It was moving and somehow healing to see a clearly shaken Jon Stewart
struggle to "make sense of this senseless thing" in a sober, meandering monologue on the Arizona shootings.
Rejecting easy answers, he stressed the human cost of the tragedy,
cited the "complex ecosystem of influences and motivations" we inhabit,
and noted, gently, that words, especially toxic ones, have power.
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"I do think it's important to watch our rhetoric. I think
it's a worthwhile goal not to conflate our political opponents with
enemies if for no other reason than to draw a better distinction between
the manifestos of paranoid madmen and what passes for acceptable
political and pundit speak. It would be really nice if the ramblings of
crazy people didn't in any way resemble how we actually talk to each
other on teevee."