Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Dino Ironbody: Postmodern Correspondent (Updated!)


Above: Rod Corddry, Fake Newsman; Real Buzz.

Postmodern media manifestations are necessarily "meta," but The Daily Show flips the script and now adds another ironical dimension (as if there weren't already enough), kind of making us wonder just how much more multidimensionally (did The Corsair just coin a new word?) ironical reflections actual news events can we digest before ... mass collective cognitive vertigo, according to Newsday (via Iwantmedia):

"A 'correspondent' from the fake news show, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, was outside City Hall yesterday to get some answers from City Council Speaker Gifford Miller.

"Wearing a badly groomed hair piece, a fake mustache and an ugly 1970s tie, Rob Corddry waited patiently until after the real reporters had posed their questions to ask one about about Social Security. Standing awkwardly with his legs far apart as though he were getting ready to sprint, nodding in agreement to every word spoken by Miller about the West Side Stadium, Corddry finally raised his hand.'Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker,' he shouted, as if in a White House news conference, identifying himself as 'Dino Ironbody'"

As opposed to, say, hotmilitarystud?

"His question: 'How do you feel about the president's awesome plan to privatize Social Security?'
"Miller, who realized what was going on, played along.

"'I'm not such a big fan of the president's plan to private Social Security,' Miller said. 'I think Social Security has worked pretty well for generations and we outta stick with something that works.'"

And there, dear readers, lies a moment of great cultural significance. Right fucking there. A major city politician -- one of the most major politicians in one of the most major of big cities -- when faced with the growing power (the power of 'hip') of The Daily Show -- weighed and calculated, like only a up and coming pol on the make can do, and decided ... to give a serious answer to a fake news show.

"After the gathering broke up, Corddry, in a move uncharacteristic of reporters, invited them to chat.'Anybody wants to talk shop, I will be right here,' he said, pointing to the ground and cameras rolling. 'Good conference man!'"

Victory is sweet; getting a serious pol to take a satirical show seriously is a definite coup. A sea change. The Corsair wishes, with all his blogging strength, that Les Moonves could switch the irrelevant Evening News -- 22 minutes of Establishmentarian pablum with the consistency of processed cheese -- with The Daily Show (somehow, Les: you gotta make this happen) and bring this game of irony to its proper media destination. What is an Empire without a chief satirist? Who will knock the wind out of the windbags?

What was Athens without Aristophanes? Rome without Horace?

The function of the Shakespearean Fool was to serve as an unofficial check-and-balance to the unlimited power of the sovereign King. The Corsair doesn't see why The Daily Show couldn't operate in the same role within the natural gas powered quadrants of Our American Empire. The Fifth Estate, anyone?

Those of us who yearn with Waughian ardor after The Golden Days of Eric Sevareid and Walter Cronkite ache in vain. Snap out of it! (The Corsair swings) Networks are profit driven beasts roaming in a corporate jungle. In the beginnings of network news, competition on the veldt was minimal. While there will always be a place in the food chain for competent investigative journalism a la 60 Minutes, the anchorman as we have known him is already extinct. The final spasmodic impulse hasn't, as of yet, reached the pea-sized reptile brain.

And why, The Corsair asks, is this a bad development? 24/7 news channels are far better suited to cover the minute-by-minute events on the global beat. This new natural division of labor allows the better newspapers, newsweeklies, public radio and television the elevated role of probing the headlines in depth. Why should 3 Middle Aged white guys with great hair have all the fun?

Les Moonves floated the name of Stewart to test the waters of media perception to the idea. An executive must tread lightly in those environs. Media will always side with the anchors over the nasty corporate executive wanting to make vast changes on what they consider their landscape. The response to Stewart was not entirely unsympathetic. Quelle sapriste.

Perhaps The Daily Show, with their gifts of wit and their acutely perceptive observational humor will use that 30-minute piece of valuable eyeball real estate to break the seemingly impenetrable 17 percent ceiling (even every star in the Hollywood solar system could break it) on the youth vote. And we won't even mention the corporate value of the eyeballs of the 18-35 demographic.

The industrious among us who want "the real news" can make their way to the 24 hour news channels, each with their own particular biases, and, for the more ambitious, those of us interested after that tragically unhip concept "Ultimate Reality" -- Or, for liberals who eschew the use of a Final Vocabulary "The Approximation of Ultimate Reality" -- can chase the varying multiple perspectives of real events from international news sources on the web and public radio and respected global broadcast agencies.

But The Daily Show on network tv, with network budgets and network prestige and network manpower would be ... interesting. Intriguing, even, dare we say. But The Corsair is just a mischievous Gemini, a media troublemaker, an adorable kitty kat purring in The Hour of the Wolf. Don't listen to us ...

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