Jon Stewart takes a week off every once in a while and we are consigned to watching his reruns for a fix, which is okay because they stand up fairly well. It also gives us a chance to take a step back and savor some of his finest insults. Stewart might have torn a page or two from Shakespeare’s book—the bard was known to sling a good insult here and there. When Hamlet says, “They have a plentiful lack of wit,” and a character in Coriolanus says, “More of your conversation would infect my brain,” they could certainly be talking about Fox News. Henry V’s line: “Such antics do not amount to a man,” could certainly apply to John Boehner or Ted Cruz, and “Thou mis-shapen dick,” seems tailor-made for Scalia, Alito and Limbaugh. Take your pick.
But Stewart has his own way with words (or he and his scribes do.) Too bad he took Hobby Lobby week off, but let’s take a moment to remember some of his best digs, some of which sound positively Shakespearian.
1. Sonnet to Rush Limbaugh:
“ Rush—The quivering rage heap who is apparently desperately trying to extinguish any remaining molecule of humanity that might still reside in the Chernobyl-esque superfund cleanup site that was his soul.”
2. Insult by metaphor:
''Fox News: You are the lupus of news.''
3. Ode to O’Reilly
''Here's what you and your minions don't understand, O'Reilly. Your hell doesn't scare me. I make my living watching Fox News eight hours a day. I'm already in hell.''
4. Soliloquy on Fox:
''Fox opposes a Syria peace plan because its modus operandi is to foment dissent in the form of a relentless and irrational contrarianism to Barack Obama and all things Democratic, to advance its ultimate objective of creating a deliberately misinformed body politic whose fear, anger, mistrust, and discontent is the manna upon which it sustains its parasitic succubus-like existence.”
5. And in the role of the fool:
''Rick Perry is what happens if Lex Luthor distilled down George Bush essence in a laboratory and crossed it with gun powder and semen from the finest thoroughbred in Lubbock, and then strapped that concoction onto a nuclear missile and shot it into the f**king sun! And then, waited, waited, waited, until one day, on the anniversarry of the Alamo, a solar flare, yada yada yada, Rick Perry!''
6. The king in his lonely tower:
''Mitt Romney calling the President 'detached and out of touch' is like a multimillionaire who owns two mansions, six cars, and who thinks 'corporations are people, my friend' calling someone 'detached and out of touch.'''
7. Michele Bachmann, one of the witches in MacBeth?
''Be honest Newsweek, you used that photo in a petty attempt to make Michele Bachmann look crazy. That's what her words are for.''
8. Wait, no, Bachmann’s not nearly clever enough to be a witch
''I gotta say, of all my issues with Michele Bachmann's brain, migraines are not even in the top 20.''
9. My kingdom for a horse?
''These are troubled times, and we need a hero, someone unencumbered by politics as usual. Someone who could kill a moose with one hand and skin a bear with the other. Someone without a job. ... Yes! Like a ship slowly appearing over the horizon to an island of castaways, Sarah Palin has arrived with fresh food, clothing and that little box she keeps next to her bed filled with crazy.''
10. Falstaffian excess?
''Either he's getting ready to play an Indian in a 1950s Western, or John Boehner is not human, but actually made entirely of cured meats.'
11. How the mighty have fallen
''Dick Cheney and Karl Rove, once two of the most powerful men in this country, are now suffering from Balzheimer's disease. Why didn't I see it before? Balzheimer's is a terrible illness that attacks the memory and gives its victims the balls to attack others for things they themselves made a career of. There is no known cure.''
12. A rose by any other name would smell?
''Republicans are no longer allowed to say that people are rich. You have to refer to them as 'job creator'. You can't even use the word 'rich'. You have to say, 'This chocolate cake is so moist and job creator.'''
13. The green-eyed monster doth mock:
''Must be nice to be a Republican senator sometimes, because you get the fun of breaking sh*t and the joy of complaining the sh*t you just broke doesn't work.''
14. All’s well that . . . wait . . .
''I view America like this: 70 to 80 percent [are] pretty reasonable people that truthfully, if they sat down, even on contentious issues, would get along. And the other 20 percent of the country run it. ''
15. O war! Thou son of hell!
''Yes, the long war on Christianity. I pray that one day we may live in an America where Christians can worship freely! In broad daylight! Openly wearing the symbols of their religion... perhaps around their necks? And maybe -- dare I dream it? -- maybe one day there can be an openly Christian President. Or, perhaps, 43 of them. Consecutively.''
16. If you prick us, do we not bleed?
''Why is it that if you take advantage of a tax break and you're a corporation, you're a smart businessman, but if you take advantage of something you need to not be hungry, you're a moocher?''