The mainstreaming of lies in the Trump era is hurting our cognitive abilities. Research says satire can save us. Read more on it here.Read the rest at Salon.com
Donald Trump has redefined what it means to be an ironic president, and it’s not funny. Read the full piece in Salon.Read the rest at Salon.
Jordan Klepper’s new show “The Opposition” is poised to be to alt-media what “The Colbert Report” was to Fox News. Read my piece on his new show here.Read the rest at Salon
It may be fun to watch the Trump team get implicated in Russia hacks, but the DNC has its own deplorables. Read the full article here.Read the rest at Salon
In biased media coverage of non-Western terror attack victims, the sense of personal tragedy is mostly absent. Read the full piece here.Read the rest at Salon
“City of Ghosts” is a powerful corrective to the notion of a travel ban as an effective way to make the U.S. safer. Read the full piece here.Read the rest at Salon
Documenting the Ferguson uprising, the film “Whose Streets?” is a powerful account of the future of black activism.Read the rest at Salon
There’s never been a president who so thoroughly invites mockery, but not all Trump jokes are equally funny.Read the rest at Salon
The idea that businessmen are better equipped to run the country is why our nation is poised for catastrophe.Read the rest at Salon
The cry of “it was just satire” is more and more common. Why it’s on the rise and why it’s not a real defense. Read the full piece here.Read the rest at Salon
Bill O’Reilly may be out at Fox News, but we will be feeling the impact of his show for a long time. This piee describes 10 ways he and Fox News harassed us all. Read the full piece at Salon.Read the rest at Salon
I was interviewed by Carlos Maza for this Vox video on how satire is doing a better job than the media covering Trump. Check it out.Read the rest at Vox
#NoDAPL is #NativeLivesMatter: The protests at Standing Rock are not only about environmentalism, they’re about racism
The Dakota Access Pipeline needs to be seen as a symptom of the systemic racism inflicted upon Native Americans. Read the full piece here.Read the rest at salon.com
Like a double dose of Dubya: Donald Trump’s presidency will be like the George W. Bush disaster — only worse
The Trump White House already resembles a far more extreme version of the disastrous Bush administration. Read the full piece here.Read the rest at salon.com
Is this how our Free Press dies? How our 45th president could spell the end of an independent Fourth Estate
Freedom of the Press in the U.S. has been hobbled ever since 9/11 — the election of Donald Trump may just kill it. Read the full piece here.Read the rest at salon.com
Donald Trump isn’t the only one to lie with impunity. Logic, facts and intelligence are the losers in this election. Read the full piece here.Read the rest at salon.com
“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”: Understanding anger in the Donald Trump era
We hear we need to stop being angry. We hear we need to keep being angry. In truth, we need to learn to do both. Read the full piece here.Read the rest at salon.com
A new watch list targets “lefty” professors. It would be sad and silly if it weren’t so frightening. Read the full piece here.Read the rest at salon.com
The Electoral College makes it virtually impossible for a third party to challenge the system. Read the full article in Salon here.Read the rest at Salon
It’s not just Fox News — mainstream news organizations have betrayed the public’s trust this election season. Read the article in Salon here.Read the rest at Salon
Why millennials love Bernie Sanders: This is what Trump, Hillary — and Chris Matthews — don’t understand about how politics has changed
The media condescends to Sanders the same way it does to millennials. Maybe that’s why he gets their concerns.Read the rest at Salon.com
The Clinton campaign has drained many of the ideals Democrats have long stood for.Read the rest at Salon.com
We no longer expect Noah to be Jon Stewart. But the show has gone edgeless and dull just when we need it the most.Read the rest at Salon.com
We’ve become familiar with his ramblings, and at ease mocking them. But they might be the sign of someone unwell. Isn’t it worth finding out?Read the rest at Salon.com
Talking about reforming our undemocratic election rules is how we make the system stronger.Read the rest at Salon.com
Bernie Sanders held a rally at Rec Hall at Penn State on Tuesday, April 19 and I had the honor of introducing him. Check out the speech here.Read the rest at Judson Mantz on Facebook
This is how the right roared back at me.
“You’re probably a Lesbian but if you have any kids I hope they die in the next Islamic terror attack,” I was told.
What will happen to RT America when Al Jazeera America shuts down?Read the rest at The Conversation
It’s true. Fox News has a satire news show. It is so proud of it that it airs at 3am. Here’s the story of how it went after Full Frontal and failed.Read the rest at Alternet
Michael Moore could have died last week: “Trying to get back to just breathing is enough of a burden”
Moore got severely ill with pneumonia and clearly feared the worst. Now he’s trying to save his best film in years.Read the rest at Salon
There’s no beating Megyn Kelly: What Donald Trump should have learned from her Fox News interview with Michael Moore
Trump won’t debate because he thinks Fox News anchor is biased. He clearly didn’t watch her Michael Moore interview.Read the rest at Salon
Sarah Palin’s American lobotomy: The Republicans keep making us dumber, and not even Stephen Colbert can save us
We know the GOP is angry. The bigger problem is that it’s stupid. And like rage, the idiocy flows down from the top. It is time to take seriously the role that stupidity is playing in shaping GOP politics.Read the rest at Salon
Michael Moore might save Flint: Moore, Jon Stewart, John Oliver keep proving satirists get more done than politicians
Jon Stewart got results for 9/11 responders. Moore got action over Flint’s toxic water. Big wins for comic activism. Read more here.Read the rest at Salon
What the media can learn from Bill Maher: 1 year after Charlie Hebdo attack, satirists still taking risks news outlets won’t
Irony, snarky comedy and satire still remain our best weapons against political folly and media spectacle. Read the full piece here.Read the rest at Salon
47 percent of Fox viewers get all their news there. They are horribly misinformed. And we wonder why Trump leads?Read the rest at Salon
Trump is polarizing, yes, but the real problem is that he’s making us all obnoxious. Don’t let the terrorist win. Read the rest here.Read the rest at Salon
Stephen Colbert defined “truthiness” for lies of the Bush era. They’ve gone to a whole new level in 2016 race. Read the full piece at Salon here.
Building on anti-millennial rhetoric, student protesters have been described as overreacting, hysterical, entitled and coddled.
But the critiques and characterizations of the student protesters actually aren’t grounded in any sort of reality. Instead, public response to student protests has been largely based on anecdote, intolerance and a failure to recognize the very real challenges students face today.Read the rest at The conversation
Republicans Just Don’t Get Stephen Colbert: Why the Fox News-Watching, Climate Change-Denying Crowd Can’t Understand Complex Satire
Colbert’s ratings are down. Republicans are crowing they won’t watch him. Indeed, they are afraid to be challenged.Read the rest at Salon
He’s not always right, but Maher’s posing provocative questions, and answering them with intelligence, consistency.Read the rest at Salon
Trevor Noah has cratered “The Daily Show”: He has no bite, no message — and has let Fox News off the hook
Jon Stewart created a national treasure. Noah has dulled its knife, weakened the satire, let the powerful run free.Read the rest at Salon
Look out: Moore’s new film opens with assertion sure to inflame the right, then suggests we “invade” for good ideasRead the rest at Salon
Last week, The Washington Post published yet another piece on coddled college students, but this time the blame was on colleges themselves instead of on overprotective parents.Read the rest at Truthout
Larry David Saved Bernie Sanders Snl Impression Made Him Human Likable After a Rough Debate With Hillary Clinton
David’s Bernie will be the opposite of Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin. It’s a good impression that leaves a good impressionRead the rest at Salon
Satirists break down the hidden agendas behind complicated issues. We need them desperately on TPPRead the rest at Salon
Today’s college students are inheriting a world far scarier than any generation before them.Read the rest at Alternet
Noah hasn’t quite found his footing, but at 11:30 p.m., Larry Wilmore is bringing the brilliance night after nightRead the rest at Salon
Trevor Noah gives Fox News a free pass: The new “Daily Show” could be great for Ailes and Hannity, bad for America
Trevor Noah debuts tonight, but already there are ominous signs about his approach with this essential institution
(Photo Credit: Comedy Central)Read the rest at Salon
The Stephen Colbert who interviewed Donald Trump last night was a new one – but no less effectiveRead the rest at Salon
Just imagine what Stewart would do with the GOP’s anti-vaccine doctors and the ideas that W kept us safe…Read the rest at Salon
The Republican platform is out to destroy higher education, and take down students in the process.Read the rest at Alternet
When even Megyn Kelly and Fox News can’t derail the Trump train, time to turn to someone who can — Stephen ColbertRead the rest at Salon
When GOP freakshow and Stewart’s final “Daily Show” converged on the same night, magic was bound to happen.Read the rest at Salon
Post-9/11, critiquing the right meant you hated the country. Stewart was the perfect foil for that false patriotismRead the rest at Salon
Jon Stewart conquered Fox News: Essential highlights from “The Daily Show’s” 16-years of truth-telling
The most important American satirist, ever? Take that Ben Franklin and Mark Twain – Stewart comes in at No. 1Read the rest at Salon
Fox News wore Jon Stewart down: How 16 years of debunking right-wing lies exhausted the last honest man
Stewart is stepping aside because he’s exhausted by our petty, dangerous politics. Now we’re really screwed.Read the rest at Salon
Afraid we were in trouble without Stewart and Colbert’s truth-telling? A brilliant Trump takedown shows otherwiseRead the rest at Salon
On “Seinfeld,” Jerry’s lack of self-awareness was part of the joke. Now it’s become the tragedyRead the rest at Salon
Oh, how funny it is when a Fox News blowhard tries to take down “The Daily Show” and just embarrasses himself.Read the rest at Salon
Life imitates “South Park” but with one crucial difference: Pamela Geller wants to intensify fear, not dimininsh itRead the rest at Salon
Our stunted democracy could learn from Kazakhstan: Another Bush/Clinton race doesn’t look free to the rest of the world
We act superior to countries where leaders are reelected with 97 percent. But to them we don’t look much differentRead the rest at Salon
Clint Eastwood, still a jerk: His new Michael Moore threat, and the GOP’s Fox News derangement problem
Eastwood denies threatening Michael Moore, then does it again. The tough-guy act’s wearing thin for his whole partyRead the rest at Salon
Fox News’ Rolling Stone problem: Imagine a panel investigating Bill O’Reilly’s “war stories” and Megyn Kelly’s hyperbole
We all know “fair and balanced” is a lie. As a result, their “news” isn’t held to same standard as a music magazine.Read the rest at Salon
Since Ted Cruz first announced his candidacy, much has been made of his chances of winning, his arrogance and his extreme conservative views. But most of the controversy over his candidacy centers on his lying.Read the rest at Alternet
His tweets aren’t the issue. To have the same political influence, here’s what Jon Stewart’s successor must do (Photo Credit: Comedy Central)Read the rest at Salon
Last week we got more news of horrible frat behavior coming on the heels of the Oklahoma fraternity scandal. This time it came in the form of a Penn State frat — Kappa Delta Rho — that allegedly operated two closed Facebook pages where members posted pictures of nude, unconscious women, drug deals, and hazing. A former member informed police about the pages and, according to the warrant, members posted comments that suggested they were well aware that the photos crossed the line.
Read the rest at SalonRead the rest at Salon
Much has been made in the last few weeks of the factual nature of the news. Amidst allegations that NBC News anchor Brian Williams was less than accurate in claims about his experiences in Iraq, we now have an emerging controversy over the repeated lies of Bill O’Reilly. But the real story here is not just the decline of truth telling in television news, it’s the way that the truth has been replaced by fear.
Read the rest at AlternetRead the rest at Alternet
Many of us expected the Oscars to open up a conversation about our nation’s identity, but it’s unlikely that we expected the conversation to be about immigration, Mexicans and cultural diversity. With two films nominated for Best Picture that drew directly on important national events—“American Sniper” and “Selma”—and with the whitest list of nominees since 1995, this round of Academy Awards seemed to be a battle between civil rights and American exceptionalism. And yet it would be a film about a middle-aged, washed-up white actor that would spark a conversation about not just the role of Mexicans in Hollywood, but about the cultural identity of our nation.
Read the rest at Alternet
(Photo Credit: Youtube)Read the rest at Alternet
I dared criticize American Sniper. You’d be horrified by the response from aggressive, deluded “patriots”
I dared criticize “American Sniper.” You’d be horrified by the response from aggressive, deluded “patriots”
Read the rest at Salon
(Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment/Salon)Read the rest at Salon
If you were following politics over the last few election cycles, you were most likely getting some of your information from satire. In fact, research has shown that in today’s political climate, satire has become one of the most influential sources of public discourse in our nation – especially for younger voters. Sometimes, satirical news shows even create news of their own that’s later reported on by mainstream outlets.
Read the rest at The Conversation
image Lucy Nicholson/ReutersRead the rest at The Conversation
As we prepare for the end of The Colbert Report, it is time to reflect on exactly what we are losing as Stephen Colbert retires his character and moves on to host The Late Show. Sure it’s a great move for Colbert. Sure it promises to invigorate late-night comedy and give Colbert a chance to show us the full range of his skills as a performer. But let’s be serious, there is a huge loss here and that loss is the brilliant character Colbert crafted.
Read the rest at The Huffington PostRead the rest at Huffington Post
“The Colbert Report” officially ends Thursday and with it goes one of the most important satire personas in our nation’s history. Following in the footsteps of Ben Franklin’s Poor Richard and Samuel Clemens’ Mark Twain, Colbert’s persona offered us an exaggerated version of one of our nation’s deepest social ills and, as with his counterparts, his focused on a main source for unsophisticated thinking. Colbert’s target? Pundits.Salon
Stephen Colbert schooled Fox News hard: Comedy, Bill O’Reilly and the exposure of right-wing patriotism lies
As we enter the final days of “The Colbert Report” there is much speculation about what will come next for the comedian when he goes on to host “The Late Show.” One of the most important shifts for Stephen Colbert will be that he will no longer be performing in character as a parody of a right-wing bloviating pundit. While that shift might signal a welcome opportunity for greater creative license for Colbert, it’s worth remembering the unique features of Colbert’s character we will soon be losing — features that include Colbert’s special brand of patriotism.Salon
Jon Stewart has been on the interview circuit to promote his new film, “Rosewater,” but many of his comments have turned to partisan politics and the pundits who encourage them. Interviewers have not been able to resist the urge to talk about Stewart’s thoughts on the midterm elections, on immigration, and on the legacy of Obama. But what has been really interesting to watch is Stewart’s comments on Fox News and on commentators like Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly.Salon
“Daily Show” host Jon Stewart’s directorial debut, “Rosewater,” premiered last week amidst a great deal of media buzz. The film stars Gael Garcia Bernal in an adaptation of Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari’s account of being imprisoned and tortured after reporting on the post-election violence in Iran in 2009.Salon
Jon Stewart recently talked with New York magazine’s Chris Smith on his directorial debut with the film “Rosewater.” Smith asked Stewart about the film but then quickly moved on to the questions all journalists want Stewart to answer: Does his satire pack enough of a punch? Is he replacing the traditional news with fake news? And, most important, can his show influence politics?Salon
As Election Day looms, The Daily Show ramped up their media coverage by heading to Texas for a week of shows entitled Democalypse 2014: South by South Mess. A Comedy Central show relocated to broadcast on-the-spot election coverage. That should strike us as strange, right? But in all likelihood, it doesn’t. The idea that a satire news show would take election coverage so seriously no longer comes as a surprise. How did satire news become such a major player in news media? And, is its increased social power dangerous for our democracy?Read the rest at The Huffington Post
Stewart, Colbert and Oliver for the win: Satire, millennials and fear of an extreme right-wing Senate
Read the rest at Salon
This week “The Daily Show” ramped up their media coverage of midterm elections by heading to Texas for a week of shows entitled Democalypse 2014: South by South Mess. The guest the first night? Wendy Davis, of course. But before we get too excited at the idea that a satire news show is going to the center of a hotly disputed governor’s race, it’s worth remembering that four years ago today, on October 30, 2010, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert rallied on the National Mall in an unprecedented media stunt that put satire at the center of political debate. Compared to last midterm election’s rally, “The Daily Show’s” move to Texas may seem like a bit of a letdown.
Recent coverage of Bill O’Reilly’s appearance on Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” has highlighted the showdown between the two on the question of white privilege. We have seen multiple stories emphasize the encounter as a “face off” that got so intense that at times the two shouted at each other. But here’s another way of looking at it: Bill O’Reilly just can’t resist Jon Stewart’s logic.Read the rest at Salon
We know that satire news is increasingly a source of “real” news. We know that Jon Stewart has been voted as the No. 4 most trusted journalist, tying with Brian Williams and Dan Rather (that poll was in 2008). We know that satirists like Stewart have an active and engaged viewership of mostly millennials. And we know that over the years Stewart has been able to attract an impressive lineup of politicians, journalists and other newsmakers to appear on his interview segment.
Read the rest at SalonRead the rest at Salon
While we fight a war against ISIS with airstrikes on selected targets, the U.S. is also engaging in a war of ideas. As many who have seen ISIS videos or seen pro-ISIS tweets can attest, the Islamic State group has demonstrated a skill with social media previously unseen in extremist groups. ISIS has successfully used Internet sites, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to dangerous effect, often with the explicit goal of recruiting more militants.
Read the rest at Salon
Stewart, Colbert save the day: Bill O’Reilly and Fox News’ ISIS insanity makes them more essential than ever
As the nation continues airstrikes on ISIS in Syria and Iraq, the U.S. public is bracing for yet another military conflict in the Middle East. And in order to make sense of this new crisis viewers are finding that “fake news” often offers better analysis than the so-called “real news.” While Fox News’s Eric Bolling called the first female UAE pilot that bombed the Islamic State “boobs on the ground” and coverage on all major news channels mistakenly described ISIS as an imminent threat to the United States, fake news offered the U.S. public a refreshing dose of reality.
Read the rest at Salon
As we all head back to school it won’t be long before faculty, students, and parents start to see Facebook posts, media articles, and other memes about how much our students suck. We will hear the typical rants about the student that doesn’t read the syllabus, buy books, or remember to sign up for classes. In fact, some faculty have already bought “It’s in the Syllabus” T-shirts to proudly wear on their first days.
Now, I’m the first to say that students should avoid asking questions that ARE indeed answered in the syllabus and I confess to my own ability to feel generally exhausted by some of the challenges we face with students that seem to have difficulty taking responsibility for their college education, but I have to ask us all to question the assumption that college students are lazy, stupid, and coddled.
Read the full blog here.
My co-authored book, *Is Satire Saving Our Nation? Mockery and American Politics *is officially on its way to the Palgrave copy editor. Expected release date is November 6, 2014. Just in time to influence the elections!
The inaugural issue of alter/nativas –a journal of Latin American Cultural Studies — is now on-line. I was honored to be included in the stellar line-up. Click here to read my piece: Where is Latin American Culture? From the Location of Culture to the Ethics of Culture
It is extremely hard to watch the nation convulse over gun control. Those of us concerned with the state of our democracy and with the increasing acceptance of violence as an everyday part of life cringe as we hear the pro-gun rhetoric. We hear that any effort to control guns is tantamount to waging war, to tyranny, and to destroying all of our national values.
But it’s much worse than that. This debate is not just about guns; it’s about the health of our democracy. It’s about the ways that violence, hysteria, and aggression have replaced community, civic engagement, and reasoned debate.
Beyond the real concerns any of us should have over the outcome of this conflict, our main worry should be the fact that the lack of dialogue, the absence of meaningful discussion of the issues, the political posturing, and the media coverage reveal a democracy in crisis.
We have shrill and outrageous statements made in public: Like that of James Yeager, CEO of Tactical Response, a Tennessee company that trains people in weapon and tactical skills, saying that he will be the first to shoot and set off a civil war if Obama takes measures to control guns. Yeager’s plan? If the majority wants to protect itself from guns, then he will have to shoot them.
We have elected state politicians, like Steve Toth (R-The Woodlands) of Texas suggesting that they will attempt to circumvent any federal measure to control guns. Rather than solve the problem democratically, he offers a solution that seems based in secession.
And we have mainstream media figures like Megyn Kelly of Fox News hosting panels on whether the children that appeared alongside President Obama when he announced his gun control initiatives were “props.” Rather then discuss the issues, Kelly chose to focus on the staging.
Then there are the pundits, like Rush Limbaugh, who bristle at the mere idea that the conservative media is hyping up the anxieties over gun legislation. He went after Carol Costello of CNN for reminding viewers that gun control was not equivalent to overturning the second amendment.
Each of these examples reveals the ways that democratic deliberation is suffering in our nation. But thankfully we have comedians in our midst who work hard night after night to bring reason and critical reflection to a nation steeped in hysteria and hyperbole. For years the satire of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert has served as a corrective to the media sensationalism that frames much of the way the nation thinks about key issues, but their comedic interventions on the gun debate have been both refreshing and insightful.
For example watch this Colbert clip:
So if you are looking for some sanity in the gun debate, turn to comedy. Satirists like Stewart, Colbert, and Maher entertain us while revealing the flawed thinking that is making a folly of our democracy. You may think comedy is just about laughs, but these days satirical comedy is shooting with both barrels.
Read the full blog here.
Watch this Huffington Post Live Segment where I’m interviewed along with Brian Morgenstern and Chris Tyson on Joseph Dunford’s appointment to lead US forces in Afghanistan.
Last week billionaire and notorious “birther” Donald Trump claimed that he had a “bombshell” that would change the election: he announced that if President Obama would provide him with copies of his college and passport records that he would write a check for $5 million to the charity of Obama’s choice.
Enter Stephen Colbert who immediately responded to Trump with his own “October surprise.” In typical Colbert satirical brilliance, he out-Trumped Trump, exposing the arrogance and megalomania that led to Trump’s bizarre request. What was Colbert’s counter-offer? He would write Trump a check for $1 million to the charity of his choice if he would let Colbert “dip his balls into his mouth.” If you haven’t seen the clip, watch it here:
The joke may be a crude one, but it would be fair to say that Trump asked for it. And you gotta love Colbert’s willingness to put his balls to public service and expose the folly of Trump’s disturbing challenge.
Read the full blog here.
By now you have probably seen the video where President Obama refers to Romney’s complete forgetting of his previous political stances as “Romnesia.” Obama supporters are finding this wordplay a breath of fresh air in an election that has seemed to stumble, most notoriously with the first round of Presidential debates. After a relatively dull campaign Obama is getting new energy and new life. And he is doing it by following the example of master wordplay satirist, Stephen Colbert.
In case you missed it, watch video here:
The recent pro-Obama spark started with Romney’s gaffe phrase “binders full of women” during the second presidential debate — a phrase Romney used to refer to the difficulty he had finding qualified women to serve in his Massachusetts cabinet. It was meant to reveal his concern for women in the workplace, but it backfired and left many thinking Romney was both sexist and completely unaware of the realities of women today. The phrase virtually exploded across social media and led to a still ongoing series of “Binders full of women” memes, not the least of which is the Facebook page created before the debate had even ended and liked by 250,000 people in its first 24 hours.
Obama caught the wave and followed the “binders full of women” gaffe by using a smart, funny neologism, Romnesia — a reference to the idea that Romney cannot even remember his previous policy statements. And the result is a real boost of pro-Obama energy in social media, in public discourse, and in the realm of catchy slang that attracts young voters. Needless to say, the twitter hashtag #Romnesia is thoroughly viral, and its presence in social media is complementing the “binders full of women” memes.
Young voters remain the question in this race and, unlike in the 2008 campaign, Obama has yet to thoroughly engage them. Phrases like “Romnesia” are sure to help him connect with those young voters he so desperately needs to win. And a quick scan through the twitter feed shows that this phrase is having the effect of reminding young voters of the Obama that is hip, cool, smart, and on their side. Even though the phrase was first used back in March, it has been Obama’s recent use of it in a speech that launched it to viral status.
While we can’t be sure if the result of Obama using a neologism will serve to bring out the youth vote until the results are in on Election Day, we can be sure that it shows that Obama has finally learned a lesson from Stephen Colbert — witty neologisms can go a long way to helping you engage and energize your audience. When Colbert launched his show in 2005, he introduced the neologism “truthiness.”
Maybe Romnesia will be Obama’s truthiness. Either way it is good to see him learning from an expert on how to get young people to think critically and engage with politics.
read the full blog here.
On Saturday satire goes toe to toe with punditry when multiple Emmy winner and political comedy guru, Jon Stewart, goes up against Fox’s noble newsman, Bill O’Reilly, in a 90 minute debate. The Rumble in the Air-conditioned Auditorium will live stream for $4.95 on Saturday at 8:00 p.m. with a portion of proceeds going to charity.
So what is this debate really all about and will it overshadow the “real” political debates airing these weeks?
Let’s start by asking what the debate is really all about. Are Stewart and O’Reilly trying to upstage the candidates by actually putting on a good show where issues are actually discussed with some depth? Or is this just more of the ratings race to attract viewers? Can it be both of these at the same time? And more importantly, are we witnessing the final move where political commentary and entertainment are forever entwined?
We can’t answer those questions without stopping to point out that there is a big difference between the two players in this performance. Stewart is a satirist with a show on Comedy Central and O’Reilly is billed as a respected news source on Fox, but many consider him one of the loudest voices in bloviating punditry. O’Reilly wants to be taken seriously and he gets agitated when he is accused of being nothing more than a fear-mongering, fact-bending, blowhard. Stewart, in contrast, is first and foremost a satirist, which means that he wants to get his audience to think while giving them comic relief.
The difference between them is crucial since it marks out what’s at stake. If Stewart gets viewers to think about politics and understand issues while he entertains them that is just pure gravy. And, of course, Stewart has lately gone more directly at political commentary, at times leaving the comedy a bit on the back burner. And it is that blurriness for Stewart that will make this debate even more entertaining for us all to watch. Over the years we have watched O’Reilly and Stewart develop a real camaraderie, albeit one that involves deep ideological opposition. Stewart’s crossing over more and more into direct political commentary, rather than satirical commentary can be seen here in his recent interview on O’Reilly’s show when they pitched the debate:
The more perplexing part of the story is O’Reilly’s fascination with Stewart and his willingness to take Stewart seriously whether as an adversary or a colleague. Watch how chummy he is with Stewart when he appeared on his show:
read the full blog here.
We need to continue to thank Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert for using their powerful political comedy to shed some light on these recent developments. The segments they have run show us that Romney’s comments are not gaffes. They are not bloopers. In fact, they are glimpses into the character behind the candidates.
Colbert hit this point home with typical satirical wit when his right-wing pundit character explained that this was “not a crisis for Romney, this is a triumph, because Mitt nailed it! Obama supporters are nothing but lazy parasites.” He then came to Mitt’s rescue by showing him how to “elegantly deliver his message with more panache.” Watch the clip here:
As the mainstream news media stumbles from one campaign crisis to another, we can thank *Comedy Central *for offering us two credible sources on the key issues behind the campaign. Stewart and Colbert combine night after night to offer us a refreshing critique of the media coverage of the campaigns and of the spin offered by the candidates. And they do it while entertaining us.
To trope on Bill Clinton, “It’s Arithmetic.” Colbert and Stewart have shown us that the Romney campaign adds up to lies and insults. Now it’s our turn to do the math and decide what this campaign really adds up to.
Read the full blog here.
When comedian Stephen Colbert launched his show, The Colbert Report (2005), he introduced the word “truthiness” to the U.S. public. Speaking in character as a bloviating right-wing pundit, Colbert explained that truthiness was thinking from the gut, ignoring facts, and holding beliefs with no basis in reality.
At the time, his main target was George W. Bush, who had repeatedly told the U.S. public during his presidency that things he felt were necessarily true. The word also emerged in response to claims by the administration that the War in Iraq was about finding Weapons of Mass Destruction. You can watch the segment where he calls the WMD justification a flat out lie here:
It didn’t take long for “truthiness” to enter widespread use and it was named the Word of the Year by Webster’s in 2006. In those early days, the word held the punch of satire and it encouraged critical thinking about the ways that truth was increasingly absent from policy decisions, media coverage, and public perceptions.
But whatever the context for the word’s role in 2005, we have clearly hit a new era in political discourse where truthiness trumps truth all the time with little, if any, repercussions. The proof is in last week’s Republican National Convention where truthiness was alarmingly on display at a rate we have never seen in U.S. history.
The worrying trend today is that even when there is abundant evidence of lying, there are no repercussions. It’s a case of lying and loving it. And it needs to be stopped. If on Election Day we no longer care about the difference between truth and truthiness, then the joke will be on us.
Read the full blog on *Huffington Post *here.
Stephen Colbert just can’t seem to stop causing trouble. First, he stood not 20 feet from President Bush at the 2006 White House Correspondents’ Dinner and tore down the unpopular president with a mock-laudatory speech that went viral overnight. Then, he ceased merely reporting on the ripples in the pond and started jumping in to make his own ripples when he tried to run for president in South Carolina in 2008, sponsored by Doritos, and later testified before Congress on immigration (2010). Shortly after Glenn Beck drew a modest crowd to the National Mall, he and Jon Stewart drew a much bigger crowd to the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear in advance of the 2010 mid-term elections. More recently, he took the unprecedented step of founding his own Political Action Committee (2011), and then undertook a nearly successful effort to use some of the $1.3 million it raised tosponsor the Republican primary in South Carolina in 2012.
Along the way, as if that weren’t enough, he has coaxed fans to alter Wikipedia entries, tweet incessant non-facts about Arizona Senator Jon Kyl, and vote for Colbert to host the Swedish Twitter site. Each of these “stunts” has led to media criticism that he has pushed his satire too far, and into places where it doesn’t belong.
Again and again, Colbert has been called out for not staying within the bounds of his role as a comedian and entertainer. But now, it seems, he’s really overstepped. He’s become the subject of study at our nation’s universities with books and articles and classes dedicated to him. This guy just can’t be stopped! Read more here.
Stephen Colbert has called us losers. He got us (and 999 other fan groups based at universities) to buy his Super Fun Pack, filled it with what seemed like a series of gag items, and then asked us all to solve an extremely complex treasure hunt. If we solved it, we would get him to visit our school. So, even though we weren’t exclusively interested in the treasure hunt part of the game, of course we wanted first prize. But we didn’t get it. So, instead we are gunning for second prize.
Read more about the story here.
Colbert News Hub interviewed me on my latest book, Colbert’s America. Read the full interview here.
“Nancy Pelosi Succumbs to the Power of Colbert” appeared in the Huffington Post, February 24, 2012.’Read the rest at Huffington Post
“Where’s the Outrage? It Takes Comedians to Stand Up to Newt’s Hypocrisy” appeared in the Huffington Post, January 27, 2012.”Read the rest at Huffington Post
“What’s So Funny? Why Colbert Is Funny and Cain Is Not” appeared in the Huffington Post, January 23, 2012.”Read the rest at Huffington Post
“PAC Daddy: Colbert Makes Civics Lessons Fun” appeared in the Huffington Post, January 16, 2012.Read the rest at Huffington Post
“Merry Christmas from Colbert: Satire’s Special Gift” appeared in the Huffington Post, December 23, 2011.”Read the rest at Huffington Post
“Is There a Way to Be Good Again? How to Be a Man after the Penn State Pedophilia Scandal” appeared in Truthout, November 28, 2011.Read the rest at Truthout
The Chronicle of Higher Education
“Has the Colbert Nation Occupied Wall Street?” appeared in the Huffington Post, November 14, 2011.Read the rest at Huffington Post
“What’s Left for Latin American Cultural Studies?” appeared in the minnesota review 76 (2011): 127-40.Read the rest at
“Teaching Bad Books” appeared in the American Book Review, special section “Top 40 Bad Books” 31.2, January/February 2010: 7-8.Read the rest at
“From the Aesthetics of Hunger to the Cosmetics of Hunger in Brazilian Cinema” appeared in symploke 19.1-2. (2011): 73-84.Read the rest at
“Torture and Truth in Ariel Dorfman’s Death and the Maiden” appeared in Revista Hispánica Moderna 62.2 (2009): 177–92.Read the rest at
“Beyond Death and the Maiden: Ariel Dorfman’s Media Criticism and Journalism” appeared in Latin American Research Review 45.1 (2010): 173-88.Read the rest at
“Introducing Human Rights and Literary Forms; Or, The Vehicles and Vocabularies of Human Rights” appeared in Comparative Literature Studies special issue on “Human Rights and Literary Forms.” Eds. Sophia A. McClennen and Joseph Slaughter. 46.1 (2009): 1–19.Read the rest at
“The Theory and Practice of the Peruvian Grupo Chaski” appeared in Jump Cut 50 (2008).Read the rest at Jump Cut
“The Humanities, Human Rights, and the Comparative Imagination” appeared in Representing Humanity in an Age of Terror. Eds. Sophia A. McClennen and Henry James Morello. Thematic issue of CLC Web: Comparative Literature and Culture 9.1 (2008).’ sm_writing_cats:
“Neoliberalism and the Crisis of Intellectual Engagement” appeared in Academic Freedom and Intellectual Activism in the post-9/11 University. Works and Days 51/52, 53/54.26–27. (2008–09): 459–70.Read the rest at
“Introduction” appeared in Representing Humanity in an Age of Terror, the thematic issue of CLC Web: Comparative Literature and Culture 9.1 (2008) (with Henry James Morello).Read the rest at CLC Web: Comparative Literature and Culture
“E Pluribus Unum/ Ex Uno Plura: Legislating and Deregulating American Studies post 9/11” appeared in CR: The New Centennial Review 8.1 (2008): 145–75.Read the rest at
“Repression and Resistance in Higher Education” appeared in a special issue of Radical Teacher 77 (2007): 15–19.Read the rest at
“Countering the Assault on Higher Education” appeared in a special issue of Radical Teacher 77 (2007): 15–19.Read the rest at
Area Studies Beyond Ontology: Notes on Latin American Studies, American Studies, and Inter-American Studies
“Area Studies Beyond Ontology: Notes on Latin American Studies, American Studies, and Inter-American Studies” appeared A contracorriente 5.1 (2007): 173–84.Read the rest at
“The Geopolitical War on U.S. Higher Education” appeared in College Literature 33.4 (Fall 2006): 43–75.Read the rest at
“Forum: Poetry and Torture” with David Ball, Ariel Dorfman, and Gordon O. Taylor appeared in World Literature Today 81.1–2, May-August 2005: 6–7.Read the rest at
“The Diasporic Subject in Ariel Dorfman’s Heading South, Looking North” appeared in MELUS 30.1 (Spring 2005): 169–88.Read the rest at
“Inter-American Studies or Imperial American Studies?” appeared in Comparative American Studies 3.4 (2005): 393–413.Read the rest at
“Exilic Perspectives on ‘Alien Nations’” appeared in CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture 7.1 (2005): FTP.Read the rest at CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture
“Poetry and Torture” appeared in World Literature Today 78.3–4 (September–December 2004): 68–70.Read the rest at
“After Civilization: The Theory and Practice of Introducing Latin American Culture” appeared in ADFL Bulletin 34.2 (Winter 2003): 6–14.Read the rest at
Así fue: Anti-colonial Narrative in Alejo Carpentier’s Concierto barroco and Reinaldo Arenas’s El mundo alucinante
“Así fue: Anti-colonial Narrative in Alejo Carpentier’s Concierto barroco and Reinaldo Arenas’s El mundo alucinante” appeared in A contracorriente 1.1 (2003): 51–81.Read the rest at
“(De)Signing Women: Mexican Women Directors and Feminist Film” appeared in Revista de Estudios Hispánicos 36.1 (January 2002): 69–96.Read the rest at
“Comparative Literature and Latin American Studies: From Disarticulation to Dialogue” appeared in Comparative Cultural Studies and Latin America. Eds. Sophia A. McClennen and Earl E. Fitz. CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture 4.2 (2002).Read the rest at CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture
“An Introduction to Comparative Cultural Studies and Latin America” (with Earl E. Fitz.) appeared in Comparative Cultural Studies and Latin America. Eds. Sophia A. McClennen and Earl E. Fitz. CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture 4.2 (2002).Read the rest at CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture
“Ariel Dorfman” appeared in The Review of Contemporary Fiction 21.3 (2000): 81–132.Read the rest at
“Cultural Politics, Rhetoric, and the Essay: A Comparison of Emerson and Rodó” appeared in CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture 2.1 (2000).Read the rest at CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture
“Chilex: The Economy of Transnational Media Culture” originally appeared in Mediations 22 (1999): 86–111, and was revised and reprinted in Cultural Logic 3.1 (2000).Read the rest at Cultural Logic