Finally, Stern is a skilled social satirist. He has
his moments of incongruous piety, but for the most
part, he skewers anyone careless enough to expose
their vanities in public. He knows how to spot phonies and
hypocrites, and he rarely lets self-interest,
compassion, or good taste interfere with his observations.
Rape, the fatal car accident of a good friend, even his
wife's miscarriage...all of these have been
targets for his satire.
But despite his many talents, what prevents Stern from
meeting the second requirement of the King of
All Media crown is the repetitive nature of his output.
His TV show is a visual duplicate of his radio show;
his books are essentially transcriptions of it. In
TV and publishing, then, his success derives not from any
expertise he's shown in creating content tailored
to the particular qualities of these mediums, but rather,
from his overwhelming popularity as a radio
personality. In addition, Stern's reputation as an innovator
is somewhat overblown. While his blunt manner, his
sexually explicit content, and his long-running troubles
with the FCC have led some people to compare him to
Lenny Bruce, that analogy doesn't really hold up. Bruce
was a man ahead of his time, Stern is simply a
product of his. Bruce taught people to look at the world in
a new, more honest way; to some degree, Stern carries
on this tradition, but his students have had
far more prior instruction than Bruce's ever did, so the
challenge isn't as great. And for the most part,
instead of trying to enlighten his audience, Stern is
content to merely grab their attention by pandering to their
horny, rebellious nature...