Criticism, though not exclusively, tends to be progressive because it seeks out errors. Such an attitude favors change if a problem exists.
The laughs we get from The Daily Show are often founded on critical thinking. Political speaking pushes the boundaries of absurdity and the exposé amuses us, an unintended consequence for public figures no doubt. Rhetoric tailored for the masses can collapse like an over-whipped mule that won’t plow. The laughter shows the understanding of the satirist’s descriptive reasoning.
Entertainers like John Stuart, Stephen Colbert, Lewis Black and the late George Carlin (to name a few) often show category’s based on political talk and then display the things that would logically fill that category. The absurdity is often funny. This isn’t attacking people. This is attacking statements.
Logicians, scientists and comedians all expose errors for different reasons. A clearer picture of the facts can result. Even revealing that we don’t know something that we thought we did. This has value above the the fact that many people are now delighted with laughter from the deduction that can be made out of categorical propositions. John Stuart’s take down of Glen Beck comes to mind.
There is a hunger for clear thinking. I am happy to see the errors paraded as truth placed under scrutiny and rejected due to the lack of real content. Though comedy doesn’t make errors less tragic in the face of real harm. It is a breath of fresh air.
It may seem wishful thinking that from a few sparks of comedic reasoning a flame will erupt and burn down the forest of lies. An age of reason is not likely around the corner so let’s not hold our breath. Still it can’t be denied that the satire of Jonathan Swift and Erasmus were part of a revolution in thought. These writers influenced many like Bertrand Russell and Karl Popper. Popper had a student named George Soros who started the Open Society Foundations.
I am excited to see what might emerge from the new evolution of satire and thought.
By Todd Vickers
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