Nation, Stephen Colbert is not a worthy subject for academic discourse.
Them’s fightin’ words to scholarly members of Colbert Nation like Penn State’s Sophia McClennen, the latest academician to write a book – with footnotes! — about the Comedy Central star.
Its title: ‘Colbert’s America: Satire and Democracy’ (Palgrave Macmillan), though I like to call it ‘I Am Satire (And So Can You!)’ Out in paperback this month, the book is part of what the Washington Post’s Paul Farhi recently labeled as ‘the academic world’s obsession’ with Colbert.
Professor McClennen, who disputes that description, does acknowledge that Colbert’s on-air persona is “a huge deal in academia. On a basic cognitive level, in-character satire is a more complex form of satire. At a rhetorical level, the comedy is more complicated.”
Uh, will there be a quiz?
A self-described ‘Colbert geek,’ McClennen argues that “The Colbert Report” heralds a new era in media culture; one in which comedians increasingly influence the politics and news they satirize.
With his Super PACS and his vocabulary-bending ‘The Word’ segments, Colbert “plays with exercising his power,” she says in an interview.
He represents a “new kind of public intellectual-satirist,” in the vein of Mark Twain, Ben Franklin and Jonathan Swift.
No offense, Professor, but Colbert, like Jon Stewart, would probably have a good laugh at