Stephen Colbert is funny guy. His show, the "Colbert Report" (that's a soft "t" on both, mind you) pokes fun at rampant patriotism, partisan news coverage, and America's political discourse at large. Colbert's network, Comedy Central has even put together a satirical "fan site" called The Colbert Nation full of unfurled flags, fan testimonials, and bright green hit counters at the bottom of each page. Suffice it to say, I find Colbert's routine amusing, and I think he often provides good social commentary.

    I am, however, inclined to agree– at least partially– with Richard Cohen in his criticism of Colbert's appearance at the recent White House Correspondents' Association Dinner. Cohen expressed frustration at Colbert's hackneyed routine during the dinner. Colbert covered the usual bases: Bush's approval rating, Iraq, and of course, the president's intelligence and public speaking ability.

    You may read Cohen's column and come to the simple conclusion that he just doesn't like Colbert. But this is not Cohen's primary argument; for him, it's really about the responsibility of political humorists. Cohen opines:

"In Washington he was playing to a different crowd, and he failed dismally in the funny person's most solemn obligation: to use absurdity or contrast or hyperbole to elucidate — to make people see things a little bit differently. He had a chance to tell the president and much of important (and self-important) Washington things it would have been good for them to hear. But he was, like much of the blogosphere itself, telling like-minded people what they already know and alienating all the others. In this sense, he was a man for our times."

    Thank you Mr. Cohen. I couldn't have said it any better.

Daniel Corbett

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