we are young and stupid and raised by wolves

(this is not real life. these are not pictures of me. I am 20-something years old and a woman and passionate about politics and fanfiction and, as far as you are concerned, I only exist online.)

 

John Oliver won’t be your therapist: How he torpedoed the reassuring tropes of fake news

So I saw this with a different summary elsewhere, more aggressively phrased about how John Oliver was “schooling” Stewart and Colbert, which set my teeth on edge, as do headlines/summaries that are so blatantly attention-seeking.

The article itself doesn’t overshoot quite so much, but there is this reaction to John’s segment last Sunday about the payday loan racket:

This was precisely the kind of story that would never appear on a fake news show. First, because it’s not part of the idiotic news cycle that most of those shows wind up aping (i.e., there’s no “hook”). And second, because it happens to be about the segment of our population most underrepresented in the media: poor people.

Um, no. To point to just one example from this year, Jon Stewart did this powerful segment (be sure to watch the second half that automatically follows) about Fox News’ outrage that poor people use food stamps to eat seafood. “What’s with the fucking fish?”

I’m glad that John’s format on HBO lets him tackle larger issues in such an in-depth way, and yes it does let him do things that Jon and Stephen can’t do as easily, but it’s not exactly a refutation of “fake news.” I disagree with the author that Jon and Stephen are more of “court jesters” looking to ease our pain with laughter. I regularly leave their shows with plenty of outrage over what’s going on, glad to be informed. 

Besides, the whole premise is a little ludicrous since John hasn’t done fifteen episodes yet, while Jon’s been at his show for sixteen years and Stephen for nine.

Robin Williams on The Daily Show

I don’t know why the Daily Show doesn’t have these listed on their homepage right now, like they did after Heath Ledger’s death… anyway, here are Robin Williams’ appearances:

  • 2002: part 1, part 2 - talking about Rumsfeld and the drive toward the Iraq War; one of his latest movies; and the Tour de France (back when people cheered on Lance Armstrong)
  • 2006 - promoting RV, then more Bush-bashing, Schwarzenegger, and living in California
  • 2010 - onto Sarah Palin; his recent heart surgery; and the site’s description is “Robin Williams suggests doing a little research before putting bottles of vodka and tequila in his gift basket.”
  • 2013 - bike riding in NYC; more about his struggle with addictions, and relapse, and his new sobriety; and he complimented Jon’s yet-unreleased film

Jon was on point last night, and his opening segment with his correspondents screaming at him every time he mentioned Israel, was a really great model of the insane commentary going on right now

(I particularly liked Jordan screaming, “SELF-HATING JEW!”)

The Daily Show last night was devastatingly well done, though I didn’t laugh much. The blatant xenophobia and disgustingly eager politicization and distortion on display in the media (particularly Fox News, of course) is just so goddamn ugly, it makes me sick to be in the same world as these people. But Jon got in some devastating hits:

"If you’re looking for a bearded guy who’s killed a lot of Americans —" *points at Lincoln Memorial*

Steve Doocy: “[Bergdahl’s] father told him, right before he went missing, to ‘Obey your conscience’ — which sounds, to some, like whatever you want to do, go ahead.”
Jon: “Yeah, sure, it sounds that way to some…specifically to those who don’t know what a conscience is.”

Part two is here, this is actually a continuous segment. Part two covers the horrible reaction to Bergdahl’s father speaking Pashto. I just. Why can’t anyone point out that Muslims have died for this country, too.

But thankfully Jon concluded with the contrast of the latest shooting (by white folks, natch, claiming alliance with Clive Bundy), in Las Vegas:

"Oh, well, don’t worry about that. Because we just need to protect this country from terrorists…with beards."

And part three tears apart the astounding hubris of “I would have done this better.”

June 2, 2014 - Robert De Niro

Jon’s back!  And he returned with two excellent segments addressing two issues I feel particularly strongly about: gun control and those anti-vaccine fuckers.

"So let’s pretend this current VA crisis is a current anomaly created by one unusually callous and ineffective president, but that would be just pretend. Or, on this Memorial Day weekend eve, we can finally admit that America has had for over 200 years a great bipartisan tradition of honoring those who have fought for our freedom by fucking them over once they give their guns back." 

Fifty years from now, when historians are explaining why Jon Stewart had the influence and respect he had in the first part of the 21st century, this segment with its compacted history lesson will be included among their examples.

Seriously, this Memorial’s Day, consider sharing this video with any veterans you know.

This is why I like O’Reilly. He’s like Fox News’ Incredible Hulk. Sure — usually just a mindlessly aggressive force of destruction, but pointed in the right direction…he becomes a hero.

Jon Stewart

Timothy Geithner Extended Interview

If you have 40 minutes to spare, this is an example of Jon Stewart at his best.

He excels at many things, but one of my favorites of his skills is when he settles in for the long haul and focuses all of his intelligence in engaging and dismantling his opponent’s argument. And this is a particularly good example because it’s not super-hostile, like when he’s interviewing some Republicans; Geithner isn’t even all that defensive, he’s kinda apologetic, in fact (“you’re a smart, thoughtful guy, and a lot of people agree with you”). Jon comes off as so sharp in this interview, though, it’s kind of erotic.

Geithner: “There was a lot of fancy stuff that contributed to the crash, whatever you want to call it —”
Jon: “Derivatives.”

Geithner: “I was a civil servant at the Treasury, on the international part, and I grew up watching these crises happen…watching, frankly, countries screw it up by trying to either not take too much risk or not letting the financial sector make mistakes. They were well-intentioned mistakes, but still mistakes —”

Jon: “No, I understand the idea that you apply the Powell doctrine of overwhelming force in terms of re-liquidating and re-capitalizing the banks.”

Geithner: “Only because, scarred by experience, it was the only way to give people a measure of justice against the risk of a much worse outcome. Now I understand you think it would be possible to do that and some other things too, but you’re assuming a unicorn, because you’re assuming somehow we could have figured out a way to get Congress to go legislate hundreds of billions of dollars directly to the homeowners -“

Jon: “Well, the only reason why I say that is because, somehow, a unicorn did appear for the banks. And somehow, a mythical creature arose out of nowhere and presented them with billions and billions of dollars out of nowhere. Poof.

Ahahaha, omg, the conclusion:

Jon: “I sat next to Donald Rumsfeld for a long time, talking about the Iraq War.”

Geithner: “This can’t be good. This is deeply unfair.”

Jon: “No, it’s not unfair.”

Geithner: “I should stop you right now.”

Jon: “You’re troubled, and you’re searching for answers, and I disagree with your conclusion. I think that there’s an awful lot you can do within statutory limits, when you have checks you are writing that are that large — that being said: at least when I look behind your eyes, there is something moving back there. And when I looked behind his eyes, after the Iraq War, he was just like, ‘This was fun. I was thinking about invading another country, wanna hear about that?’”

If I was looking to fear for my life in a fast-food restaurant, I’d go to Arby’s. BOOM! …Take that, inexplicable hatred of a restaurant that’s never been anything but pleasant to me.

Jon Stewart was highly entertaining last night — just fun to watch, with a v. amusing diatribe against Philadelphia

Jon Stewart interviewed James McAvoy last night

and his first question was why they didn’t use Kitty Pryde for X-Men: Days of Future Past

McAvoy’s response, of course, was “because HUGH JACKMAN”

sigh. But I’m really glad Jon asked, anyway