Posts Tagged ‘Daily Show’
UPDATE: A Twitter conversation spawned by the article, minus the @_machinic_ quotes that aren’t public that make the stupid thing readable: Twitter v. The Wire v. Climate Change.
The upper middle brow possesses excellence, intelligence, and integrity. It is genuinely good work (as well as being most of what I read or look at myself). The problem is it always lets us off the hook. Like Midcult, it is ultimately designed to flatter its audience, approving our feelings and reinforcing our prejudices. It stays within the bounds of what we already believe, affirms the enlightened opinions we absorb every day in the quality media, the educated bromides we trade on Facebook. It doesn’t tell us anything we don’t already know, doesn’t seek to disturb—the definition of a true avant-garde—our fundamental view of ourselves, or society, or the world.
* Kotsko: We hear over and over again that our modern economy requires flexible workers who can easily move among different tasks and settings. Yet instead of taking advantage of the natural ability of colleges and universities to cultivate these kinds of competencies, we are continually told that we need to retool our programs to do just the opposite.
In this case as in so many others, a relentless focus on practicality is the most impractical thing at all. And by the same token, the most “impractical” education — one that provides students with an opportunity to develop as fully as possible as thinkers and citizens — may also provide students the chance to develop the most valuable job skills more or less as a matter of course.
* Something’s fishy when a purportedly non-ideological movement shows up on the scene promising revolutionary change that looks suspiciously like the non-academic status quo. Why, exactly, should the ‘next big thing’ in the humanities come from the whitest, malest subfield this side of diplomatic history? Why does the New York Times cover the new field’s projects so much more enthusiastically than it does traditional work? Why has digital humanities attracted more enthusiasm from state funders, across agencies and nation, than the humanities have seen since the Cold War ended? I often think: one of the things digital humanities is potentially very, very good at is naturalizing the world as it is. And our reflexive ways of thinking about the world are just what theory has always sought to get us away from; the nightmare from which it tries to jolt us awake.
* Playboy (NSFW, obviously) interviews Stephen Colbert about science fiction, cynicism, appearing in character, and more.
PLAYBOY: Is it true you met Stewart for the first time while asking him a question at a press conference?
COLBERT: Yeah, that was it. I’d been doing The Daily Show when Craig Kilborn was hosting. I heard they were doing a press conference to announce that Jon was the new host, and I said, “Isn’t that the sort of thing we should be covering?” So I went, sat down in the audience and raised my hand when they opened it up to questions. I was like, “Stephen Colbert, Daily Show.” Oh God, how did I phrase it? “Does this announcement have any effect on the prospects of me getting the hosting job?” Jon looked at Doug Herzog, who was the network president at the time and is again, and said, “You said he wasn’t funny.”
* Twilight of the geniuses: life with an abnormally high IQ.
* And some free advice for the GOP: stop doing this.
Louis CK’s appearance on the Daily Show last night confirms for me that the guy is some kind of comedy Rorschach test. What I heard was a man talking with sensitivity about rape culture on national TV, which is something that is exceedingly rare, much less from a male comedian. It’s true he used some lazy “humorless feminist” and “nagging women STFU” tropes along the way, but I honestly just filtered those out as standard comedy boilerplate and ignored them. The final STFU, in particular, I found so outlandish as to obviously mean the opposite, especially in context of the conversation he and Jon had just been having. Alyssa Rosenberg, who started all this, had the same reaction as me.
Talking with others in the MeFi thread, or on Twitter, though, I see tons of people taking the exact opposite points away from the C.K. appearance. That he acknowledged the existence of rape culture is barely adequate to the situation, they find, and the way he did it was minimizing and aggressive to the point of misogyny. I see their point, absolutely. On the merits I’ve come around and think they’re probably right. But I took (and I think I still take) everything he said the other way.
I’m going to go ahead and declare that the problem is comedy itself. Why can’t people just articulate clearly and simply exactly what they mean? It would make all this a lot easier.
* Speak, nerd, and enter: The Firefly reunion panel.
* The headline reads, “Student Loan Debt Delinquency Is Much Worse Than We Thought.”
We find that 27 percent of the borrowers have past due balances, while the adjusted proportion of outstanding student loan balances that is delinquent is 21 percent-much higher than the unadjusted rates of 14.4 percent and 10 percent, respectively
Meanwhile, college costs have sextupled since 1985.
* The Supreme Court looks prepared to rule that international law doesn’t apply internationally. Well done, sirs.
* Attorney General Eric Holder concludes no due process is a kind of due process. This whole “rule of law” thing is going great.
* Paul Pillar: We can live with a nuclear Iran. Of course we can.
The simple argument is that Iranian leaders supposedly don’t think like the rest of us: they are religious fanatics who value martyrdom more than life, cannot be counted on to act rationally, and therefore cannot be deterred. On the campaign trail Rick Santorum has been among the most vocal in propounding this notion, asserting that Iran is ruled by the “equivalent of al-Qaeda,” that its “theology teaches” that its objective is to “create a calamity,” that it believes “the afterlife is better than this life,” and that its “principal virtue” is martyrdom. Newt Gingrich speaks in a similar vein about how Iranian leaders are suicidal jihadists, and says “it’s impossible to deter them.”
The trouble with this image of Iran is that it does not reflect actual Iranian behavior. More than three decades of history demonstrate that the Islamic Republic’s rulers, like most rulers elsewhere, are overwhelmingly concerned with preserving their regime and their power—in this life, not some future one. They are no more likely to let theological imperatives lead them into self-destructive behavior than other leaders whose religious faiths envision an afterlife. Iranian rulers may have a history of valorizing martyrdom—as they did when sending young militiamen to their deaths in near-hopeless attacks during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s—but they have never given any indication of wanting to become martyrs themselves. In fact, the Islamic Republic’s conduct beyond its borders has been characterized by caution. Even the most seemingly ruthless Iranian behavior has been motivated by specific, immediate concerns of regime survival. The government assassinated exiled Iranian dissidents in Europe in the 1980s and ’90s, for example, because it saw them as a counterrevolutionary threat. The assassinations ended when they started inflicting too much damage on Iran’s relations with European governments. Iran’s rulers are constantly balancing a very worldly set of strategic interests. The principles of deterrence are not invalid just because the party to be deterred wears a turban and a beard.
On the other side, of course, we have the not-at-all-fascistic-sounding slogan “peace through strength.” Occupy Everywhere? What could possibly go wrong?
* Matt Zoller Seitz on what makes Mad Men great.
Marquez: Thank you very much. All things considered, I think that if I were Japanese I would be as unyielding as you on [the subject of the bomb]. And at any rate I understand you. No war is good for anybody.
Kurosawa: That is so. The trouble is that when the shooting starts, even Christ and the angels turn into military chiefs of staff.
* How Goldman Sachs does it: they’re on every side of every deal.
* Archie Comics continues to insist on its own relevance: now they’re giving Cheryl Blossom breast cancer.
* And exactly how long ago was a long time ago in a galaxy far away? io9 is there.
Great Unknown, Han and Chewbacca are forced to make a jump to hyperspace to flee Imperial attackers. (OK yes, we know it’s non-canonical, but this is a thought experiment so just bear with us.) The Millennium Falcon crash lands on Earth, where Han and Chewbacca are attacked by Native Americans. Han receives several arrow wounds in the process, and Chewbacca holds his partner as the last bit of life flees from him. The second half of the story leaps 126 years into the future, with Indiana Jones and Short Round searching for Sasquatch in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, only to find Chewbacca and the bones of Han Solo.
* Actually existing media bias: Sunday Morning Talk Shows Featured Twice As Many Republicans As Dems Last Year.
* Little known fact about Sweden, that supposed bastion of liberal idealism: If a Swedish transgender person wants to legally update their gender on official ID papers, a 1972 law requires them to get both divorced and sterilized first.
* And all I can say is: What took so long?
Everyone on Twitter is saying Kim Jong Il has died.
* The zombies started it, we’ll finish the job: Anti-Zombie Propaganda Posters.
* “PhD ≠ job”: Graduate students at Occupy Baltimore.
* As one of my generation’s premier Brian Krakows, I can’t in good conscience allow this pro-Catalano fluff piece to pass without comment. In principle I like the idea of ending my subgeneration’s intractable “Are we Gen X or are we Millennials” quagmire by rejecting both labels and embracing our singularity—but we don’t want to pay that price. Please note quiet, deliberate Saved by the Bell echo. I watched it during its first run, you know.
* Colbert explains the mere fact that corporations are born in a lawyer’s office, only exist on paper, have no soul, and can never die doesn’t mean they’re not people. Not related in the slightest: Muppeteer Kevin Clash on the Daily Show promoting his truly excellent biopic, Being Elmo.
* And speaking of Muppets: Some members of the Muppet “old guard” are apparently unsatisfied with Jason Segel’s The Muppets.
A small example is in one of the many trailers Disney has released, when Fozzie makes a fart joke. “We wouldn’t do that; it’s too cheap,” says another Muppets veteran. “It may not seem like much in this world of [Judd] Apatow humor, but the characters don’t go to that place.”
There is a list of similar concerns: Kermit would never live in a mansion, as he does in this movie. The Muppets, depicted in the script as jealous of Kermit’s wealth, would not have broken up in bitterness. The script “creates a false history that the characters were forced to act out for the sake of this movie,” says an old Muppets hand.
Frank Oz, the most famous living Muppets performer — known best as Miss Piggy — spoke more harshly in a recent interview with the British paper Metro. “I wasn’t happy with the script,” he said bluntly. “I don’t think they respected the characters. But I don’t want to go on about it like a sourpuss and hurt the movie.”
* And the headline reads, “Aaron Sorkin asked to write the Steve Jobs biopic, obviously.”
* How to defend Obama’s record, from the man himself: “I think the key is not to get too bogged down in detail.” Geez, you said it.
* Americans hate everyone in Washington, but they hate Republicans a lot more. See, I am in the mainstream.
* But next time will be different! This time for real. We promise.
* The Daily Show has heroically managed to find humor even in the monstrosity that is the Super Congress. More important superhero coverage from Colbert, as well as cutting-edge coverage of NorthDakotagate.
* The heroism that dare not speak its name: The Married Lesbian Couple Who Saved 40 Teens From The Norway Shooter.
According to newly released tax data, “U.S. incomes plummeted again in 2009, with total income down 15.2 percent in real terms since 2007.” 2009′s average income of $54,283, which is the latest available data, “was at its lowest level since 1997 when it was $54,265 in 2009 dollars, just $18 less than in 2009.”
* Self-parody watch: Fox goes after Spongebob.
* Watchdogs Demand Investigation Into ‘Brazen’ $1 Million Pro-Romney Donation. Unfortunately I’ve just gotten an email from 2016 that explains how the Supreme Court will find this all perfectly legal.
Not looking good. I’m revising down my odds that this is a traditional smearjob and revising up my odds that he’ll resign / not run for mayor / get redistricted out of existence / be really embarrassed / etc. Even if the original Tweeted picture wasn’t actually his—and who knows there—this is not at all good for him. And I like Weiner, at least most of the time, so I find this a real shame. He would have been a good mayor for New York.
Of course the real loser here is poor Jon Stewart, who just can’t catch a break with this thing.
UPDATE: I mean really.