As we get closer to the election, the political conversation is becoming more shrill on both sides. I’ve noticed several loyal Facebook posters threatening to sign off until after November 6th, though I doubt they actually will.
This is not a political blog so though I’m a news junkie and following the race closely, I will refrain from taking sides here. But I recently wrote an interesting story about when pop culture and politics collide.
I interviewed a Penn State professor on how Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report,” has changed modern politics.
Professor Sophia McClennen has written a book called “Colbert’s America, Satire and Democracy,” which is pretty readable for an academic endeavor. She argues that Colbert and Jon Stewart are brilliant satirists who have captured attention by lampooning political and media figures, while pointing out the stupidity and folly of the way Washington works.
But Colbert has taken satire to a new level by actually motivating his fans to get up off the couch and become political activists.
Stunts on his pretend conservative talk show have spurned viewers to tweet en masse, and donate money to both worthy causes and his Super PAC. He not only makes us laugh, he’s teaching us a lesson by exposing how money flows in our political system.
McClennen was engaging and smart and made me think about the power of satire and Colbert’s influence on politics in a new way. Colbert seems to be everywhere these days. He was on “Meet the Press” last Sunday and “Oprah’s Next Chapter” featured Colbert recently as well. In both interviews, I found him bright, charming, and authentic– probably why he has such a huge following. You can see a clip of Oprah’s interview here.
I’d love you to take a look at my story on how Colbert is changing politics here and let me know what you think.