"The Least of These."

Comedian Stephen Colbert testified before Congress today about immigration.

Amazingly, he did it all "in character." That is, until the end.

In his final moments he comes out of character and explains his motivations for testifying. And in doing so he gives Congress a little theological lesson by quoting the King of Kings:

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24 thoughts on “"The Least of These."”

  1. My "outrage" then was the same as it is now. I thought it was ridiculous. That's the difference between us. I can judge events like this independent of my political leanings. You and the blog author (and The Huffington Post) apparently cannot.

    Fortunately, there are those among the press (even from the left) who can: http://www.politico.com/click/stories/1009/reporters_not_amused_by_colbert.html

    I think "the media" should spend time on this. They should shame congress publicly - and the chair of this committee specifically - for allowing this to occur.

    I don't care what "the message" is, and whether I agree with it or not. If Republicans had a comedian (who's entire shtick was creating a fake liberal to mock liberals) and then had him come testify in character before a committee of congress, I'll be right back here going after them, whether I agree with his points or now.

  2. Well, I'm glad that there are others who present some consistency in our opinions. (I think most of Congressional hearings are theater, so I don't care much about who's acting - they're all acting.)
    I apologize for assuming you, like so many, are only against this because they disagree with Colbert's view. That was me calling the kettle black.
    I do have a different take on the media's reaction, though. There is no such thing as bad publicity. Who gets the face time out of this/these charades? Congresspersons. So instead of shaming, I say ignore it. Colbert already has a TV show, he wasn't doing this for exposure. Or at least he stood to gain a whole lot less face-time than anyone on that committee.
    The saddest part is that the issue of immigration - you know, the real story - will get buried underneath the Colbert headline. That's why I think the story should be ignored. At the same time it's not the end of the world - hardly the death knells of democracy.

  3. No. This event, like the "Muppet" event (assuming it happened; qb never saw it), further trivializes the televised Congressional committee meeting as an instrument of public education, accountability, and transparency. If there is a crisis of cynicism toward our federal government generally, and toward our legislators in particular, this little escapade can only have intensified it. Congress does not exist for our entertainment; but the fact that its members seek that role with such puerile stunts is yet another insult to our collective intelligence (such as it is).

    Cuteness makes for impoverished politics...as do these silly charades that the media presents to us as televised "debates." It's high time the voting public develops an attention span instead of relying on highly staged, vacuous games of rhetorical "gotcha" that tell us only who can insult his/her opponent most glibly with the cleverest sound bite.

    Come to think of it, the "one of the last nails in the coffin" metaphor is probably more apt than we know. What a pathetic display of governance.


  4. Since so many Republicans seem to take their cues from a t.v. entertainer, I'm glad to see one from the other side get to make his case!

  5. "Come on children
    You're acting like children
    Every generation thinks
    its the end of the world"
    -You Never Know (Wilco)

    I'm sure there were folks in the first Congress that thought the democratic experiement had failed. Many felt the Civil War and Reconstruction might be the end of democracy. (These folks were the closest to being right.) The Great Depression brought out cries of the end of democracy, just before America ascended to prominence in the second half of the century. Then the hippies, Nixon, and Oval office fellatio were going to destroy the foundation of America.
    May I'm going to be mauled by wolves one of these days. But it's really hard to take every cry seriously.

  6. "The saddest part is that the issue of immigration - you know, the real story - will get buried underneath the Colbert headline. That's why I think the story should be ignored."

    But wasn't that the reason Colbert testified in the first place?

  7. You're missing the point. The problem isn't that I'm "liberal" and am being biased. Everybody has a bias (qb, can I get an "Amen"?). The point I'm making is that people know who I am. My family, my wife, my kids, my place of business, my church, my friends, my next door neighbors. So I'm held accountable for anything I write here. I may be wrong, but I'm trying to be a part of this experiment we call civic discourse.

    By drive-by anonymous blog snipping? That's your form of contributing to a "decaying republic"?

    My point is that your behavior is symptomatic of said decay. Tell me it's not. Tell me that you're helping here. Make that case and let us see if we find it persuasive. I'm all ears.

  8. As a side note, you can change your settings for Disqus to only allowed registered (or even registered with a verified e-mail address) users to comment in your blog and prevent the "guest" postings. All you need to do is go to the settings on your Disqus account.

    I'm not sure if you want to go down that road or not (could even be the source of another blog post 8^D), but I just wanted to let you know the option is there.

  9. "My point is that your behavior is symptomatic of said decay. Tell me it's not. Tell me that you're helping here. Make that case and let us see if we find it persuasive. I'm all ears."

    - Sure. I'll make the case. The original post is the perfect vehicle to do it. You want people to take Colbert's points seriously, not because of who he is, but because of the points he's making. You want people (in this case Colbert) to be judged on the merits of their arguments, not personality or identity. That's what this is. It's pure argument divorced from personality. It makes you angry that people would dismiss Colbert's arguments because of who he is. Anonymous posts are the perfect counter to that. It prevents responses based on personality and forces someone to address the merits. That's why my post was so effective. Instead of ("oh, that's just the conservative with his talking points") it focuses people on the argument presented.

    I think argument on merits and not on personality is the perfect vehicle for restoring this Republic. The opposite (personality devoid of argument) is what gave us Obama.

  10. Is it good or bad that I get my news from your blog? :)

    I'm beginning to think that C-Span should move to the Cartoon Network.

  11. I see that point. And if people posting anonymously on blogs were actually making arguments then, yes, those comments would be making a contribution. And I've actually seen this happen once or twice.

    But I have a hard time seeing how your first comment was an argument, a response to the argument in the post. You simply made an evaluative statement, an ad hominem attack. A statement that didn't argumentatively engage the clip I posted, just objected to the messenger.

    See, lot's of people objected to Colbert's "in character" testimony. It was, certainly, an odd thing for Congress to do. And an odd way for him to do it. And, yes, I can see an argument that it was a "waste of tax payer money."

    But what I posted were his final words, given out of character. And the response he gave was a really interesting theological answer. One I resonate with. And it raises a hard question for me: Should Matthew 25 affect America policy or how I vote? I don't know. But it was interesting to see Matthew 25 quoted to Congress on this issue. Because lots of Christians think about Matthew 25 when they vote about stuff like this. So we need to ask, should Matthew 25 have a place at the table of immigration debate? Did Colbert make a good point? Why or why not?

    In short, Colbert, comedian or not, made a theological argument before Congress. Yet you refused to engage it and made an ad hominem attack, by your own admission. You did not say: First, as a tax payer I really object to his being there and, second, regarding his remarks I think....

    So, back to my point, you make anonymous and ad hominem attacks on blogs. By your own admission. That's my problem.

    (BTW, Colbert had a really odd and tense exchange with the Congressman from Iowa. If you don't like this kind of thing write your state representatives there in Iowa.)

  12. Keven, I think you could have used a few more ways to characterize how much time will be wasted on the mole hills. I know the "three in a row" fits a rhythm, but the movie, "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World" shows how changing rhythms can be effective....

  13. Kevin writes "hardly the death knells of democracy".

    Maybe this points to a real difference for me: to anonymous et al, death knells sound like this Colbert action. For me et al, death knells sound more like Cheny's lying about Weapons of Mass Destruction.

    Am I missing something?

  14. You also have forgotten that this is the internet. you say anonymous posts are preventing responses based on personality, but you forget that "guest", "Anon" etc... ape their own personalities on the web. "Anonymous" is usually regarded as the faceless troll that has nothing better to do than cower behind his anonymity in his mother's basement. The original post fits the stereotype well not to mention that the backpedaling and attempt to salvage the original cowardly jab could have been written by anyone who wishes to remain anonymous and not just the original poster, Dr. Beck is right anonymous attacks are a problem.

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