Jon Stewart’s ‘Defense Against Bullsh*t’ Is Parting Advice Worth Remembering

Jon Stewart said goodbye to The Daily Show with a trip down memory lane that featured a parade of former correspondents (Samantha Bee, Mo Rocca, Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert) and a few surprises (Craig Kilborn and Wyatt Cenac), but the night wasn’t all about warm feelings and deserving tributes to the man and by the man. Stewart had a message to deliver, and it may serve us all well to pin it to a wall or laminate it for placement in our wallets now that our chief bullsh*t sniffer-outer is moving on to another adventure.

Here are Stewart’s words:

Bullsh*t is everywhere. There is very little that you will encounter in life that has not been, in some ways, infused with bullsh*t. Not all of it bad. Your general day to day organic free-range bullsh*t is often necessary or at the very least innocuous. “Oh, what a beautiful baby, I’m sure he’ll grow into that head.” That kind of bullsh*t, in many ways, provides important social contract fertilizer that keeps people from making each other cry all day.

But then there’s the more pernicious bullsh*t, your pre-meditated institutional bullsh*t designed to obscure and distract. Designed by whom? The bullsh*tocracy. Comes in three basic flavors.

One: Making bad things sound like good things. Organic All Natural Cupcakes, because factory made sugar oatmeal balls doesn’t sell. Patriot Act, because, “Are you scared enough to let me look at all your phone records act,” doesn’t sell. So whenever something’s been titled, Freedom, Family, Fairness, Health, America, take a good long sniff, chances are it’s been manufactured in a facility that may contain traces of bullsh*t.

Number two: The second way, hiding the bad things under mountains of bullsh*t. Complexity. You know, I would love to download Drizzy’s latest Meek Mill diss (Everyone promised me that that made sense) but I’m not interested, right now, in reading Tolstoy’s iTunes agreement, so I’ll just click agree. Even if it grants Apple prima nocta with my spouse.

Here’s another one: simply put, banks shouldn’t be able to bet your pension money on red. Bullsh*tly put it’s, hey, this. Dodd-Frank. Hey, a handful of billionaires can’t buy our elections, right? Of course not, they can only pour unlimited anonymous cash into a 501c4 if 50% is devoted to issue education, otherwise they’d have to 501c6 it or funnel it openly through a non-campaign coordinating Super Pac with a quarter… “I think they’re asleep now, we can sneak out.”

And finally, it’s the bullsh*t of infinite possibility. These bullsh*ters cover their unwillingness to act under the guise of unending inquiry. “We can’t do anything because we don’t yet know everything. We cannot take action on climate change until everyone in the world agrees gay marriage vaccines won’t cause our children to marry goats who are going to come for our guns. Until then, I say teach the controversy.”

Now, the good news is this: bullsh*tters have gotten pretty lazy and their work is easily detected. Looking for it is kind of a pleasant way to pass the time. Like an I-Spy of bullsh*t, so I say to you tonight, friends, the best defense against bullsh*t is vigilance. So if you smell something, say something.

And ever shall that remain relevant.

This is an updated version of a post that ran on August 7, 2015