Category Archives: Humor

Two takes on that Scottish referendum


Sure, you’ve probably seen it before, but here it is again. . .

From Last Week Tonight with John Oliver:

Scottish Independence

Program notes:

Scotland is about to vote on whether to secede from the UK.

There are solid arguments on both sides.

But none of that makes bagpipes good to listen to…or does it?

International capitalism won’t like a yes vote, observes Noam Chomsky in this wide-ranging conversation.

He notes that what’s happening in Scotland is the result of forces at play elsewhere in Europe, too, including, Wales, that other part of big island with a long and turbulent relationship with London.

The vote raises larger issues as well, including the whole question of the necessity of the nation-state.

With that by way of an intro, from Stuart Platt:

Noam Chomsky on Scottish Independence

Program notes:

Noam Chomsky on Scottish Independence : Statehood and Power.

Recorded at MIT, Boston by Stuart Platt.

Questions by Gordon Asher, Leigh French and Stuart Platt

America’s best-known Scot campaigns


From Fox:

Willie’s Views On Scottish Independence

Program note:

Groundskeeper Willie has a few things to say prior to the Sept 18 Scottish elections.

John Oliver strikes again, this time engendered


This time the subject is equal pay for equal work, and you can predict the outcome. The only thing that leaves us bemused is the rationale for inserting that second line of the program note.

From Last Week Tonight with John Oliver:

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Wage Gap

Program note:

John Oliver explores America’s wage gap between men and women and proposes a possible solution.

Note: Solution proposed is 100% sarcastic.

John Oliver tackles militarized police & Ferguson


Cutting through the bullshit, when done in a non-plummy British accent, is somehow funnier than the same message conveyed in plain old American media English. But when the accent comes with rapier-sharp wit, the result is simply delicious.

Sure, you can find fault with John Oliver’s message, but he gets a lot more right than otherwise, and his take on the Orwellian machinery at the heart of paramilitary hardware and attitudes employed in Ferguson, Missouri, in the wake of the police shooting of yet another unarmed black teenager merits kudos.

Pop it up to full screen and enjoy, via HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver:

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Ferguson, MO and Police Militarization

Program note:

In the wake of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, John Oliver explores the racial inequality in treatment by police as well as the increasing militarization of America’s local police forces.

Gullible’s Travels: John Oliver dissects a U.S. myth


What is it that most distinguishes Britons from Americans?

It’s what one might call [A]merito-utopianism, the dysfunctional adherence of the mass of the American people to believe that material well-being — defined by the media as extravagant and lavishly photographic consumption of corporate-produced goods, ranging from telephoto shots of yachting celebrity down to the suburban tenth-grader’s Tweeted and YouTubed selfies.

Wealth, the media imply or declare overtly [Fox being merely the most blatant], results from talent or some other form of merit, a legacy in part of Calvinism, thought vastly reinforced by corporate media shaped by the sales needs of other corporations who often spend more on producing a thirty-second commercial than entertainment companies spend producing sixty-minute programs.

And then there’s that American that we’re really a classless society, a view unsustainable in a history-burdened Britain, as John Oliver explains in this segment from his HBO series.

What makes his debunking delightful is the final section, an upending of tropes so vividly illustrated.

Enjoy. . .

From Last Week Tonight with John Oliver:

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Wealth Gap (HBO)

Program note:

John Oliver discusses America’s growing wealth gap and why it may be a problem in the future.

And yes, it’s froim last month, but we only chanced upon it only yesterday.

From wiseguys to banksters, nasty payday loans


Wiseguys call it “the vig,” those extortionate rates guys with names like Vinny or Frankie Fists used to collect on loans you got from your friendly neighborhood loan shark.

But wiseguys have fallen on hard times because Uncle Sam has legitimated those muscular interest rates. And now you get ‘em from your friendly neighborhood corporate bankster.

Indeed, the guys who used to hand out in candy stores and dimly lit pool halls have been replaced by grinning hucksters who operate out of brightly lit storefronts that now outnumber Starbucks and Mickey Ds.

But fear not, John Oliver and Sarah Silverman are on the cash.

From HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver:

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Predatory Lending

Program notes:

Payday loans put a staggering amount of Americans in debt. They prey on the elderly and military service members. They’re awful, and nearly impossible to regulate. We’ve recruited Sarah Silverman to help spread the word about how to avoid falling into their clutches.

What a world! There’s now no separation between underworld and upperworld.

Clark and Dawe: Skewering those Aussie pols


John Clarke [the bald one] and Bryan Dawe [previously] are two Australian comedians whose regular features over the past quarter century on national television manage to deftly penetrate the verbal persiflage of Down Under politicians, which is one reason we love to feature their work.

Their Clark and Dawe routines for ABC {A as in Australian] are a sheer delight, as witnessed by the two most recent officings.

In our first segment, the dynamic duo pick up a theme for which they’ve been assailed before, pointing out the inherent hypocrisy of the religious right, in this the partisanship of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

From ClarkeAndDawe:

Clarke and Dawe – An Exciting New Interpretation of The Text.

Program note:

“An Important Government Functionary. One of many.” Originally aired on ABC TV: 07/08/2014

And in this section, Clarke takes on the role of Abbott, with Dawe the inquisitor in a circumlocution-and-waffle-word-larded dialogue about Australia’s political plays in the Game of Zones.

Clarke and Dawe – The Complexities of Foreign Policy Explained

Program note:

“Tony Abbott, Australian Prime Minister” Originally aired on ABC TV: 31/07/2014