Listen, guys, you might as well just strap in for a couple more days of Daily Show posts.
If I’m getting really real, I haven’t been all that impressed with some of the show’s retrospective pieces. (Especially this one. Because the only thing funnier than one dude who can’t act is three dudes who can’t act.) But last night’s look back at the craziest-ass interviewees over the past 16 years was amazing/ soul-crushing.
First and foremost, Jessica Williams is never not amazing. I can’t believe that there was a time, however short, when I doubted her.
Second, how does this happen?
Jessica Williams: Dr. Manning, do you regret doing this segment with us six years ago?
Dr. Manning: Absolutely not, no. Because I understood when you asked me to be on the the show exactly what it was going to be about. It was going to be an attempt to make my ideas seem buffoonery, but I agreed to do it anyway because I didn’t think you would succeed at it. And you didn’t.
For those that can’t watch the video, the segment he didn’t regret doing was one where he explained that Obama isn’t the anti-christ. Because he’s Hitler. Or the son of Satan. Both are applicable. Dr. Manning watched a segment where he was openly mocked for believing what is essentially a lie, and thought, “Yeah, that looks good.”
Of course Dr. Manning isn’t the only one. The Daily Show has interviewed over 2800 people throughout the years. All of them had outrageous beliefs. The bigger question isn’t “How do these people believe this nonsense?” It’s “What sort of terrible nonsense do I believe?”
Because that’s the inadvertent soul-crushing aspect to the crazy-ass interviews. Sure, these folks have what are demonstrably unbelievable beliefs. Like how Dr. Manning also believes that Starbucks is using semen to flavor their lattes. He even admits he doesn’t have any empirical evidence, he just knows. And we can sit comfortably with the knowledge that we, being sane people, would never accept such beliefs on faith alone. Except that 75% of us believe in god. You might argue that those things are different. That we can conclusively disprove the “semen in the Starbucks” theory where the belief in god isn’t disprovable. But in both cases, people accept these ideas without any proof.
And I’m not trying to pick on the religiously affiliated. More and more in fact people are taking on faith the information we receive from experts. You might know that antibiotics treat bacterial infection, but can you explain the biological mechanisms that make that fact true? You ride in airplanes understanding that they’re actually safe, but can you explain the physics behind it? Does anyone really understand what a derivative is?
The sad, scary fact is that the crazy-ass Daily Show interviewees aren’t actually exhibiting flawed thinking. Their conclusions might seem outlandish, and we might be able to mock their stubborn belief in the patently unbelievable. But if their conclusions are wrong, it isn’t because their reasoning was abnormal. It’s because they were reasoning exactly the way that we do.