As any regular reader of the blog will know - I love a great snark more than anyone. Snark and cheek are the coin of the realm.
Political snark and cheek - that is a vital sign of a free people. As such, I was naturally inclinded to like what Stewart was doing - even supportive with the mild insult and expected behavior as outlined by Crowder quite well here. Heck - if I didn't have a real job and interests of a normal Southern man during hunting season, I probably would have gone.
Stewart lost me completely and totally though for one simple reason. He brought on a supporter of terror, political murder, misogyny, and retrograd social policy.
A man who once called for the murder of a political/cultural satirist and someone once refused entry into the USA due to his association with terrorists; Yusuf Islam.
I'll let Nick Cohen cover it using Islam's actual words - read it all. At the end, Salman Rushdie provided some background and made a very good point - followed up by a better one by Nick,
PS Just had this message from Rushdie: "I've always liked Stewart and Colbert but what on earth was Cat Yusuf Stevens Islam doing on that stage? If he's a "good Muslim" like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar then I'm the Great Pumpkin. Happy Halloween."I actually read The Satanic Verses back in 1990 and the popular literary culture showed, to me at least, the first evidence of intellectual cowardice in the face of violent Islam - a habit that has only gotten worse with time.
PPS: Just had this from my marvellous Observer colleague Andrew Anthony: "He told me in 1997, eight years after saying on TV that Rushdie should be lynched, that he was in favour of stoning women to death for adultery. He also reconfirmed his position on Rushdie. He set up the Islamia school in Brent, which is currently undergoing council-backed expansion. Its mission statement three years ago explicitly stated that its aim was to bring about the submission of the individual, the community and the world at large to Islam. For this aim it now receives state funding. Its an incubator of the most bonkers religious extremism and segregation, and is particularly strong on the public erasure of women. Why do people go to such lengths to ignore these aspects of Yusuf Islam's character and philosophy?"
That is the thing that bothered me the most. The fact that Jon Stewart makes his living from political satire, yet he shares a stage - intentionally - with the poster child for the evil that will destroy political satire at the edge of a blade across the throat. Oh, and don't give me the "Islam is a religion" backtalk either. Go try that with someone who has not studied a bit of the meatier parts of the Koran, Hadiths and Sunnahs. It is as much as a political movement focused on control than it is a religion.
Moral relativism and intentional political blindness has rarely been so clearly demonstrated. Stewart - until you deal with this topic - so soup for you.
Back to Y.I. though; you know what I dislike about him the most? He killed Cat Stevens.
Back to the Stewart thingy ... at least it was a chance for a little Economist humor. Melikey.