Jon Stewart spent his 16-year “Daily Show” tenure preaching skepticism, and he wrapped his lessons up in one very intense speech during his final episode on Thursday night.
“Bull— is everywhere,” he began with a roar. Then he remembered his family was in the crowd. “Are the kids still here?” he asked as the audience laughed. “We’ll deal with that later.” Then back to his monologue. Here is the speech in its entirety:
Bull— is everywhere. There is very little that you will encounter in life that has not been, in some ways, infused with bull—. Not all of it bad. You general, day-to-day, organic free-range bull—- is often necessary. Or at the very least innocuous. “Oh, what a beautiful baby. I’m sure he’ll grow into that head.” That kind of bull—- in many ways provides important social contract fertilizer and keeps people from making each other cry all day.
But then there’s the more pernicious bull—-, your premeditated institutional bull—- designed to obscure and distract. Designed by whom? The bull—- talkers. Comes in three basic flavors. One, making bad things sound like good things. Organic all-natural cupcakes. Because “factory-made sugar oatmeal balls” doesn’t sell. Patriot Act. Because “Are You Scared Enough To Let Me Look At All Your Phone Records? Act” doesn’t sell. So whenever something is titled “freedom, fairness, family, health, America,” take a good long sniff. Chances are it’s been manufactured in a facility that may contain traces of bulls—-.
Number two, the second way, hiding the bad things under mountains of bull—-. You know, I would love to download Drizzy’s latest Meek Mill diss. (Everyone promised me that that made sense!) But I’m not really interested right now in reading Tolstoy’s iTunes agreement, so i’ll just click “agree” even if it grants Apple prima nocta with my spouse. Here’s another one: Simply put, banks shouldn’t be able to bet your pension money on red. Bull—-ly put, it’s, hey, this: Dodd-Frank. Hey, a handful of billionaires can’t buy our elections, right? Of course not! They can only pour unlimited anonymous cash into a 501(c)(4) if 50 percent is devoted to issue education, otherwise they’d have to 501(c)(6) it, or funnel it openly through a non-campaign coordinating SuperPAC, with a quarter…“I think they’re asleep now. We can sneak out.”
And finally, it’s the bull— of infinite possibility. These bull—-ers cover their unwillingness to act under the guise of unending inquiry. “We can’t do anything because we don’t yet know everything.” We cannot take action on climate change until everyone in the world agrees gay marriage vaccines won’t cause our children to marry goats who are going to come for our guns.
Now, the good news is this: Bull—-ers have gotten pretty lazy, and their work is easily detected. And looking for it is kind of a pleasant way to pass the time. Like an “I Spy” of bull—-. I say to you tonight, friends, the best defense against bull—- is vigilance. So if you smell something, say something.