Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Open Letter to Jon Stewart

For those of you who haven't yet seen the interview, click here to watch it.

I was going to wait until tomorrow but am honestly too darn excited to wait any longer! Here we go...

Dear Jon Stewart,
            You were not the first man I would think of to console someone during a break up. I have judged you incorrectly. Though it was an act of good (or depending on the way one looks at it, bad) fortune that Rob Pattinson’s press junket for Cosmopolis started with your show, and in the meantime his girlfriend had a very public indiscretion, you used the situation to remind us all that television be damned---the human element is necessary.
            There had been a lot of press leading up to this episode of The Daily Show. The newer viewers were welcomed with a disclaimer clearly stating that the show was not necessarily about pop culture but instead a satirical look at US politics. However, the pop culture element is there, hence the British actor’s scheduled appearance. When he came onstage the script was broken and it was clear to everyone that this was not going to be a shiny, star-approved interview. This was real, dammit! You whipped out ice cream and gave him comforting words, “You’re better off without her,”, albeit masked behind a character’s voice.
            Had this been the Today’s Show or even Jay Leno there would most certainly have been a script and a resulting refusal to acknowledge private pain. Some people on television as seasoned as yourself, Mr. Stewart, have already lost their sense of empathy. Admittedly it cannot be easy to navigate the intense waters of public backlash if one says the ‘wrong’ thing while televised. However during this interview that could have been just a disaster, you navigated those currents with grace. Your pleasant banter and gentle acknowledgement of a punishing life event in a young celebrity’s life brought the harsh reality of love and loss into focus for the rest of us. Just like a death the end of a relationship is something that is healing when mentioned. It feels better to have someone talk about it even when accompanied by silly jokes or awkward pauses.
            Eventually the interview turned from the stormy waters of betrayal to the actor’s new film, a David Kronenberg joint. But matters of the heart were not put to rest before you addressed the interviewee without shield of a character, saying, “I wish you all the best, I really enjoy talking with you, you’re a nice kid,”. And really, who better to give advice to an up-and-comer than a seasoned (married) man of showbiz?
            For those who have kept their minds out of the scandal your interview is worth watching if only to serve as a reminder of these two points: love is tricky, and Jon Stewart is really a pro.
            From myself and the rest of us, Mr Stewart, thank you. Keep up the good work. Television would not be the same without you.
            Yours truly,
Mackenzie Mathieu-Busher

Thanks for reading, everyone! Let me know what you think, public discourse is something that Jon Stewart and I both definitely value. The more opinions the better. 

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