If contemporary American liberalism has any High Priests, foremost among them would have to be Jon Stewart. Arguably, he’s the functional equivalent of a supreme pontiff. So much of contemporary American liberalism hinges on aesthetic presentation — the ever-present need to convey that you and your peers “get it” — and Stewart pioneered the perfect public sensibility tailored to this ambition. For years, cultural liberals’ sense of savviness and ironic detachment, coupled with an underlying pretension to earnestness, was cultivated and affirmed by Stewart. His method of communicating political information on
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