Recently, I blogged about the website JonStewartisGod.com, (JSiG for short), the homepage for a “religion” based on deifying the popular fake-news anchor. It turns out that, like any religion worth its salt, the Stewartist faith, if I may call it that, is already splintering. Yes, there’s a schism among the faithful over whether to accept fellow anchor Stephen Colbert into the pantheon. The rival Web site www.jonism.com, while confusingly named, accepts both men as saviors, in distinction to the original JSiG. Stewart is known as “His Hostiness” and Colbert as “His Truthiness.” Futher bolstering its sense of inclusion, Jonism declares that regular Daily Show correspondents like Ed Helms, Samantha Bee, and Lewis Black are prophets.
Of the two sites, Jonism is much broader in its scope. In addition to its acceptance of Colbert, Jonists have a “Fake News Heaven and Hell,” to which they consign journalists, pundits, politicians, and lobbyists based on their political affiliation. (Example: Anderson Cooper is in heaven, Ann Coulter in hell). JSiG has a catchy single, but Jonism has a “Relics and Idolatry” page where the faithful can view screencaps and photos of their idols.
In terms of doctrine, though, JSiG definitely has the advantage. They have written their own text about beliefs and practices, whereas Jonism simply reprints one-liners or segments from Stewart’s and Colbert’s shows. One could make the argument that it’s better to hear the Word straight from the deity without human interference, but it never hurts to sprinkle some “thee”s and “thou”s into the liturgy. JSiG also has a much more streamlined and easy-to-read website. Jonism tends to rely too much on bright colors and fancy graphics that make their message harder to read. JSiG uses cool colors that feel soothing and make me want to hand my soul over to a man I’ve never met. And isn’t that what online church is supposed to be all about?
What to make of this schism in Jon-Stewart-based religions? Just as Christianity has its Catholic/Protestant divide, so believers in the spirituality of “The Daily Show” must choose their allegiance. For now, I’m staying neutral in what will surely become an all-out religious war. Forget fake religion. I’m sticking with the fake news.