STEWART ON BENEDICT….As much as I enjoy the Daily Show, I occasionally get tired of suggestions that Jon Stewart is the only guy in America who “really gets it.” Yesterday, however, I finally got around to reading Pope Benedict’s recent remarks on reason and faith, and I was appalled. The reference to Islam near the beginning of the speech was entirely gratuitous and disingenuous, as were Benedict’s subsequent crocodile tears over the idea that anyone could have taken offense at his remarks. For the record, here’s the nickel version of what he said:

Mohammed was a violent man. Violence is unreasonable. God loves reason. Draw your own conclusions.

Benedict’s supporters are mostly defending him by insisting that Benedict didn’t actually say that. He was just quoting the 14th century Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus, who said it. So why are people so upset? What’s wrong with quoting someone?

This is the reasoning of a ten-year old. And the reaction of the Islamic world ? though almost certainly exaggerated by the cable networks, which just love a good picture ? was typically abhorrent, little more than a staged media circus designed to keep the local yokels riled up. It’s pretty much impossible to find any good guys in this debacle.

Anyway, back to my original point: Last night Jon Stewart pegged all this perfectly. In two entertaining minutes you can learn more about this affair than by reading reams of op-ed commentary. Does anyone know if that segment is available somewhere? Maybe on YouTube or something? It’s worth watching.

UPDATE: Here it is.

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