Thursday, January 17, 2013

Mistaken Paul Krugman

After Jon Stewart made some jokes about the Platinum Coin, Paul Krugman took to his blog and said some shit in a post entitled 'Lazy Jon Stewart'. He accused Stewart of a "lack of professionalism", then Stewart replied, and the internet played another round of everyone's favorite game show: Is Jon Stewart a Journalist?

So, let's go ahead and settle this right now. Jon Stewart is not a journalist. He is a comedian. These are different professions.

Journalists report news, for the sake of informing the public.
Comedians talk about current events, for the sake of making jokes.

The problem is that persons playing this game routinely fail to grasp that fundamental distinction between journalists and comics. They want to blur the line, for reasons not articulated. Another problem is that persons sometimes do what Krugman did in his post: They play the sposta game:

"Yes, it’s a comedy show — but the jokes are supposed to be (and usually are) knowing jokes,"

1) "Supposed to be"
2) "usually are"

To 1: Who the fuck said that? One would think that the number of dick / taint jokes in any given episode would negate any notion that TDS is fundamentally predicated upon telling "knowing jokes", that they're "supposed to" do that.

To 2: I realize Krugman is an economist, so his wheelhouse is inductions, speculative probability, and outright contradiction, but despite his professional inclinations he seems intelligent enough to know that "X is usually the case" does not somehow entail X always being the case, or that X "ought to" or "SPOSTA" be the case.

Then there's this:

"And it makes no sense at all to talk about any of this without the context of extortion and confrontation."

It does if one's primary goal is to make jokes, you dunce.

I realize that many people get their news from The Daily Show. That's fine. But this does not require that the folks at The Daily Show pretend to be journalists; it does not posit an obligation onto them. If a wealth of children flock to an ice cream truck and demand booze, we don't consider the ice cream vendor to have failed in his task. He's selling ice cream, and the children are being stupid by expecting booze. Jon Stewart is a comic, a joke vendor.

If Krugman flocks to TDS and demands nuanced articulations of economic policy, he seems to be mistaken about what TDS is.

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