Jon Stewart Signs Off

Jon Stewart Signs Off

A Mensch to the End
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Seven minutes past midnight on August 7, Jon Stewart rolled away from the desk at the Daily Show on Comedy Central for the last time. The familiar face of integrity and truth, the companion of frustrated Americans since before I could tie my own shoes, has retired from skewering the idiocy of America and its politics. The man himself let the audience know this is not the last we have heard of him, but simply a pause in the conversation.

Coinciding with the FOX News coverage of the GOP debate, Stewart’s final performance as the host of the Daily Show delivered something important. Those who tuned in witnessed the portrait of a man who mattered in a very real way. Selfless until the end, he spent his final show highlighting others, like correspondents old and new, or a short video featuring the staff who work to make the Daily Show possible. He showered gratitude upon every soul involved or affected in the time of his tenure, even Arby’s. Quietly pleading to avoid the spotlight, Stewart surrendered his attempt to escape into the second commercial break, conceding the moment to his protégé, Stephen Colbert. Unscripted and stripped of any insincerity, Colbert expressed exactly what needed to be said about the man next to him, as Stewart did his best to smile away the waterworks:

“Here’s the thing, Jon. You said to me and to many other people here years ago never to thank you, because we owe you nothing. It is one of the few times I have known you to be dead wrong. We owe you, and not just what you did for our careers by employing us to come work on this tremendous show that you made. We owe you because we learned from you. We learned from you by example how to do a show with intention, how to work with clarity, how to treat people with respect. You are infuriatingly good at your job[...]okay, so Jon, and it’s almost over, I know you are not asking for this, but on behalf of so many people whose lives you changed over the past sixteen years, thank you. And now, I believe your line—and correct me if I’m wrong—is ‘We’ll be right back.’”

Before the camera cut away, the crowd erupted and all of the guests who had appeared earlier in the show mobbed the little man’s desk chair, crushing him from view with a great big bear hug, jumping up and down with gratitude.

When it came time to end the final episode, for the first and only time in sixteen years, Stewart signed off the Daily Show by saying, "And now, my moment of Zen." Stage right, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band belted a moving rendition of "Land of Hope and Dreams," followed by the bittersweet last stanza of "Born to Run." It was a joyous conclusion, a performance which was paid forward long ago, but not with cash.

Chris Hardwick began his show @Midnight with a few respectful words as the "Daily Show" credits on the left-hand side of the screen rolled out the end of an era. I sat stunned in a dark room, processing. There was a lot to digest, but I was struck by the ultimate value of one small man’s influence in the lives of so many others. His standard of giving is one thing every person is capable of achieving. Stewart cared so much: about the well-being of America and its citizens, and about the lives of those who worked with him and knew him. It matters to mean something to others. As Colbert pinpointed, it is not just what Stewart did for their careers, but what he did for them as people, how he helped them grow, and the opportunities he extended to them, opening the same door someone showed him when he was still kicking around searching for the right avenue for his talents.

The faith I share with Stewart holds the Talmudic idea of Tzedakah (TSEH-dah-KAH) in the highest regard. Roughly translated, Tzedakah means charity, but it is far more than giving to others, and it applies to Jews and Gentiles alike. Tzedakah manifests itself in various ways, each with a different level of merit. The lowest form is to give begrudgingly to another. Jon Stewart was a man who gave selflessly when and where he could, and asked for nothing in return. Countless times, he performed the most meritorious Tzedakah, which is to enable another to become self-reliant. I realize what I saw was a spirited offering of heartfelt recognition to the man who asked for none. Thank you Jon Stewart, talk to you soon.

Cover Image Credit: People Magazine

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10 Things I Threw Out AFTER Freshman Year Of College

Guess half the stuff on your packing list doesn't really matter
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I spent the entire summer before my freshman year of college so WORRIED.

I also spent most of my money that summer on miscellaneous dorm stuff. I packed the car when the time finally came to move in, and spent the drive up excited and confused about what the heck was actually going on.

Freshman year came and went, and as I get ready to go back to school in just a few short weeks (!!), I'm starting to realize there's just a whole bunch of crap I just don't need.

After freshman year, I threw out:

1. Half my wardrobe.

I don't really know what I was thinking of owning 13 sweaters and 25 T-shirts in the first place. I wear the same five T-shirts until I magically find a new one that I probably got for free, and I put on jeans maybe four times. One pair is enough.

2. Half my makeup.

Following in the theme of #1, if I put on makeup, it's the same eyeliner-mascara combination as always. Sometimes I spice it up and add lipstick or eyeshadow.

3. My vacuum.

https://secure.img1-ag.wfcdn.com/im/d5ea3c03/resize-h2000-p1-w2000%5Ecompr-r85/3021/30217778/Express+6+Volt+Cordless+Bagless+Handheld+Vacuum.jpg

One, I basically never did it. Two, if I REALLY needed to vacuum, dorms rent out cleaning supplies.

4. Most of my photos from high school.

I didn't throw them ALL away, but most of them won't be making a return to college. Things change, people change, your friends change. And that's okay.

5. Excess school supplies.

Binders are heavy and I am lazy. I surprisingly didn't lose that many pens, so I don't need the fifty pack anymore. I could probably do without the crayons.

6. Cups/Plates/Bowls/Silverware.

Again, I am lazy. I cannot be bothered to wash dishes that often. I'll stick to water bottles and maybe one coffee cup. Paper plates/bowls can always be bought, and plastic silverware can always be stolen from different places on campus.

7. Books.

I love to read, but I really don't understand why I thought I'd have the time to actually do it. I think I read one book all year, and that's just a maybe.

8. A sewing kit.

I don't even know how to sew.

9. Excessive decorations.

It's nice to make your space feel a little more cozy, but not every inch of the wall needs to be covered.

10. Throw pillows.

At night, these cute little pillows just got tossed to the floor, and they'd sit there for days if I didn't make my bed.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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We're All Thinking It, I'm Saying It: Too Many People Are Running For President

I'm all for options, but man, do we really need 24? I mean, I can barely pick a flavor of ice cream at Baskin Robbins let alone a potential President.

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There are, currently, 23 Democrats running for President. On the Republican side, there's, of course, Trump, but only one other candidate, former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld. Democrats have a whole range of people running, from senators to congressmen, a former vice-president, and even a spiritual advisor. We can now say that there are DOZENS of people running for President in 2020.

Joe Biden has been leading the pack for quite some time now. He was even leading polls before he announced his campaign. Although he is the frontrunner, there really is no big favorite to win the nomination. Biden has been hovering around the mid-30s in most polls, with Bernie Sanders coming in second. Other minor candidates in the hunt are Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, and Kamala Harris.

After the surprising defeat of Hillary Clinton in 2016, Democrats have become electrified and have a mission to take back the White House after winning back the House of Representatives in 2018. There are so many people running in 2020, it seems that it will be hard to focus on who is saying what and why someone believes in something, but in the end, there can only be one candidate. This is the most diverse group of candidates ever, several women are running, people of color, the first out gay candidate, and several more.

There could be a problem when it comes to debate time. I mean, the first debate is next month. Having around 20-plus people on stage at the same time, debating each other kinda sounds like a nightmare. How can someone get their point across in the right amount of time when someone else is going to cut them off? Debates are usually around an hour and a half. So, if you divide it up, each candidate would get just under five minutes to speak. That would be in a perfect world of course.

Democrats seriously believe that they can beat Trump in 2020. They say they have learned from the mistakes of 2016, and have the guts and the momentum to storm back into the White House. By July of next year, there will be only one candidate left. Will they be able to reconcile the divide during the primaries? We will see. It will surely be a fun election cycle, so make sure to have your popcorn ready and your ballot at hand to pick your favorite candidate, no matter what party you lean towards.

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