Monday, April 20, 2009

Warren /Stewart

The Comedy Central encounter between Elizabeth Warren and Jon Stewart is getting an impressive amount of blog buzz. From what I hear, her fans are settling on the view that she disappointed in the first half (shy and diffident) and recovered later (her old self).

I'd agree that she seemed (almost unheard of for Elizabeth) a bit like a deer in the headlights at the beginning, and also that she hit her stride in the home stretch. But in terms of audience appeal, I'd rank it the other way around. Elizabeth in full flower can sound cocky and contentious--I think it was her good fortune that she ran out of time before she got into high gear. But in her opening colloquy with her host, she came across as the mistress of the pregnant silence. Mrs. Buce (who had never seen her in action before) thought her Jack-Benny-like pauses were so funny as to have been scripted. I doubt that they were scripted; I'm pretty sure they were accidental, but I would agree that they worked just fine.

And an aside to Jon Stewart: Jon, Baby, the job of a comedy host is not to go all Cocker Spaniel on your guest. A few more outbursts of gush and you'll be as dull as Rush Limbaugh was back with he was sleeping in the Lincoln Bedroom.


Jaime said...

I actually don't think she was shy in the first half. I think this was a comedy show, not MSNBC, and that she was trying to be funny and cheaky. I felt like she was trying to slyly illustrate how little anyone knows about where the money has gone, including the chair of the committee overseeing it. I was a little concerned that it didn't make her come off as super brilliant as she usually does, but I think it was a great way to show her softer, funnier side, because she is a really funny person.

Gregg said...

The next associate justice of the Supreme Court, perhaps?

BFrapwell said...

Elizabeth Warren's appearance on the Daily Show was witty, charming and most illuminating.

Without patronising anyone, she took a subject that has been obfuscated by unnecessary complication and helped us, the general public, to cut through the clutter of words generated by other interested parties.

Her simple questions to Treasury have not been answered, and they should be answered. Tax money is taken from the public (and businesses, trusts, funds and other organisations) in order to be handed back in ways to provide value in a cost effective way.

If the Treasury is not open with the why's, what's and how's of what it is doing, then it will inevitably be mistrusted. Secret government can't be good and it is often very bad as it enables abusive government.

How can an "Oversight" Committee do its job if it not allowed to "see" what is happening?

So she goes on a "comedy show" to discuss a subject of interest to many people ("what is happening to my tax money?"). There is nothing funny about the instability many people are currently experiencing in their lives. This is very serious and sometimes has tragic consequences, but she used comedy to give insight into the current lack of information and the apparent failure in getting value for money.

Her comedy was not in what she said - that was simple common-sense. Her comedic timing added punch to her message and it was appropriate to the occasion.