Thursday sees the end of another week of stellar “news” from the best fake news teams in America. Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart both wrapped up their work weeks by talking about the ubiquitous “fangate” complete with as many puns as they could get in to a five minute segment. But there were serious moments too as the real news in the nation was brought to the fore. Colbert discussed why the war in Iraq was finally over and “mission accomplished.” Stewart, on the other hand, tackled the issues of justice and racism in American prisons, following up his O’Reilly interview with author Brian Stevenson. Puns and balls both take center stage in Thursday night’s Slate Night Review.
The Colbert Report
Conservative satirist Stephen Colbert started his show off by declaring the resurrection of 2003 and Bush’s “mission accomplished” banner by revealing that Iraq really did have weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). An in-depth New York Times story told the hitherto unknown tale of the soldiers who found WMDs in Iraq, vindicating what had otherwise been a completely vindication-less war. Or so he thought. Pulitzer winning writer C.J. Chivers joined the show to talk about the report and set the record straight. Much like Obi-Wan Kenobi, he said that these were not the WMDs they were looking for. In fact, these were discarded stockpiles from the Iraq/Iran war, which America actually helped Saddam create. But the real mistake about these weapons was the secrecy kept around their existence which led to all sorts of abuses directed towards the soldiers who found them. Inadequate medical care and Purple Heart denials have all made those soldiers unsung and neglected heroes, a fact which the Pentagon is now trying to address. As much as everyone misses 2003, the WMD news was no comeback.
In the next segment, Colbert covered what is probably the most hilarious story in politics of the day. “Fangate” comes to the nation out of Florida, that consummate creator of political farce. Incumbent Governor Rick Scott was almost a no-show at a debate with Democratic candidate Charlie Crist because of a small electric fan. That was when things “got very Florida” according to Colbert. The show’s host summarized the scandal comprehensively, saying that Scott’s campaign blew, but if the switch was turned the other way, it sucked. Both sides seemed to be “oscillating” over the controversy, but Rick Scott was ultimately “blown away” in Miami.
The show wrapped up with an interview with author Bill Deresiewicz, whose name was almost as hard for Colbert to pronounce as it is to type. The book is called Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life. The title is almost as long as the time both men spent in college getting degrees they have not used since. Bill’s point in the book is basically that Ivy League colleges do not produce leaders, they produce conformists. The hoops and requirements to get in to such schools, as well as the societal and parental expectations regarding education, leave kids without any idea what they truly want to do for the world. This leads to a lack of leaders who can have a good effect on the world and creates a class of people focused on conforming to expectations and attaining status thereby. When asked what the solution was to this problem, the author stated that listening to one’s self was key to figuring out how to be a leader, even if meant disappointing one’s parents. Colbert had the last laugh, however, by saying he hoped his children were not watching the show right at that moment.
The Daily Show
The Slate Night Review is not repeating itself by talking once again about “fangate,” which was all anyone wanted to talk about on Thursday night. For Daily Show host Jon Stewart, the story was almost a sign from God. With the lousy decade the world has going for it at the present time, including ISIS and Ebola, Florida was a bright ray of sunshine. Charlie Crist and Rick Scott arguing over a fan to cool one’s balls was the most hilarious thing Stewart had seen in a long time. He showed clips of Crist standing alone on the debate stage and commented that a debate really needs two people to function otherwise it is just a “masturbate.” Stewart did not care that Crist needed a fan to cool his sweaty balls during the allotted time. According to him, America has a long standing tradition of “ball coolery.” He crossed to correspondent Samantha Bee who was at the “Scrotagen Labs,” which is on the forefront of ball-cooling innovation. The segment served to remind everyone of the very important fact that the state of Florida is shaped like a penis.
The next segment had correspondent Jessica Williams in Kansas reviewing the success of the conservative political experiment in that state. Governor Sam Brownback went in to create the “boring white guy dream” of a Republican utopia and the time has come to look at the fruits of that experiment. There were no fruits. In fact, Brownback’s failure is so bad that the group Republicans for Kansas Values is supporting the Democratic candidate running against him. Williams could not believe her ears and neither could anyone else. That seems like the kind of news to shake a conservative to their core, but Brownback is still upbeat. In fact, his solution to the backlash is to double-down on the abject failure of his tenure. Williams’ only response was to click her ruby slippers together and get a cab out of the state.
Professor Brian Stevenson was Stewart’s guest last night and lent a more serious tone to the otherwise punny show. His book Just Mercy examines mass incarceration in America by telling the story of a wrongly convicted man. The fact that America has the highest incarceration rate in the world concerned Stevenson very much, a fact which he saw as being connected to the complete divorce between justice and the systems of incarceration. Stewart chimed in with how race intersects with the problem, saying that his previous guest who Stevenson had probably never heard of had talked about how race no longer mattered. Stevenson countered with a small examination of how the country has failed to examine and reconcile its past history with slavery and oppression, allowing it to continue in ignorance of the problem as it exists today. Compared to the O’Reilly interview from Wednesday, the Slate Night Review could only conclude that Thursday was the better night to really talk about race in America.
Opinion By Lydia Bradbury