Who could possibly top Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally, held on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at the end of last month? Stephen Colbert, maybe? Fans of the Comedy Central host, marshaled by the online forum Reddit, are lobbying for Colbert to give it a try and host a Washington, D.C., event of his own. Here's a quick guide to what we know so far:
What would Colbert's rally be celebrating?
"Truthiness," a concept Colbert introduced during the pilot episode of his show, The Colbert Report. It is said to mean a "truth" that a person knows intuitively or "from the gut" without regard to evidence, reason, or logic. The American Dialect Society named it their word of the year in 2005, and it briefly became synonymous with criticism of President George W. Bush's leadership style.
When would the rally take place?
The "Restoring Truthiness" campaign hopes Colbert will hold his rally at the Lincoln Memorial on Oct. 10, 2010 (or 10/10/10). Unfortunately, environmental group Power of One has already booked the venue for that day. No other dates have been proposed, but one Reddit user noted that The Daily Show, from which The Colbert Report originated, will be broadcasting from Washington, D.C., from Oct. 25 to 28, making it a perfect time to stage a rally.
How far has the campaign gone?
Not only does the campaign have an official-looking website, but it has a 48,000-strong Facebook group and the support of the vast Reddit online community. No one at Comedy Central has commented on the possibility of a rally ... except Colbert himself.
Has Colbert confirmed it will be taking place?
No, but he has hinted that an event could happen. On his Sept. 7 show, Colbert acknowledged the Reddit campaign and teased viewers about a forthcoming announcement, possibly in tandem with fellow Comedy Central host Jon Stewart. It will be "an announcement that will change history completely," Colbert said.
Would it be a political event?
Just like Beck, the Colbert rally's supporters say their event will not be political in nature. "Is this some left-wing agenda-driven response to Glenn Beck's rally? No, but we do want to make a parody of it, and who better to do it than Stephen Colbert," a moderator for the campaign's website told The New York Observer.
Could this actually work?
Some pundits wonder whether an internet groundswell could translate into an actual rally. "This is something that people will certainly get fired up about online," says political scientist Matthew Hale, quoted in The Christian Science Monitor. "I question whether you would actually get crowds traveling from places like Idaho and Alaska to actually attend a real rally.” And while it sounds great, says Jon Bershad at Mediaite, "it's doubtful that Colbert would be champing at the bit to do it." Don't forget that Beck's event was mainly about religious faith and Colbert — himself a "devout Christian" — would struggle to satirize that.