Yesterday's killing of at least 12 staff members of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo by possibly Qaeda-affiliated terrorists in Paris was a tragedy for believers in free speech everywhere, but particularly for satirists, cartoonists and comedians. As the face and voice of one of America's leading satirical institutions, a lot of people tuned into The Daily Show last night to get insight from a man who has had to put on his serious face for insight too many times over the last year. Stewart has also just released a documentary, Rosewater, about Iran jailing a man for speaking to a Daily Show reporter, so he has some experience with fundamentalist intolerance of comedy. If someone was going to be able to say something to help put this in context, it's him. Fortunately, he did.
Comedy shouldn't have to be brave, because our usual targets—the leaders of our society and government—enshrined satirists' right to make fun of them in our Constitution (and in similar founding documents across the world since). Our usual targets are our friends and countrymen, not to be confused with the real enemy: hate and backwardness.
Go Team Civilization!