Bioethicist calls Jon Stewart 'our greatest public intellectual'

Mar 05, 2012

In an article in the American Journal of Bioethics, a Loyola bioethicist is calling political satirist Jon Stewart "our greatest public intellectual. This is no joke."

Kayhan Parsi, JD, PhD, writes that Stewart "has emerged as our voice of sanity in a sea of insanity in a new media age with its ephemeral nature and lack of substance." Parsi is an associate professor in the Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics and Health Policy of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

Parsi explains that a public intellectual is seriously committed to ideas and discourse. He or she may be an academic, although journalists, policymakers and even politicians can play the role.

Parsi notes that Stewart invites a variety of writers, artists and intellectuals to discuss their work on "The Daily Show," which he hosts on Comedy Central. In doing so, Stewart has taken on the mantle of a public intellectual himself.

"In an era with a great amount of strident self-righteousness, Stewart cuts through the absurdities of what passes for ," Parsi writes. "Although bioethics topics do not figure prominently in the Stewart oeuvre of satire . . . the issues that are part and parcel of bioethics (say, ) have merited a significant amount of attention."

Stewart and his colleague "have created a space where serious writers can discuss their works in front of a fairly large audience."

Parsi concludes: "Today, the effective public intellectual has to be less the pedant and more the artful catalyst for independent thought. Perhaps unwittingly or even unknowingly, Stewart has taken on this role with relish and gusto. Although neither a nor an academic, Stewart has taken on the mantle of our greatest public intellectual."

Explore further: What's behind our music tastes? Some common perceptions

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Airtight box and plant experiment ends in blinding headaches

Sep 19, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Iain Stewart, a professor of geoscience at Plymouth University, spent the weekend carrying out an experiment in Cornwall at the Eden Project. Stewart was locked in an airtight chamber for 48 hours with nothing ...

Sociologist: Stepfamilies hard to define

Dec 11, 2006

The changing face of the U.S. family is nothing like the Cleavers or the Andersons of television lore, an Iowa State University sociologist said.

What causes cancer?

Feb 28, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- Fears that involuntary exposure to chemicals in food and consumer products causes cancer are not supported by evidence, and anxiety about their dangers is diverting attention from proven methods of cancer ...

Facebook fugitive caught after 105 days

May 27, 2009

The long arm of the law finally caught up with a New Zealand fugitive whose 105 days on the run inspired a Facebook fansite, a song and a line of tee shirts.

Educating women about heart attacks could save lives

Jan 13, 2012

Heart attacks in women go largely unrecognized 30 to 55 percent of the time and those who miss the warning signs and fail or delay getting help, run the risk of death or grave disability. But researchers at Binghamton University ...

Recommended for you

Former Brown dean whose group won Nobel Prize dies

3 hours ago

David Greer, a doctor who co-founded a group that won the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize for working to prevent nuclear war and who helped transform the medical school at Brown University, has died. He was 89.

Federal budget authority for R&D in 2014 rises slightly

Nov 19, 2014

New data indicate that in fiscal year (FY) 2014, Congress gave federal agencies authority to spend $3.2 billion more on research and development and R&D plant (together) than in FY 2013. However, the increase ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

antialias_physorg
not rated yet Mar 05, 2012
Although neither a bioethicist nor an academic, Stewart has taken on the mantle of our greatest public intellectual."

Couldn't agree more.

It's bizzare when you think about it that a comedy show - something taht is supposed to be absurd - is the sanest piece of political and social commentary out there.

How bizarre is it? As Stewart once put it:
"The show leading into me is puppets making prank phone calls"

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.