After a week where events in the Middle East took the global spotlight again without the commentary of the Comedy Central duo, things got back to normal Monday night with both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert giving their take on YouTube-video-sparked riots in the region.
Stewart got right to the point on “The Daily Show.” “Let me get this straight. All of this destruction and bloodshed was over this dumb Internet video made by some (expletive), and promoted by the Koran-burning Florida pastor Terry Jones?” he asked.
Colbert was equally unimpressed. “It combines the productive values of a basement porno, the acting talent of 18th century syphilis sanitariums, and a script transcribed from arguments overheard in a bus station bathroom. It’s not good.”
But he continued. “Our constitution means we can’t stop people from making movies that are stupid or grossly offensive. For instance, we made three 'Transformers.' Where were the mobs then? Where were the riots?”
And Stewart saw parallels to some actions taken by folks closer to home.
“It’s almost as if certain leaders in that part of the world are deliberately exploiting whatever they can get their hands on to rile up the populace for their own political gain,” he noted. “Hey, wait a minute! They really are getting the hang on this democracy thing.”
Stewart also confirmed that he’ll be debating Fox News host Bill O’Reilly in Washington on Oct. 6.
“I’m so scared,” Stewart said mockingly. Then he warned O’Reilly, “I shall meet you in the square for an old fashioned duel of wits.”
Annan not optimistic
Stewart interviewed former Secretary General of the United Nations, and more recently U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan. But if anyone was looking for some good news on the international situation, they were sorely disappointed.
Stewart began by asking, “Let me ask you this, sir … how’s the world?”
“Messy,” Annan replied.
Annan didn’t say that the situation in Syria was hopeless, but he does think the world needs to act to prevent a disaster.
“Syrian’s miscalculation can create a problem that we will not be able to handle,” Annan said. “There is quite a bit (other countries) could do if they could come together to put pressure on the governments in the region to work with them to pressure both sides, and to put a proposal on the table. There has to be a political transition.”