To cleanse the palate. As Greg Gutfeld said on Twitter while the rally was going on, “Feel like I’m watching a celebrity child’s birthday party.” Stewart takes a few knocks here but Colbert — certainly the more partisan of the two — gets the brunt of it. Yet I can’t help feeling that Glenn’s missing the joke of holding a “rally to restore sanity” and inviting a guy onstage who once endorsed killing Salman Rushdie for blaspheming Islam. Or … was that part of the “rally to restore fear”? That makes sense, then.
A response from the intended victim via Standpoint’s Nick Cohen:
PS Just had this message from Rushdie: “I’ve always liked Stewart and Colbert but what on earth was Cat Yusuf Stevens Islam doing on that stage? If he’s a “good Muslim” like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar then I’m the Great Pumpkin. Happy Halloween.”
PPS: Just had this from my marvellous Observer colleague Andrew Anthony: “He told me in 1997, eight years after saying on TV that Rushdie should be lynched, that he was in favour of stoning women to death for adultery. He also reconfirmed his position on Rushdie. He set up the Islamia school in Brent, which is currently undergoing council-backed expansion. Its mission statement three years ago explicitly stated that its aim was to bring about the submission of the individual, the community and the world at large to Islam. For this aim it now receives state funding. Its an incubator of the most bonkers religious extremism and segregation, and is particularly strong on the public erasure of women. Why do people go to such lengths to ignore these aspects of Yusuf Islam’s character and philosophy?
Relax, buddy: I’m sure he condones the public erasure of women ironically. Exit question: Is Beck right that he and Stewart had similar “we’re better people than this” messages? Wasn’t Beck one of the people featured in Stewart’s talking-head montage of those who are allegedly preventing us from being better people because they demonize the other side? Click the image to watch.