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Archive for the ‘Stephen Colbert’ Category

Schock of the Fightin’ 18th

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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

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April 1st, 2009 at 12:23 pm

Jack Welch: Liar or Idiot?

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Just saw Jack Welch, the former CEO of GE, interviewed by Colbert. Apparently Welch is flogging a new book about how to succeed in business. Colbert was very generous and not at all hostile to his guest, and why not? But he slipped in one question that was very perceptive and got a very revealing answer.

Welch is on record as saying that he is not concerned about all the manufactuiring jobs that continue to be outsourced from the U.S. Colbert asked why not.

“Because we’ve proven that it works” he replied. To paraphrse and add subtext, Unemployment is down to 4.5% and the stock market is booming, so who needs manufacturing jobs?

Welch, and others like him seem to have never heard of the trade deficit, McJobs, or stagnating real wages. He seems not to know that the unemployment rate only measures the percentage of those actively looking for jobs who do not have one. Discouraged workers are not counted. That is how job creation in this country can continually fall under expectations without the unemployment rate rising.

Jack Welch is either a liar or an idiot and he doesn’t seem all that stupid to me.

Written by slothropia

December 18th, 2006 at 11:39 pm

Posted in Stephen Colbert

Janna Levin

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So last evening I was watching the Colbert Report (there’s no such thing as too much garlic or too much irony), and his guest was a math whiz named Janna Levin, not to be confused with Jenna Elfman. Levin has written a novel called A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines. Turing machines, I have just learned, were first described by Alan Turing in (Turing 1937), and are simple abstract computational devices intended to help investigate the extent and limitations of what can be computed.

BTW I have not read Levin’s novel, only ordered it a few moments ago from

Levin says this novel is “(A) story of coded secrets and psychotic delusions, mathematics and war.”

Reminds me of something else I read some time ago. What was it again? Was it this? Nope. Doesn’t quite serve.

I know, it was this. Only maybe Levin’s work is, you know, a little easier to read.

I will have to let you know.

Written by slothropia

August 25th, 2006 at 1:05 am

Movie Review: Viva Zapatero

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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