Jon Stewart and the Friday Random Ten

Watching this clip from the Daily Show where Stewart completely eviscerates right-wing pundit Ramesh Ponnuru over his latest book The Party of Death: The Democrats, the Media, the Courts, and the Disregard for Human Life (No kidding--that's the title), I'm constantly reminded of how ill-prepared right-wing pundits seem to be outside their comfort zones. Ponnuru is generally regarded by many as a reasonable right-winger, this latest book notwithstanding (where he seems to have become Coulterized), and yet, if you watch the clip, he comes off as a high school sophomore blindsided by a moderator in a formal debate.

Pundits of all stripes are often made stupid (if they weren't stupid to begin with) by living in their bubbles, surrounded by those who agree, or who, if they disagree, do so only in terms of how extreme the reaction to a set of stimuli should be, as opposed to actually questioning their base beliefs, and as a result, I think they 1) believe themselves smarter than they really are and 2) believe the rest of the world is dumber than it actually is. And I think Ponnuru's performance is an example of that.

Stewart is a smart guy, but since he's a comic doing a send-up of a news show, it's easy for an "intellectual" to dismiss him, perhaps thinking "I'll go on this show for a laugh, reach a slightly different crowd, sell a few more books--easy cheesy" never for once thinking that Stewart would ask more pointed and argumentative questions than that "intellectual" would face on a serious news show. Ponnuru walked into a buzz saw, and came away suitably mangled as a result. Watch the clip-superb work.

Here's the random ten. iPod or other music player/program on shuffle, and the first ten songs that come up. No exceptions. Here we go.

1. Tonight, Not Again--Jason Mraz
2. Upstage Rumba--Dave Brubeck
3. My Drag--Squirrel Nut Zippers
4. When You Sleep--Cake
5. Hold On, Hold On--Neko Case
6. Respect Yourself--The Staples Singers
7. Saturday Night--Ozomatli
8. Me and the Devil Blues--Robert Johnson
9. Personal Jesus--Johnny Cash
10. Remindor--Thinking Fellers Union Local 282

Bonus Track: Terraplane Blues--Eric Clapton from Sessions for Robert J, a cd/dvd Amy bought for me for Christmas. Amazingly good stuff all the way around. Highest recommendation.

So what's on your lists today?

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