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Watch Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear

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Posted on Oct 30, 2010

For y’all who couldn’t make it to Washington, D.C., and don’t subscribe to cable, Comedy Central’s website has provided a live video stream of the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. Enjoy.

Comedy Central:

Click the image to go the Comedy Central live video feed.



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By Gregory Goldmacher, November 4, 2010 at 8:49 am Link to this comment


But this is self-conscious political theater, which makes it all hip and stuff.

Generally, though, I am recally PJ O’Rourke’s statement that the social movements that will succeed are the ones where the attractive young women go. I personally know many hot girls who went to this, or wanted to go. So, the signals for it are good.

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By veronica, November 2, 2010 at 1:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

about time!!

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By jonathonk99, November 2, 2010 at 7:00 am Link to this comment

Okay so I’m glad there’s some normal people in this United States who haven’t
succumb to the Tea Party FOX Corps mind-washing.  Unfortunately, the rally
didn’t go any further than the singular message that we are sane because we
watch channels like Comedy Central and NBC instead of FOX.  There comes a
point when it’s time to stop laughing and get serious.  That point came probably
before I was born.  Unfortunately, at the Rally To Restore True Comedy there was
no hint of seriousness until the last ten minutes. 

I agree with Mr. Hedges.  It’ss a sad commentary on the state of the Left when the
only person who can get 250,000 people together in Washington is a Comedian. 
And I will not blame Stewart.  He is ,after all, on the corporate payroll.  He can’t
say ‘too much’.  So keep blazing up and watching Cheech and Chong movies.  See
you on the streets.

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By mdgr, November 1, 2010 at 4:18 pm Link to this comment


Not really. It’s rather the identification—an accurate naming, if you like—of the obvious gestalt.

The “duck,” if you prefer.

Note that I wrote my responses to the rally before Hedges ever published his piece. He made pretty much the same points as I did, though with arguably better presentation.

You might wish to review that article of Hedges, therefore, before attacking me. All of which raises yet another question:

Whose skirts are YOU hiding behind, my friend?

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, November 1, 2010 at 3:37 pm Link to this comment

Boy scout Jamboree seems name calling to me?  One may hide behind Chris Hedges skirts, but wouldn’t it be nice if an option, or an idea was presented, instead of not name calling?

It may be possible the boy scout jamboree promoted a bit of jealousy on Hedges part, how many people would show up to a Hedges Jamboree?..... Probably the liberal elite, besides his family who posts on how great his articles are the best-ist every week? As I asked before, can anyone posting here boast of having a jamboree to make social or a political point besides the ones on their heads? How about someone not name calling always doing constant fear mongering of their own every week, maybe this could be what is really happening? I will not name Hedges!

What Duck!

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By mdgr, November 1, 2010 at 2:34 pm Link to this comment

It’s not intended as “name-calling.” It’s intended as an accurate characterization that really cuts to the chase.

When Chris Hedges characterized the “Sanity Rally” as a “boy scout jamboree,” one can also dismiss it as name-calling.

But the fact is that the shoe still fit.

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By Leefeller, November 1, 2010 at 1:28 pm Link to this comment

If the rally was prepubescent then so must be anyone who found it worthy of reflection. How about listing a few options? One is lead to believe maturity is in the name calling, especially for us 12 graders. So it seems, the profoundness of Name calling is perceived to emulate wisdom and maturity?

What Duck?

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By mdgr, November 1, 2010 at 12:33 pm Link to this comment

It’s still probably a duck if it looks and acts like one, and the qualifier “probably’ needs to be omitted in the case of the rally. It was prepubescent silly.

Now, I’m all for some wicked, biting humor, and my guess is that Stewart could have pulled it off on his own OK. But Colbert’s branding seems to be several years younger, kind of the same one trick pony that a FART has at that age.

The problem here is that it also brought Stewart down to that “lowest common denominator,” meaning that everything is subsequently reduced down to a 12 year old’s level.

“Dumb and getting dumber” does define the very soul of America, however.

Sad to say, this is probably the destiny of the progressive movement, as well.

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By gerard, October 31, 2010 at 10:25 pm Link to this comment

Okay.  Somebody else take over here—if you please.
But before I go I have to address the denigrating reference to “the healing power of a giggle.”
  The technique is called “reductio ad absurdum”
and it is meant to demean, to reduce in significance, to characterize as of little or no value, etc. etc. Likewise “street theater” and the use of words like “so-called”. 
  From the tone and the extent of your comments, mdgr, I seem to have called out all your horses. 
  Sad to say, I have not been able to stop Israel from dropping white phosphorous on Gaza,nor have you. Nor has Chris Hedges, for that matter.  None of us, for all our “gravitas” on TD, have been able to actually DO anything except kvetch - some more rudely than others. 
  If you can’t recognize the value of the indirect approach successfully used by Comedy Central to make at least some massive gesture counteracting the pompous, overblown antics of the Tea People, that’s your problem and you need to get a grip on balance. Gravitas my .....!  Give me a break!
These crazies need to be deflated with the sanity of humor, with a community of people who are not out to shoot anybody, and a subtler form of protest than protest—something that raises the question of “mental health” (for want of a better term).

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By mdgr, October 31, 2010 at 9:37 pm Link to this comment


I’d happily come to your rescue. Unfortunately, however, we actually ARE in the end times. Or rather, it is the end of one cycle and the beginning of another. It won’t end like the rollover to the year 2,000 did, however. I don’t think it’ll end like Sony pictures suggested either, but I tend to think it will have as big an impact on the planet, say, as the Black Death did.

That earlier dance wasn’t all bad, however. Without it, it is doubtful that Dark Ages would have ever egiven birth, as it did, to the Renaissance. It was, as it were, its nexus.

So, yeah, go ahead and be upbeat. Humor is fine as well as long as it doesn’t reek with prepubescent artifice and a lot of nervous giggles. Gallows humor would work best at this time, as Hesse also suggested. Denial certainly doesn’t.

The challenge to my point of view, I think, might go somewhat like this. Please forgive me if my words are less polite than yours would be. <smile>


“MDGR, you arrogant twit! Are you telling people that the greater good is to be achieved by screwing America’s proverbial pooch, are you saying that we may as well litter?”

Glad you asked. Great question. Actually, I think we should still be true to our principles up and down the line. We should also strive to respond with ever-greater compassion without sacrificing the element of strength. We don’t have to get down in the mud with either Vichy (D’s) or Berlin (R’s), but neither am I inclined to support them.

Stewart, I think, was actually saying that we do not need to be reactive. That’s true, but to me, it still feels woefully inadequate.

Still, I am sincerely glad that you found the rally healing on some level, even if some of us didn’t. As I stated earlier in this thread, Jon Stewart’s reminder—at least at the end—was both timely and well-delivered.

Unfortunately, I still think that the ultimate message came across to the corporate world rather like pissing in the wind even with a quarter of a million people. They not only were not impressed, I should think, and it probably confirmed everything that Chris Hedges said about the impotence of liberals.

It also offered no strategic insight. It served as a reminder that we should remain mannerly, while satisfying our hunger for truth and justice by gorging ourselves on cupcakes.

This definitely wasn’t Woodstock and in the long run, I still think it may have done much more harm than good.

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By gerard, October 31, 2010 at 8:31 pm Link to this comment

Gerard, consider yourself squelched.  Why don’t you go out in the garden and eat worms?  You are too no-good silly optimistic.  Don’t you know that this country is no good, has never been any good, and won’t ever be any good and there’s nothing you or anyone else can do about it.  Drop dead!

Now—let’s speak truth to the power of manic depression.  Colbert said it well:  “We are in a period of hard times, not end times.”  Period.  Exclamation point. 

Fish or cut bait!

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By Gmonst, October 31, 2010 at 3:46 pm Link to this comment

I really enjoyed watching the rally, of course at three hours not all of it worked, but overall it was great.  As Leefeller said they did a really good job of exposing how the media uses fear and hyperbole to keep people mistrustful and scared of just about everything.  The montages of the media clips was really priceless.  Guido Sarrducci’s prayer was also very nice, and actually somewhat philosophically profound.  I thought a lot of it was very effective.  Stewart’s final speech was thoughtful and appropriate.  I only worry that those who most need to see these things won’t. 

I actually found it kind of refreshing and healing for myself.  As someone stares down the rabbit-hole of world problems a lot, I sometimes get caught in a gloom and sometimes fall victim to the hyperbole and fear.  This was a nice reminder that the world is still a wonderful place, and still mostly inhabited by good, decent people who do work together everyday despite the multitude of differences.

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, October 31, 2010 at 1:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Anyone who didn’t know that the liberal class is dead knows now.  It wasn’t long ago that that many people gathering in one place would have been protesting war or marching for civil rights.  Now they are getting together to hear a comedian admonish them to be nice, to be apolitical and well behaved.  Couldn’t they have gone to the WH and told Obama to get the hell out of Afghanistan?  I mean just as an after thought?

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By PatrickHenry, October 31, 2010 at 12:47 pm Link to this comment

Just another day in this circus of a city.

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By Helen, October 31, 2010 at 11:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This rally was a disappointment, too be sure.  I found the rally put together by the unions to be FAR more inspiring.  I figured we would get a mix of that with some comedy.  I was wrong and it was a MASSIVE waste of valuable airtime.

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By Leefeller, October 31, 2010 at 11:26 am Link to this comment

Gathering from alleged points of wisdom by other posters comments, it seems the rally was a huge disappointment for most on this thread? It sounds like reality and common sense, for some may be a disappointment.

Expectations, anticipations and what ever else people may conjure up as their cornucopia of an ideal rally could be explained to me? Maybe one of the horn blowers here could find more than 1 person in agreement to show up at their enlightened concept of what is to be a real rally?

I found the Rally an effective counter punch to the blown up Beck and Palin rallies. This rally clearly showed how fear is promoted to supersede reason and the MSM constantly uses fear as a tool. Fear constantly sponsored by the talking heads within the MSM. All this for the purposed of manipulations. (Of course I am not objective here.)  Hopefully the rally caught the attention of more people than the normal Comedy Central Crowd? ....Why do I get a feeling their is much sadness and disappointment over the rallies lack of burning cars, breaking heads or corpses piled on the lawn?

Maybe the real disappointment may be from the feeling, this rally may have no predecessors?

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By Kath Cantarella, October 31, 2010 at 10:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Wow. To see what’s really wrong with the US you only need to look at the negative comments on this thread.

250000 people coming together in a spirit of goodwill was almost enough to make me repent of my ranting, angry, insulting ways.

Did you hear about the kid who had trouble climbing the tree? The crowd chanted ‘Yes You Can’. Then he fell out.

Obama’s hair has turned grey for you, help him climb the [censored] tree.

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By the worm, October 31, 2010 at 9:11 am Link to this comment

While the Sanity rally attendance ‘obliterated’ the Beck rally, you can be sure it
will not have nearly the impact. And here’s why:

The Beck rally had this process going for it:

1 Fox creates an event (statement, etc) and broadcasts it to their viewers,
2 CNN, MSNBC, Wa Post, NYT, talk radio pick up the Fox created event and
broadcast it to their viewers,
3 Fox retorts to CNN, MSNBC, etc and broadcasts its response to its viewers,
4 CNN, MSNBC brag that their response has now been responded to by Fox and
5 So it goes ....

.... the Fox story is perpetuated until Fox creates the next event to fill the

Jon Stewart noted the phenomenon, and called out the media. But Fox just
chuckles; other media dont see their own dysfunctional behavior and think
Stewart is just talking about Fox. Fox throws the next punch and the suckers
fall again.

That’s a key reason the Sanity rally wont have the legs of the Beck rally – media

1 give the rally a line or two at the most,
2 find someone to say it was counter to America’s traditional values and
3 drop the subject.

But there’s another bigger reason. The Beck rally had billion-dollar donors
funding bus loads of people to attend, i.e. lots of money is behind Beck and
none behind Sanity.

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By lasmog, October 31, 2010 at 8:56 am Link to this comment

I agree that this rally was a bit of an overreach for Stewart and Colbert but I imagine they did it because no one else would.  There is such a dearth of leadership on the left that comedians (very talented comedians) have become leaders by default.

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, October 31, 2010 at 8:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Don’t express strongly held beliefs.  Don’t be left or right, just be cool.  Be like a comedian who likes everybody.  Above all, respect all opinions no matter how nonsensical.

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By truedigger3, October 31, 2010 at 8:00 am Link to this comment

What a f**king disappointment. Not a single political speech, not even a mild one, to motivate the attendants.
That stupid dumb rally represents what is wrong with the so called progressives. Those so called progressives are timid, spineless or outright co-opted and bought off by the right.
While the rightists and the tea party piles shit on the so called progressives, not a single whiff of a counter attack or even a weak rebuttal.
It is time to discard those phony “progressives” and relegate them to the scrap heaps or garbage bins.

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By Amon Drool, October 31, 2010 at 2:26 am Link to this comment

hell, i don’t have cable and i’m even on godamn dial-up, so i didn’t get a chance to take in any of ‘the rally to restore sanity’.  but i just read a piece over on theExiled website that’s entitled ‘the rally to restore vaniy’.  it’s a take-down of the generation X’ers and Y’ers whom stewart and colbert have so much appeal to.  the the author of the piece, mark ames, can be a jerk, but he pretty much had me chuckling through the whole thing.

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By GW=MCHammered, October 30, 2010 at 11:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Jon Stewart Rally Attracts Estimated 215,000

Glenn Beck Rally Attracts Estimated 87,000


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By mdgr, October 30, 2010 at 10:17 pm Link to this comment

After interminable <<giggles>>, Stewart closes on the one salient point that doesn’t undo the damage this rally did—making liberals look even more ineffectual, effete and dissociated than they already look—but at least brings it to a sane but homily-laden closing statement.

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By mdgr, October 30, 2010 at 9:59 pm Link to this comment

BTW, on the subject of good vs. evil and the alleged “healing power” of a giggle’s being the only so-called “heartening thing” that has happened in months:


News flash, people. To heal a cancer, you had best excise it first.

While the vast majority of liberals still prefer to believe the talking points given to them by Vichy and the Democratic Party, America is not just lurching toward the right, but there is a certain tipping point past which it will probably begin to implode.

It is happening economically and militarily even now. Nor can the corporations themselves (e.g., BP, Haliburton) forever evade the consequences of their actions.

The “heartening thing” that no one talks about wasn’t the putative giggles attending today’s rally—which wasn’t even the kind of “gallow’s humor” that Hermann Hesse suggested portended a certain nobility of spirit—but the fact that things seem to be falling apart with exponential speed.

If you know yourself to be destined for the Coliseum and/or to be turned into most expendable kind of slave labor, it probably would better serve your interest to hear that the Reich is falling (or that Rome is unraveling), as opposed to going to a sanity rally.

Sanity, BTW, also consists of AWARENESS. It’s not pablum for the soul that is packaged in a giggle. Often it consists of tears, grief, guilt, terror. Fear can be a reality emotion, and if we are not very afraid—but still able to function—we are are not sane but in great danger of becoming increasingly dissociated.

That will only lead to insanity and even more compulsive giggles.

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By mdgr, October 30, 2010 at 7:47 pm Link to this comment

I like street theater, and while I’m glad for the advent of Burning Man, love-in’s and be-in’s (I was at the first ones), etc. I also like Jon Stewart and defended him here in his interview of Obama just recently.

That said, I found the so-called “Rally for Sanity” to be embarrassing beyond belief.

Colbert’s branding is even more prepubescent and juvenile in tone than Jon Stewart’s, though that’s fine in a TV show. But try selling that to the victims of policies emerging from America.

The difference between real laughter and a giggle is substantial, but all that Colbert and Stewart (and Arianna, et al) offered today was a preaching to the choir, and a particularly cloying form of it as well.

Perhaps if white phosphorus were dropped over this rally (as it was on Gaza) or if everyone who attended was told that would lose their jobs tomorrow and never again be able to find any work (or income), they would have had to choose between a nervous and compulsive giggle or something approaching gravitas.

Americans, however, are far too stupid and culpable for gravitas. Theirs is to choose between the hyperbolic fear of Fox News and the hyperbolic giggle of a sanity rally.

We all know how it’ll end.

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By Thebigkate, October 30, 2010 at 3:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The best signs at this delicious, good-natured rally


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By gerard, October 30, 2010 at 3:09 pm Link to this comment

Thank you hugely, Comedy Central and all who took part in putting this rally together.  It is just about the only heartening thing that has happened for months!
  God help us if we ever lose the spirit manifested by all these beautiful people who were present, whether as actors, helpers or that wonderful, invigorating audience—all in the same key.
  A very healng antidote.

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By JJ, October 30, 2010 at 1:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

man too bad this is whats considered progressive, no offense but I’m not into political theater that really won’t bring about any change.

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