Published: May 14, 2010

By Jim Lichtman
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Bloggers don’t receive letters. We receive “comments.”  While all of my “postings” appear here, I offer some on Huffington Post, and the reactions from readers are interesting.

Regarding my post about the need for more women in decision-making positions in the Catholic Church (What Would Rev. Barbie Do?, April 9), one reader wrote, “Go Episcopalians! Diet-Catholic… Twice the fun and half the guilt, minus the whole molestation part.”

But, by far, the most responses on Huffington came from my commentary Maher v. Stewart (May 3).

“A brilliant pairing,” one reader wrote. “I’d love to see Jon and Bill go head to head.”

“Maher is dumb enough to think he’s smarter than you.”

“No contest. Stewart’s 20 times smarter and 10 times funnier than Maher.”

Then there were the comments on comments, like this exchanage:

“The difference between Jon Stewart and Bill Maher… is that Stewart doesn’t take himself seriously and doesn’t expect his audience to do likewise.”

“Exactly. Maher’s a raging egomaniac. Everything is about him and his obsessions. Don’t get me wrong, I agree with him more often than not, I usually find him entertaining and I’m glad he’s on TV in an uncensored format where he’s free to pontificate and rant about whatever he wants. But he can’t hold a candle to Jon Stewart… he’s smart, well-informed and incredibly sharp — even in unscripted moments — and he has a brilliant staff that out researches the best news organizations out there.”

“I most often like Stewart, he’s a great check on mainstream media, but I am not clear about what kind of news media he WOULD want to see us have.”

“The problem is that Maher sometimes acts like the people Stewart mocks: sitting comfortably ensconced in a studio with a sufficiently sycophantic audience and guest panel making definitive proclamations about how the world should be.”

“These guys are both brilliant at what they do. I would love to see John on HBO where he would not be limited as much to the 15 minutes. Bill does a great job in what he does and can open up subjects for longer.”

In my summary, I wrote, “You don’t have to agree with Stewart or Maher, but they do make you think about the things we believe in. In that regard, both act as a contemporary Socrates, challenging the status quo, searching for truth behind the façade of the big and powerful.”  Four individuals came back with these:

“Oh please. They’re self-righteous, smart-aleck blowhards with a soap box. That’s it.”

“Clearly you are not one of the people who listen and then think.”

“…who happen to be geniuses.”

“I think all three of you are missing an important point: Socrates himself was a self-righteous, smart-aleck blowhard. He just happened to have history’s greatest PR man, Plato.”

By far, the best suggestion came from these readers:

“Would love to see a debate with either of them against Glenn Beck or any of the other loony hosts on Fox News.”

“Would love to see Stewart/Maher v. Beck/Hannity. That, I would pay big $ for.”

“That’s like wanting to see the Yankees vs. the Toledo Mudhens. Beck & Hannity would get CRUSHED by the big leaguers!”

“I’d much rather see Jon Stewart team up with Bill Maher, throw in Olbermann and Maddow… then set up a debate against… Beck, Hannity, Limbaugh and Palin.”

Are you listening, HBO and Comedy Central?


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