Last week a picture of Jon Stewart was unearthed. It showed him, fresh-faced and youthful, rocking out to a Dead Kennedy’s concert in the 1980s. There was just one problem. While the face looked a bit like Jon Stewart, it was in fact the bassist from a separate punk band.
Jon Stewart is our generation’s cultural hero. We revere him. In no uncertain terms.
We love Jon Stewart so much that we want to see him in places he doesn’t exist. We want to see him at Virginia punk shows in the 80s. We want to see his face on crusty pieces of toast. And on mold stains in crumbling houses. We want him to live out our own fantasies of him: As a youthful punk-rock-rebel fighting the zeitgeist, who has never traded in his ideals for fame or fortune, all the while maintaining a level of mainstream success. We want to believe that his chutzpah was engrained in him from an early age. We want to see Jon Stewart as infallible. But he’s not.
This explains why, when Jezebel uncovered a ‘scandal’ about Jon Stewart’s supposed sexism, people fell into 1 of 2 camps. They either denied it outright, or they made excuses. We didn’t want to believe that Jon Stewart would be involved in an institution which still propagated sexism. We wanted to see Jon as the defender of all that is disenfranchised and holy. We wanted him to remain pure, in a world full of political and economic selfishness.
Now while I don’t believe Jezebel’s story to be accurate, I do believe that their mud-slinging exposed just how strong our one-sided love affair is with Jon Stewart. And as long as he continues to do no wrong, I don’t see why it shouldn’t continue. But just to be on the safe side, always keep this in mind:
He’s not trying to send you a hilarious zinger about Mitt Romney via your alphabet soup.