Beneath the Humor of Colbert Nation

November 13th, 2007

Just chill: he isn’t really running for president

By Jennifer Konerman & Harrison Flatau

Stephen Colbert of “The Colbert Report” recently announced that he would indeed run for president, under both the Democratic and Republican parties, but only in his home state of South Carolina. We sent editors, Jennifer Konerman and Harrison Flatau, to Colbert’s October 26 performance at Cornell University to find out more:

Hundreds of eager Colbert fans sat in anticipation in Barton Hall at Cornell University, as the 5’11” satirist came storming on stage performing pirouettes. After his opening remarks, Colbert dropped a bomb on the audience — he is a fraud.

“I’m a fake. You guys realize this, right?” Colbert said.

Now, nearly two years after “The Colbert Report” first aired, most viewers expect to see him in character; that egotistical, logical fallacy inducing, symbol of American punditry.

But most of the night was devoted to Colbert’s recent announcement to run for president. This is the latest in a long line of Andy Kaufman-esque satire from the comedian. His stunts started off modestly with a word, “truthiness,” and quickly progressed to bigger and better conquests like  Ben & Jerry’s AmeriCone Dream, a bridge in Hungary (later re-named to Megyeri Bridge), and a baby eagle from the San Francisco Zoo.

He is admittedly a fake politician and a fake newsman with no experience and no plan for our country. Even Colbert admits to this and tells the audience, amidst laughter and applause, that they are ridiculous for spending so much time and effort on his campaign. What people do not realize is that he is mocking them.

Out of character, he also told the audience that his fake campaign merely reflects our generation’s downfall.

Years ago, people rioted in the streets to bring an end to war. Today, we blog and complain about it. This generation is softening, according to Colbert.

In fact, if he really did make it onto the ballot in South Carolina, he would be violating campaign finance laws. Because his campaign is sponsored by Doritos and he uses this publicity for his campaign, it is considered a corporate sponsorship and therefore illegal funding. If federal election officials decide this campaign is real, Colbert could be in real legal trouble.

But much like Colbert, his fans would rather ignore the facts.
He’s said in interviews before that what the audience sees is not his real self, it’s the man that he brought from “The Daily Show” that made a huge splash in our demographic.

In the wider scope of things, however, one has to look at what Stephen Colbert as president would accomplish. How would a comedian/news man do at leading the country? Our guess is not well. No offense to Robin Williams, but “Man of the Year” didn’t pan out so well either.

Colbert is an educated, intelligent, eloquent guy, but doesn’t exactly have the experience or qualifications for the job other than the fact that people like him. Of course people like him. It’s the same reason that people love Jon Stewart.

These two are intelligent citizens who bring a sense of humor to the news because they’re educated enough to understand that our system is ridiculous. Real newsmen have to report what happens, while political pundits are allowed to add in their two cents because they’re not supposed to be taken seriously. This is where Colbert’s power lies — in his ability to say whatever he wants to, whether it’s true or not.

Jennifer Konerman is a sophomore journalism major who will not vote for Stephen Colbert. Email her at jkonerm1[at]ithaca.edu.

Harrison Flatau is a junior writing major who will absolutely will vote for Stephen Colbert. Email him at hflatau1[at]ithaca.edu.

Whaling Wall Matthew Farrell
Chow Feng Shui Josh Elmer
Stained Glass Ceiling Emily McNeill
Anarchitect Mike Berlin
SaHarrison Desert Harrison Flatau
Metrolollipopolis Jennifer Konerman
Tropic of Scurvy Heather Newberger
Copy Editors Danielle Sherwood
  Jenna Scatena
  Elliott Feedore
   
   
   
Adviser Mary Beth O’Connor
   
Chief Residents Abby Bertumen
  Kelly Burdick
  Bryan Chambala
  Sam Costello
  Cole Louison
  James Sigman
   
   
   
   

Buzzsaw Haircut is funded by the Ithaca College Student Government Association, the Park School of Communications and a generous grant from Campus Progress.

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Front cover and back cover of print edition by Jake I. Forney.
Section dividers of print edition by Jake I. Forney and Justin Lubliner.