Stylization and the Boundaries of Genre: A Case Study of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Cala Zubair
Georgetown University

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Stylization is characterized as multi-voiced utterances in which the speaker challenges the set of discourses voiced by means of conscious use of style (Coupland, 2001). Utilizing Agha's (2005, 2007) theory of enregisterment, I explain how stylization serves as a metacommunicative means of shifting genres. More specifically, I consider how stylization is the mechanism through which The Daily Show with Jon Stewart stretches the boundaries of political news broadcasting. Analyzing several discursive and phonological features of Stewart's speech, I argue that their stylized quality is the primary way the show provides humorous, evaluative commentary on the news it reports as well as stretching the generic boundaries of news broadcasting. I move on to discuss the stylization of extralinguistic features through which The Daily Show exhibits incongruencies with mainstream news broadcasting, contributing to the show's stylized affect. I conclude by emphasizing how stylization of political news offers a model case study to examine the fluidity of social meaning as it is altered or transformed.

eVox. January 2011. Vol. 5.1. Washington, DC: Georgetown University. ©2011 by Cala Zubair.