At the beginning of the year, I was split between a blog for a sports team and a blog about comedians. For my digital essay, I knew I wanted to somehow incorporate comedy into the subject. Luckily, I got into a heated argument with one of my friends over how shows like the Colbert Report and the Daily Show with Jon Stewart offer much more to viewers than just entertainment. Lo and behold, the topic of my essay was born.
My essay essentially focuses on highlighting how the Stephen Colbert has influenced American politics, mostly through his show. Some main topics I discussed included his impact on political legislation and awareness (through his super PAC), his show’s unbiased approach towards ridiculing politicians, and his influence on young voters. In summary, Stephen Colbert should be the fifth face we carve into Mt. Rushmore. I kid, I kid. But in all seriousness, Colbert has done some things for American politics that simply wouldn’t be possible for any other person.
In terms of the conception of the essay, I had a good idea of a number of issues regarding politics that I wanted to write about. Mainly, it was a matter of finding the right videos and creating a structure to all the skits and gimmicks. After I compiled a list of videos and their corresponding topics, I was able to write about how Colbert was affecting American politics in each of those videos.
Using a website as a medium was great for my digital essay. Since a majority of my essay involved referencing the Colbert Report, having high-quality videos was great. In addition, there were a lot of great articles that I was able to hyperlink so that readers with more time could read. Also, making a website allowed me to give the readers flexibility in terms of which topics they read about. Since order didn’t matter, someone could read about Colbert’s effect on young voters if they didn’t care about super PACs.
I did have issues finding and loading videos to my digital essay. Many of the clips that I had in my mind had already been taken down because they were so old. One major problem was the fact that most of my clips were derived from Comedy Central, which was giving me huge problems when I tried to use WordPress (I ultimately switched to Tumblr for these reasons). I spent a lot of time going through code to make sure videos embedded properly. Also, this type of video did not allow me to edit out parts of the video that were less important, meaning that some of my videos were quite lengthy. I tried to reconcile this problem with time benchmarks.
At the end of the day, I hope readers laugh at some of the clips, but also see a different side of Stephen Colbert. He is first and foremost a comedian, but that doesn’t mean he can’t whip out a few words of wisdom from time to time.