Bioethicist calls Jon Stewart ‘Our greatest public intellectual’

In an article in the American Journal of Bioethics, a Loyola bioethicist is calling political satirist Jon Stewart “our greatest public intellectual. This is no joke.”

He's the man
He's the man

Kayhan Parsi, JD, PhD, writes that Stewart “has emerged as our voice of sanity in a sea of insanity in a new media age with its ephemeral nature and lack of substance.” Parsi is an associate professor in the Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics & Health Policy of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

Parsi explains that a public intellectual is seriously committed to ideas and discourse. He or she may be an academic, although journalists, policymakers and even politicians can play the role.

Parsi notes that Stewart invites a variety of writers, artists and intellectuals to discuss their work on “The Daily Show,” which he hosts on Comedy Central. In doing so, Stewart has taken on the mantle of a public intellectual himself.

“In an era with a great amount of strident self-righteousness, Stewart cuts through the absurdities of what passes for political discourse,” Parsi writes. “Although bioethics topics do not figure prominently in the Stewart oeuvre of satire . . . the issues that are part and parcel of bioethics (say, health-care reform) have merited a significant amount of attention.”

Stewart and his colleague Stephen Colbert “have created a space where serious writers can discuss their works in front of a fairly large audience.”

Parsi concludes: “Today, the effective public intellectual has to be less the pedant and more the artful catalyst for independent thought. Perhaps unwittingly or even unknowingly, Stewart has taken on this role with relish and gusto. Although neither a bioethicist nor an academic, Stewart has taken on the mantle of our greatest public intellectual.”

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10 thoughts on “Bioethicist calls Jon Stewart ‘Our greatest public intellectual’”

  1. The American Journal of Bioethics. How can I subscribe to read more from a great “scientist,” intelligent enough to get his PhD (and probably tenured), yet moronic enough to call Stewart “our greatest public intellectual?”

  2. Jence,

    You unwittingly help to prove the point of the article with your over-the-top anger and ad hominem attacks. Nobody is claiming that Stewart does not focus on right-wing/Republican/conservative targets. Where one focuses their attention does not preclude a “voice of reason”. When the right has a prominent voice focused on the left who is also reasonable and popular, that individual will also be worthy of the moniker “public intellectual.” However, I cannot think of anyone with Stewart’s ratings who is also reasonable and on the right. The business model wouldn’t work in the current climate – right-wing anger with baseless sound bites sells.

    You seem to be proving that the right-wing business model is what you like. Reread your post and tell me if you are not spouting bitterness with baseless accusations? You just called a person fat(!) and told them they think they are “ENTITLED” to something! Your claim is angry and baseless and goes back to my point of what sells with the right wing: anger with baseless claims. Considering you probably thought yourself as being reasonable, your post is VERY disappointing. I prefer that my countrymen would be reasonable.

  3. Music is one of the most inevitable forms of art but I reckon comedy is arguably the most important.

  4. Oh good. If there’s one thing the world needs, it’s more breathless appreciation of millionaires.

  5. I couldnt agree more. The real comedians are the recent crop of republican candidates. Stewart and Colbert have become the voice of reason.

    • No, idiot…they are not voices of reason. If they were voices of reason, they would berate every aspect of the political spectrum, EQUALLY…pointing out the corporation-loving antics of the republicans and the hypocritical, country-ending nature of Democrats/Liberals’ out of control spending.

      Instead, they are the most biased personalities outside of Glenn Beck and Chris Matthews. Unfortunately, idiots like you are running rampant in this country and choose to have your opinions concluded for you instead of deciding on your own what is the proper way to live. Not to mention you’re probably fat and think you’re ENTITLED to something; news flash, you aren’t.

      So I say to you and your dipshit, fellow supports: thank you for driving the greatest country in the world down a path to oblivion.

      • What of the trillions added to the national debt during the bush administration? Or the federal reserve (not a political group, not even apart of the government) literally printing trillions for corporate/international handouts (it’s happening right now).

        You talk about hypocrisy, maybe you should get your facts in order before you talk.

  6. I couldn’t agree more. Irony is a multifaceted gem indeed, when it takes a 24 minute comedy show to cut to the heart of our political discourse. Entertaining and enlightening. I love Jon Stewart and his foil Colbert.

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