I realize that famous people owe us nothing. As Bart Simpson would say: They've given us countless hours of entertainment for free--so if anything, we owe them. But this isn't really about who owes who what. We can all agree that JS and TDS have given us much, while we offer little but ratings, adoration, and occasional internet mockery.
So what is it about?
Not to put too fine a point on it, but we need Jon Stewart. We need TDS to keep doing what it does. Less than 3 months after Colbert left us forever, we are terrified of what will happen without it.
Now I'm gonna speak directly to Jon Stewart, even though I don't know him and have never met him.
I've been watching you on TV since you were covering Mtv Spring Break as if it were actual news. I rejoiced with you when you got your first show, and sad when you lost it. I rejoiced again when you got your next show--sad and angry when you lost it. Every time you were in a movie--I paid good money to see it. Hell, I own a DVD of Death to Smoochy and am not remotely ashamed.
We Americans feel powerless in today's world. We work hard but barely scrape by. We hear all about how if we're not rich, it can only be because we're lazy. If we don't want Christianity foisted on us everywhere we turn, it's because we hate Jesus. If we don't support endless wars, we must love terrorism. Poor people, and the ever-shrinking middle class constantly hear that it's all our fault--for supporting the wrong candidate, for not having any guns, for not listening to nutjobs like Sarah Palin or Mitt Romney or John McCain (who actually used to seem sane to me). We don't have a voice, not really. OWS protestors were beaten and arrested despite committing no crimes. Unarmed citizens are gunned down by cops who aren't consequenced--or even facing trial. We post about it, argue about it online, we try in vain to convince older relatives that No, the days of lynchings and rampant sexual harassment weren't "the good ole days." But we don't feel heard.
Then we turn on The Daily Show, where a guy (You) we've known since high school tells us that yes--we're being lied to. We're getting hosed by a system that doesn't give a shit about us. Bad people have great lives thanks to the work we do, the taxes we pay, the things we buy (often because we can't afford real/good stuff). You help us laugh at the horrible things we must endure--and laughter is often the most powerful coping tool we have. You help us remember that our problems aren't all new--that people before us have survived, overcome--even thrived. TDS gives us more hope than Barack Obama and the Avengers 2 trailer put together.
In many ways, TDS speaks for us--people who read, who understand nuance, who prefer paragraphs to slogans. The difference between you and us is that you're "In" and we're wherever the hell we are. If we are the people, the future, the trees if you will. That makes you the Lorax. You speak for us because in the grand scheme of things, we might as well have no tongues.
And now you're leaving.
Honestly, nobody wants to make you feel bad or guilty or wrong for making this choice. We really do love and respect you, and want you to have a happy life with your family. But we're frightened. Not just of change, but of what will happen without you in the next election cycle. Who will hold people accountable? Who will demonstrate the foolishness, expose the chicanery, or help mitigate the ruthless lie machine we endure every election? I know we say this every time--but 2016 is gonna be a nasty one. We're afraid of what will happen, and how we will cope with it, if you are not doing what you do so well.
I hope that makes our collective response a little easier to understand.
--Wednes (a lifelong fan)
PS: Jon, if you respond, you better be nice. My review DVD of Rosewater is going to be here this week.