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Television: The Quiet Snark

The Daily Show is off the air just when we need it most. The Writers Strike shows no sign of ending any time soon, which is putting quite a kink in things, especially American politics.

With the smartest writers, and perhaps most influential, on TV suddenly off TV, we either have to get our humor elsewhere (like with people who have no business trying to be funny), or else imagine in our heads how Jon Stewart might be reacting to the business of the “Clusterf$#%* to the White House.”

First and foremost, what is he going to make of Oprah being so popular with crowds? Would he make jokes about “favorite things” and books, or would he ridicule those who are making jokes about Oprah? I think the latter, personally. Nothing worse than a blowhard who knows nothing about Ms. Winfrey underestimating both her intellect and her credibility.

In fact, I can now say that Oprah herself has turned my own mind around about the election. Where before I thought I’m only going to vote for the candidate who can win, now I’m starting to feel the Oprah effect coursing through my connective tissue, and, wouldn’t you know, I want to vote for Barack Obama.

No, it isn’t because, as some of the red-faced, deep-pocketed Republicans have suggested, Oprah told me to but because Oprah, with her no-nonsense approach to life, made me realize that there are times to put it on the line and times to play it safe. This isn’t a time to play it safe.

I am with Oprah every step of the way. I wore Spanx because she told me to. I bought the heart doctor book by Mehmet Oz because she told me to. I believe in the Church of Oprah because it has served me well. Who else but Oprah has the power and compassion to ask regular Americans to become part of her Angel Network to help the world? Who else but Oprah could catch a child predator because he had a $100,000 price on his head? Oprah is someone I trust, and I trust her when she says that Barack Obama is the right guy.

I realize this makes me exactly what the talking heads on TV think of the Oprah Effect, but guess what? Who cares what they think. They are going to talk trash about anyone daring to defy the powers that be. It’s politics as usual, as Oprah would say. Those politics are never going to change unless people get mad. Oprah can make them mad, she can help direct the anger and perhaps she can nudge things just a wee bit closer to better.

While I was stuck in a traffic jam, I was thinking about the absence of snark that has been taken away with the absence of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, Dave Letterman and Jay Leno. Without the jokes, everything suddenly seems a lot more serious. Could it be that we all sit down nightly and watch our favorite talk shows and in the process laugh off any real anger we otherwise might be having?

The message is suddenly coming through a lot more clearly without the snark. This thought took me somewhere I didn’t want to go, and I quickly reeled it back in and focused harder on the traffic jam. Did I want things to change, or did I want them to go back to the way they were before? Isn’t that what the writers are doing? Putting it all on the line so that big changes can be made?

Either way, I do miss the snark, but for what it’s worth, there is no more powerful time for would-be candidates to push their message. The people can hear it loud and clear.

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