Archive Opinion The Orion

You won’t find ‘stoned slackers’ here

August 1, 2004

After the first presidential debate had been hashed to pieces by pundits and know-it-alls, I was reminded by “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” that John Kerry’s obliteration of Bush wasn’t a great achievement. Kerry beat a man in a debate who’s choked on a pretzel.

I didn’t hesitate to laugh, but an important thought crossed my mind: Am I enough of a “stoned slacker” to be laughing at this?

For those of you wondering where those quotes came from, look no further than Mr. Fair and Balanced (?) himself. In an interview with Jon Stewart on “The O’Reilly Factor,” the defender of freedom and liberty himself proclaimed the following:

“You know what’s really frightening? You actually have an influence on this presidential election. That is scary, but it’s true. You’ve got stoned slackers watching your dopey show every night and they can vote.” He later used “dopey kids” to describe Jon Stewart’s audience.

That’s a pretty harsh stereotype for college students. Could it be true, though? No.

A little research by Comedy Central found “Daily Show” viewers were 78 percent more likely to have four or more years of college education and 74 percent more likely to have an income of more than $75,000. O’Reilly’s viewers? Twenty-four percent and 15 percent, respectively.

Now, it would be childish of me to call his viewers inept morons who have to be told what to think, so I’ll take the moral high road, and I’ll attack this as a philosophy minor.

His premise broadly states “Daily Show” viewers are “stoned slackers.” I watch it. Therefore, by modus ponens (Latin phrase roughly meaning it ain’t rocket science, genius), I am a “stoned slacker.”

If only I can remember when I got stoned. The only smoking I’ve done is second hand (believe it or not, there are people who can say that and not giggle or add, “but I didn’t inhale.”).

Well, the adjective in that phrase is shot. Now what about our friend, the noun.

I’m in the honors program. I commute from out of town every day. I referee and coach soccer. And I’m writing this article. Man, I’m having trouble finding the slacker in there.

This is the one reason why I can’t call myself a Republican (or the laughable euphemism, conservative). One of the requirements is to see the world in black and white. You’re either for us or against us. Wheat or white. There is no sourdough. I love my sourdough and nobody is going to take that from me.

Of course, by following that example, I must be a liberal atheist. I have a confession to make, though: I’m a lay speaker for the Oroville First United Methodist Church.

For those of you not familiar with this I’ll digress for a second. A lay speaker is like a back-up preacher who works for free and pinch-hits once in a while by taking some of the load off the pastor.

Also, the Methodist beliefs tend to have a very conservative tone to them. Whether or not I agree with all of them is my opinion.

Of course, I expect two things to come from this column. I’m going to be another hard-line Christian extremist, or I’m going to be a liberal Satan mongrel. My hope is a few people may understand tertium non datur (the third is not given but implied) and recognize college students as more than “stoned slackers.” There may be a few here at Chico State, but that doesn’t mean the other 14,000 students aren’t all different.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need some sourdough.