For almost an entire decade, Stephen Colbert portrayed a fictionalized, overly conservative version of himself on his satire news show, The Colbert Report. While Jon Stewart exposed the idiocy of news media in general throughout his run on The Daily Show, Colbert took on a persona that, disturbingly enough, was fairly accurate in its portrayal of extreme right-wing politicians and newsmen. The following batch of quotes, while telegraphed by Colbert in a tongue-in-cheek manner, speak volumes about the political situation and agenda being pushed by some of the most powerful people in our country. While they might make you chuckle at first, these little truth-bombs will also cause you to think long and hard about the real goings-on behind the scenes in America.
1) “If our Founding Fathers wanted us to care about the rest of the world, they wouldn’t have declared their independence from it.”
This is the first in a long list of quotes that you wouldn’t have a hard time believing came from an actual politician who wanted to be taken seriously. It’s such a ridiculous statement, especially when you know the history of America’s foundation, but it shows just how bastardized the intentions of our Founding Fathers have become over the years.
2) “The only thing that gets me high is the musky scent of my enemy’s fear.”
In one fell swoop, Colbert pinpoints the irony of the right-wing ideals of withholding natural drugs from our own citizens in the interest of human safety while simultaneously pushing for military action across the globe. When Colbert puts it like this, it makes it hard to believe people actually think this way. . . but here we are!
3) “Clearly, America has no shortage of metaphorical opportunities for the poor.”
In America’s version of “Let them eat cake!”, many well-off politicians who have never spent a single moment of their life imagining what it truly means to be poor in one of the richest countries in the world offer solutions like “Get a job!” or “Go to school!” without realizing the ridiculous hurdles that are in place for those who weren’t born into high society. Hurdles which were put into place by the very same people who never had to jump over them in the first place.
4) “Contraception leads to more babies being born out of wedlock, like fire extinguishers lead to more fires.”
I’ll give even the most extreme conservative credit enough to believe they would never be that out of touch to actually say something like this. But even if they don’t actually say something this ridiculous, they certainly live by the sentiment, at least when it comes to policies involving women’s rights. I guess we shouldn’t have locks on our doors because it coerces robbers to break through them, right?
5) “Now, for my younger viewers out there, a book is something we used to have before the Internet. It’s sort of a blog for people with attention spans.”
Colbert doesn’t always have to be political in his satire, either. This silly little quip makes light of the TL;DR (too long; did not read) generation, which I would argue is more a problem of modern times and less a problem of a specific generation. Internet users young and old have gotten so used to instant gratification that they don’t even see the value in spending more than a few minutes learning about a specific topic. We’ve grown to live by the idea that if something doesn’t provide value instantly, it’s completely worthless. Ironically, the reality is that the things that take the longest time and most work to accomplish end up being the most valuable to a person’s life.
6) “Wikipedia is the first place I go when I’m looking for knowledge. . . or when I want to create some.”
More bashing of the Internet age, huh Colbert? This echoes the satirical statement “If you heard it on the Internet, it must be true.” Anyone who’s done a research paper for school knows you can’t take Wikipedia to be the absolute truth. But you should also know the difference between a Wikipedia article that’s pasted together piecemeal, and one that’s been correctly cited by various reliable sources. Unfortunately, open up your Facebook page and you’ll surely find people sharing pictures, memes, and articles that are no more valid than your great uncle’s claims that “a friend of his has a cousin who was on the set when NASA faked the moon landing.”
7) “If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn’t help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we’ve got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don’t want to do it.”
I have nothing more to add to this one *cough Syrian refugees cough*.
8) “Can’t wait for tomorrow when I get to exercise my patriotic duty as an American: Complaining about how long it’s taking to vote.”
Once again, Colbert skewers the American ideal that if something takes too long to do, it’s not worth doing — even if that something is “being a part of the decision as to where our country will be headed in the coming years.” If it takes away from mindlessly staring at the TV for hours on end, an incredibly large number of American citizens want nothing to do with it. I guess the only upside to such an apathetic mindset is that I can actually say that in print and not have to worry about any repercussions!
9) “The more you know, the sadder you get.”
How incredibly poignant. I’m not ashamed to admit that I sometimes bury my head in the sand when current events get too overwhelming– to the point that my emotional well-being starts to suffer. The media thrives off of negative stories that will keep you on the edge of your seat until “tonight at 11.” But the ultimate sadness hits when you dig past the surface information and discover what’s really going on in the world. That sounds way too “conspiracy theory-ish,” so I’ll just leave it at that. Now I need a hug.