This Tweet, shared in a Washington Post story about security breaches, really cracked me up yesterday. You’ve got to play the gif…
— Don Mexico (@RealDonMexico) October 3, 2017
Bryan, who is off somewhere in foreign parts today (California, I think), brings to my attention this piece from The Atlantic. Its headline is “How Late-Night Comedy Fueled the Rise of Trump,” with the subhed, “Sneering hosts have alienated conservatives and made liberals smug.”
Or at least, they were smug until Nov. 8.
The piece isn’t bad, although it gets sidetracked here and there, and reading it didn’t make me a whole lot smarter than I was after reading the hed and subhed — with which I agreed from the start.
Not that I didn’t learn anything new. For instance, I heard of this Samantha Bee person, and her salacious-sounding show “Full Frontal.” (Remember, folks, I don’t watch TV beyond Netflix, Amazon Prime and PBS.)
When I read the headline, I was picturing Jon Stewart — who, although he’s been replaced by Trevor Noah, still seems the perfect example to illustrate the point.
Here’s probably the best bit in the piece. It comes after the author has established, in fairness, that Donald J. Trump is any comedian’s dream, and richly deserves every bit of mockery aimed at him and more (which is obviously true):
So Trump has it coming, and so do the minions pouring out of his clown car, with their lies and their gleeful disregard for what Nick Carraway called “the fundamental decencies.” But somewhere along the way, the hosts of the late-night shows decided that they had carte blanche to insult not just the people within this administration, but also the ordinary citizens who support Trump, and even those who merely identify as conservatives. In March, Samantha Bee’s show issued a formal apology to a young man who had attended the Conservative Political Action Conference and whom the show had blasted for having “Nazi hair.” As it turned out, the young man was suffering from Stage 4 brain cancer—which a moment’s research on the producers’ part would have revealed: He had tweeted about his frightening diagnosis days before the conference. As part of its apology, the show contributed $1,000 to the GoFundMe campaign that is raising money for his medical expenses, so now we know the price of a cancer joke.
It was hardly the first time Full Frontal had gone, guns blazing, after the sick or the meek. During the campaign, Bee dispatched a correspondent to go shoot fish in a barrel at something called the Western Conservative Summit, which the reporter described as “an annual Denver gathering popular with hard-right Christian conservatives.” He interviewed an earnest young boy who talked about going to church on Sundays and Bible study on Wednesdays, and about his hope to start a group called Children for Trump. For this, the boy—who spoke with the unguarded openness of a child who has assumed goodwill on the part of an adult—was described as “Jerry Falwell in blond, larval form.” Trump and Bee are on different sides politically, but culturally they are drinking from the same cup, one filled with the poisonous nectar of reality TV and its baseless values, which have now moved to the very center of our national discourse. Trump and Bee share a penchant for verbal cruelty and a willingness to mock the defenseless. Both consider self-restraint, once the hallmark of the admirable, to be for chumps….
She returns to that incident at the end:
… I’ve also thought a good deal about the boy on Samantha Bee’s program. I thought about the moment her producer approached the child’s mother to sign a release so that the woman’s young son could be humiliated on television. Was it a satisfying moment, or was it accompanied by a small glint of recognition that embarrassing children is a crappy way to make a living? I thought about the boy waiting eagerly to see himself on television, feeling a surge of pride that he’d talked about church and Bible study. And I thought about the moment when he realized that it had all been a trick—that the grown-up who had seemed so nice had only wanted to hurt him.
My God, I thought. What have we become?
But there’s something to her thesis beyond citing pain inflicted upon victims with whom even the most indoctrinated liberals might sympathize. She touches on the broader point when she says “the tone of these shows [is] one imbued with the conviction that they and their fans are intellectually and morally superior to those who espouse any of the beliefs of the political right.”
And then she wonders whether that tone is largely responsible for Trump supporters’ dismissal of “the media,” by which she means in this context HBO, Comedy Central, TBS, ABC, CBS, and NBC — the very networks that present the comedy shows. The point being that folks who feel so insulted by the late-night comedy tend to associate it with the news programming on the same networks, and dismiss it all.
You say “media” to me, and I think of the news that I consume — from leading print outlets to NPR. Others don’t see it that way, I’ve long been forced to realize. They think of television, and sometimes — perhaps most of the time — they have trouble distinguishing between the “news” presented by celebrities one hour from the entertainment presented by other celebrities in a different time slot.
Which is understandable, if regrettable…
You’ve probably already seen this gag — other people I showed it to this morning had — but for those who missed it, here’s a funny for you.
And no, it’s not supposed to be serious commentary or anything; it’s just a funny picture that was suggested by Trump’s body language in the photo, combined with Angela Merkel’s expression, which looks like a teacher addressing a wayward pupil. So lighten up, Francis.
I don’t know who did it. It was brought to my attention by this Tweet, from someone who didn’t know who had originated it, either…
There’s this obnoxious kid named Bruce Gibney — I haven’t found his age anywhere, but there’s a picture of him at right, so I think you’ll see my characterization is pretty much spot-on, especially the “obnoxious” part — who has written this book (and good for him! what a big-boy thing to do!) that just really rips into my generation.
It’s called A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America. He goes on and on about it apparently, else it would not be a book.
My wife says she heard him being interviewed on the radio, and was struck by how much he seems to really, really hate us.
Oh, yeah? Well, take a look at this, ya little punk. Here’s what we think of you…
Since Friday night, my wife and I have been semi-bingeing (I think we’ve seen five episodes so far) on “The Crown,” the new series from Netflix.
I find it comforting, a warm embrace from our Mother Country, just when we were thoroughly traumatized and needed one.
(Digression: As you know, I’ve been listening to the music from “Hamilton” lately, and have enjoyed the songs sung by “King George” in the play… although I think there’s a good bit of Rebel propaganda in that version. I prefer the clip above from HBO’s “John Adams,” which is pretty much word-for-word accurate, according to David McCullough’s biography. You can easily see that while His Majesty didn’t want us to go, he was quite willing to be a sport about it, after the fact.)
Anyway, here’s the message. It has apparently been passed around on the Web so much that no one knows who originated it. So, you know, it could actually be from Elizabeth Windsor:
A MESSAGE FROM THE QUEEN
To the citizens of the United States of America from Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
In light of your failure to nominate competent candidates for President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately. (You should look up ‘revocation’ in the Oxford English Dictionary.)
Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except North Dakota, which she does not fancy).
Your new Prime Minister, Theresa May, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections.
Congress and the Senate will be disbanded.
A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.
To aid in the transition to a British Crown dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:
1. The letter ‘U’ will be reinstated in words such as ‘colour,’ ‘favour,’ ‘labour’ and ‘neighbour.’ Likewise, you will learn to spell ‘doughnut’ without skipping half the letters, and the suffix ‘-ize’ will be replaced by the suffix ‘-ise.’
Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. (look up ‘vocabulary’).
2. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as ”like’ and ‘you know’ is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as U.S. English. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take into account the reinstated letter ‘u” and the elimination of ‘-ize.’
3. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.
4. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you’re not quite ready to be independent. Guns should only be used for shooting grouse. If you can’t sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist, then you’re not ready to shoot grouse.
5. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. Although a permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.
6. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left side with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.
7. The former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) of roughly $10/US gallon. Get used to it.
8. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup, but with vinegar.
9. The cold, tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. South African beer is also acceptable, as they are pound for pound the greatest sporting nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of the British Commonwealth – see what it did for them. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat’s Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.
10. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie Macdowell attempt English dialect in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one’s ears removed with a cheese grater.
11. You will cease playing American football. There is only one kind of proper football; you call it soccer. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies).
12. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.1% of you are aware there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the South Africans first to take the sting out of their deliveries.
13.. You must tell us who killed JFK. It’s been driving us mad.
14. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty’s Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).
15. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 p.m. with proper cups, with saucers, and never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; plus strawberries (with cream) when in season.
God Save the Queen!
PS: Only share this with friends who have a good sense of humour (NOT humor)!
Personally, I can go along with all of the conditions except 3, 6 and 12. If Her Majesty insists on those points, I’m afraid we’ll have to keep muddling on without her….
A friend shared this with me. It’s pretty funny.
I don’t think it was peer-reviewed. How could it be? Who is great enough to presume to be Trump’s peer?
You can go look at the whole thing, but if you don’t, the above gives you a pretty good idea. It says the same things over and over. Just like Trump…
OK, twice in one week I’m succumbing to the temptation to share stuff sent out on mass emails.
And yet again, as with the dog picture, it’s from Samuel Tenenbaum, who forwarded it with the message, “Have a good laugh!”
Some of you may think the best thing on TV was a football game, but I beg to differ.
The above and the below beat that by a mile.
As wonderful as good satire (below) can be, in this year it’s hard for deliberate comedy to match real life (above) on the campaign trail…
This pretty much cracked me up.
One of Donald Trump’s more recent boasts was that “Somebody said I’m the Ernest Hemingway of 140 characters.”
So The Washington Post had some fun imagining what that would look like were it to be true:
Yes, the Tweets are fake. But funny. And, as the Post boasts, classy…
I say “to me” because it was inside humor; it could not possibly have been as funny to someone who has not sat through thousands of news meetings just like the one portrayed, and suffered just the way Phil Hartman’s character suffers in the skit. (I’d love to know who wrote it. It had to be a fellow sufferer, because only someone who has been there and listened to such nonsense could possibly have come up with some of the touches in the dialogue.)
And I say “at least on paper” because, to my disappointment in going back and watching it again, I see that the actors were a bit off. There were stumbles by Rob Schneider, and even Phil Hartman, who otherwise is brilliant as the one sane man in the room. I wish in retrospect that they’d shot it as a short film in advance, as SNL sometimes does, to iron out those little problems with timing. I find myself wondering whether the actors just lacked energy because, having never been newspaper editors, they just did not understand how hilarious this was.
Unfortunately, the live audience hardly laughed at all, which probably persuaded Lorne Michaels that insider newspaper humor doesn’t sell.
Anyway, I’m sharing this because of a Twitter exchange I had Saturday night:
— Dave M. (@dmech06) November 15, 2015
Perhaps so. I forget what the show did right after 9/11. But that reminded me that, ironically, one of the funniest things SNL ever did was about Pearl Harbor. Fortunately, the skit ran 50 years to the day after the attacks, and that amount of time having passed gave the show license to make fun.
And it was just so, so real. How many times have I been in such meetings, trying to sell something important as the lede story, while my fellow editors oohed and aahed over minor crime news, or the fact that “the lady bulldogs have a chance of going to the state finals this year.” And as one who has always had little patience with other editors’ overreaction to the weather (my general guiding principle on that is that if I want to know what the weather is, I’ll step outside) this is a battle cry that resonates in my heart:
“I’ll tell you what’s happenin’ in the weather: IT’S RAININ’ BOMBS IN HAWAII; that’s what’s happening…”
There’s just one brilliant line after another, such as “Do we have one Japanese person in Turrell?” and “Now Bill, that is something that affects our readers — they’re going to have to pay for those typewriters!” Someone had to have been taking notes during real newsroom budget meetings to come up with dialogue such as that.
But the very best touch of all is when you see the paper roll off the press, and the Pearl Harbor story is played at the bottom of page 7, under the news that Phil Hartman’s character has, understandably, shot himself. It appears under this savagely brilliant, one-column headline:
… because, you know, you can’t be too careful. Do we KNOW that they were Japanese? And we’d better put “base” in quotes rather than step out on a limb…
I got a kick out of Alexandra Petri’s column in The Washington Post, which Cindi shared today in The State, headlined “13 Tips on How To Speak While Female.” It was based on advice she’d heard on how women can sound more professional and be taken more seriously. It was pretty hilarious, as a send-up (I assume) of both the givers of those advice and those who take it seriously.
The best bits:
1) Never speak in run-on sentences. Use only sentences that Hemingway would use. Speak curtly. Speak of fish and fighting, and the deep wisdom no woman can know. Speak of hills and strong liquor. Speak of Scott Fitzgerald and his fatal weakness….
6) Do not baby talk, not even to babies. Especially not to babies. Avoid speaking to babies in general, as they do not control the workforce and cannot offer you advancement.
7) Never apologize. Not even once. Not for yourself, and certainly not for America. Never let “Sorry” leave your lips. If you wish to play the boardgame of that name, point at it and growl….
Nice work, Alexandra — for a dame. I like your voice, no matter what the other guys say…
Any thoughts on Jon Stewart’s announced replacement, Trevor Noah?
I mean, beyond the purely superficial sort of hail-the-Obama-of-talk-show-hosts observation?
I don’t know what I think, because the clips I’ve seen today meant to explain who Trevor Noah is have been kind of light and limited. Perhaps he has the comedic range and ironic take on American politics that make him a good replacement. But I haven’t seen it.
We knew what we were getting with Jimmy Fallon (a guy I used to not like, but who had grown on me by the time he took over the Tonight Show). We know what we will be getting when Stephen Colbert takes over for Letterman, although some might wonder a little as to what he’ll be like as himself.
The president of Comedy Central said, “You don’t hope to find the next Jon Stewart — there is no next Jon Stewart. So, our goal was to find someone who brings something really exciting and new and different.”
So, I suppose we’ll see what that something different will be.
On a completely unrelated note, I ran across this quote today from Stewart, which was new to me:
I view America like this: 70 to 80 percent [are] pretty reasonable people that truthfully, if they sat down, even on contentious issues, would get along. And the other 20 percent of the country run it.
Good one. If Comedy Central had given me a vote, I’d have voted to hire somebody who will come up with more quotes like that, whoever that might be…
Meet the Department of the Internet! We'll be handling the Internet you love, but at the speed of government. https://t.co/xDIjKdpete
— Dept. Of Internet (@Dept_Internet) February 23, 2015
On one level, I’m posting these videos purely for the enjoyment of Doug and others who think the government exists to screw things up.
Well, I’ve never really gotten into this net neutrality debate because a) honestly, I’ve never read enough about it to confidently say I fully understand it, and b) I can’t tell from what little I know which side is right, so I don’t really have a position on it.
But wow — these heavy-handed “government is stupid and malicious” videos are telling me maybe I’d better get hip to this issue. These videos are entertaining, until you realize they’re not really kidding. These folks want you to think that net neutrality is a menace.
That makes me think maybe the other side has a point, and that maybe somebody needs to stand up for it.
But I still don’t know enough to say for sure…
Something fun that I posted on the ADCO blog earlier…
An explanation, from AdWeek:
Well, this is hilarious on a few different levels.
Stock video provider Dissolve has taken the text of Kendra Eash’s brilliant advertising takedown, “This Is a Generic Brand Video,” originally published by McSweeney’s, and set it to actual stock video clips.
The company explains: “The minute we saw Kendra Eash’s brilliant ‘This Is a Generic Brand Video’ on McSweeney’s, we knew it was our moral imperative to make that generic brand video so. No surprise, we had all the footage.”
The results, narrated by Dallas McClain, are outstanding. You’ve seen all of this footage in ads from major brands. It’s everywhere. And it’s great that a stock video house would so gleefully celebrate the soul-sucking manipulations for which its offerings are generally used.
Watch below, and have a great self-hating rest of your afternoon.
Be sure to adjust the setting to HD 1080, in order to fully enjoy the empty experience of viewing Dissolve’s awesome stock footage:
I didn’t get to watch all of the whole 40th-Anniversary “Saturday Night Live” special last night… OK, tell the truth, I could have watched it, but gave up on it during an interminable edition of the tiresome “The Californians” sketch… but thought I’d at least share with you this clip of good bits, courtesy of The Washington Post:
A colleague found this in her spam folder, and knew I’d enjoy it. I pass it on in the same spirit:
I am Mr Hosni Mubarak former leader of Egyptian am currently released from prison charges of complicity resulting from political turmoil during the 2011 the government has seized everything i have here and prevent us from traveling out of Egypt because the released is conditional.
As a result of this, I need somebody outside Egypt to represent my interest to manage our reserved funds value (25,000,000.00 U.SD) in long-term business venture especially in public and private business (including real estate investment,
I am willing to negotiate with you how much I will offer you to handle this for me after your acceptance. And all needed to proceed the legality and movement of the (25,000,000.00 U.SD) shall or will be duly obtained in due course.
Mr Hosni Mubarak
I’ve recently written about three movies — ‘The Interview,’ ‘American Sniper‘ and ‘Selma‘ — that I had not seen (which kind of limited what I had to say about them). This past week, I had planned to see them all and write about them further. Which would have been quite the hat trick for a guy who is accustomed to waiting until films show up on Netflix.
I managed to see two of them. I still hope to see the other soon.
My report follows:
This one took the least trouble to see, which was good, because I wouldn’t have crossed the street to see it. I rented it from iTunes on my Apple TV, and it didn’t cost me anything because I had a gift certificate I hadn’t used up.
It was about what you would expect, if you’ve seen enough Seth Rogen movies. On that spectrum, it was nowhere near as good as “Knocked Up” or “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” and a good bit better than “Pineapple Express” or “Zack and Miri Make a Porno.” I’m not saying it was more elevated or worthwhile than those latter two, but the bathroom humor was funnier. The dirty talk wasn’t nearly as funny or relevant as the dirty talk in “SuperBad,” so you are forewarned.
One of the more interesting things about this film was that North Korea was so ticked off about it, seeing that the guy who played Kim Jong Un was handsomer, more engaging — certainly more manly looking (both in terms of masculinity and maturity) — and more engaging on a human level than any of us have ever seen the Dear Leader be. I mean, even though the flick was making gross fun of him and making a joke out of killing him (which, one has to grant North Korea, is pretty offensive), it was actually kind of flattering to him.
If you can see it for free at any point and you want to know what all the fuss is about, it’s not completely unwatchable. But otherwise, don’t bother.
I had wanted to see this anyway, even more so after The Guardian (being The Guardian) practically painted Chris Kyle as a war criminal, but I sort of reckoned without the fact that everyone else in South Carolina wanted to see it this past weekend as well.
Bryan Caskey joined my younger son and me (neither Mamanem nor Bryan’s wife wanted to see it) at the 5:10 show at Dutch Square. Bryan got his ticket and went inside ahead of us. While waiting for my son to get through the queue, I spoke across the ticket-taker to Bryan, saying, “Don’t worry; there’ll be plenty of previews.”
The ticket guy said, “Yeah, but there won’t be plenty of seats.” He said this was their 11th show of the weekend, and several of them had been sold out.
Boy, was he right. With stadium seating, I normally sit about halfway up, so that the center of the screen is at eye level. But this time, we had to sit with the groundlings on the third row, way off to the side. So Bryan, my son and I all had to slide down in our seats with our knees propped against the seats in front and our heads resting back onto the tops of our seatbacks, looking almost straight up, at a weird, distorting angle. But I got used to it by about the 75th preview (OK; honestly, I didn’t count).
But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the show?
Good. But you knew it was going to be good. When’s the last time Clint Eastwood made a bad one? And the older he gets, he seems to get better. I’m thinking “Gran Torino” here.
And the portrayal of Chris Kyle was — matter-of-fact and respectful. It was the story of a guy who is definitely a sheepdog in the sheep/wolf/sheepdog model of killologist Dave Grossman — one of those who is neither a sheep nor a wolf, but one of those rare types who sees himself as a protector of sheep from wolves. And one of those rarer men (like, 2 percent of the male population) who doesn’t have nightmares after killing other people, if he has good reason to see the killings as morally justifiable.
Eastwood helps the viewer to understand a man like Kyle, without either condemning or overly glorifying him — although many will see him as a monster or as a red-white-and-blue excuse to wave the flag, according to their own proclivities. As I say, the depiction is respectful.
I could have used a little more examination of the psychology of a sniper. While many will feel like there was too much footage of Kyle taking careful aim on enemy combatants (and, in more than one case, “combatants” who are women and young boys, which is the thing that will make you want to walk out if anything does), I felt like not enough was done to show how most people would be torn up by that — say, with a side story about a fellow sniper who was not as unconflicted about his job. You know that the cost to Kyle is not nil, as you see the stress he undergoes after his fourth deployment. But I could have used more explication in that department.
Anyway, it’s worth seeing, whatever your attitudes on the subject matter. It’s well-done, and examines unflinchingly the moral ambiguity that accompanies any combat role, regardless of the conflict in question.
Still haven’t seen this one. I passed up, with some misgivings, the Urban League’s annual breakfast, justifying it by saying that I was going to go with some friends to see ‘Selma’ at the Nickelodeon as my way of observing the day.
But even though we were there half an hour ahead, we couldn’t get into the 2:30 show. Sold out.
Has going to the actual movie theater experienced some huge resurgence when I wasn’t looking? I haven’t been to a show as crowded as “American Sniper” in decades, partly because I try not to go on the opening weekend at the most popular times. (Wouldn’t you think a 5:10 show would be an awkward time — neither matinee nor evening-out time? I did.)
And then, to not get into the show at all, when the film’s been out a couple of weeks?
OK, yeah, I realize it was MLK Day, and it looked like there were some school groups there. But still.
Have any of y’all seen it? Can you give us a review?