Steve Wiley on Raising Your Kids to Question Everything, Critical Thinking, and Home Schooling with The Daily Show
Dad, Which One is the Real News?
First, I had to make sure they had hit what I felt was the "age of awareness" for profanity, because Jon likes to cuss (it's bleeped out, but everyone can lip-read cussing, eh?) As I established a few weeks ago in A Profanity Lesson with Zappa and Grandma, we're past that point.
So I sat 'em down, and I told them, "This is a fake news show that makes fun of actual news". I explained that I thought it did a better job of reporting the truth about the media, politics, religion, and corporations than the actual news (see John Oliver's phenomenal Investigating Investigative Journalism above). I explained the sad irony that the "real news", especially delivered by the mainstream media, was usually so absurd that it made for great comedy material.
I opined that even though it's a crazy world, it was important to keep up with the news, and even though the scope of it could get frustrating, it really helped to laugh about it.
Then I turned it on, and hoped they would understand my parental babbling, and more importantly, the concept of this particular Parent Hood home school class.
That was about a year ago, and the neither The Daily Show nor my sons have disappointed. Now they turn it on for us to watch - because nobody cuts through the bullshit like Jon Stewart and Co. -- and those sarcastic goofballs are a rebellious riot.
The show leaves no stone unturned, and no media hypocrite or corporate weasel un-harassed (see the fall-classic Chaos on Bullshit Mountain on page one).
We sit back and watch and laugh. Every once in a while we'll hit pause while I throw in my two cents worth or answer a question. We marvel at how politicians and celebrities can say one thing on camera, and then turn around a few short years later and say the exact opposite thing on camera. We question how so many of these public figures can sit down with the reporters and not know their interviews are going to be mercilessly hacked up in the name of hilarity (and whether the lazy publicist or the clueless subject is more to blame).
We'll talk about specific issues -- for instance gun control (like in the Grand Theft Semi-Auto segment on page one) -- and I explain specifically how I believe the segment cuts through the hype. I tell them my opinion on the issue, I tell them how Mom feels (if I know for sure), I tell them what other people in the family or the community believe, and I encourage them to think critically and develop an opinion of their own. Even if it's different than mine.
After all, I don't know a lot.