Sunday, September 19, 2010

Reservations about Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert's Rally

Generally speaking, I really like what Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart do with their respective shows (The Colbert Report and The Daily Show).  I often find them hilarious, insightful, and serving as something of a media watchdog.  Stephen Colbert's roast of George W. Bush at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner in 2006 was one of the boldest and funniest comic routines that I have ever seen.  And Jon Stewart, although he seems to have become more partisan, still has done a lot of great work.

That said... I think both of these fantastic comedians have made some very counterproductive and hurtful presentations which relate directly to their planned rally.  I know a lot of people idolize these men, and criticism of such progressive leftist icons will be distasteful to many party-line liberals, but in this instance I think it's particularly important to offer some friendly criticism and to hold them accountable for  their recent comments (or the lack thereof) about other rallies, protests, and demonstrations. 

Monday, September 06, 2010

Values of a College Education

Much of my adult life I've spent enrolled in, or usually just around, various universities and colleges. This is because I appreciate some of the fresh ideas and the open-mindedness that is often associated with such institutions. I like to see prominent speakers come to town for participation in panels, or public discussions, or simply to give lectures about their fields of expertise. And I admire the passion that so many people around campus have about various subjects -- whether of a technical nature or with more obvious social importance. And, honestly, I often appreciate the decadent revelry that takes place throughout the school year.

That said... in just the last 15 years I have noticed some very disturbing trends which are making institutions of higher learning less beneficial to those enrolled within them and for society at large. Certainly some of these trends have been manifesting for some time longer than the last decade or so, and more seasoned academics could probably point out larger more insidious differences between today's college experience compared to campus life a few decades ago. But it's also possible that negative changes have started to occur more rapidly and with greater consequences to society as a whole.