better race relations and community policing.

  31. To requote someone: what if Obama had trotted out 5 children by 3 wives in 2008? Which, of course, he doesn’t have, but the racket that would have been made would have been hypocritical, not adoring.

    Reply
  32. I so agree and miss Jon Stewart so much, especially now. He was my truth speaking, cut thru the crap, news guy and what awful timing (for us) that he left when he did. I can only hope these recent sightings are his re-emergence during these troubled and troubling times.

    Reply
  33. THANK YOU!!!! I live in Texas and if I express anything anti-Trump, I’m almost threatened with a lynching. It’s so wonderful to see reason. Thank you!!!!!

    Reply
  34. What I would like to say about Trump is not fit for family censors or doggie ears…….grrrr.

    Reply
  35. Thanks for this piece, Rachel. I could tell from its tone that you’ve been holding this all in for a while but just had to EXPLODE after that farce of a Republican National Convention. At first I was amused by your description of the Trump spawn as “waxwork children” but then found myself agreeing wholeheartedly with your assessment of the creepiness of his relationship with Ivanka. But most of all, I agree with your feelings about the “Jon Stewart void.” We so desperately need his voice of reason right now. Supposedly he was going to come back for a series of stand-alone shows on HBO – I’m keeping my eyes and ears open.

    Reply
  36. so true. What a disappointing time we are going through. I hope the majority of Americans will prove not to have lost their minds and not actually buy the trump mess. Who could’ve even believed he would come this far!

    Reply
  37. I also miss Jon so much Rachel. But google his name and HBO. He is working out some kind of deal to do some content for them before the November elections. We can only hope. Meanwhile Bill Maher helps me get perspective in addition to the satirists you mentioned and Michael Moore seems to be back on the scene lately also.

    Reply
  38. (looks anxious) Mom says she is worried Trump will get in, that he is pandering to the lowest common denominator, and she thinks all the strange weather we are having is an indication that the gods are unhappy with the GOP nomination. Woof!!!

    Reply
    • Ha! Just wait until Trump removes all environmental protections – then you’ll see how strange weather can be. But we won ‘t notice because we’ll all have moved down to bunkers in our basements by then.

      Reply
  39. I think not of Trump but the fallout from his election. It brings up scenarios that scare the living daylights out of me

    Reply
  40. LOL, pic nbr 3 and the text 😀

    Reply
  41. Wonderful and insightful post. I find the current political environment frightening. And today the Russians are helping Trump!?!! I’d like to hide under the bed.

    Reply
  42. Ah yes, I’ve been savoring the recent Jon Stewart fix lately as well…

    I love all of the other shows you mentioned, but yes, no one can fill the JS void. That’s a tall order.

    And now I keep seeing articles about why people think Trump is going to win. Really?? I really hope that’s not true, because if Trump wins, I’ll be forced to reevaluate everything I understand about the human condition and universe as we know it.

    Reply
    • The most telling thing about the current mood in the U.S. was a poll they did a few weeks ago where fifteen percent of Americans would prefer to have an asteroid hit the earth than to vote for either candidate. People are not thinking clearly; they are angry for all sorts of reasons and they want to feel better.

      Reply
  43. I’d also recommend “Daily Show” alum John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight” show on HBO. Even if you don’t subscribe to HBO, you can watch his stuff online. Really great stuff…his recap of Trump and the RNC was brilliant.

    Reply
  44. Even the commedians opening night of the DNC convention were lame. Yes, we need something bright and lively. Generally, I don’t stay up past nine, however. Check out the Saturday edition of ‘As time goes By’ by an Elderblogger (link on my blog). Every Sat. the author includes a clip from HBO of a very funny guy reviewing some hot topic of the past week. Might cheer you up. BTW, a great post, thanks.

    Reply
  45. John Oliver as the prvious commentator notes.

    Reply
  46. I’m so lucky to be a dual citizen. My husband and I can be Trump refugees and head back to the great white north where we have finally got the cream of the crop in Parliament. Trump frightens me and I saw the ass-grab, too. I also watched his speech and I am fearful for this country. Yet I live in a community where the rednecks dominate and the discussions are meaningless. I won’t change anyone’s minds here when I ask them to use something other than the 2nd amendment or the bible to answer a question. I have heard men say they’re sick of being politically correct and its fine to say it “how it is”. And I, too, loved Jon Stewart’s rant and anger. Trump is not a man who should have his hand on the button.

    Reply
  47. Great post!!! I should tell you about when I still lived in NJ and took a visiting out of state friend to a “Trump” casino in Atlantic City. He was still married to Ivana whom we saw walking on the casino floor. Let’s just say that by her style” we didn’t realize she was wife of a mogul but rather a ………(fill in the blank), Hahahaha
    BTW, I’ve nominated you for a 3 day quote challenge. I posted it on my blog a bit ago. Even if you dot participate, I think you might enjoy my Day 1 ~ not so much for the quote but rather for the back story of the dog who is pictured Blue. He is truly a miracle!

    Reply
  48. These pictures made me smile! Especially Butterfly seeking the comfort of Duckle. Being back in the United States and seeing this madness take place live is astonishing and really embarrassing that other countries are seeing this hatred play out. The RNC reminded me of a group of kids with and microphone and without adult supervision. It’s still frightening that the other republicans won’t stand up for themselves and they all play dumb or silent. Love your post – always fun to read.

    Reply
  49. Jacqueline aka Schleifchen

    Gosh it is a scary prospect; having THAT guy run for presidency. I am sure the world is holding it’s breath – especially now as he is “The Chosen One” of the Republicans and has the right to be informed of State Affairs while he reckons he will “get along with Putin”? Scary prospect indeed…even as far as Oz. I hope ya’ll get your grips back come November.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: