Archive for Sunday, October 31, 2010

‘Sanity’ rally draws laughs, activism

October 31, 2010


— In the shadow of the Capitol and the election, comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert entertained a huge throng Saturday at a “sanity” rally poking fun at the nation’s ill-tempered politics, fear-mongers and doomsayers.

“We live now in hard times,” Stewart said after all the shtick. “Not end times.”

Part comedy show, part pep talk, the rally drew together tens of thousands stretched across an expanse of the National Mall, a festive congregation of the goofy and the politically disenchanted. People carried signs merrily protesting the existence of protest signs. Some dressed like bananas, wizards, Martians and Uncle Sam.

Comedians Stephen Colbert, left, and Jon Stewart perform Saturday during their Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear on the National Mall in Washington. The “sanity” rally blending laughs and political activism drew thousands to the mall with Stewart and Colbert casting themselves as the unlikely maestros of moderation and civility in polarized times.

Comedians Stephen Colbert, left, and Jon Stewart perform Saturday during their Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear on the National Mall in Washington. The “sanity” rally blending laughs and political activism drew thousands to the mall with Stewart and Colbert casting themselves as the unlikely maestros of moderation and civility in polarized times.

Stewart, a satirist who makes his living skewering the famous, came to play nice. He decried the “extensive effort it takes to hate” and declared “we can have animus and not be enemies.”

Screens showed a variety of pundits and politicians from the left and right, engaged in divisive rhetoric. Prominently shown: Glenn Beck, whose conservative Restoring Honor rally in Washington in August was part of the motivation for the Stewart and Colbert event, called the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. It appeared to rival Beck’s rally in attendance.

Colbert, who poses as an ultraconservative on his show, played the personification of fear at the rally. He arrived on stage in a capsule like a rescued Chilean miner, from a supposed underground bunker. He pretended to distrust all Muslims until one of his heroes, basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who is Muslim, came on the stage.

“Maybe I need to be more discerning,” Colbert mused. He told Stewart: “Your reasonableness is poisoning my fear.”

As part of the comedic routine, Stewart and his associates asked some in the audience to identify themselves by category, eliciting answers such as “half-Mexican, half-white,” “American woman single” and “Asian-American from Taiwan.”

“It’s a perfect demographic sampling of the American people,” Stewart cracked to a crowd filled with mostly younger whites. “As you know, if you have too many white people at a rally, your cause is racist. If you have too many people of color, then you must be asking for something — special rights, like eating at restaurants or piggy back rides.”

With critical congressional elections looming Tuesday, Stewart and Colbert refrained from taking political sides on stage, even as many in the crowd wore T-shirts that read “Stewart-Colbert 2012” and left-leaning advocacy groups set up shop on the periphery, hoping to draw people to their causes of gay rights, marijuana legalization, abortion rights and more.

Organizing for America, Obama’s political operation based at Democratic National Committee headquarters, was mounting a “Phone Bank for Sanity” to urge people to vote Tuesday.

Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow performed, singing if “I can’t change the world to make it better, the least I can do is care.” Ozzy Osbourne and Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens, engaged in something of a battle of the bands as the heavy-metal rocker barged in on the folkie’s hit, “Peace Train,” in a mock clash of music and cultures. Tony Bennett closed the show by singing “America the Beautiful.”

The idea was to provide a counterweight to all the shouting and flying insults of these polarized times. But there were political undertones, too, pushing back against conservatives ahead of Tuesday’s election.

Slogans urged people to “relax.” But also: “Righties, don’t stomp on my head,” a reference to a Republican rally in Kentucky at which a liberal activist was pulled to the ground and stepped on. And, “I wouldn’t care if the president was Muslim.”

Shannon Escobar, 31, of Bangor, Pa., came with a group of 400 people on buses chartered in New York. A supporter of President Barack Obama in 2008, she said she’s tired of nasty rhetoric from both sides and disenchanted with lack of progress in Washington.

“I want to see real change — not Obama change,” she said. “We need a clean slate and start over with people really working together.”


jayhawklawrence 3 years, 5 months ago

On tuesday, my goal will be to vote against crazy people.


scott3460 3 years, 5 months ago

Outdrew the Beckalooza by 2:1 and yet the right wing propaganda machine seems not to care quite so much about crowd size as it did a month ago. Strange. I wonder why.


sourpuss 3 years, 5 months ago

CorkyHundley's post is a fine example of the sort of superlative reasoning the Rally was attempting to highlight and discourage. This Rally was not about your political viewpoint but your willingness to accept that the best solutions to our very complex and pressing problems are not to be found in talking points and political ideology but in consensus and compromise. The willingness to say, "You have a point there," instead of, "You're a malformed and amoral swamp creature," will get us much farther as a country.

And I don't think there is a "gene" for that - it's something we're supposed to learn in kindergarten.

BTW, the Rally was great. I was on the Mall yesterday and it was amazing to see so many reasonable people in our nation's capital.


CorkyHundley 3 years, 5 months ago

Why do these tea bagger/party like sane people demand all this attention? Why don't they leave america alone? I bet its because they have the DRD4 gene condition.

"Researchers Identify 'Liberal Gene' Responsible For Ideological Makeup 30 October, 2010
A new study conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Diego has found that ideology is not just a social thing; it's built into the DNA and is borne along by a gene called DRD4. The researchers tagged the gene as "the liberal gene." The authors of the study claimed that the DRD4 is the first specific bit of human DNA that builds certain ideology in the people."

Wikepedia- "The dopamine receptor D4 is a G protein-coupled receptor encoded by the DRD4 gene.[1] As with other dopamine receptor subtypes, the D4 receptor is activated by the neurotransmitter dopamine. It is linked to many neurological and psychiatric conditions including schizophrenia, Parkinsons disease, bipolar disorder, addictive behaviors including sex addiction, and eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating. It has also been linked with novelty seeking and political ideology.[2]

It is also a target for drugs which treat schizophrenia and Parkinson disease. The D4 receptor is considered to be D2-like in which the activated receptor inhibits the enzyme adenylate cyclase, thereby reducing the intracellular concentration of the second messenger cyclic AMP.[3]"

Liberals do have sex addictions. Clinton-Jon Edwards- letterman-polanski- this study from Harvard and UCSD seems sane.

Where is the sanity with this affliction?


grammaddy 3 years, 5 months ago

This rally inspired 1,160 rallies in 84 countries. I watched it on Comedy Central.A great time was had by all!


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