Jon Stewart’s final thoughts, or “Here’s what you need to do now”

From Jon Stewart’s last Daily Show, his “graduation speech” on what he wants needs us to know when he’s gone—how to cut through the bullshit.

Bullshit is everywhere. There is very little that you will encounter in life that has not been, in some ways, infused with bullshit. Not all of it bad. Your general, day-to-day, organic free-range bullshit is often necessary. Or at the very least innocuous. “Oh, what a beautiful baby. I’m sure he’ll grow into that head.” That kind of bullshit in many ways provides important social contract fertilizer and keeps people from making each other cry all day.

But then there’s the more pernicious bullshit, your premeditated institutional bullshit designed to obscure and distract. Designed by whom? The bullshit-talkers.

[It] comes in three basic flavors:

One, making bad things sound like good things. Organic all-natural cupcakes. Because “factory-made sugar oatmeal balls” doesn’t sell. Patriot Act – because “Are You Scared Enough To Let Me Look At All Your Phone Records Act” doesn’t sell. So whenever something is titled “freedom, fairness, family, health, America,” take a good long sniff. Chances are it’s been manufactured in a facility that may contain traces of bullshit.

Number two, the second way, hiding the bad things under mountains of bullshit… But I’m not really interested right now in reading Tolstoy’s iTunes agreement, so i’ll just click “agree” even if it grants Apple prima nocta with my spouse…

And finally, it’s the bullshit of infinite possibility. These bullshiters cover their unwillingness to act under the guise of unending inquiry. “We can’t do anything because we don’t yet know everything.” We cannot take action on climate change until everyone in the world agrees gay marriage vaccines won’t cause our children to marry goats who are going to come for our guns.

Now, the good news is this: Bullshiters have gotten pretty lazy, and their work is easily detected. And looking for it is kind of a pleasant way to pass the time. Like an “I Spy” of bullshit. I say to you tonight, friends, the best defense against bullshit is vigilance. So if you smell something, say something.

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4 thoughts on “Jon Stewart’s final thoughts, or “Here’s what you need to do now”

  1. Jeff Hall says:

    His final show got me. I am not an overly emotional person, but I am sad to see him go. And I think that democracy works when we all engage in the process, and have free and open debate about the issues. We don’t have to agree. In fact, we should disagree about things. And the more important they are the more we should disagree. And for any of that to work you have to have a great bullshit detector. I will miss Mr. Stewart’s.

  2. admacrae says:

    Listening to the final song played by Springsteen. Born to Run. I wish. Between him, Oliver and Colbert they have kept me sane since moving from my socialist upbringing in Scotland!

  3. I love this – I wish more people were as frank.

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