My son, Ben, turned 14 years old on October 18. He has been a devoted fan of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert since he was 11. Every night, he fires up the computer when I get home from work and we sit down to watch his comedic man-crushes together.
This year, Ben was so disappointed he could not go to DC for the now-famous rally, that he decided to hold a "Restoring Sanity" birthday party. Three of his friends came over to our house to watch. Then they went outside and held an airgun war. (I guess this constitutes a middle-schooler's version of reasonableness.)
First of all, meet Ben.
Ben (pictured above with is older sister, Chloe) has been growing like a weed. He is 5'10". He loves Stewart and Colbert, dogs, video games, airgun wars, Cherry Garcia ice cream and Cracked.com. He plays the trombone. He is a whiz at at math and science. He asks many questions about politics which he primarily studies by watching Comedy Central.
Here are some statistics to keep in mind about the younger generations. According to Bloomberg, Fox's ratings have plummeted 17% in the last five weeks among younger viewers (18-49). The sudden decline coincides with Colbert and Stewart's massive marketing of their rally, which might also be interpreted as a comedic assault on Newscorps' bombastic, unbalanced hate-mongering.
According to most estimates, Beck's rally to restore "Honor" on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial attracted 87,000 mostly elderly white people. Stewart and Colbert, by way of contrast, drew a crowd of between 215,000 and 250,000 people of all ethnicities and ages.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch here in Espanola, New Mexico, four thirteen and fourteen year old boys intermittently tuned in, roaring with glee as Stewart and Colbert skewered Beck and other Fox News Bombasts. My 17-year-old daughter and her 18 year-old-boyfriend occasionally dropped in for a giggle.
These young people have grown up without experiencing racial segregation. They don't understand it. It makes absolutely no sense to them. As they have entered adolescence, friends with whom they have been raised have come out of the closet. Gay friends do not shock or frighten them.
My children have been raised in an intermarried family. I am Jewish but my husband is not. This seems to be par for the course at our local synagogue. If anything, the Congregation places far more emphasis on the meaning of ritual and on knowledge of Torah than did the Temples of my childhood. But they are also far more tolerant of other religions.
I grew up in Chicago in the 1960s and 70s where busing regularly resulted in riots. In order to go to school with youth of other races, I had to travel 90 minutes one way by train. My children have heard stories of this world and they have read about it in history books. But they have not been forced to live it.
Every year, a new cohort of voters emerges, many of them educated about the importance of a civil civic dialogue by their favorite comedians. Jon Stewart capped off the rally with a magnificent speech only occasionally punctuated with humor. He spoke about the millions of Americans of all races, creeds and creds who work together every day to get things done. He hammered the mainstream media for their relentless promotion of fear and hatred.
After the rally and the airgun war, we capped off our fun by serving the kids "Kitty Litter Cake," a deliciously repulsive Halloween treat. The boys dived into the litter box, plucking out tootsie roll turds and popping them into their mouths.
I've included the recipe below.
1 box spice or German chocolate cake mix
1 box of white cake mix
1 package white sandwich cookies
1 large package vanilla instant pudding mix
A few drops green food coloring
12 small Tootsie Rolls or equivalent
SERVING "DISHES AND UTENSILS"
1 NEW cat-litter box
1 NEW cat-litter box liner
1 NEW pooper scooper
Prepare and bake cake mixes, according to directions, in any size pan. Prepare pudding and chill. Crumble cookies in small batches in blender or food processor. Add a few drops of green food coloring to 1 cup of cookie crumbs. Mix with a fork or shake in a jar. Set aside.
When cakes are at room temperature, crumble them into a large bowl. Toss with half of the remaining cookie crumbs and enough pudding to make the mixture moist but not soggy. Place liner in litter box and pour in mixture.
Unwrap 3 Tootsie Rolls and heat in a microwave until soft and pliable. Shape the blunt ends into slightly curved points. Repeat with three more rolls. Bury the rolls decoratively in the cake mixture. Sprinkle remaining white cookie crumbs over the mixture, then scatter green crumbs lightly over top.
Heat 5 more Tootsie Rolls until almost melted. Scrape them on top of the cake and sprinkle with crumbs from the litter box. Heat the remaining Tootsie Roll until pliable and hang it over the edge of the box.
Place box on a sheet of newspaper and serve with scooper. Enjoy!
WARNING! While Trader Joe's brand vanilla cake mix and Joe-Joe's cream cookies are infinitely more delicious than other chemically laden brands, their moistness causes the cake to clump. I recommend using an inferior brand of sandwich cookies to more accurately simulate the appearance of cat litter.
Now I am off to canvass. I think I will bring them the remainder of my cake. I'd better knock off and publish so I can make some more tootsie roll turds.
Cross-posted from Midday Matinee at Blogistan Polytechnic Institute