They Truly Believe It

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Caught an NPR interview yesterday with John Oliver, a correspondent for Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.”

Up front disclaimer: “The Daily Show” is something I’ll watch for a few minutes if it’s on, but I don’t go seek it out. Some may assume I’m not an avid fan due to the left leaning philosophy of the show. Negative. I just rarely turn on Comedy Central unless I’m watching “South Park.” Simple as that.

Anyway, John Oliver was being interviewed about some of the correspondent duties he’s performed “in the field.” Keep in mind this is comedy and satire and shouldn’t be taken too seriously-but it’s always pretty entertaining.

As with most everything in comedy, the truest moments of hilarity are found in the extremes. And extremes and politics just go hand in hand. Sad, but true.

Oliver was commenting on his days spent covering the Tea Parties that have popped up in the last couple years. And, it was funny-and a bit disturbing.

Back in my sociology classes at Missouri State University (specifically, Social Movements taught by Dr. Gary Brock), we discussed how a group of moderately like minded individuals get together and the common set of beliefs becomes more fundamental. For example, if you go to a gathering of religious folks, the common tiemelds the people together. When they meld, they also become more staunch in their beliefs. At some point, you may actually see people trying to outdo one another by proving their beliefs are so strong. Like two Trekkies trying to prove their pedigree by seeing who knows more Captain Kirk trivia.

Olivver commented on this phenomenon by sharing his experiences at the Tea Parties. Paraphrasing here, but he talked about one person dressed in Colonial garb who kept spewing venom about President Obama and how he’s a Muslim and welcoming terrorists into America. An extreme belief? Certainly…but this Paul Revere wannabe truly believes it.

Oliver gave different belief systems he’s witnessed. Both liberal AND conservative, he talked about how interesting it is to see the fervor and fundamentalism of others’ beliefs.

Some aspects of the Tea Parties I totally agree with. Some aspects of the events held by America’s liberals I agree with. However, I don’t ever want to attend any such rally because I WANT to keep perspective. I want to stay moderate. I want to always be open to the ideas and viewpoints of others. As soon as one steps into one of these rallies, my belief is that they lose perspective. Not unlike getting caught up in the excitement of a big party, I want my political and social leanings to always be able to have the ability to take a step back, take a good look at all aspects, THEN determine which elements fit within my belief system.

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  • Susabelle

    I heard most of that interview while driving in the car this weekend. He’s a funny guy, but also a darned smart guy. I enjoyed the segment immensely.

  • James

    Sadly Marcus bigotry and ignorance are found in all countries.As a New Zealander I encounter just as many on a percentage basis as you have in the States.Sometimes I feel that we should demand to see their evidence, but even that, I suspect would not put them out of business.

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