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Stephen Colbert is supposedly a comedian. I say supposedly because, well, I never found him particularly funny. That said, a whole lot of people do and they certainly have a right to do so. I don’t have to understand why they find the man funny, after all. That’s part of what living in a free country is all about.
However, I do take issue with Colbert completely ignoring history to try and score a political point, all while hiding under the facade of “comedy.”
Colbert also took on one of the GOP’s favorite talking points against gun control, as summarized by acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.
“We’ve had guns in this country for hundreds of years,” Mulvaney said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “We haven’t had this until recently and we need to figure out why.”
Colbert was ready with a common-sense response.
“It’s because those guns we had back then, hundreds of years ago, were way slower and way less powerful,” he said. “It’s why during the Revolutionary War the British soldiers volunteered to wear bright red coats and stand in a straight line.”
Colbert then quipped about how inefficient those guns were in the 18th century.
However, history didn’t just jump over the two hundred forty years or so between the Revolution and today. Things changed over time. We didn’t go from muzzleloaders to the M-16 overnight.
Yet during that time, we never had this issue with mass shootings. It’s a relatively recent phenomenon.
There was a time when a kid could have an actual machinegun delivered to his house without any kind of background check, yet those kids didn’t walk into schools and slaughter their classmates. The AR-15 has been on the market for civilian purchase since the 1960s, yet mass shooting didn’t just start right then.
Even after a handful of nutjobs used them to massacre the innocent, people still didn’t commit mass shootings at the rate we see them today.
Where was that in Colbert’s witty response? I guess history just isn’t funny. That’s fair.
However, while Colbert is entitled to make whatever jokes he wants, he’s not entitled to make up his own facts to do so. Guns have been available for centuries, and while early guns were inefficient by themselves, as technology advanced, so did the firearms people could buy. The engineering that creates semi-automatic weapons, the firearms so demonized today, is over a century old itself.
Yet the issue of mass shootings is still remarkably modern.
Where’s that in the comedy of Colbert?
Undoubtedly, Colbert would hide behind the idea that he’s a comedian, not a talking head. Jon Stewart was notorious for that defense, after all, and Colbert cut his teeth at The Daily Show with Stewart. However, when it comes to facts, I don’t actually care if you call yourself a pundit, a comedian, or the king of all Londonium while wearing a shiny hat. If you talk crap, you get called on it. Plain and simple.
And Colbert does nothing but talk crap.