‘South Park’ creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone doing what they do what they do best: indiscriminately roasting all the sacred cows of American culture without apology.
D.C. McAllister writes: The gods of mockery have heard our prayers. “South Park” is back! This latest clip kicking off the show’s 20th season captures the absurdity of Colin Kaepernick and Black Lives Matter as only “South Park” can. It’s just what we need to cleanse our palettes of political correctness.
A cleanse is exactly what we need. For weeks we’ve been subjected to protests by athletes who have bought into the narrative that racism is institutionalized in America. These people clearly don’t know the difference between an individual racist (and they’re to be found in any country) and a nation that is systemically racist. Maybe they should move to Saudi Arabia to find out.
Instead of presenting reasoned arguments to make their case, they perpetuate ignorance and stir up division in a country that should be united under the banner of freedom for all and which, of all countries on earth, is the freest society for people of all races. Read the rest of this entry »
Fox’s Roger Ailes: Jon Stewart’s Sugar Daddy Comedy Supplier Sends the Departing Host Home with a Taste of His Own MedicinePosted: August 6, 2015
Roger Ailes: a smile and a knife in the ribs
“He’s been after us for years. Occasionally we pay attention. We think he’s funny. We never took it seriously and he never made a dent in us.”
Paul Bond writes: As Jon Stewart‘s final Daily Show approaches, the comedian has mercilessly mocked Fox News Channel, even comparing Roger Ailes to Death. It’s almost like he’s daring the network’s chairman and CEO to respond. Now, he has.
“He’s a brilliant comedian. He’s actually a very nice guy, and I saw him with his kids on the street. He’s a good father. He has a bitter view of the world and you see it embodied in how he’s reacting to Fox News, equating it with death.”
“He’s been after us for years. Occasionally we pay attention. We think he’s funny. We never took it seriously and he never made a dent in us,” Ailes told The Hollywood Reporter after being contacted on Wednesday.
“He’s feeling unrewarded because Fox News beats him on the amount of money we make, on ratings and on popularity. I’m sure it’s very depressing when he sits home at night and worries about it. We never did.”
The Fox News chief added: “As he faces the end of his career, he’s beginning to wonder: ‘Is this as popular as I’m ever going to get? Is this as much power as I’ll ever have? The one person I could never get rid of was Roger Ailes. I tried. I did everything I could.’ This was all a plea to his lefty friends. I think he’s disappointed that he didn’t accomplish that goal, and we, of course, supplied him with half of his comedy. It’s just a matter of disappointment.”
“As he faces the end of his career, he’s beginning to wonder: ‘Is this as popular as I’m ever going to get? Is this as much power as I’ll ever have? The one person I could never get rid of was Roger Ailes. I tried. I did everything I could.’ This was all a plea to his lefty friends. I think he’s disappointed that he didn’t accomplish that goal, and we, of course, supplied him with half of his comedy. It’s just a matter of disappointment.”
During his show last week, Jon Stewart showed a clip of the Ingmar Bergman movie, The Seventh Seal, only he substituted Ailes for the Death character. Ailes told THR he hadn’t seen the segment, but he isn’t surprised at the vitriol aimed at him.
“You can’t say that many negative things about people unless you’re really unhappy about something. actually think he doesn’t dislike me. We met once or twice. I talked to him for an hour once in my office. I think he’s really smart and he’s got a great future.”
“He’s feeling unrewarded because Fox News beats him on the amount of money we make, on ratings and on popularity. I’m sure it’s very depressing when he sits home at night and worries about it. We never did,” Ailes said. Read the rest of this entry »
Robotic Sports Will One Day Rival the NFL
Cody Brown writes: When I was 13, I watched a season of Battle Bots on Comedy Central then attempted to build a killer robot in my parent’s basement. You might think, oh, you were probably a weird kid (and you’d be right) but I think eventually this is behavior that will become normal for people all around the world. It’s had some moments in the spotlight but a bunch of factors make it seem like robotic sports is destined for primetime ESPN in the next five years.
1.) A drone flying through the forest looks incredible at 80 mph.
A new class of bot (FPV Quadcopter) has emerged in the past few years and the footage they produce is nuts. Robots can do things we’re fascinated by but can’t generally achieve without risking our own lives. Drones the size of a dinner plate can zoom through a forest like a 3 pound insect. A bot that shoots flames can blow up a rival in a plexiglass cage.
You can make an argument that the *thrill* of these moments is lightened if a person isn’t risking their own life and limb and this is true to a certain extent. NASCAR crashes are inherently dramatic but you don’t need to burn drivers to make fans scream.
Just look at the rise of e-sports. This League of Legends team sits in an air conditioned bubble and sips Red Bull while a sold out arena screams their lungs out. They’re not in any physical danger but 31 million fans are watching online.
The thing that ultimately matters is that the sport looks incredible on video and fans have a connection to the players. And right now, the video, in raw form, is mesmerizing.
2.) Robot parts have gotten cheaper, better and easier to buy.
When I was a kid, I was limited to things available at the local Radio Shack or hardware store. Now I can go to Amazon, find parts with amazing reviews and have them delivered to my house in a day. The hobby community has had many years to develop its technology and increase quality. Brands like Fat Shark, Spektrum, and adafruit have lead the way.
3.) Top colleges fight over teenagers who win robotics competitions.
If you’re good at building a robot, chances are you have a knack for engineering, math, physics, and a litany of other skills top colleges drool over. This is exciting for anyone (at any age) but it’s especially relevant for students and parents deciding what is worth their investment.
There are already some schools that offer scholarships for e-sports. I wouldn’t be surprised if intercollegiate leagues were some of the first to pop up with traction.
4.) The military wants to get better at making robots for the battlefield.
This one is a little f***ed but it’s worth acknowledging. Drones (of all sizes) are the primary technology changing the battlefield today. DARPA has an overwhelming interest to stay current and they’re already sponsoring multimillion dollar (more academic) robotics competitions. It’s up to the community to figure out how (or how not) to involve them. Them, meaning the giant military apparatus of the United States but also military organizations around the world who want to develop and recruit the people who will power their 21st century defense (and offense). Read the rest of this entry »
For more than eight years, Fox News has been broadcasting a 3 A.M. program called ‘Red Eye,’ an odd and often funny late-night show that is not exactly satire, and not exactly anything else, either. Its sensibility is snarky and surreal, thanks to its host, Greg Gutfeld, a former magazine editor who adopts a tone of half-sarcastic alarm, as if he can’t decide which is more annoying: the politician he is talking about, or the fact that he has to talk about politicians.
Last month, Jon Stewart declared that he would be leaving “The Daily Show,” after sixteen years. One of many writers who paid him tribute was Oliver Morrison, in The Atlantic, who used the opportunity to consider the relationship between comedy and ideology.
“From the beginning, ‘Red Eye’ was cheerfully repetitive, finding humor in a series of running gags. Gutfeld liked to introduce guests with absurd, sexually suggestive hypotheticals that were meant to be flattering. On Greg Proops, the comedian: ‘If hilarity were a telethon, I’d do him in front of a bunch of sick kids’.”
Stewart’s former colleague, Stephen Colbert, once joked that “reality has a well-known liberal bias.” Morrison wondered whether political satire, too, might have a liberal bias. He noted that liberal humor would live on, thanks to programs such as “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver,” on HBO. But he couldn’t identify an equivalent tradition on the other side of the political spectrum. “Why,” he asked, “hasn’t a conservative Daily Show found its own place on Fox?”
“Gutfeld probably regretted offending Canadian troops and their family members, but he was probably also pleased that his biggest scandal involved the phrase ‘gorgeous white Capri pants’.”
It wasn’t clear whether Morrison meant to refer to the Fox Broadcasting Company, which isn’t known for politics, or to Fox News, which isn’t known for comedy. (Why couldn’t a conservative comedy show air on Comedy Central, the ostensibly nonpartisan network that broadcasts “The Daily Show”?) But for more than eight years, Fox News has been broadcasting a 3 A.M. program called “Red Eye,” an odd and often funny late-night show that is not exactly satire, and not exactly anything else, either. Its sensibility is snarky and surreal, thanks to its host, Greg Gutfeld, a former magazine editor who adopts a tone of half-sarcastic alarm, as if he can’t decide which is more annoying: the politician he is talking about, or the fact that he has to talk about politicians. It sounds like faint praise to call “Red Eye” the funniest and most unpredictable program on cable news, but that’s what it is—or, rather, that’s what it was.
Last week, Gutfeld announced that he, like Stewart, would be leaving late night—in his case, to develop a new weekend program for Fox News. (“Red Eye” will continue, with a different host.) In his article, Morrison discussed Gutfeld in a dismissive paragraph, judging that his humor was often “hackneyed,” and “far . . . from working in prime time.” In fact, Gutfeld is a familiar presence on the network’s two highest-rated programs: he is a regular member of the panel on “The Five,” an afternoon talk show, and a guest and occasional guest host for Bill O’Reilly, at eight. Somehow, Gutfeld—the proprietor of a program whose continued existence once seemed like both a secret and a mystery—has become one of the most prominent faces on Fox News.
From the beginning, “Red Eye” was cheerfully repetitive, finding humor in a series of running gags. Gutfeld liked to introduce guests with absurd, sexually suggestive hypotheticals that were meant to be flattering. (On Greg Proops, the comedian: “If hilarity were a telethon, I’d do him in front of a bunch of sick kids.”) For a time, Andy Levy served as the show’s pesky “ombudsman,” delivering persnickety or off-topic corrections during a “halftime report” in the middle of the show. “You said we need to weaponize space,” Levy told Gutfeld, one night, deadpan. “Actually, the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 prohibits the U.S. or any other signatory nation from installing any kind of nukes or weapons of mass destruction in space, and limits the use of the moon and other celestial bodies to purely peaceful reasons.”
“…Red Eye” was often “nauseating”—not to mention inane, ramshackle, mindlessly sarcastic, sneakily smart, patently absurd, and generally refreshing. But he would be quick to point out that the show never had anything like twenty million viewers…”
Sometimes, Gutfeld tweaked cable-news conventions, as when he purported to address banking reform by convening a sixteen-person panel of experts, including familiar Fox News personalities such as John Bolton, and markedly unfamiliar ones, such as Rosie O’Donnell. As he introduced them, they appeared (or seemed to appear) live, forming a four-by-four matrix of pundit redundancy—by which point it was time, of course, for Gutfeld to thank them all, by name, and then end the segment. Other times, the show came joyfully unmoored from those conventions, as when Levy, throwing the broadcast back to Gutfeld, suddenly began quoting “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”:
GUTFELD: Thank you, Andy.
LEVY: Get you gone, you dwarf; you minimus, of hindering knot-grass made; you bead, you acorn. Greg.
GUTFELD: Why rebuke you him that loves you so?
LEVY: I apologize for nothing.
This last line was Levy’s catchphrase, and it also served as a constant reminder of the time, in 2009, when Gutfeld was obliged to apologize to the Canadian military, after a particularly irreverent discussion. The head of the Canadian land forces had said that the Army might need “a short operational break” lasting “at least one year” following its engagement in Afghanistan. Gutfeld had wondered whether this might not be “the perfect time to invade this ridiculous country,” adding, “The Canadian military wants to take a breather, to do some yoga, paint landscapes, run on the beach in gorgeous white Capri pants.” Gutfeld probably regretted offending Canadian troops and their family members, but he was probably also pleased that his biggest scandal involved the phrase “gorgeous white Capri pants.”
For all his seeming clumsiness, Gutfeld had a remarkable knack for saying ridiculous things without getting himself fired. (When one guest, a musician, set his electric guitar ablaze, Gutfeld was afraid that he might face punishment; he concluded, when no punishment came, that none of the executives stayed up late enough to watch his show.) On Friday night, during his final broadcast, he revisited some favorite old segments, including an excellent clip of Mick Foley, the former professional wrestler, mistaking Chris Barron, a co-founder of the gay conservative group GOProud, for Chris Barron, the lead singer of the Spin Doctors. (“I looked you up, man,” said Foley, sounding embarrassed but also disappointed—he had prepared a zinger about “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong.”) “I dare you to find one boring moment,” Gutfeld said, sounding uncharacteristically earnest. “Excluding this one.” Read the rest of this entry »
Admitting that the way we were getting news was desperately flawed—at least until a few years ago—is really admitting to a larger failure in ourselves. So, of course, we will never do it.
“What gets lost is a proverbial sense of communal experience. We’re not all getting it through Walter Cronkite. We’re not all going to experience him choke back a tear. The danger is that we become isolated in our own echo chambers—that we don’t get different points of view that open us up to thinking about other people. That’s the dystopian view. That’s the fear—that everyone’s essentially in their own bubble.”
— Jordan Levin
The reality is the opposite: The protections that we now know need to be provided to TV journalists—the expectation that they could be human, that they could quickly admit to mistakes without being permanently reviled, that they could unveil their process while reporting on what they know and don’t know—are really only provided to comedians.
Comedy and news collided not because comedy needed the news, but because news needed the protections of comedy.
Here’s how we know it: The most prominent cases of clear government corruption that were brought to light—and eventually killed—by a TV show in the last year did not come from the Nightly News, a tepid-by-design, rote reconstruction of the day’s events told slowly and dispassionately, as not to ruffle the feathers of the powerful.
Those scoops—acts of journalism in the truest sense—happened, instead, on places like Last Week Tonight, hosted by Daily Show alumnus John Oliver.
His show, for example, highlighted an FCC Commissioner—one whose last job was the head of the telecom lobby—proposing rules that would have allowed that same cable lobby to rake consumers over the coals by artificially slowing down the speed of some websites while simultaneously raising prices. His show launched a protest that was so swift and immediate it crashed the FCC’s servers. That commissioner, Tom Wheeler, did a 180—and last week proposed different rules that would protect the Internet against that kind of throttling.
[Note: If Ben Collins actually thinks the Obama administration-pressured FCC’s 300+ page stack of regulations aimed at transforming the internet into a highly-regulated government-controlled public utility is as simple as consumer-advocacy “rules that would protect the Internet against that kind of throttling” one might conclude that guys like Ben are also among those Kool-Aid drinking journalists who shamelessly promoted the Affordable Care Act as a popular, successful “reform” package that made health care “more affordable”. If this sloppy comment about Tom Wheeler raises serious doubts about the credibility of everything else Ben’s article, so be it.]
— Barracuda Brigade (@BarracudaMama) February 10, 2015
Then it happened again with payday loans, which prey only on the poor. (The Consumer Protection Agency, as of three days ago, is trying to put an end to them.)
And then again with civil forfeiture—a process that allowed police to seize assets from citizens who were never arrested or charged with a crime. (Attorney General Eric Holder laid out an edict effectively putting an end to it.)
These issues were on the fringe of public consciousness. Fifteen minutes, a lot of reporting and a little bit of comedy later, three pieces of legislation that would’ve negatively affected less fortunate Americans—or, in the first case, all Americans—were about to be killed.
The Nightly News couldn’t dream of doing this that efficiently. Read the rest of this entry »
— Bloomberg Politics (@bpolitics) February 12, 2015
Network Succession: Beloved Left-Wing Icon Colbert to Replace Liberal Grumpy-Pants Letterman on CBS “Late Show”Posted: April 10, 2014
Stephen Colbert, the host, writer and executive producer of “The Colbert Report,” will replace Letterman in 2015.
Here’s the official announcement from CBS on Stephen Colbert taking over as Late Show host. pic.twitter.com/gggTzmx5X1
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) April 10, 2014
Like Ace, I don’t know why you’d hire a comedian who got famous playing a character to host a show out of character. It’d be like giving Larry the Cable Guy a sitcom but insisting that he play mild-mannered Nebraskan Dan Whitney. Then again, Colbert’s always sort of “in character” even when he’s not playing a faux-conservative pundit like the one he plays on “Report.” If you go back and watch “Strangers With Candy” or his bits as a correspondent for “The Daily Show,” you’ll find that his style’s consistent even though neither of those characters was overtly political. He’s so arch, so far over the top in exaggerating his target’s ideas or persona while retaining a deadpan affect, that his shtick always feels like caricature. Even his famous takedown of Bush at the 2006 WHCD, with the president sitting right in front of him, was delivered as a pretend Dubya supporter. I don’t think he’s comfortable playing comedy any other way; I’d be surprised if his CBS show is any different. Instead of playing the faux-conservative, which works during Comedy Central’s 11 p.m. hour of right-bashing power for a millennial audience but might not work for an older, more diverse crowd on CBS, he’ll probably play the faux-late-night-host, mocking the conventions of the format. Which wouldn’t be terrible: After 50 years of the same crap, right down to the demographics of the various personalities, anything different at that hour is good.
A dumbed-down Democratic party runs out of ideas.
The Stupid Party
Kevin D. Williamson‘s current NRO article is extra pithy this week (or “wonderfully bold’, as Jay Nordlinger says) it’s more like a long, funny, sarcastic email from a friend, or an energetic barstool rant — if the guy on the barstool is a National Review Online roving reporter — than a scholarly essay. It’s also the first I’ve seen to take on The Daily Show head-on, exposing it and mocking it without mercy. Because for many conservatives, the Daily Show is a guilty pleasure. Right? Conservatives watch The Daily Show, or watch clips that circulate…
[UPDATE: Don’t miss Jay Nordlinger‘s response to Kevin D. Williamson’s essay in the Corner. It begins: Kevin’s piece “The Stupid Party” — a typically and wonderfully bold piece — awakened many thoughts in me. I’m sure it has done that in others…]
…Just like liberals — though they pretend they don’t — watch Fox News shows like The Kelly File, The Factor, or Red Eye. The viewership for these shows is not as segregated as members of their loyal fan base would have us think. Video clips from The Daily Show are often linked (on those rare ‘friendly fire’ occasions when Stewart takes shots at Democrat targets) at right-wing watering holes like Hot Air, and hipster libertarians dig Stewart’s humor, think Jon Stewart is “one of us”. Make no mistake. He’s not.
“…for the Left the point of journalism is not to criticize politics or to analyze politics but to be a servant of politics, to “destroy” such political targets as may be found in one’s crosshairs.”
As Williamsons’ rant illustrates, The Daily Show‘s predictable, sanctimonious, echo-chamber humor is not brilliant satire. It doesn’t speak “truth to power”. For its low-information fan base, it’s what passes for “journalism” and “hard-hitting reporting”. And accurately represents the vacancy of the Left’s bankrupt world view.
Kevin D. Williamson writes:
Here is a selection of recent headlines: “Jon Stewart Destroys Megyn Kelly,” “Jon Stewart Destroys Fox News’ ‘Spite-Driven Anger Machine,’” “Jon Stewart Destroys What’s Left of Peggy Noonan’s Credibility,” “Jon Stewart Destroys Fox News Over Syria Coverage,” “Jon Stewart Destroys Glenn Beck’s Utopia,” “Jon Stewart Destroys Bill O’Reilly” — there are about 520,000 more — and, not to be missed, “Jon Stewart Destroys Chicago-Style Pizza.”
The sound of terrors is in his ears at 11 p.m. on Comedy Central, and in prosperity the destroyer cometh upon him.
Mr. Stewart is the host of a fake news show, the genesis of which probably was a conversation that went approximately like this: Brother-in-Law: “There’s nothing funny on Saturday Night Live except the ‘Weekend Update.’ They should really just do that for the whole show.” Jon Stewart: “Hey . . . !” Mr. Stewart is among the lowest forms of intellectual parasite in the political universe, with no particular insights or interesting ideas of his own, reliant upon the very broadest and least clever sort of humor, using ancient editing techniques to make clumsy or silly political statements sound worse than they are and then pantomiming outrage at the results, the lowbrow version of James Joyce giving the hero of Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man the unlikely name of Stephen Dedalus and then having other characters in the novel muse upon the unlikelihood of that name.
“I do not much blame the Left for hesitating to talk about Big Ideas. The Left has been losing the Big Idea debate for a generation or more, in no small part because its last Big Idea killed 100 million people.”
His shtick is a fundamentally cowardly one, playing the sanctimonious vox populi when it suits him, and then beating retreat into “Hey, I’m just a comedian!” when he faces a serious challenge. It is the sort of thing that you can see appealing to bright, politically engaged 17-year-olds… Read the rest of this entry »
NBC News and sister cable network MSNBC rank at the bottom of media outlets Americans trust most for news, with Fox News leading the way, according to a new poll from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling.
In its fifth trust poll, 35 percent said they trusted Fox news more than any other outlet, followed by PBS at 14 percent, ABC at 11 percent, CNN at 10 percent, CBS at 9 percent, 6 percent for MSNBC and Comedy Central, and just 3 percent for NBC.
The pollster said Fox won because Republicans are devoted to it. “It leads the way because of its continuing near total support among Republicans as the place to go for news- 69 percent of Republicans say it’s their most trusted source with nothing else polling above 7 percent,” said PPP.
In October, Comedy Central launched the Chris Hardwick-hosted program “@Midnight,” which has been picked up for 2014 to run on the same production schedule as the net’s popular “Daily Show” and “Colbert Report,” extending its latenight block past the witching hour. TBS has been testing a new midnight talkshow featuring Pete Holmes, following Conan O’Brien.
NBCUniversal’s USA Network, too, has been exploring the time period, according to people familiar with the situation, though the cabler has no imminent plans, and it remains unclear whether its show would air before or after the clock strikes midnight.
Whitney Friedlander writes: Ron Burgundy isn’t the only one who loves scotch.
The limited-edition Ron Burgundy’s Scotchy Scotch Scotch is devoid of actual alcohol, but is is a mix of suitable substitutes butterscotch ice cream and butterscotch swirl ribbons.
The Burlington, Vermont ice cream giant has a history of product tie-ins with Hollywood, including Stephen Colbert’s AmeriCone Dream for the Comedy Central host and Liz Lemon frozen yogurt, which was launched for the end of Tina Fey’s “30 Rock.”
The “Anchorman” sequel bows on December 20, but the Ben & Jerry’s treat hits shelves in the next few weeks. Read the rest of this entry »
Kristen Welker, NBC News White House Correspondent, reports: Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will not testify at a congressional hearing Thursday into breakdowns in the rollout of the federal Affordable Care Act.
An HHS official confirmed Saturday that the secretary would not attend, citing a conflict in her schedule.
“We are in close communication with the committee and have expressed our desire to be responsive to their request,” the official said. Read the rest of this entry »