The Rally, Featuring Jon Stewart As Will Rogers

Jon Stewart's closing pitch was the most effective "we're not all enemies, actually" pitch in quite a long time. 


This sort of thing was common, and didn't actually have to be said out loud, for a few weeks after 9/11. (Stewart's merging-traffic metaphor was great; similarly, I knew the good part of the 9/11 mood was over the first time I saw somebody giving the finger in traffic.) It is what got attention for Obama in his 2004 convention speech, but that was more highflown and seems an eternity ago.

I used to wonder what my parents meant when talking about the role Will Rogers had played when they were kids. This is the kind of thing they must have had in mind. Hard to imagine beforehand how such a rally could have seemed to have a "point," but that close brought it together and actually was memorable. Great press critique too.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.

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