News, politics, progressive culture, music, acoustic music

Archive for the ‘Satire’ Category

SNL 9/25/10: Wedding Venue

without comments

SNL was a new one last night. Is summer over? Anyway, it was a pretty good episode as these things go. Never hurts to put Amy Poehler in the lineup.

Here is the bit that made me laugh the loudest.

Oh Really was pretty good too.

Written by slothropia

September 26th, 2010 at 7:34 pm

The Onion: Exhausted Noam Chomsky Just Going To Try And Enjoy The Day For Once

without comments

I know how Professor Chomsky feels. Sometimes I’m just too tired to blog.

LEXINGTON, MA—Describing himself as “terribly exhausted,” famed linguist and political dissident Noam Chomsky said Monday that he was taking a break from combating the hegemony of the American imperialist machine to try and take it easy for once.

“I just want to lie in a hammock and have a nice relaxing morning,” said the outspoken anarcho-syndicalist academic, who first came to public attention with his breakthrough 1957 book Syntactic Structures. “The systems of control designed to manufacture consent among a largely ignorant public will still be there for me to worry about tomorrow. Today, I’m just going to kick back and enjoy some much-needed Noam Time.”

“No fighting against institutional racism, no exposing the legacies of colonialist ideologies still persistent today, no standing up to the widespread dissemination of misinformation and state-sanctioned propaganda,” Chomsky added. “Just a nice, cool breeze through an open window on a warm spring day.”

Sources reported that the 81-year-old Chomsky, a vociferous, longtime critic of U.S. foreign policy and the political economy of the mass media, was planning to use Monday to tidy up around the house a bit, take a leisurely walk in the park, and possibly attend an afternoon showing of Date Night at the local megaplex.

There’s more. Good ole Onion.

Written by slothropia

July 2nd, 2010 at 8:26 pm

Posted in Satire

Tagged with ,

Schock of the Fightin’ 18th

without comments

For those still wondering about Aaron Schock, all is revealed here – or is it?

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Better Know a District – Illinois’ 18th – Aaron Schock
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor NASA Name Contest

Seriously, was Colbert actually trying to out Aaron? Was Schock playing along or an unwilling dupe?

Written by slothropia

April 16th, 2009 at 3:18 pm

Colbert at His Worst

without comments

Written by slothropia

April 1st, 2009 at 12:23 pm

Has Obama Slain Satire?

without comments

Good news. The U.S. is not the only country with a corporate media that misinforms and provides a home for brain dead pundits and critics.

Take yer Globe and Mail for example. Here’s a column by G&M teevee critic Andrew Ryan in which we learn that Bill Maher will have nothing to say when Real Time returns tonight. You see, Maher, like all late night teevee comedians hates Republicans and loves Democrats, especially POTUS Obama. Ergo, no more jokes about politics.

Yup, satire is dead. Nothing left to ridicule on either side of the aisle. What a relief. Now I’ll have more time to watch reality shows.

I can declare, without irony or sarcasm, that satire will always find targets as long as humans remain humans. Said targets are not necessarily political but many political targets remain. Michael Steele, for example, or Joe Biden when he is in gaffe mode.

Then there’s an apparently inexhaustible supply of material like this:

Apparently Brother Ryan does not like Maher, perhaps because like my far, far better half he finds the Real Time host too snarky. He (sometimes) makes me laugh out loud, but the best part of Real time is of course the panel discussion segment. I for one am looking forward to Maher’s return.

Written by slothropia

February 20th, 2009 at 11:44 am

SNL & Prop 8

without comments

Hey, didja see SNL last Saturday night? I think it was all about prop 8. This here is what made me laugh so hard beer came out through my nose:

Weekend Update was good too.

Written by slothropia

November 17th, 2008 at 8:57 pm

Sarah and Hillary

without comments

Written by slothropia

September 13th, 2008 at 11:32 pm

DVD Review: V for Vendetta

without comments

At the end of V for Vendetta occurred a scene that gave me goose bumps. Thousands of Britons have marched to Westminster at the urging of V (Hugo Weaving), an anarchist revolutionary. They are faced by the usual military might in the service of the state. The peaceful crowd has every right to believe that they will be attacked. At one point it becomes clear that there will be no attack and that the power of the state has been broken. Their response is to take off their masks and become individuals prepared to seek and pay the price for fulfillment.

This film is about the crisis and chronic frustration in this and other nations resulting from the inability of democratically elected governments to do what the electorate wants it to do?

V for Vendetta depicts a cathartic revolution, but it does not really provide a solution to the crisis. It is a poem, not a blueprint for change.

Disbelief was required to be suspended more than once during the movie. It is after all taken from a comic book – I mean graphic novel written by Alan Moore and illustrated mostly by David Lloyd,. How did V build all that stuff? How come the cops never find him even though he lives in a mansion with a splendid view of the City of London? But I made the effort and bathed in the imaginary world of the movie. It was worth it.

The villain in the movie is a religious, conservative Chancellor of Britain, played by John Hurt and clearly meant to represent the contemporary American Right .The references to the Bush junior admin were too numerous to be accidental. One example: the fascist government in the film uses fear of terrorism to manipulate public opinion. See the cable news channels today for confirmation that such a tactic is in the arsenal of the Bush Jr. administration. The John Hurt government in V for Vendetta manufactures a disaster that kills thousands. Could this be a reference to some of the conspiracy theories about 9/11?

Whether the original graphic novel intended did so or not, the film delivered a warning about what is called conservatism evolving into fascism. Is such a thing possible? Yes. Is it likely? Maybe. Is it happening now? I think so.

Stephen Fry plays a television comedian who satirizes John Hurts Chancellor dictator. He is arrested for the satire and executed, not because of the satire, and not because of his homosexuality, but because he possesses a copy of the Koran. Please see Little Green Footballs (no link – Google if you must) to see if there are Conservatives who would favor such action.

Besides, libertarian issues, the politics of the film are about free will and identity, played out in the relationship between V and Evie (Natalie Portman), a woman he rescues from the police and who eventually joins his cause. Hmm. Could Evie’s name be symbolic of her status as the first of a new kind of woman created by V’s revolution? Rhetorical question; don’t answer.

The film suggests that its hero, V, is crazy. If he is, how did he get that way? Are we all crazy? What masks do we hide behind?

V for Vendetta is an extremely violent movie, but it is of course cartoon violence. Yet ironically, its resolution is a non-violent revolution (if you don’t count blowing up Parliament and brutally killing the leaders of the government).

Other important credits:

Directed by

Screenplay by

Written by slothropia

August 10th, 2006 at 6:23 pm

Posted in Movies,Satire

Movie Review: Viva Zapatero

with 10 comments

This is a friend I made at the Traverse City Film Festival:


His name is Doug Cameron and being a dual U.S./Canadain citizen I had to ask him about his t-shirt when I saw it. Above the Canadian Flag maple leaf is the word Canada and below it says “Looks Better Every Day”. I kinda figured this guy weren’t no fan of George W and I was right. A retired UAW member, Doug must be a brilliant man, because he and I agreed on all the big political issues of the day.

Somehow we ended up sitting next to each other at the screening last Wednesday night of Viva Zapatero, the brilliant documentary by Italian film maker Sabrina Guzzanti.

Moore and Sabrina both had fun with the obvious comparison that is made of the two of them. She was honored and he was very apologetic that someone who looks like this:


was compared to someone who looks like this:

Michael Moore 1.jpg

Then the lights went down and the movie ran. Afterward, the two came back for a very generous Q and A.

Viva Zapatero is a documentary with a definite point of view. It makes no attempt to hide the film makers opinions, which is the real ppoint of cpmparison between Guzzanti and Moore. The title is an obvious reference to Viva Zapata, a movie Marlon Brando made about the Mexican revolutionary, but it also evokes the name of the current Spanish Prime Minister, who has tried to remove political manipulation from public broadcasting in that country.

Sabrina had a satirical show, RAIot, on Italy’s public television network RAI. Apparently, RAIot was similar in spirit to The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, This Hour Has 22 Minutes (for you Canadians out there), Spitting Image and Les Guignols de l’ínfo.

After one show, RAIot is canceled. Actually, the network had canceled it before the first show aired but felt enough heat to allow one showing.

Viva Zapatero is about Sabrina’s attempt to corner the politicians and bureaucrats with power over public broadcasting in Italy and find out from them why she had been canceled. It sounds and feels like Roger and Me, except that Italians speak much more reapidly than Americans do.

In the film, Sabrina also looks at the role and importance of satire in today’s Western democracies. She also explores why politicians, both left and right, are so hostile to and fearful of satire (this is just as true in the United States as it is in Italy apparently).

Finally, Sabrina uses the film to document her like efforts to circumvent the system that would silence and marginalize her art and thought and to raise in the public mind questions about free speech and open discussion of social and political issues.

The movie is very effctive, in turns funny, infuriating and inspiring. I admit I am more a fan than a critic when it comes to this kind of agitprop.

The crowd in the State Theatre was also very supportive and gave the film a standing O during the end credits. Most stayed for the Q and A, at which Moore repeated the questions from the audience, a big help to Guzzanti. Her English is very good but it is very clearly not her first language.

Stuff I Learned From the Q and A:

  • The film has been a smash hit in Italy. It cost 100k to produce.
  • To get a distributor, Guzzanti tried to take the film to the Venice festival, but it was not accepted. The Italian Directors Association agreed to show it but was not allowed to publicize it. Guzzanti and friends used something called the internet to spread the word about the Venice showing and managed to fill the theatre where it took place. Viva Zapatero receive a 15 minute standing ovation at its first showing and so got a little publicity. Eventually it became the highest grossing Italian made documentary in Italy ever, and the second highest all time in Italy (right behind Fahrenheit 911 of course).
  • The Italian public is polarized over Guzzanti (another point of comparison with you know who) but has so far received no death threats (knock on wood).
  • Q. why is there no effective opposition in Italy (as in the U.S.)?
    Guzzanti: Democracy is not developing any longer. Corruption is part of the problem. Satire becomes even more important under such conditions.
    Moore: Ridiculing liberal/left/progressive parties may help them become more effective (editor’s note: Has Jon Stewart strengthened the Dems by making fun of them?)
  • The Italian public knew about Berlusconi’s corruption and exploitation of his media monopoly before Viva Zapatero but the film crystallized it and allowed people to focus on it.
  • Michael Moore asked a question that got a big laugh: You defeated Berlusconi. What did I do wrong?
  • After everybody had a good laugh, Guzzanti pointed out that the recent Italian election was very close, which allowed Berlusconi to retain substantial power. More importantly, Guzzanti noted that movies (like hers and Moore’s) aren’t meant to influence the outcome of elections. Movies aren’t propaganda. Rather, movies can make complex points, and are intended to make people think about issues and make up their own minds.
  • Guzzanti said her next subject is how Italy gave power to its current rulers and the role of religion in Italian politics and society.
  • Satire undermines fear. It is easier to not be afraid of the Bushes and Berlusconies of the world when you are laughing at them.

Then it was time to go to the Open Space for a 10 pm showing of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Before I close, thanks skippy (scroll down to see this blog actually mentioned).

Written by slothropia

August 7th, 2006 at 10:10 am