Tag Archives: stephen colbert

Hey Conservatives – Could We Talk Real Quick?

Let’s get right to business here, folks.

I’m sure most of you are aware that, last Monday, Late Show host Stephen Colbert joked about Trump’s mouth being Vladimir Putin’s “cock holster.”

This prompted outrage among many conservatives, and lead to the Twitter hashtag #fireColbert, along with calls to boycott CBS advertisers. Today, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission, for our non-American readers) announced it was starting an investigation into Colbert’s joke, “following up on complaints” of obscenity/indecency/profanity. As much as that sucks, it’s not the FCC I want to call up to the dock today. It’s the folks who got them involved.

Conservatives (who might accidentally stumble across this blog) – let me address y’all directly:

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Many of you have cited that the joke was homophobic:

I gotta ask ya, Conservatives –

– since when do you give a **** about homophobia?

A sizeable chunk of the past twenty years has been dedicated to the battle to stop gay marriage, which was – to hear you talk at least – the breaking of the seventh seal. I mean seriously, we have had millions and millions of dollars and countless work-hours poured into this battle. Gays were, as you once claimed, destroying the moral fabric of the nation with the indecent and immoral behavior. To sanction it as a nation was to spit in the face of God!

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Unlike rejecting refugees, widows, orphans, and the poor, of whom the Bible makes absolutely no mention.

Suddenly Colbert takes a swipe at Trump, and you’re all indignant? “Oh, how dare Colbert say something hurtful towards gays-whose-right-we-have-been-actively-and-rabidly-campaigning-against-for-decades!”

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Seriously – the very existence of gay folks has been cited as causing hurricanes. Major conservative figures (in the current ****ing administration) have equated homosexuality with bestiality. The “homosexual agenda” was a baleful warning used by conservatives for years.

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So again, when did this change of heart come about? When did you suddenly start caring about gay folks?

Gimme a break.

But while we’re on the subject of staggering hypocrisy, can we talk about political correctness?

You know- that thing you claim as the bane of modern society. Proof that this generation is weak and pathetic. I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve heard phrases like “Millennial crybaby”, “liberal snowflake”, “there’s no safe-spaces in the real world!”

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Again, you guys support Trump – a guy who does not joke but boasts about “grabbing pussy.” Who has called women “gold diggers”, “bimbos”, and “dogs.” Who grotesquely mocked a disabled reporter.

By any measure or definition, Trump is a foul, loud-mouth ****nozzle. Compared to him, Colbert’s statements would barely register as “locker room talk.” Instead of calling for a boycott, why aren’t you rallying around Colbert for “telling it like it is” or “not being afraid to speak his mind” or any number of the shoddy excuses used to defend Trump’s garbage?

You get why this seems a little hypocritical, right?

Of course, much of this is predicated on the belief that Colbert’s joke was homophobic.

I don’t think it was.

For the joke in question to have been homophobic, it would have had to mocked, stereotyped, condemned, or disparaged homosexuality. We can all agree on that definition, right?
Then show me the part where Colbert did that.

He used the phrase “cock holster.” He suggested that Trump and Putin had a homosexual relationship. Was he attacking them for being “gay”? C’mon. He was attacking them for having a bizarre political alliance in which Trump fawns and swoons over a reprehensible autocrat. Colbert never said “being slavishly enamored with a man is wrong.” Colbert said (at most) “being slavishly enamored with Putin is wrong.” And that’s a sentiment I’d like to think we can all get behind.

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The joke was made all the more biting for Trump’s absurd sensitivity to his sexuality and Putin’s infamous persecution of gays (by the way, Conservatives, where’s your condemnation of that?).

But maybe – for a few of you, at least – it’s not the imaginary homophobia but the crassness of the remark which has you riled up. If that’s the case, well you still don’t have much of a leg to stand on. “Cock holster” is definitely a sharp term, but it’s definitely not new to TV.

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You didn’t call up the FCC then, why are you doing it now?

And if you think this is the crassest or most foul thing on television, then hoo-boy, you need to watch more TV. Hell, go to FOX and you’ll get a whole bowl of curse salad with raunch dressing.

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At your own peril – some thing cannot be unseen.

But maybe you’re none of those people.

Maybe you’re part of that small group who do have a modicum of self-awareness are at least arguing “If someone said this about Obama, they’d be fired within the hour.” That is at least a coherent argument.

It’s also a really bad one.

Regardless of alleged hypocrisy of the networks (more on that in a minute), do you really and truly want the FCC to get involved here?

I don’t think you’ve thought it through.

Invoking the FCC is invoking a federal regulatory committee. Not exactly the greatest move for folks whose platform has “get-the-government-out-of-our-business” as one of its oldest planks. Do you really and truly want the FCC – the government – to actively decide which jokes do and don’t count as “appropriate?” Go ahead and lock in your answers – whatever you say now can and will be used against you at a later date.

When Huckabee is serving as a voice of reason, you know things have gotten weird…

Of course, if you do want to demand the government dissect and analyze all jokes, I still don’t think you’ll have a leg to stand on. I mean, why would a host get censured for making the same joke about Obama instead of Trump?

One about Obama wouldn’t make sense – not a “Putin’s cock holster” one, anyways. While I don’t think anyone – particularly not Obama – should be exempt from ribbing or ridicule, Obama didn’t have a strangely close relationship with a violently homophobic Russian tyrant. If he did, then yeah, that joke would work. Out of that context, it’d just be plain weird. And for the record, folks did take shots at Obama.

O-bomb-a:

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Barack Osama (alternatively, “Barack Husein Obama”):

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“Not Born In America/Secret Muslim”:

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Presented not as satire but as serious speculation

Limbaugh’s use of a song titled “Barack The Magic Negro”:

Glenn Beck’s insistence that Obama was a Socialist:

As a Socialist myself, please stop calling Obama a Socialist. We don’t want him either.

Again, you don’t exactly have the high ground here.

But you know what? You don’t need to have it.

I’m not a liberal or a conservative (and no, that doesn’t mean I’m moderate or apolitical – there’s more than two flavors out there). Other than keeping the FCC at bay, I don’t really have a horse in this race. While I thought Colbert’s joke was damn funny, I don’t think you have to, and I even think you should boycott if you so choose (as much as I disagree). Just don’t pretend to be doing it because Colbert was “homophobic” – he wasn’t. Don’t pretend that you care about gay people – you don’t. Don’t pretend you’re championing the cause of etiquette and decency – you aren’t.

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You want to influence the flow of our culture to reflect the values and opinions you hold personally. That’s fine. That’s your prerogative. It’s OK to be upset by characterizations you find to be unfounded, unfair, or unrepresentative. That’s what I do every single time I sit down to churn one of these rants out.

But if you are gonna do that, then for ****’s sake, own it.

Otherwise shut your **** holsters.

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If you were to have told me eight years ago that Pam Poovery would be one of my favorite characters, I would’ve said “Yeah, that makes a ton of sense – she’s awesome.”


Images retrieved via BBC World, Twitter, WordPress, YouTube Imgur, The Boston Globe, Tumblr – Fair Use.

 

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Shame Day: Your Fave Is Problematic

Writing “Shame Days” is harder than it looks. You gotta find a subject that’s extensive enough to merit an entire post of ranting without it being so reprehensible as to leave you speechless (Scott Lively, you satanic **********er, I’m looking at you). With that in mind, and as it’s rapidly approaching 9:00 PM as I write these words, we’re going to revisit an old subject that I personally don’t think got the lashing they deserve.

So who’s being drawn and quartered today?

It was in the title of this piece, so I guess the question’s pretty dang redundant.

“Your Fave is Problematic” is a Tumblr blog devoted, much like these Shame Day posts, to calling out celebrities and artists who the authors view as having committed bigotry in some form or another. Evan and I have both briefly touched on these guys, with us generally concluding that while noble in intent, they tend to be a bit extreme in their measures of what is and isn’t acceptable. Evan specifically stated that “I truly believe that Your Fave Is Problematic is doing a good thing”, however, after myself digging through their blog a bit more, I really just can’t say the same.

These guys are *******es.

Let me break it down here. Continue reading

The Importance of Ms. Marvel as Immigrant Literature

I can think of no better way to introduce this subject than with Stephen Colbert’s reaction to the news:

<this is where I would embed the video, if Comedy Central, Yahoo Video, and WordPress would just get along already>

Before I continue I want to point out that the original Captain Marvel was a Kree alien who actually went by the name “Mar-Vell”, and when taking that into account Darlene Rodriguez’s pronunciation actually has a fair amount of validity.

With that out of the way, let’s take a more in-depth look at the young Kamala Khan.

Easily one of the most fascinating aspects about this new character, at least from a writer’s perspective, is how she came into existence. It all began when Marvel editor Sana Amanat, who grew up as a Muslim, began recounting stories of her childhood with fellow editor Steve Wacker. The two moved forward from there, “[noting] the dearth of female superhero series and, even more so, of comics with cultural specificity.” Continue reading

You Should Care About Super PACs

The new potentially-sort-of-boring-topic-about-which-we-should-educate-ourselves (this is the first election I’m paying attention to and I’m finding a lot of these things) is the issue of Super PACs and their effect on the current election.

To summarize, Political Action Committees (PACs) have been around for a while. They are organizations that raise money to use toward elections, usually television commercials — they are limited to collecting small amounts of money from individuals, political parties, and other PACs — and the stipulation was that they could only accept $5000 per person per year, which meant that (at least in theory) candidates’ support would be semi-related to the amount of supporters donating to them.

In 2010, however, it became legal for some organizations to receive unlimited donations from corporations and unions: organizations which accept these unlimited donations are called “super PACs.” They are like PACs, but much more evil. While PACs forced candidates to build a large support base to earn a substantial amount of money, a few millionaire individuals or corporations can fund a candidate’s entire ad campaign.

Super PACs are devastating to the essence of democracy: Why should congressional and presidential candidates care more about the votes of single constituents than the needs of unions and corporations when campaigns can be made or broken by union and corporate funding?

Super PACs allow campaigns to distance themselves from negative ad campaigns while reaping the benefits from commercials slandering political opponents — Mitt Romney’s PAC (the idiotically named “Restoring Our Future” — okay, one might restore hope for the future, but not the future itself) spent $3 million running negative campaigns against Newt Gingrich, effectively killing his campaign.

(evil?)Super PACs allow corporations and unions to spend huge amounts of money on elections — billions, in the 2010 midterm election — and that directly translates into influence on government decisions. If you’re imagining large men in suits grinning evilly while photographing themselves with dollar bills coming out of their ears, keep imagining it: there’s a picture of Mitt Romney that looks exactly like that.

Super PACs are a key factor in the commercialization of the political process. Since the late 90s, the money involved in elections (adjusted for inflation) has increased at an alarming rate. The amount of money that went into the 2008 election ($1 billion, 86 million) was more than twice that of the 1996 election (599 million dollars, adjusted for inflation) — Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign alone spent more than was spent in 1996 ($799 million).

Super PACs do not have to report the amount of money they receive, or how they spend it. A candidate’s super PAC can fund ridiculous amounts of illogical and negative commercials without having to pin the candidate’s name on the commercials at all. A candidate’s super PAC can also donate money to other PACs, effectively buying the good will of other politicians. Recent Supreme Court decisions deem this legal.

You should buy one of these tshirts on Colbert's website. And protect democracy.

The Colbert Report flaunted the troubling legalities of Super PACs in last Thursday’s episode, when Stephen Colbert’s Super PAC (Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow) was transferred from Colbert to Jon Stewart as Colbert announced his fake intention to run for president. Colbert is not supposed to coordinate with the super PAC, his lawyer said on the show, but he could remain business partners with Stewart and the staff of his PAC didn’t have to change, even though they clearly knew everything about his election strategy.

Super PACs are the final step in making political campaigns entirely about money and slander. The political scene becomes a game of who-can-find-the-most-loopholes, with politicians focusing their energies on how to betray the spirit of the law without breaking the letter of it, which seems quite bad indeed.

Thoughts on MetaCelebrity

So Stephen Colbert recently got his Super PAC approved – which means that he can raise an unlimited amount of money, as well as advertise for his PAC on Comedy Central. The approval has brought attention to large role privately-run PACs are going to play in the next election – and brought up questions about the legitimacy of the process as a whole.

Colbert’s Super PAC allows him to raise unlimited amounts of money from whoever he wants; he has stated a goal of ‘infinity dollars’.

The Colbert Report has been doing strange things with reality for quite a while, of course – the myriad overlaps between Steve Colber[T] and his alter ego; the 2006 elephant Wikipedia thing, the selling of his wrist cast for charity, and his various in-character and semi-in-character appearances on Bill O’Reilly’s show, doubly ironic rallies, and before Congress. Stephen Colbert’s character has been breaking the boundaries of his allotted time slot since the show’s inception. People don’t even talk about Steve Colbert the comedian – he seems to be kind of a low-key guy; little is known about him that can be wholly differentiated from his pretentiously pronounced character.

Two other examples of this blurring of public and private life: Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana (I can’t really comment too much on this, but I DO know now that there was a show and a movie and that they are the same girl but one of them is sometimes a cartoon or something), and Lady Gaga, who has said that she considers her entire life a performance.

Lady Gaga arrived at the Grammy’s in an egg. There isn’t really much more to say.

So what is this thing? Why are fictional characters bleeding into real life? Well, in the case of Colbert’s Super PAC, it’s like a pop-up book version of satire – it’s a real-life critique that plays by the rules of the society it’s critiquing, legally approved and earning real money and possibly having a real effect on the election.

And meta-awareness is the key to mainstream comedy right now: The Simpsons (with their constant in-show jokes and references to Fox), anything by Seth McFarlane, Community, Parks and Recreation, Arrested Development (Arrested Development sooo muuch), and 30 Rock, eg. It’s not enough to just be funny within the show anymore – shows need to make audiences feel like they’re in on one huge inside joke.

Characters and stories in the media have to be aware of what they are, and go outside it, for audiences to appreciate them.

Well, I mean, that’s the heart of satire, right? The acknowledgment of the form. It’s why all the songs in the Book of Mormon are so dang catchy – because the music is everything that is catchy and addictive about Broadway boiled down into one show. And so it’s like stories and characters can’t just be stories and characters anymore – they have to be aware of what they are, and go outside it, for audiences to appreciate them.

The interesting thing is that I think this indicates a certain inability to lose our self-consciousness – it’s like we can’t enjoy ourselves unless we’re letting everyone know that we know what’s going on – that we’re willingly playing along with entertainment’s game. Entertainment is becoming more and more about who is breaking the fourth wall and how well, and so we abandon the maintenance of any sense of separation – that other-worldy, play-acting quality that movies, shows, and characters used to have. Entertainment is no longer contained within the realm of fiction. I’m not sure if this is good or bad or just a natural evolution of a communication-saturated society, but there it is. We seem to have abandoned all possibility of the acceptance of myth, and now everything has to be self-aware.