There’s plenty of room for people to dispute about whether singer Harry Belafonte going to Venezuela, hanging out with President Hugo Chavez, and calling US President George W. Bush “the greatest terrorist in the world” was a good thing. Not everyone would agree that starting a war on potentially phonied-up intelligence and killing tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians was worse than the 9/11 attacks that killed over three thousand people, and The Daily Show star Jon Stewart certainly stuck it to Belafonte on Monday (9 January), contrasting his statements with his role as a UN goodwill ambassador and flogging every banana boat joke possible. Stewart’s certainly right that most Americans couldn’t find Venezuela if it bit them, although he may be underestimating the number of people of South and Central American heritage in the US who might know better (about 4.75 million, plus another 18.4 million of Mexican ancestry in the 2000 census data). He kids, he kids!
But am I the only person who was bothered by this portion of the segment, where Stewart introduces Chavez’s “response” to Belafonte in one of TDS‘s trademark translations of foreign-language speakers?
STEWART: Chavez was eatin’ it up!
(cut to dubbed video of Chavez and Belafonte)
“CHAVEZ”: You have heard with your own ears Harry Belafonte joins the people’s revolution. Now, wait, tomorrow: Ben Vereen! And — I ask you — Venezuela, can Al Jarreau be far behind?
(cut to Stewart)
STEWART: By the way, one entertainer not siding with Belafonte; recording artist Bobby McFerrin, who described himself as: “Worried, and in no way happy.”
Just in case the faces of the performers Stewart lumps together here in his story about celebrities making silly political statements aren’t all familiar to you: