Satire, sarcasm, irony, just plain humor, call it what you will – academics don’t get it. The proof of this statement is in the courses colleges teach on the subject. The seriousness with which they approach comedy. Can one really dissect something using its opposite as the tool?
Case in point:
Truthinessology: The Stephen Colbert effect becomes an obsession in academia
by Paul Farhi
Nation, our so-called universities are in big trouble, and not just because attending one of them leaves you with more debt than the Greek government. No, we’re talking about something even more unsettling: the academic world’s obsession with Stephen Colbert.
Last we checked, Colbert was a mere TV comedian, or a satirist if you want to get fancy about it. (And, of course, being college professors, they do.) He’s a TV star, like Donald Trump, only less of a caricature.
Yet ever since Colbert’s show, “The Colbert Report,” began airing on Comedy Central in 2005, these ivory-tower eggheads have been devoting themselves to studying all things Colbertian. They’ve sliced and diced his comic stylings more ways than a Ginsu knife. Every academic discipline — well, among the liberal arts, at least — seems to want a piece of him. Political science. Journalism. Philosophy. Race relations. Communications studies. Theology. Linguistics. Rhetoric.
There are dozens of scholarly articles, monographs, treatises and essays about Colbert, as well as books of scholarly articles, monographs and essays. A University of Oklahoma student even earned her doctorate last year by examining him and his “Daily Show” running mate Jon Stewart. It was called “Political Humor and Third-Person Perception.”
The academic cult of Colbert (or is it “the cul of Colbert”?) is everywhere.
This, btw, is a wonderfully written piece. Our hats are off to Paul Farhi, who probably should be writing for Colbert instead of about him.
Oh, a heads up about the Washington Post’s website. You never know when your clicking is going to be interrupted by a notice that it’s time to register – “or else.” Usually, this happens when you try to go back to someplace you’ve been. Yes, we consider this proof that if there’s one thing newspapers still don’t get, it’s the web. Sigh.