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Thomas Jefferson was not an atheist. Neither is Jon Stewart.

And it makes him weak.

He recently interviewed David Barton, the professional liar and quote fabricator, and he was more interested in distancing himself from those fanatical atheists than he was in addressing the bullshit Barton was spreading. Barton claimed that there was some atheist group on the west coast that put up a billboard claiming Jefferson was an atheist; Stewart let it slide by. Actually, there was an erroneous billboard put up by Backyard Skeptics which used a false quote by Jefferson — “I do not find in Christianity one redeeming feature. It is founded on fables and mythology” — and it was atheists who went out of their way to point out the error, and the group apologized. Barton is notorious for making up quotes about the American founding fathers. Now he’s making up quotes about atheists.

I’m sure you can find a few fringe atheists who claim Jefferson is an atheist, but anyone who knows the slightest bit of American history knows he was a deist who rejected the supernatural elements of Christianity, but still held personal reverence for the philosopher Jesus. He was the kind of guy fundamentalist frauds like Barton would call not a true Christian, except when it serves their purposes to pretend we were founded as a Christian nation.

Barton also made up this anecdote I hear all the time about a public school teacher throttling a student who said a personal prayer at lunch. That is not illegal. Any teacher who did such a thing is exceeding their brief. Atheists oppose teacher-led prayer — authorities in a public, secular institution cannot use their influence to impose sectarian religion on their charges.

Stewart allowed Barton to control the whole interview; he made a few feeble thrusts, at which time Barton would immediately say “I agree!”, and then Stewart would fall over flabbily and not carry the argument home. He didn’t address anything in the book Barton was flogging at all; has he no researchers who could find specific claims made in the book, that Stewart could use to pin Barton down? Why was he allowing Barton to just dribble out random anecdotes?

It was a terrible interview, insipid and pandering, in which Stewart accepted everything Barton said as reasonable and factual, and didn’t do anything but give Barton a platform to lie. Barton is a professional revisionist, a charlatan who pretends to be a historian. Stewart was a marshmallow.

You can watch the whole disgraceful thing, if you really want to. I was disappointed and unimpressed. Stewart is an incredibly uneven interviewer; sometimes he can be sharp, but other times, I feel like his dedication to not pissing off the slack and careless American middle (by, for instance, defending anything an atheist says) makes him a pushover for the slick fundamentalist propagandists.

There are also parts 2 and 3 of the interview, which were not broadcast. Stewart gets a little better in them, but not much…and definitely not enough to salvage his reputation as a pushover interviewer. He can get scathing with people in the media who poison his profession, such as Rupert Murdoch or Tucker Carlson, but put some dishonest slug who’s poisoning the whole culture, and he rolls over and shows his belly to be tickled.


One of the stories Barton likes to trundle out is the tale of the St Louis schoolboy who was harshly punished for saying a prayer at lunch. It’s been tracked down and documented. IT’S A BIG FAT OL’ LIE.

Comments

  1. cthulhu says

    I cringed watching this interview. Definitely not John’s finest moment. He should have ripped him up.

  2. jimsnider says

    I find it pretty galling that they’d have him on at all, let alone having him on and not challenging his nonsense.

  3. Matthew says

    Throttling children is NOT illegal? Excuse me – I have some work to do with my students….

  4. d cwilson says

    I skipped this interview, having watched Stewart interview Barton once before. The results were pretty much the same as PZ described this more recent one. Stewart was actually harsher on Barton when he discussed his historical lies with Mike Huckabee than he has been to Barton’s face.

    Stewart seems to have difficulty dealing with religious figures in person. He has no problem calling out political BS masters like Bill Kristol to their faces. He also doesn’t have any difficulty mocking the Christian persecution complex when it’s just him and the camera. Last night, for example, he did an entire segment on Bryan Fischer and other theocrats bemoaning how Romney worships a “different god” than they do. But sit a liar for Jesus in front of him and he can’t help but make nice and avoid calling a lie a lie.

  5. johnrockoford says

    What an unmitigated disaster for Stewart. I have never seen him so ill-prepared for an interview, and so desperate to please his guest. Was Stewart on some sort of medication? I mean, can you imagine a teacher grabbing a kid, for whatever reason, and not getting punished? Can you imagine a teacher grabbing a kid because he’s PRAYING and not getting punished and FOX News let’s it slide, no big deal? Stewart embarrassed himself. I’ve never been sadder and more frustrated watching the Daily Show.

  6. lightninlives says

    I can appreciate your passion, PZ, but it seems like at least some of the mainstream non-religious community is, in fact, please with the way Stewart dealt with Barton:
    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/showtracker/2012/05/late-night-david-barton-and-jon-stewart-debate-thomas-jefferson.html
    http://thestir.cafemom.com/in_the_news/137024/jon_stewart_brilliantly_rips_fake

    Give it some time. I’m sure Stewart will bring him on repeatedly, and will repeatedly poke holes in Barton’s nonsense.

    It might not be atheist or even skeptical enough for your tastes, but at least he’s parading this guy out there so that the mainstream can catch a glimpse of the intellectual dishonesty that Barton embodies.

    After all, it’s fairly clear that he’s not being taken seriously by either Stewart or the crowd (or the TV/online audience).

  7. Fred Mounts says

    I gave up on Stewart’s interviews a long time ago, unless he’s talking to someone about a new movie, album, etc. If it’s not frivolous, he’s horrible.

  8. karlvonmox says

    Im glad to see this post this morning. Jon Stewart has been nothing but a disappointment to me ever since the “rally to restore sanity” was full of false-equivalencies between the liars and bigots on the crazy right-wing and the more reasonable people on the left. Like PZ said, all half-assed pandering to the slack and careless. Im not going to watch Stewarts show anymore if he is going to allow it to become a platform for professional liars like Barton.

  9. says

    Matthew touched on this, but:

    Barton also made up this anecdote I hear all the time about a public school teacher throttling a student who said a personal prayer at lunch. That is not illegal.

    At first I blinked. PZ, you might want to change the second sentence to clarify that what the student did was not illegal.

    That said… yeah, Stewart is full of fail. He’s a very, very privileged white guy who’s moving in very, very privileged circles, and it blunts his ability to understand that “both sides” are not “just as bad” and that we need truly radical change in this country, not just the superficial changes desired by privileged liberals. I pretty much gave up on him after the “Reason to Restore Sanity.”

    LightninLives, of course, there are accommodationists out there who think that a mushy approach is “brilliant.” So what?

  10. Phalacrocorax, not a particularly smart avian says

    I watched the interview yesterday and also felt quite disappointed about the way Stewart let Barton (who was there to promote a book prefaced by Glenn fucking Beck, for Zarquon’s sake) preach against the nasty secular society for far more time than a normal interview would take without any serious attempt to rebut his claims. Glad to know that other people noticed.

    ( PS: Does the personality cult of the Founding Fathers count as a religion?)

  11. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    Stewart isn’t really a news anchor. He just plays one on TV.

  12. mattandrews says

    @d cwilson #5:
    That’s my experience as well. As I posted elsewhere, Stewart is obviously not afraid of humiliating people. He once trashed Chris Matthews and the book he was promoting without blinking an eye, and I’ve seen Stewart pick on an audience member at one of his live shows (the man’s crime was belonging to an improv group.)

    I was attributing Stewart’s kid-glove treatment of Barton as a way to keep him and others of that ilk coming back to TDS. I think you’re right, however; Stewart, for whatever reason, just will not call out religious folk on their BS unless it’s really over the top. Like, God-wants-me-to-drown-kittens over the top.

    @lightninlives #7:
    You’re wrong, unfortunately. This is twice now that Stewart had this guy on, and both times he went MSM and ignored Barton’s obvious bullshit (a teacher assaulting a child for praying; really?

    Stewart doesn’t have the guts, apparently. Hopefully, Barton will be stupid enough to go on Colbert and try this shit. That, I’m confident, will end much differently.

    @tc99mman #11:
    Go re-read the post and these comments. Jon is not having a bad day; he cannot or will not confront the few religious guests he gets with tough questions. Again, watch Colbert do this. The recent Don McLeroy was priceless.

  13. says

    Several years ago, Stewart interviewed John Ashcroft. Ashcroft made a joke about torture – a joke about torture – and Stewart laughed. I almost stopped watching then. More recently, he made a remark about “ethical” opposition to abortion (along the lines of “You can oppose abortion without wanting to force women blah blah blah”). These are among many other major problems, including his treatment of both atheists* and the animal rights and to some extent Occupy movements. Not to mention the fact that his guests have been overwhelmingly men, and the women are almost always actresses.

    I made the decision a while back that it’s still worth watching for the good parts, which are very good, but I’m not always happy about it and it could change.

    *Colbert, a devout Catholic, does a better job on religion.

  14. DLC says

    Sad commentary when we expect a comedian to do a hard-hitting interview, with hard questions asked unremittingly. Not that Stewart shouldn’t have blasted Barton, just that so-called “Legit” news or members or the “legit” punditsphere should be blasting Barton with full broadsides of the truth, and demanding that he retract or crawl. But, Barton will probably be allowed to continue his bullshit, carrying the flag for the Jesusites.
    Feh. makes me want to give up Television entirely.

  15. says

    Jon Stewart is a better interviewer when he’s well-read or opinionated enough in a subject. I think he felt intimidated because he was up against a professional crackpot.

  16. growlybear says

    I agree with just about everyone’s assessment. It was the worst interview I have ever seen with Jon Stewart when the topic was actually serious. I don’t mind him just being silly with the hollywood gang, but this was a guy that should have been prime meat for a take down. It didn’t seem like he had any idea what was really in the book or even who David Barton was. He usually seems to have done enough research to know what the “problems” might be in the perspective of the guest, but in this case had no clue. Since it was obvious that he had interviewed Barton previously, this seemed especially odd.

  17. shabadoo says

    He can get scathing with people in the media who poison his profession

    I think this hits it on the head. Remember the Jonah Goldberg interview? Stewart destroyed the Doughy Pantload, utterly destroyed him. But then there’s the troublesome Ashcroft interview referenced above.

    Stewart’s just not all that good at challenging authority figures to their faces, which is odd because that’s really something a comedian should be good at.

    Colbert, on the other hand, knows how it should be done.

  18. mbrysonb says

    I had to turn it off. The story about the kid being choked for praying over his lunch was so ridiculous– and then Barton topped it, claiming the Principal backed up the teacher. Obviously, in Barton’s world view the idea that President Obama is preparing concentration camps for Christians is completely credible—and Stewart let him spread this stuff without even a moment’s pure incredulity (which he does very well when he wants to). I guess you can say anything you want about atheists on TV.

  19. says

    Shabadoo:

    Stewart’s just not all that good at challenging authority figures to their faces, which is odd because that’s really something a comedian should be good at.

    A lot of people in the comedy business aren’t all that good, either at getting laughs or at “punching up.” I think there’s a correlation, myself.

    I always liked Stewart when he was doing stand-up. I think that, again, he’s become blinkered with success.

  20. julietdefarge says

    Perhaps it was a case of giving Barton enough rope to hang himself with.

  21. says

    While I cringed a fair bit during this interview, and expected Jon to do a much better job at calling out Barton’s lies, I was a little disappointed to hear his sub-textual views on the gnu-atheist movement. During part 1 he hints at how “no one takes it seriously”.

    This was genuinely shocking to me given one would think that he would find a lot that he would agree with in the “goals” of this movement. Given he’s in many ways a reflection of the common public opinion on cultural issues of the day, I’m also disappointed that this is the perception of the movement in the media. I’m curious to know what others feel about this

  22. says

    Given he’s in many ways a reflection of the common public opinion on cultural issues of the day, I’m also disappointed that this is the perception of the movement in the media. I’m curious to know what others feel about this

    My hypothesis is that for people who aren’t aware or care about the issues their most likely introduction to atheists is going to be Seth McFarlane cartoons.

    So yeah…

  23. nooneinparticular says

    Yeah, disappointing in so much as Stewart is an uneven interviewer, as PZ noted. Still, it’s hardly surprising he’d go soft on crazy religious people. He’s always done that in interviews.

    He does not like atheists. One of the more recent commentaries he made was on the “dickishness” of an atheist group who objected to the installation of a memorial at the site of the World Trade Centers made of a couple of “I” beams – I think originally from one of the towers- that happened to form a cross. Stewart, like a lot of people, attaches special significance to issues surrounding ground zero and he did not like what he saw as the pettiness of the legal challenge. The atheist group was right in a legal sense but they were being “dicks” (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

    He said in the interview, about an atheist group from the Northwest (I have no idea who Barton was referring to); “No one listens them anyway”. He’s right about that too.

  24. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    It’s Jon’s JOB to go up against professional crackpots. That’s why he’s respected. If he just went for amateurs who clearly couldn’t state their own view without embarrassing themselves he’d be Penn and Teller

    He does this often enough that it’s easy to buy this illusion*. He may even buy it himself from time to time.

    But his job is to generate ad revenue for Comedy Central. If he can do that lambasting knuckleheads, I’m sure CC is just fine with that. However, his record in this regard is inconsistent. I don’t often watch the Daily Show, and when I do, I rarely watch the interviews (unless someone really interesting is on)–partially because I fully expect mostly banter, and little substance.

    *One of the factors that makes it so easy to buy into this illusion is the standard for informative TV journalism is so abysmal (at least in the US), that even as purely entertainment, the Daily Show delivers content on par or above most news programs.

  25. nooneinparticular says

    ing@29 No I did not. Doesn’t surprise me, really. What was it, if you don’t mind?

  26. Predator Handshake says

    Wow, I would have though the conflict of interest would go the other way. Stewart being Jewish, it would make more sense for him to not particularly want an accidental Christian symbol to be a centerpiece of the memorial.

  27. nooneinparticular says

    I wonder what “Northwest atheist” group Barton was talking about? And Stewart was right that no one listens them anyway. But not for the reason I think he meant.

    No one listens to them because here in the Northwest atheists are quiet as doormice. They don’t say anything and when they do everyone just goes “sssshhhhh! Don’t be so rude” (metaphorically, speaking, you understand). This despite the fact that there are, what seems to me, large numbers of unbelievers here. I don’t know any seriously religious people but literally dozens of atheists (though most are rather soft in that regard).

    I think it’s more like the allegedly “liberal” political climate in Seattle and environs. Milquetoast liberals and milquetoast atheists.

    Anyway, I have not been able to track down the Barton reference. At least I am not sure. Anyone?

  28. edmundog says

    I think a problem that people are forgetting is not only that Jon is less at ease with religious figures than political ones, which is certainly true, but that Barton is a very slick interviewee. He reminds me of Airplane of Family Guy style humor, where the object is to throw out every joke you can think of, so that if one flops, there’s another one taking its place before that can really register with them. Barton does that with lies.

  29. yoav says

    @Fred Mounts #9
    That’s my feeling as well, I consider the interview segment on TDS as well as on the Colbert report to be an unrelated appendage put there in order to promote new movies and not as part of the actual show. That said it is annoying to see someone like Barton get to spew his bullshit unchallenged and I’m sure he will use that when he go on fix noise to claim that he went into the lion’s den of the evil librul lame stream media and crushed them with his facts (it’s not as if Barton have any problem with lying).

  30. Matt Penfold says

    I think a problem that people are forgetting is not only that Jon is less at ease with religious figures than political ones, which is certainly true, but that Barton is a very slick interviewee. He reminds me of Airplane of Family Guy style humor, where the object is to throw out every joke you can think of, so that if one flops, there’s another one taking its place before that can really register with them. Barton does that with lies.

    That just means he needs do more homework before interviewing such a person.

  31. naturalcynic says

    Stewart embarrassed himself. I’ve never been sadder and more frustrated watching the Daily Show.

    Then, I guess that you didn’t see the interview with John Yoo. Worst Stewart interviews: 1. Yoo 2. Barton1 3. Barton2

  32. miserybob says

    As others have mentioned, this is the second time Barton has been on TDS – the first time wasn’t much better. Oddly enough, Stewart had an actual Constitutional scholar (Richard Beeman) on about a week later specifically to rebut Barton’s arguments.
    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-may-18-2011/richard-beeman
    So after having been shown that Barton was a total nutter, I was really disappointed to see him back on again, especially about such a transparently stupid subject. Barton is clearly a snake oil salesman and, sadly, Jon is easily snowed.

  33. hypatiasdaughter says

    If you want the best take-down of the lies of Barton’s and his fellow travelers, you have to read Chris Roda.
    Her FTB is: This Week in Christian Nationalism
    Her website is: http://www.liarsforjesus.com/
    Her book is : Liars For Jesus: The Religious Right’s Alternate Version of American History Vol. 1
    It takes down the historic lies in excruciating detail. She is not a professional historian but she researches original papers and documents to back up everything she says. She has some chapters on her website and it is available at Amazon.

  34. fallingwhale says

    Stewart won’t call BS unless he’s looked it up before hand, by making things up on the spot Barton sidestepped that completely. It’s why he and his show can bear down on people outside interviews so well.

  35. says

    Jon Stewart like to criticize the media for softball interviews but often does it as well (proving that he’s just the same hypocrite that he accuses others of being). His excuse is always the same, that he’s merely a comedian. The only joke is that he pretends to be a journalist. Hey Stewart, leave the reporting to the professionals and go back to acting in B list movies.

  36. Janine: History’s Greatest Monster says

    Hey Stewart, leave the reporting to the professionals and go back to acting in B list movies.

    Why do that when his TV is mostly worthwhile.

    Shit, even he regularly makes fun of his acting career.

  37. Janine: History’s Greatest Monster says

    I will always be Queen of Typos.

    “TV show”

  38. Rip Steakface says

    I’ve never particularly cared for Jon Stewart’s interviewing. Occasionally it’s alright, but most of the time it’s just plain ol’ media promotion and advertising.

    The guts of the show are the segments before the interview. Those are hilarious, informative, and often scathing.

  39. kreativekaos says

    PZ- Thanks for this informative post. Generally I respect Stewart, but having Barton on was an exercise in bullshit.

    Why the softball approach on this guy, when he skewers Faux News, right-wing political/religious agendas other times? What’s next? Is Barton prepping a denial job on Paine for publication?

    I’m pissed at the lengths these peddlers in revisionism are willing to go to in order to squelch an increasing enlightenment among the general public.

  40. heavymetalyogi says

    I researched another of the lies that Barton made up. It was about a Kansas pastor named Mark Holick who was “arrested for handing out Bibles in public.” He and 12 of his cronies blocked entrance to an Islamic center in Wichita during Ramadan. When asked by police to move to a public sidewalk, he refused.

  41. psocoptera says

    It was pretty hard to watch. I think I yelled the loudest at the TV when Barton started saying something idiotic about how religious speech isn’t considered free speech, which is utter bullshit. Jon isn’t exactly a tough interviewer, so that part was disappointing but unsurprising. If Barton’s lies don’t get called out in the next few shows (like they did last time), I will be extremely disappointed. I just wish Chris Rodda actually sold that dartboard.

    For what it’s worth, I interpreted the “nobody listens to them” comment as sarcasm.

  42. says

    One of the stories Barton likes to trundle out is the tale of the St Louis schoolboy who was harshly punished for saying a prayer at lunch. It’s been tracked down and documented. IT’S A BIG FAT OL’ LIE.

    And an old one!

  43. sw says

    I really don’t think Jon did *that* badly. If he really had an axe to grind, he could have done a lot better. It would have been great for him to go all “roll two twelve” on his ass. But still, given that he didn’t seem to be as prepared as we all would have liked, he didn’t just roll over. When Barton told the “teacher chokes a kid for praying” story, Jon seemed to indicate pretty clearly that he doubted it was true, and that even if it was true it is very far from being the norm. If he didn’t know beforehand about that specific story, what more could he be expected to say?

    I would have liked to see him more prepared, but he still did better than almost anyone else on TV I can think of would have done. Whether that is praise of him or an indictment of everyone else, or perhaps both, can be argued either way.

  44. devildog61 says

    John Stewart is a complete moron.He spews utter bullshit that his writers,all 30 of them,scribble on toilet paper.He doesn’t have the capacity to form his own thoughts because his brain has been filled with liberal/socialist alum.He doesn’t have the guts to stand in front of the people he likes to run into the ground.So he continues to fuel the hate oriented left with his garbage from the safety of his little world.

    You want violence in the streets?You miserable little slackers have no idea what violence is.And when it comes knocking on your door,who will you be screaming for to help?

    To quote Andrew Breitbart,”This isn’t your mothers Democratic Party”.

    He’s right.You all think you deserve everything to be handed to you.Get off your asses,get a job,pay YOUR FAIR SHARE,and then see how you feel about someone else sucking you dry by sitting on their asses waiting for Obama to give away more hand outs.

  45. Matt Penfold says

    I see the staffing levels have been slashed at the Rick Santorum Home for the Permanently Deranged once more, hence why the inmates can access the Internet.

  46. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    devildog61 summarized: The bums have lost, Mr. Lebowski!

  47. says

    @devildoofus:

    I see a lot of assertions with nothing to back them up. I see a barely concealed threat. And I see a lot of sweeping generalizations, a classic argumentative fallacy.
    You don’t care about facts, and you need threats to get your point across.
    You’re not very good at thinking. And you suck as a human being.
    Now kindly go bounce up and down ass-end on a flagpole.

  48. says

    devildog61:

    You miserable little slackers have no idea what violence is.

    Actually, Cupcake, I do. Up close and personal. I’d be willing to bet you don’t do much outside of froth all over the internet. By the way, shouldn’t you be working?

  49. nooneinparticular says

    The sad thing about the utterly mindless drivel devildog61 posted is that it is pretty much exactly how most Republicans think. Republicans are a significant minority in the US representing (I think) about 20 – 25% of the population. That is a whole lot of demented fuckwits, I tell you what.

  50. Brownian says

    Jesus Christ, devildog61, I get that you’re still pissed about how hard high school was, but give it a fucking rest. Nobody, least of all Breitbart, is trying to make you think any more. You’re free to do your job and get sloshed on weekends, so don’t worry about the rest of it. Having an opinion isn’t necessary.

    Here’s a truck commercial. Throw the sock in the laundry hamper when you’re done.

  51. Menyambal: Making sambal isn't exactly dragon magic. says

    devildog61 says of Jon Stewart:

    He doesn’t have the guts to stand in front of the people he likes to run into the ground.

    No, he just invites them to be on his show. Billo, who catches as much flack as anyone, has appeared live, as well as a few video appearances.

    Thanks for trolling.

  52. says

    AE:

    devildog61 summarized: The bums have lost, Mr. Lebowski!

    I think I ♥ you.

    (Should I mention that I’m wearing my the dude abides tee?)

    devildog:

    He spews utter bullshit that his writers,all 30 of them…

    Do you have any idea how tv works?
    No, obviously not.

    liberal/socialist

    Do you have any idea what a socialist is?
    No, obviously not.

    You miserable little slackers have no idea what violence is.And when it comes knocking on your door,who will you be screaming for to help?

    Certainly not an impotent little authoritarian like you, you miserable little jackass.

    I’m not even entirely sure what this even means. Did you assume that we would call Jon Stewart if our homes got broken into? Hate to break it to you, buddy, but I’m more of a Colbert girl, myself.

    To quote Andrew Breitbart,”This isn’t your mothers Democratic Party”.

    Awe, Breitbart’s dead. So sad.

    *sad face!*

    Also, what the fuck does that even mean in this context?

    Get off your asses,get a job,pay YOUR FAIR SHARE,and then see how you feel about someone else sucking you dry by sitting on their asses waiting for Obama to give away more hand outs.

    Oh, ha! I love the assumption that we’re all lazy hippies or some shit. Talk about lazy fucking thinking.

  53. What a Maroon, Applied Linguist of Slight Foreboding says

    Get off your asses,get a job,pay YOUR FAIR SHARE,and then see how you feel about someone else sucking you dry by sitting on their asses waiting for Obama to give away more hand outs.

    Oh, ha! I love the assumption that we’re all lazy hippies or some shit. Talk about lazy fucking thinking.

    I think he was implying that we’re all Wall Street billionaires.

  54. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    Audley…awwww. Back at you.

    I think he was implying that we’re all Wall Street billionaires.

    Utter tosh. I’ve lived in Malibu since aught two.

    Wall Street. How pathetic.

  55. 'Tis Himself says

    You all think you deserve everything to be handed to you.Get off your asses,get a job,pay YOUR FAIR SHARE,and then see how you feel about someone else sucking you dry by sitting on their asses waiting for Obama to give away more hand outs.

    If you want a job, come and see me. I can get you a job as a dishwasher, hotel housekeeper or even, if you want, a warehouse cart jockey. Just say the word and I can get you hired.

    Of course what you really want is my job. Get a graduate degree and 20 years experience and you might be able to qualify for it.

  56. What a Maroon, Applied Linguist of Slight Foreboding says

    I’ve lived in Malibu since aught two.

    Do you drive a gold Firebird?

  57. Aquaria says

    If you want a job, come and see me. I can get you a job as a dishwasher, hotel housekeeper or even, if you want, a warehouse cart jockey. Just say the word and I can get you hired.

    What the heck is a warehouse cart jockey?

    Seriously–I have no idea what this could be. Someone who rides around a warehouse in a golf cart as security? Someone who pushes things around on a cart or dolly? A forklift operator?

    I really want to know.

  58. Akira MacKenzie says

    Get off your asses,get a job,pay YOUR FAIR SHARE,and then see how you feel about someone else sucking you dry by sitting on their asses waiting for Obama to give away more hand outs.

    “devildog,” eh? Tell me, are Marines made bloodthirsty psychopaths in basic training, or do the recruiters actively look for teenage testosterone-junkies who torture small animals in their basement to join the corps?

    For your information, fucktard, I do have a job. I get the privilege to work 40+ hours a week in a call center. Despite having a college degree and quite a few years of experience, this dead-end career appears to be the best employment I can ever hope for. What do I get for my trouble? Besides daily verbal abuse from our clients, I get $11/hr and a very crappy benefits package. Given the current cost of living, $11/hr doesn’t even start to cover my expenses, much less allow me to live on my own.

    Meanwhile, the CEO of my company walked away last year with a $26 million bonus check on top of his more-money-than-I-will-see-in-my-lifetime salary. I’d also wager that he pays far less in taxes than I do. No doubt, you will fail to see what’s wrong with this picture. You’re tiny brain has been washed with red, white, and blue sophistry about the moral superiority of the Ponzi scheme known as “American capitalism” and the tired myth that all one has to be billionaire “Captain of Industry” is work for a pittance and “sacrifice” (whatever fuck that means).

    Well, fuck that. I’ve paid more than my “fair share” and have nothing to show for. Take those imaginary bootstraps you insist we pull ourselves up by and lift yourself up… by the neck!

  59. chigau (副) says

    Antiochus Epiphanes

    To quote Andrew Breitbart,”…*erk*…”.

    You are pure, unmitigated evil.
    You owe me a (cheap) beer and a thorough cleansing of my monitor and keyboard.

  60. Menyambal: Making sambal isn't exactly dragon magic. says

    Jon Stewart did a fair job tonight, in his middle segment. A Missouri legislator is pushing a bill to keep gun owners from being fired for being gun nuts (which hasn’t happened yet). While another Missouri legislator’s bill to prevent discrimination against LBGT people got voted down and scoffed at by her.

  61. citizenghost says

    Hold on a second.

    How do you know that Jon Stewart isn’t an atheist?

    And what difference does it make? The problem here isn’t what Stewart does or does not believe about theism – the problem is that he could have done a better job holding a professional liar’s feet to the fire.

    When Stewart and his team do their homework, he’s great. When he interviews Bill O’Reilly or James Cramer, he skewers them. Heck, he was far tougher on Barack Obama than he was on Barton. That’s disappointing but so is PZ’s criticism here.

    Attacking Stewart for an insufficient commitment to atheism is missing the mark in a big way. Stephen Colbert is a practicing Roman Catholic yet he routinely devastates the religious enemies of free thought. Sometimes Stewart does too. Unfortunately, he didn’t do it here. But the problem isn’t Stewart’s beliefs about God or religion (whatever they may be). The problem is that he didn’t appreciate how pernicious Barton’s dishonsty is. If he had done his homework, he would have.

  62. Nerdette says

    I knew how the interview would turn out as soon as David Barton’s name passed Jon Stewart’s lips. I don’t usually delete an episode from the DVR immediately after the second bit, but I skipped this interview entirely.

    The “nobody takes them seriously” line doesn’t surprise me. The day before, interviewing Zach Walhs, Walhs said that he wanted his book to show people that his family wasn’t full of “godless sodomites”, and Stewart played off of that for a bit. It’s clear society hasn’t grasped the atheist minority when these passing, dismissive phrases are still acceptable.

  63. Pierce R. Butler says

    From this morning’s Catholic League press release:

    Catholic League president Bill Donohue addresses Jon Stewart’s history of Christian bashing:

    Born Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz, Jon Stewart is a self-described “tiny, neurotic man.” He is also a bigot. Here are some of his past attacks on Christianity:

    • In 1999, he mocked the pope when the Holy Father visited the U.S.
    • In 2001, he compared the pope to the Grand Wizard of the KKK
    • In 2002, he questioned whether Mary and Joseph had oral sex
    • In 2007, he made an oral sex joke about a bishop
    • In 2008, he made a gay joke about the Holy Family
    • In 2008, he ridiculed priestly celibacy
    • In 2011, he mocked the Body and Blood of Jesus
    • In 2011, he claimed that a Norwegian madman was acting like a Christian
    • In 2012, he said Our Blessed Mother was “knocked up”

    While Stewart’s “vagina manger” assault on April 16 was far and away his most vicious moment, he is no stranger to Christian bashing. Moreover, on more than one occasion he has argued that there really is no difference between Islam and Christianity. Yet he always stays away from offending Muslims. And he not only throws nothing but jabs at Jews, he is hypersensitive over anything that mocks them. In short, he saves his vitriol for Christians.

    I wonder what “jab” means in Bill Donohue’s so-called mind.

  64. citizenghost says

    That Catholic League Press Release is mind boggling. Donohue has taken whining self-victimisation to new lows. So if a comedian pokes fun of Christianity, it means that person is a bigot? Oh, please.

    Ah, but Jon Stewart is no ordinary comedian. The press release provides the key fact of Stewart’s bio:

    “Born Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz, Jon Stewart is a self-described “tiny, neurotic man.”

    How interesting. I wonder why Donohue thought it was relevant to include Stewart’s given name in this carefully crafted press release. Could it be his intention to remind the faithful that this godless smartass is actually of those Christ-killing Hebe secularists?

    Heavens no! This is Bill Donohue, not Mel Gibson. Surely, the Catholic Leauge would NEVER stoop to such a thing. Donohue probably just wanted us to have complete biographical information so we wouldn’t confuse THIS Jon Stewart with some other Jon Stewart. Yeah, that’s it.

    Stunning. I truly do feel bad for Catholics. They need someone to defend them from the idiocy of the Catholic League.

    Still, it’s funny to see that Stewart is blasted by P.Z. Myers for pandering to Christians and he’s blasted by Donohue for being an anti-Christian bigot. Keep up the good work Jon – but next time, do your homework on Barton’s bullshit. Call him on it.

  65. Janine: History’s Greatest Monster says

    Bill Donohue is well known for his hatred of secular Jews.

  66. robertholmes says

    Stewart’s episode after the Barton interview was a big fail as well. He defended Romney’s Mormonism and basically insisted that religion doesn’t influence people’s political beliefs. (“It’s not like Mitt Romney will pursue policies that are unfair to Black people because he’s a Mormon. He’ll do that because he’s a Republican.”) I didn’t even bother watching the latest episode. I’m pretty much done with The Daily Show. After the World Trade Center debacle and slamming American Atheists, this is getting really annoying.