13 March 2009

Jon Stewart: Amos With Fart Jokes

Every now and then I see the Holy Spirit rise up and I get amazed, thrilled and spooked all at the same time-the way you are supposed to feel when the Holy Spirit comes near you. It happened Thursday when Jon Stewart interviewed Jim Cramer from CNBC, calling to task Cramer and other television financial reporters for not working harder to uncover the financial crisis before it wrecked the economy. If you have not seen it, and all of this week’s Daily Shows leading up to the confrontation, you see it by clicking here. And you can see the nauseating extended interview with Cramer where he, for some reason, tells the truth about himself and CNBC by clicking here.

In the Hebrew Scriptures (the “Old Testament”) the prophet Amos cries out disparagingly:

“Hear this word, you cows of Bashan…you women who oppress the poor and crush the needy and say to your husbands, "Bring us some drinks!" …The time will surely come when you will be taken away with hooks…”(Amos 4)

Amos is speaking to the well-coiffed country-club ladies of his time; the prideful, narcissistic, empty-headed, trend-setting, fashion-forward wives of the CEOs, hedge-fund managers and AIG executives of ancient Israel – the respected, highly successful men who swept up the nation’s riches while the workers (the producers of the wealth) went without shoes. The wives live beautiful lives with but one simple task – to be pretty and entertaining while heaping praise on their husbands and on the economic structure that sustains the pretty cows' lip-glossed existence. When Stewart makes fun of Jim Cramer and CNBC financial “reporters,” he is calling them the cows of Bashan. There's a lot more in this text, and he's not indicitng women as the bone-headed biblical literalists of our time would claim. Amos is talking to any nicely dressed synchopant, which describes all television financial reporters.

Jon Stewart is a prophet dressed in new clothes. Prophets are always dismissed and ridiculed by the power elite, and this is why in our time, as in most times, the prophet arrives in the form of the Fool. The Fool’s job is to attack the power elite with humor. The prophets’ job is to bring down those in economic power who are wreaking destruction on the land and to call the people back in to the state of shalom: balance, peace, right-living. It is an amazing thing to behold, and who would have thought it would be beamed in from the home of fart jokes and censor bleeps: the Comedy Channel? The Spirit works n mysterious ways.

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