When court jesters stop laughing at despots they expect you to stop too

They’re funny, they’re clever, and their comedy can be dead serious, but it turns out when political comedians actually are dead serious they expect their audience to come to heel. Bernie Sanders was just a laugh, look at yourself, you fell for it. Court jesters pile on the ridicule of whoever’s the ruler, but when the diversion is over, the joke’s on you, now shut up. Said Sarah Silverman to heartbroken Bernie delegates: “Don’t be ridiculous.” Adds Seth Meyers: “We don’t have time for this.”

So Jon Stewart decides when an act of malice is too egregious to joke about? It’s called pandering, people.

Jon Stewart’s monologue last night was a moving response to the racist murders committed in Charleston on Wednesday. Dylann Storm Roof’s shooting of nine African Americans was hate crime and racism pure and simple. I cheered along as Stewart declared a comic intervention: America needed to sober up to the reality of its self-perpetuating racist crimes. I’m not sure Stewart could have reacted any differently, but his comedic turn was also a reminder for me of the manipulative tool the Daily Show has always been. World events are always filled with tragedy, which Stewart highlights and lampoons, so why is the Charleston church shooting more egregious than the mosques Americans bomb every day? Is Roof’s racism any more “home-grown” than our government’s? Does Jon Stewart decide for you when the laughter starts or stops?

I applaud Stewart calling for Americans to stop laughing about racism. #BlackLivesMatter #GodDammit! #GodFuckingDammit! Now I hope in his last shows Stewart can ask his audience to stop laughing at court jesters who provide escape valves for the horrors of systemic state-sponsored injustice.

Stewart followed up his Andy Kaufmanesque cold-open with an interview of Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, the compelling child star of Pakistan, as balm for his being overwhelmed by the day’s trauma. Malala of course, the poster child for the machinations of the neoliberal globalists who need to enslave Third World young women to fill their free trade zone factories with Western-education-trafficked slave laborers. So if Stewart delivers the neoliberal agenda on a silver platter, who ordered the show-stopper?

Rap News and Wikileaks thumb noses at US junta and its News World Order

I’d say Juice Media’s Hugo Farrant and Wikileaks’ Julian Assange are showing up the powers that be. Catch today’s episode of Rap News:

Some may imagine kindred discontents at MSNBC and the Daily Show, but Jon Stewart’s chatting up Obama tonight couldn’t make the facade plainer. Developments this week with the Iran War Logs from Wikileaks and here, from fellow Aussies at Juice Media, show the next generation aims to derail US military state propaganda with impunity.

O’REILLY: The number of people in the Middle East
              opposed to Democracy has swiftly decreased.

RUMSFELT: Yeah, by a million at least!


2- “One Nation” JOBS, PEACE, JUSTICE, March on Washington, DC
4- Arrest Dick Cheney Now, at the Broadmoor, 7:30am
5- Arrest George W. Bush Now, at the Broadmoor, 7:30am
6- Erik Larson, “Devil in the White City,” CC Armstrong Hall, 7pm
7- National day of action to defend education, DC
7-16 YEAR NINE of the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan
8- Day of the Heroic Guerrilla
10- Indigenous Peoples Day
10- 350.ORG’s Global Work Party
11- NPR’s Scott Simon, Protest “Evening with a Pro-war Shill,” CC Armstrong Hall, 7pm
11- CLIMATE CHAOS demonstration, DC
12- Day of Solidarity with Laos
14- Reel Injun documentary, CC Cornerstone, 6pm
15- The Heretics documentary, CC Cornerstone, 2:30pm
19- Citizens Project Election Forum, Stargazers Theater, 5pm
19- International Media Democracy Day
20- Churchill v CU, Appeals court oral arguments, Denver, 2:30
26- STREET THEATER for Glenn Beck, World Arena, 7pm
26- PP-ACLU forum “Role of Faith in Elections, CC, 7pm
30- Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity, DC

Did you know John Yoo is not in jail?

john-woo-daily-showThis is the kind of civility that I just can’t stomach. Berkeley Law Professor John Yoo, author of the Torture Memos which Bushco’s blimpnecks took for their greenlight to water-board, was a guest yesterday on the Daily Show. Short of Jon Stewart orchestrating a citizen’s arrest, or reality television setting Gitmo alumni upon Woo like bears on honey, I don’t want to see the John Yoo walking free.

I could see that Stewart had planned some zingers which Yoo was able to dodge, and afterward Stewart behaved like Hannibal Lecter had just passed through, but on the whole I think hosting criminals like Yoo is ill advised. For one, you have to shake his hand. Then of course the nature of television entertainment –unless you are Mike Wallace who’s just strode into the mark’s office– has you trying to make light of the interview, the whole of which has been choreographed for laughs. Worst of all I believe, are the too-many times a host finds himself asking the audience to give it up for the guest.

When Stewart first announced the night’s guest was to be John Yoo, the audience appropriately enough did not cheer. Of course when it came time for the cretin’s entrance, the applause was obligatory. And so it followed, each subsequent punctuation. How else are the audience members supposed to show their enthusiasm? It’s true, their energy is critical to the stage energy.

Stephen Colbert solves the applaud-the-bad-guy paradox by taking a victory lap himself when the audience applauds the introduction of the guest. But usually Colbert’s show specializes in leftist guests with whom the audience is sympathetic, so the maneuver is more for bringing the studio audience unto Colbert’s role-playing for the Right. Integral to his act is an audience that mimics O’Reilly-Limbaugh ditto-heads. A veritable right wing audience could never be brought to even show civility to a guest they’re told is hostile.

And I guess I long for a little more of that genuine sentiment. It began for me when I saw Sarah Palin treated with effusive cordiality on Saturday Night Live. Again the audience was expected to applaud Palin, if in fact they were really just excited to see her roasted.

John Yoo and ilk, the whole Bush troops, must be prosecuted and jailed. That they walk about at large, free to second guess President Obama’s terrorism strategies are nothing to laugh at. I’ll cop to being humorless on this point.

Excerpt, March 13, 2002 Memorandum

“… neither the GPW (Third Geneva Convention) nor the Torture Convention restrict the President’s legal authority to transfer prisoners captured in the Afghanistan conflict to third countries. Although the GPW places conditions on the transfer of POWs, neither al-Qaeda nor Taliban prisoners are legally entitled to POW status, and hence there are no GPW conditions placed on their transfer. While the Torture Convention arguably might govern transfer of these prisoners, it does not apply extraterritorially.”

Excerpt, August 1, 2002 Memo

“Under international law, therefore, the United States thus is bound only by the text of the Torture Conventions as modified by the first Bush administration’s understanding.”

Daily Show censored Palestinian issues

Palestinian rights activists Anna Baltzer and Dr. Mustafa Barghouti were guests Wednesday night on the Daily Show. I know the talk show looks like a live tape, and few question Jon Stewart’s ethics, but there were some strange anomalies. For one, for the first time in its 11 years, a heckler was audible from the show’s audience. Two, according to the guests, much of their message was excised from the final tape: (1) the US role in aiding Israel, (2) the lack of adequate coverage in mainstream US media, and (3) the Palestinian-led movement for Boycott / Divestment / Sanctions (BDS) to nonviolently pressure Israel to comply with international law.

For a limited time only, you can to the Daily Show website to see the full tape of the interview. Check it out.

Baltzer reports that the Daily Show staff were very nervous about airing the limited pro-Palestinian voices which it did. She recommends giving them positive feedback, to counter the wrath they are no doubt feeling from the Jewish/Israeli lobby. You can fill out this form: www.comedycentral.com/help/questions, re. Jon Stewart.

Remember: boycott, divest, and urge for sanctions against an Israeli regime which ignores UN resolutions and defies international law. To avoid products from Israel, do not buy anything whose bar code begins with sku prefix 729 GS1. And if you feel like pressuring the Zionists Americans who are funding the lobbyists trying to coax the US to war with Iran, boycott the Wexner family holdings: The Limited, Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works, Henri Bendel, C. O. Bigelow, The White Barn Candle Company, and La Senza, for starters.

Evo Morales on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show

My wife loves this guy and his name because his name, Evo Morales, translates as… ‘Eve Morals’. A boy named Evo in Bolivia might have a life just a little like a boy named Sue in Oklahoma would! Who knows? Here he is on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show

Maybe Ahmadinejad should have done that program instead of visiting Columbia University? He could have done some jokes along the lines of….

There was an Imam, Pastor, and Rabbi who all went out to lunch together with God and here’s what they all ordered….

Jon Stewart certainly would have treated him with respect and dignity instead of trying to incite a war.


I once had to break up with a perfectly good boyfriend. He was 6’5″, 240 pounds, Denver Broncos tight end, straight-A student, fast car, cool apartment….blah, blah. We had dated for two years, discussed marriage and children, a serious deal. But I knew that it was time for me to pull the plug. Why, you ask? Here’s the honest truth. He thought the Three Stooges were HILARIOUS.
pictureThis may seem a ridiculous reason but, really, when your man is curled up in a fetal position night after night, laughing convulsively at Larry, Curly and Moe, a feeling of separateness, a moat that no drawbridge can span, envelops you and leaves you completely alone, bereft, devoid of vision and hope.

I’ve often said that my sense of humor has saved me as I’ve weathered the storms of life. Don’t laugh. I’m very serious about this. I think the ability to see irony or absurdity, the ability to be self-effacing, has enabled me to cope with all that has come my way. A sense of humor is more therapeutic to me than Prozac or Valium or crack cocaine (it was only that one time, I swear).

This past weekend I stumbled across VH1’s 100 Best Saturday Night Live skits. I think I may be one of the only people on the planet who has watched SNL religiously, season after season, since its inception in 1975. I was in the 8th grade when SNL began. I’m 44 now. In a good year perhaps 30% of the skits could qualify as funny. But those that are change our perspective, change our lives really. Do you remember when the old George Bush overcame the wimp factor to become our 41st president? Do you remember when he drew a line in the sand…daring the Iraqis to mess with the US of A? His approval rating was higher at that time than almost any president in history. Enter Dana Carvey. His affectionate, yet biting, parody of George Bush allowed us all to breathe a collective sigh of relief. Yes, we elected him, we like him….but we have reservations. Na Ga Da…what the hell does that mean?

Now we have president number 43, Dubya. Shit, hell, fuck. Please give us something to laugh about because he’s letting us down big time. This war sucks. At least let us mock his laugh. Hehehehe. My goodness, can’t we make fun of his fraternity boy demeanor….his inability to speak in complete sentences? If not, how about those daughters of his? Texas girls…tequila-swilling, blow-job-giving hose bags. Well…nothing that I wasn’t but who cares? I wasn’t in the public eye so too bad presidential daughters!

And Hillary. You went to Wellesley like all smart lesbians do. You could be our next president if only you didn’t have cankles! Look it up in the dictionary you’ll see a picture of Hillary Clinton’s lower leg. Hahahahahahaha! No credibility with me because no differentiation between your calves and ankles! Universal health care?! SHUT THE HELL UP, FATTO!!!

Thank you, Lorne Michaels, for sticking with SNL. Thank you for being politically incorrect (a phrase that didn’t even exist back then). You’ve given wings to a whole new generation of political satirists…..Dennis Miller, Bill Maher, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert. We hunger for someone to interpret our global reality. It sucks. But it’s funny. Yes, there’s terror in the world but there is also laughter, my friends. Tell me that there isn’t something humorous about tall skinny Osama hiding in a cave needing dialysis. Poor Osama. Just the name Osama doubles me over. O-S-A-M-A.

Back to you, my Stooge-loving former sweetie pie, I know you married not too long after we parted. I imagine that your wife is beautiful, your children perfect. I picture their prowess on the field, their superiority in the classroom. But mostly I picture grubby hands, erect across the bridges of freckled noses….avoiding the inevitable double eye poke. It’s a life that I could never be a part of. Nyuk, nyuk! Woo, woo!

Showing fealty

Demonstrating fealty to the SaudisJon Stewart parodied the Bush-Ahmadinejad face off at the U.N. on Thursday, characterizing George Bush’s address as a Mafia don trying to intimidate his subjects.
In this light, the significance of Bush holding hands with Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah earlier this year finally hit me. Bush is probably taking out on us what he’s getting from his masters. The public hand-holding was none other than a show of fealty.

At first I thought Bush could have been helping the not-so-elder along a Texas trail. Or maybe hand-holding might be a Saudi custom between friends. I laughed a bit at the gay innuendo, thinking about Jeffrey Gannon/Guckert, the gay prostitute who frequents the White House but nobody knows for whom, keeping in mind Stephen Colbert’s chiding White House Spokesman Scott McClellan for retiring to “spend more time with Andrew Card’s children.”
What does it mean to kiss the Don’s ring? Or the Pope’s? Or to touch another’s feet? It isn’t affection, it isn’t submission. It’s the literal origin of what it is to kiss ass. An act which both parties agree to be distasteful and beneath one’s dignity, but necessary to demean oneself to show deference.

It means subjugation, to humiliate yourself, in the original sense of humility, to abase yourself before your superior, before everyone’s eyes, to demonstrate your allegiance.

Holding Prince Abdullah’s hand was not about kissing up to the Saudis to cement an oil deal. It was an offer George W. could not refuse. Who owns a major share of the US treasury bonds? Who could break the US economy at will? To whom does Bush owe his fortune and ascendency? “Hold my hand.”

What could it mean for the President of the United States to be demonstrating his fealty to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia?

Light summer fare

Congressman Westmoreland do-nothingHere are some wonderful video clips, if you haven’t seen them already:
1. Georgia congressman Lynn Westmoreland wants to post the Ten Commandments in the halls of congress, if only to be reminded of them himself. Here he is in an interview with Stephen Colbert.

2. If you haven’t seen it yet, Stephen Colbert’s address to the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. While you’re at it, read Colbert’s follow-up commencement speech.

3. Jon Stewart spars with Republican Party Chairman Ken Mehlman, and empathizes with him because “you have to spray perfume on the turds.”

4. Ask-a-Ninja explains net neutrality.

5. A David Copperfield sendup and an amazing juggling finale.