Top Ten Videos of 2009: 8. “Learning is Fundamental”

What’s funny about the current economic crisis? At the root of it, nothing. I have spent most of 2009 as one of the who-knows-how-many millions struggling with unemployment and dwindling resources. One side effect of unemployment is that it gives you additional time for pondering (a mixed blessing, to be sure). I’ve periodically wondered whether the crumbling of public education in America is the chicken or the egg (so to speak) relative to our national economic woes… which leads me to number eight on my Casey Kasem-esque video countdown, the Colbert Report clip “The Word: Learning is Fundamental.”

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word – Learning Is Fundamental

Longtime readers of this blog know of my admiration for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, as well as my particular regard for its spin-off The Colbert Report. Since both shows have now existed for several years, it may not seem particularly novel to include a Colbert piece in my top ten videos of 2009 list. Here’s why.

The trickiest part of selecting these top ten videos has come from the fact that it has been such a thoroughly depressing news year. It began so encouragingly with the inauguration of Barack Obama, and it would be glib to say that it could only have gone downhill from there… glib, but perhaps all too accurate. So in this paragraph, as well as in my retrospective collection of videos, I prefer not to re-hash the bilious new lows of crazy that occurred in the national miscourse during 2009. Or at least to do so only obliquely, through the filter of satire. The Daily Show and Colbert continue to provide such satire so expertly that both shows seem not just pleasantly amusing, like a familiar long-running sitcom, but like indispensable laughter mechanisms to make the news palatable.

Am I wrong? Are The Daily Show and Colbert still as fresh and relevant as I say they are, or have they become one-shtick ponies? Sound off about it in the comments!

About Derek

Derek is a Californian actor, writer, blogger, coffee epicure and dog person. More about him and the raison d'etre of this blog can be read at and his online shenanigans can be at least partly tracked at .
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