The Maroon

In My Opinion: Satire aids critical thinking

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Zach Brien/Photo Editor

Zach Brien/Photo Editor

Zach Brien/Photo Editor

Zach Brien, [email protected]

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George Carlin once said, “Don’t just teach your children to read. Teach them to question what they read. Teach them to question everything.” The best comedians, like Carlin, do not just tell jokes. The best ones make us laugh while making us think. Laughter is the best medicine and is a useful tool for critical thought.

And these days, critical thought is as important as it has ever been. All day, every day, we are flooded with news from TV, our phones, tablets and computers. With this deluge of information, it can be hard to sift through and find facts. It can be easy to become indifferent to the news because it is in front of our faces 24/7, making us jaded. But is important that we not be.

Jon Stewart, former host of the Daily Show, is exemplary of the importance of critical thought in today’s 24/7-news market. Stewart is one of many politically charged and socially conscious comedians who have pushed me to think critically

Stewart was one of those comedians, like Carlin, who could make us laugh while making us think. In his time on air, Stewart and his correspondents helped viewers, like myself, cope with the crazy world in the information age. Whether he likes to admit it or not, Stewart was more than a comedian.

“If you watch the news and don’t like it, then this is your counter program to the news,” Stewart said on The Daily Show.

Stewart and his correspondents held people to what they said. They challenged the declarations and logic of our elected officials, religious leaders, public figures and the claims made by media outlets. They never, ever let hypocrisy slide. It does not matter who you were, as long as you said things in front a camera or on audio, you were held to it.

“The absurdity of the system provides us the most material. And that is best served by sort of the theater of it all, you know, which, by the way, thank you both, because it’s been helpful,” Stewart said, explaining his show on CNN’s Crossfire.

We should think critically like these great comedians. We should observe the world around us and think critically about it. Is it ridiculous? Just because it is this way, does it have to remain this way? Challenge authority, even if you share the same ideologies or party affiliations.

If you are a Democrat, challenge party leaders and hold them to what they say. If you are a Republican, do the same. If you are Jewish, Christian, Muslim, etc., challenge your faith leaders. Hold them to the religious doctrine they preach.

Do this, and we will be a saner populous.

Such thought is critical in the Loyola community. After all, a crucial part of the Jesuit mission is to “think critically and act justly.”

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About the Writer
Zach Brien, Senior Staff Photographer

Zach is a mass communication senior with a focus in journalism and a minor in New Orleans studies. Previously, he has served as a staff photographer, assistant photo editor, and three semesters as photo editor. This semester he is excited to be the senior staff photographer. When he is not making pictures for the Maroon, he is making pictures for the New Orleans Advocate and Uptown Messenger. His favorite subjects are live music, sports and New Orleans culture. After graduation, he hopes to make pictures for a publication in New Orleans, his hometown.

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In My Opinion: Satire aids critical thinking