Dean Gillman was right about one thing in his SJ MA dinner rant last night: The Daily Show is at heart a critique of the news media as much as it is of the state of politics. Jon Stewart himself constantly disavows that he’s presenting news. The core of his show is the re-presentation of stories, the skewering of how the media handles — or mishandles — events, not just the events themselves. His calling card is the montage of the news, his ultimate weapon the clip. Stephen Colbert, of course, has taken this parody critique of broadcast media to the nth degree, casting himself as a better-looking Bill O’Reilly.
But I would argue that just because it’s about the news doesn’t mean it’s not news. There’s a lot of non-satirical media programming about the media that I think still counts as news, such as Robert Hernandez’s favorite, On the Media.
Speaking of The Daily Show, whatever happened to Rob Corddry? He was my fave.
Now roll the clip:
Oh, how we love to hate and hate to love our teenage girls. Miley Cyrus’s “pole dance” at the Teen Choice Awards Aug. 9 has ignited the predictable outrage that occurs whenever oversexualized stars cross a line of acceptable pop tartiness. I’m not actually going to defend the artist sometimes known as Hannah Montana. The dance was a pole dance in the sense that there was indeed a pole, but the idol of millions of young girls and boys (including my son Cole) only vaguely pulled one pelvic thrust. She’s no Britney Spears, or Courtney Love. The performance was more of an affront to pop songwriting than to moral decency. Yeah, pairing the Disney icon with a stripper’s, er, tool was some boneheaded — or should I say bonerheaded — producer’s bad idea. But it’s not exactly Nipplegate.
I do defend our right as journalists to discuss the performance. She may not speak to Howard Gillman, the dean of USC’s College of Letters, Arts and Science, who cited the performance as an example of misguided journalistic priorities at a dinner for us Specialized Journalism MA students last night. But for better or worse, she is one of the most important pop cultural figures of the last few years. Just ask any tweenager. As a cultural critic, I think it’s vital to discuss not just the “quality” music I’d like everyone to listen to, but also to look at what the mass media is foisting upon the public — and point out that Disney divas now seem to be doing the bump and grind. Or not.
Video copyright Fox.