Sane or not, funny man Jon Stewart can host a rally

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Katie Hodges, News/Opinion editor

If Jon Stewart could be defined, so many things would make so much more sense.

Is “The Daily Show host a trusted newsman? Is he a social commentator? A legitimate part of the American political system? Or is he just a comedian, as he has professed all along?

Whatever he is, Stewart knows how to draw a crowd. At his Oct. 30 Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear (with fellow comedian/newscaster Stephen Colbert of “The Colbert Report”), CBS News reported that an estimated 215,000 people showed up for the free event.

That’s a lot of people for an event that had no specific political bent or agenda. Stewart was simply bringing attention to the lack of sanity in the modern news cycle.

In typical style, Stewart also used the event to draw attention to the lucky worthy cause of the week, in this case the Trust for the National Mall in Washington, D.C., where the rally was held. All proceeds from merchandise associated with the rally went to the trust.

Although the rally ridiculed Glenn Beck’s August Rally to Restore Honor, Stewart said, “This is not a rally to ridicule people of faith or people of activism.”

If he defined what the rally wasn’t, he never got around to defining what the rally was, although Colbert in tight stars and stripes pants provided the fear factor.

Stewart did call out the big bad media.

“The press can hold its magnifying glass to our problems, bringing them into focus, illuminating our issues heretofore unseen,” he said. “Or…they can use their magnifying glass to light ants on fire. And then perhaps host a week of shows on the sudden, unexpected dangerous flaming ant epidemic.”

Maybe the rally didn’t need to have a point, however. Maybe the chance to ridicule the increasing polarization of America and give 215,000 people a pep talk is enough.

And it turns out that Stewart is capable of giving a darn good pep talk, all the while condemning polarization at the same time.

“If we amplify everything, we hear nothing,” Stewart said. “The inability to distinguish terrorists from Muslims makes us less safe, not more.”

Of course, it’s not just the Muslim hating reactionaries that are a danger to the country. It’s also those horrible, horrible politicians. And of course, Glenn Beck.

“We work together every [damn] day. The only place we don’t is here [Washington D.C.] or cable T.V.”

Et cetra, et cetra.

Original and stirring? No. Something established Stewart fans are likely to eat up? Oh yes.

OK, so maybe holding a rally doesn’t seem like something that would actually promote sanity to the few of us who actually place ourselves in the sane category.

But as Stewart said, “sanity has always been, and will always be, in the eyes of the beholder.”