Tuesday, May 1

How to laugh and cry at the same time.

You've all listened to Bill Moyers interview Jon Stewart, I'm sure. Here's the part that got me in the gut (emphasis mine):

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BILL MOYERS: Have you lost your innocence?

JON STEWART: What? Well, it was in 1981, it was at a frat party. Oh, I'm sorry. You know, I think this is gonna sound incredibly pat, but I think you lose your innocence when you have kids, because the world suddenly becomes a much more dangerous place. And you become much more — there are two things that happen. You recognize how fragile individuals are, and you recognize the strength of the general overall group, but you don't care anymore. You're just fighting for the one thing. See and then, you also recognize that everybody, then, is also somebody's child. It's I'm yeah, I mean it's-- tumultuous.

BILL MOYERS: So, your children are how old?

JON STEWART: Two and a half and fourteen months.

BILL MOYERS: So, has it been within that period of time that you made this you wouldn't recognize it, but we recognize it, transformation from the stand-up comic to a serious social and political critic?

JON STEWART: I don't consider myself a serious and social political critic.

BILL MOYERS: But I do. And I'm your audience.

JON STEWART: Yes, and I end up with one of your tote bags. But the important thing is, that I guess I don't spend any time thinking about what I am or what we do means. I spend my time doing it.

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No offense to those without kids. It's not as though you can't find the meaning as well. This just spoke to me and my own experience with such power, I lost it.

And regardless of whether we have children or just recognize that "we are all children" thing, what we have to do is spend less time thinking about what it means to be the change we want to see in the world and just doing it.

10 comments:

  1. yeah, it hurts me to think about some things.
    my daughter is grown, but now i have a wonderful grand daughter soon to be 3 years old and i adore her. i find myself worrying all over again, not only about the state of the world, but if she'll have nice friends and go to birthday parties and like school and do well and please god, not get shot etc....

    we are all children of the universe.
    we'd do so much better if we focused on that.

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  2. if you don't have kids, there's no way you CAN get IT. it's impossible. you just don't know until you have kids.

    that said, i completely agree with you. let's just go change the world already!

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  3. Anonymous7:12 PM

    You had me at lost innocence

    Organic George

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  4. I have three boys (9, 7 & 7), so the innocence thing is not yet lost. Still, I can understand how one can lose their innocence, and that is sad. What's really depressing is for one to lose any sense of justice or outrage.

    (I think Jon Stewart has said something on that.)

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  5. With 3 kids{8, 15, 17} I worry and do all I can to make their transition into the world as safe as possible. I agree-stop thinking and start acting!

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  6. TheCunningRunt7:44 PM

    My daughters are old enough to love and be loved, be there when their friends need them, rejoice in my happiness, hug me when I'm down, choose wisely, choose poorly, go to parties, flirt with strangers, be date-raped, get pregnant, die in a car crash on the way home. Yeah, the innocence is gone, replaced by the double-edged sword of reality. It isn't always easy, but I wouldn't trade it for the world.

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  7. cunningrunt,

    I appreciate what you wrote. I'm pretty much scared to death all the time because of my kids, so it's good to see someone who isn't blind to the dangers but doesn't allow them to kill his joy at seeing his daughters grow up.

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  8. I'm treading where I possibly should not go, but anyone who knows me will know that is kind of my nature. I don’t have any children of my own. I made a conscious decision to not give birth, but as I mentioned to some friends this weekend I had always thought that I would at some point adopt, because I’ve really always wanted to be a parent. That may sound contradictory, but again anyone who knows me would understand.

    The closest I have ever come to being a parent is being an aunt. I was the first family member to see my niece, when she and my sister were wheeled out of the delivery room. I remember putting my hand on her beautiful little head and welcoming her into the world. My sister is a single parent, and I spent a lot of time with them when my niece was born.

    And while I’m not a parent, I do recognize the loss of innocence when you realize there is a new life in the world that is totally dependent on the adults in her life. I suddenly found myself objecting to anyone using bad language around her, and I didn’t want her exposed to how mean some people can be. My niece is bi-racial, so not only does she have to contend with sexism, but with racism as well.

    I think I had a pretty easy transition from living at home, to making my own way in the world. And at a certain point I felt it was important for me to give something back. That was the main reason I decided to become a full-time activist. I’ve spent the past 17 years working on social justice issues – with a focus on women’s rights.

    And even though I don’t have children, I don’t object that my property taxes help pay for public schools – I see it as an investment. I wish more of our public funds were used to help education and influence children. I think every child should be exposed to music and the arts. I have no hard facts to support this, but I have a sense that a person who creates a work of art is less likely to be destructive or violent. I think there should be more sports programs for young girls, as it seems to give them a greater sense of self, and makes them less likely to engage in self-destructive behavior.

    And with regard to loss of innocence, I greatly resent that privileged old white men can sit on high and decide – for their own personal gain -- that our young men and women should be used as cannon fodder.

    I’ve rambled a bit, so will stop.


    BAC

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  9. I think I FOUND my innocence with the birth of my first child. Or rather the possibility of innocence. This little person, just born, was clearly perfect...well, ...very very good. If treated well, and protected, she could stay that way. Therefore, all people must be born good; if they do bad things, it must be because something bad happened to them. With enough compassion and understanding...and really good therapy for everyone,...couldn't we all go back to being very very good?

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  10. Jon Stewart, can't think of a person in the political world that I admire more. he has such an ability to spot the fault line that creates the proper frame while coating it with the honey of humor(a sticky frame). he's a powerful imp.

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