Jonah Goldberg was right on target when he stated, "Ironic rot is sinking into the foundation of our political system," in his commentary, "When satire descends into mockery" (Sept. 30). But he was way off base when he attributed it to Stephen Colbert's testimony before Congress.
The foundation of ironic rot has been well established already by members of Congress who claim to be "public servants" with only the best interest of the public as their priority, while their attention is actually bestowed to the special interest who fill their coffers so they can get re-elected.
Mr. Goldberg seems to not get it himself when he states, "He (Mr. Colbert) pretends to be what many liberals claim Bill O'Reilly is. That's the joke, get it?" This statement seems to imply (although Mr. Goldberg would obviously deny it) that Mr. Colbert is somehow less patriotic then Mr. O'Reilly.
I do not recall Bill O'Reilly producing and broadcasting his show from Iraq and having a general shave his head, as Mr. Colbert did, to show his solidarity with the troops. In fact, Mr. Colbert's exuberance of patriotism is sometimes a little more than I can bear.
Mr. Goldberg claims that Mr. Colbert's testimony amounted to calling an African-American woman who testified about how migrant labor depresses wages an ignorant bigot. Perhaps the only way to settle this issue is to prod Mr. Colbert to have Ms. Swain on his show so that he can ask her himself if she felt like she was being called an ignorant bigot. Then he would no doubt ask her if she is one.
Mr. Goldberg then refers to Mr. Colbert and Jon Stewart of "The Daily Show" from whence Mr. Colbert was begotten as, "Slowly degenerating from satire into plan old mockery ... slowly becoming too-clever-by-half versions of the very people they claim to deplore." Satire, by its very definition is mockery. What better way to ridicule the people you deplore than pretending to be half versions of the deplored.
Mr. Colbert and Mr. Stewart make a seemingly unbearable world a little more bearable, and for this, they should be thanked.
Michael Baseman, Baltimore