That's what they said

My favorite quotes from the press conference following the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear (NB I wrote the previous post before I watched the press conference clips):

Jon: “We do television shows for people who like them, and we just hope that people continue to like them so that Comedy Central can continue to sell beer to young people. And as long as they do that, we’re allowed to continue to do our shows.”

Stephen: “For me, one of the greatest surprises was the joy of seeing the audience out there; like, how many people came, and when the Mythbusters [Jon chokes on his drink] got them to all jump at once to create an earthquake, [Jon: “I loved that.”] … I nearly levitated backstage, with joy, at how joyful, and on a certain level, kind of how stupid it is to try and create an earthquake, and that the audience so clearly were It-Getters, they were there to have fun, they were there to play a game along with us, and then we knew, well, let's just go out there, and try to play our game as hard as we can, and hopefully they'll enjoy our intentions.”


Here's the piece about "all the hand wringing" over the Rally that got mentioned at the press conference. Again: Yup.

And now, for something a little less sycophantic: I concur with those who find it disconcerting that one of the featured artists at the Rally is someone who has publicly called for the execution of a man for writing a novel that offended his religion and has never retracted or apologized for those statements (although he has denied having made them in the first place). Salman Rushdie's reported responses to the appearance of Yusuf Islam seem exceedingly sane, and it's disappointing that Stewart said nothing more substantive than the standard non-apology apology "I'm sorry if you feel that way." But I dissent from the shrill critics who insist that the solitary misjudgment of including the Artist Formerly Known as Cat Stevens demolishes the credibility of the entire event and everything Stewart does or says. Reasonableness ought to compel us to denounce -- or, better yet, ridicule -- preposterous statements like those Yusuf Islam once made about Rushdie; but it also must refrain refusing even to listen to anyone who associates with anyone who echoes anything that a crazy person says, or discourse is going to collapse pretty durn quick.


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