Posts Tagged ‘satire’

Sexy hot dogs, killer cats and Crappy Meals: Catching up with The Colbert Report and The Daily Show.

Thursday, January 6th, 2011 by

During my three-month absence from POP!, I have been tragically neglectful in sharing with you all things bestial on two of my favorite faux news shows: The Colbert Report and The Daily Show. (Mostly The Colbert Report. The student has surpassed his teacher my many a comedic mile!)

Case in point: back in September, Stephen brought in some “pretty beer girls” to serve the troops during a special, week-long military appreciation edition of The Colbert Report, culminating in a guest appearance by Vice President Joe Biden as a hot dog vendor:

This was followed the next day by a sexy dude dressed in a hot dog suit, “for the lady troops”:

Naturally, PETA was not pleased:

[Neither was I – that is, when I watched the show many a month later (it aired when I was on vacation in NY) – but I didn’t see fit to write a press release about it. It doesn’t take a marketing genius to know that the general public will view this as so much opportunistic bandwagon-jumping and/or an “attack” on the troops. YOU MUST SUPPORT THE TROOPS AT ALL COSTS! BY WHICH I MEAN NEVER EVER NEVER QUESTION A MOVE MADE BY THE U.S. MILITARY! Like duh.]

Anyhow, I promise to be better in keeping up with this stuff in the New Year. In this vein, I come bearing two more recent clips:

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Stephen Colbert on Temple Grandin : “It’s really a pro-business story.”

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010 by

On Notice (but really Dead to Me) - ASPCA, PETA & HSUS

Though it’s taken me far too long, here’s the promised writeup of Claire Danes’s February 10th appearance on The Colbert Report.

Seeing as Danes was making the rounds in support of her new biopic, Temple Grandin, I expected to come away from this interview with a knot of frustration and anger in my stomach. In fact, I actually put off watching it for this very reason. (Which is no small feat for a fangirl of my caliber, I tell you what!) Happily, as with the Foer interview, I was pleasantly surprised by Stephen’s treatment of the subject matter.

As you can see in the video (and partial transcript) below, Stephen plays the devil’s (animals’, really) advocate, maintaining a healthy dose of skepticism in the face of claims about Grandin’s “affinity” for and “love” of nonhuman animals. He equates killing and eating cows with killing and eating dogs, to horrifically comical effect. And, best of all, the phrase “animal rights” is not uttered once, in contrast to reports of previous appearances in which Danes praised Grandin as an “animal rights advocate” – and, likewise, described herself as a supporter of animal rights (their right not to be killed and eaten seemingly aside).

[On a side note – Dear fluffyfun “green” and/or vegetarian celebrity gossip sites: can y’all please stop referring to Grandin as an “animal rights activist”? She is no such thing, and to refer to her brand of “advocacy” as rights-based is to shift the entire debate towards the exploitative. And your thoughts on welfare reform? Totally irrelevant. This is a factual dispute, not a matter of opinion. Thanks much!]

While I hadn’t intended to write such a lengthy transcript, once I started typing, I couldn’t stop. Stephen’s quips – and Danes’s reactions – are just that good. If you can, you really need to watch the video to fully appreciate Danes’s flailing responses to Stephen’s gentle-yet-snarky nudging.

It’s all after the jump, yo.

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The Snowpocalypse Descends Upon The Daily Show and The Colbert Report

Friday, February 19th, 2010 by

Stewart/Colbert '08 graphic. (Should read Colbert/Stewart '08!)

Even before the flakes settled, right-wing pundits were pointing to the snowstorms that have slammed the East Coast this year as evidence that “global warming”

[CLIMATE CHANGE! Temperatures may or may not rise depending on one’s geographic location, air and ocean currents, etc. In fact, some scientists worry that melting polar ice caps might actually plunge the northeastern U.S. and northwestern European coasts into a mini-ice age. Global warming does not mean that every location on earth will resemble a sauna! End: rant.]

is a hoax and/or has been definitely discredited. Naturally, these gleeful squeals of triumph are usually accompanied by multiple smug, self-serving jabs at Al Gore. (Because the man IS global warming itself, dontchaknow! And I say this as a vegan with her own complex, ambivalent feelings towards the meat-guzzling Gore.)

Anyhow, both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert had a little fun at the expense of these climate change deniers – and in back-to-back shows, at that. While I don’t have time to type up transcripts, I have embedded the videos below, after the jump. (Too many videos on the main page makes Firefox crash. I blame Comedy Central and its clunky video formats. IBCC!)

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Lost‘s Sayid Jarrah: A History of Violence

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010 by

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Caution: Spoilers through Season 5 below.

Last year, I wrote a (relatively) brief summary of the few animal-friendly plot lines found in seasons one through four of Lost. Animal advocacy issues are rarely addressed in the show, but look closely, and you’re bound to discover occasional gem: lovable Kate is a vegetarian, while show villain Anthony Cooper enjoys blood sports such as hunting. The Losties (understandably) took to hunting wild boar for sustenance early on, but the slaughter quickly ceased when they discovered the Dharma food drops. And who could forget Sayid’s memories of Amira?

While nonhuman animals didn’t much figure into the season five story arc, one episode in particular stuck with me. In fact, I meant to write about “He’s Our You” (Season 5, Episode 11) months ago, but somehow it kept getting placed on the back burner. With the final season of Lost set to begin tonight, what better time to revisit an old episode?

As I noted previously, Sayid’s story lines oftentimes revolve around the themes of forgiveness and vengeance, with Sayid struggling to come to grips with his strikingly violent past. As a soldier in the Iraq Republican Guard, he was captured, co-opted, and trained as an “interrogator” (read: torturer) by American forces during Operation Desert Storm. At the close of the war, his “skills” were put to use and turned against his fellow Iraqi citizens in the Republican Guard, where he was promoted to the Intelligence division and tasked with torturing dissidents and political prisoners – including his long lost childhood love, Nadia (as well as the aforementioned Amira). Torn between his allegiance to his country and his moral qualms, he helped Nadia to escape, but could not bring himself to go with her.

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Once on the island, Sayid (somewhat reluctantly) put his interrogation skills to use several times (as if fate would not allow him a break from his past – even when stranded on a lost island!), first torturing an innocent but obstinate Sawyer, and later, a guilty but cunning Ben Linus. During the “A-list missions” and battles with the Others, Sayid proved to be a valuable military asset. After escaping from the island, Sayid reunited with Nadia, only to see her murdered not a year after their wedding. The rest of Sayid’s time off the island is devoted to hunting her killers down, one by one, and exacting revenge. This came with an uneasy alliance with Ben, on the premise that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” However, it’s still unclear whether the men Ben directed Sayid to kill had anything to do with Nadia’s murder – or if Sayid was being conned.

Flash forward to Sayid’s return to the island – circa 1977. Here, a lost and confused Sayid struggles with the reason why he’s been brought back to the island; what is his purpose here? After meeting 12-year-old Ben Linus, Sayid has an epiphany: if he was to kill Ben, then the young, innocent Ben would not live to grow into the evil, adult Ben that the Losties know and hate – and thus most of the (present-day) events in Lost would never occur. But can Sayid really murder a child in cold blood?

He’s Our You” deals with Sayid’s inner struggle over this complex moral dilemma. As with earlier episodes, Sayid wonders whether he’ll ever be able to escape his past as a torturer and killer; are these merely things that he has done – bad things, of course, but things that can be left in the past – or are they what he is? To what extent do Sayid’s sins define him as a person? And, given the American occupying forces’ role in shaping his destiny, is Sayid a natural born or man-made killer?

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The Men Who Stare At Hug Goats

Monday, January 4th, 2010 by

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Crossposted from V for Vegan.

Caution: Major spoilers ahead.

While The Men Who Stare at Goats is by no means an animal rights or overtly anti-vivisection movie, it does (happily!) have a few animal-friendly moments.

Based on a 2004 book of the same name by journalist Jon Ronson, the film is a dramatized account of Ronson’s investigation into “psychic” warfare experiments conducted by the U.S. military in the ’70s and ’80s. Ostensibly a story for the skeptic set (indeed, that’s why the husband and I saw it in the theater), the film also at turns sentimentalizes the “free love,” hippie sensibilities and mysticism of the ’60s and ’70s. (Indeed, it concludes on a disappointingly “anything is possible if you believe” note.)

Anyhow, along with all the “flower power” comes not a little tree- and animal-hugging. Goat-hugging, to be more specific: because the army’s more “practical” experiments involve trauma training carried out on live animals, the medical school’s in-house goats also play a role in the aforementioned psychic experimentation – the purposes of which isn’t nearly as sadistic as the trailers let on.

Lest I get ahead of myself, here’s a brief synopsis, via Wiki:

The film follows Ann Arbor Daily Telegram reporter Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor), who one day interviews Gus Lacey, a man who claims to have psychic abilities. Bob shrugs Lacey off as crazy. Soon after, Bob’s wife leaves him for his one-armed editor. Bob, out of anger, flies to Kuwait to investigate the Iraq War. However, he stumbles onto the story of a lifetime when he meets Special Forces operator, Lyn Cassady (George Clooney). Lyn reveals that he was part of an American army unit training psychic spies (or “Jedi Warriors”), trained to develop a range of parapsychological skills including invisibility, remote viewing, cloud bursting, walking through walls, and intuition.

The founder of this unit, Bill Django (Jeff Bridges), traveled across America in the 1970s for six years exploring a range of New Age movements (including the Human potential movement), because of a vision he received after getting shot during the Vietnam War, and used these experiences to found the New Earth Army. In the 1980s, two of Django’s best recruits were Lyn Cassady and Larry Hooper (Kevin Spacey), who developed a lifelong rivalry because of their opposing views of how to implement the New Earth Army philosophy; Lyn wanted to emphasize the positive side of the teachings, whereas Larry was more interested in the dark side of the philosophy.

In the early 2000s Bob and Lyn embark on a new mission in Iraq, where they are kidnapped by a criminal gang. They escape with fellow kidnapping victim Mahmud Daash (Waleed Zuaiter) and get rescued by a private security firm led by Todd Nixon (Robert Patrick), but get caught up in a firefight between Todd’s security firm and a rival security firm; this would later be known as the “Battle of Ramadi.” Mahmud, Bob and Lyn escape from the firefight and go to Mahmud’s house, which has been shot up by soldiers. From there Bob and Lyn leave to continue on Lyn’s vague mission involving a vision he had of Bill Django.

Here it’s worth noting that Cassady recounts the story of Django and the New Earth Army as his Iraqi adventure with Wilton unfolds in parallel. Both tales begin on a light, humorous note, eventually taking turns for the worse. While the trailers and media interviews done in promotion of the movie tend to emphasize the New Earth Army’s more nefarious projects, Django began the program with the best of intentions: namely, achieving world peace through love and understanding. A laudable goal, to be sure – even if its implementation proved somewhat ridiculous.

However, Hooper eventually betrays Django, assuming control of the New Earth Army in order to corrupt it. (Think of Django as Obi-Wan Kenobi to Cassady’s Luke Sywalker and Hooper’s Darth Vader.) The peace, love and understanding of Django’s ’60s and ’70s give way to the greed, militarization and subjugation of – what? The Reagen ’80s? The Clinton ’90s? The Bush ’00s? All of the above? Take your pick! (The Men Who Stare at Goats is, if not anti-war, at least anti-torture.)

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Stephen’s Sound Advice: “Invest in Gold, Women and Sheep.” Also: A wet pork contest!

Sunday, December 20th, 2009 by

Crossposted from V for Vegan.

Oh, how the writers at The Colbert Report continue to warm my heathen vegan feminist cockles! (Dear mystery vegetarian/vegan on Stephen’s staff: Call me, mkay?)

Tuesday’s episode of The Colbert Report featured this hilarious send-up of Glenn Beck & Co.’s recent gold investment advertising-slash-infomercial media blitz. While the entire six-minute segment is amusing, gold obviously isn’t our primary focus here; no, the trenchant-as-hell bit starts at 4:15:
 

 
For those who aren’t card-carrying members of The Colbert Nation, allow me to set the bit up for you. “Prescott Financial” is a spinoff of “Prescott Pharmaceuticals,” a spoof company that “sponsors” a long-running segment on TCR, “Cheating Death with Dr. Stephen Colbert, DFA.” In “Cheating Death,” Stephen reports on actual medical stories, which are then used to promote medical breakthrough products offered by Prescott Pharmaceuticals. Ridiculously fake medical breakthrough products, with equally ridiculous and fake side effects, that is.

Likewise, in this fake ad from Prescott Financial, spokesperson John Slattery recommends investing in gold as a safeguard against the coming apocalypse. While gold’s appeal may be “elemental” (A! U!), even this most precious metal’s value is limited. For example, you can’t eat gold. Thus, Slattery recommends rounding out your portfolio with women and sheep as well as gold doubloons and bricks.

Here’s a transcript of the “commercial,” for those who can’t view the video. (But if you can, you must!)

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Parks & Recreation: Because no camel is complete without an attractive lady with a hamburger for a head.

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009 by

Crossposted from V for Vegan.

Caution: Minor spoilers after the jump!

As y’all have probably surmised, I watch no small amount of television. (More than I should, one might argue.) In particular, I’m always on the lookout for shows with progressive, pro-animal, pro-woman, pro-GLBTQ (etc.) themes – and Parks and Recreation is fast becoming one of my all-time favorites.

Like Bitch’s Kelsey Wallace, I’m tickled (not-pink!) by the feminist turn the show’s taken in Season 2. Amy Poehler’s Leslie Knope is looking less and less like a womanly Michael Scott (read: a racist, sexist douchebag with a dwindling pool of redeeming qualities) and more like a goofy, less intellectually endowed version of Hillary Clinton. The walls of Ms. Knope’s office are decorated with framed snapshots of woman politicians (Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, Madeline Albright – hey, what are political parties against the bond of sisterhood?); when judging a beauty pageant, she weighted the contestant’s brains above all else; and her accidental marriage of two male penguins at the Pawnee Zoo (I know, zoos, ugh!) scored her a gig as a guest DJ at the local gay club (though the penguins were sadly split up at episode’s end).

Season 2’s episode 9, “The Camel” – which aired the Thursday before last – was especially awesome. I’ve embedded the entire episode below, but the most awesomest of the awesomeness is all of 30 seconds long. Since the video will only be available on Hulu for a limited time, I’ve also taken screenshots so you latecomers can follow along.

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Stephen Colbert weighs in on Shark Week.

Saturday, August 8th, 2009 by

Crossposted from V for Vegan.

Okay, that’s it. I’m now convinced that there’s a vegan, vegetarian or animal advocate of some stripe on The Colbert Report payroll. This segment is just too spot on to have been written by an unrepentant speciesist.
 

 
In just three minutes, Colbert touches upon several important points:

1 – Sensationalist predator programming like “Shark Week” perpetuates the myth that many wild-living animals, including sharks, are dangerous creatures who are out to get us. They are to be feared – and also dominated, conquered and killed. It’s “us or them,” right?

2 – The Discovery Channel is doubly irresponsible in its demonization of species which are largely endangered.

3 – Promoting shark “conservation” during Shark Week commercial breaks? Batshit insanity! (Can I say that? Is “batshit insane” a speciesist phrase? Any vegan linguists in the house?)

4 – Humans pose a much greater threat to other humans than do sharks. In fact, humans pose the greatest threat to all life. We’re the ultimate monsters, yo.

5 – Mainstream media: FAIL.

Videos in this post

The Colbert Report – Wednesday, August 5, 2009 – Human Week
Since sharks don’t kill that many people, the Discovery Channel should replace their Shark Week with Human Week. (03:13)

“Being dead never tasted so good!”

Thursday, June 18th, 2009 by

Crossposted from V for Vegan.

Via Blamer moodygirl comes the following SNL skit, “Cluckin Chicken,” which takes the Suicide Food phenomenon to a whole new level. (Indeed, Ben included the video as part of a “Fictional Suicide Food Emeriti” roundup last May.)

Warning: the video contains some graphic footage of a chicken corpse being “cleaned” and “quartered.”
 


 
About twenty seconds into the video, my husband popped up over my shoulder to ask if I was watching an actual commercial. Such is the depravity of modern “meat” advertisements.

Videos in this post

Saturday Night Live – Cluckin Chicken
Excerpt (s.18 : ep.13) | 01:34
All the outs and ins of making a great chicken.

The Colbert Bump (Now with Tofurky!)

Monday, May 25th, 2009 by

Crossposted from V for Vegan.

At the risk of making this blog a shrine to Dr. Stephen T. Colbert, DFA, allow me to follow up yesterday’s otherworldly thought experiment with yet another clip from The Colbert Report.

Last month, Colbert interviewed Kanishk Tharoor, son of “Friend of the Show” Shashi Tharoor, who was at the time running for an MP spot in India’s General Elections.

Stephen endorsed Tharoor the elder thusly:

Colbert: Now, your dad, Friend of the Show Shashi Tharoor, is running for position as an MP in Kerala, correct? OK, let’s move his numbers right now. I can’t endorse in this country, but I can in India. I hereby endorse Shashi Tharoor. He will put a chicken in every pot. Or – at least – at least – a chicken in every tandoor.

Tharoor: I’m afraid he’s not going to do anything of the sort. He – like me – is a vegetarian. So it’s not very likely that he’s going to do anything like that.

Colbert: Then he’ll put a vegetable korma in…whatever you wish to eat it out of.

At the time, I noted:

What’s so beautiful about this brief exchange is how Tharoor so casually dismantles Colbert’s preconceptions about Indian dietary preferences. Like most Americans, probably, Colbert “naturally” assumes that people the world over do things the American way – or aspire to, anyway – including slaughtering sentient beings by the billions for no reason other than convenience and selfishness. Even though, at +/- 30%, India has “the highest rate of vegetarians for any country worldwide,” Colbert just assumes that Indians want nothing more than plates filled to overflowing with animal corpses. As Tharoor points out, not so much. Colbert normally strikes me as someone who does his research (or has his writers and interns do his research), which makes this particular flub all the more interesting.

A few readers noted that “a chicken in every tandoor” is a play on the political slogan “a chicken in every pot,” a point not lost on me (though I suppose I could have conveyed it better in the post). Even so, I argued, since Stephen was spinning the phrase in order to make it more relevant to Indian culture, he could have spun it further: instead of “a chicken in every tandoor,” “a pound of tofu in every tandoor.” Given India’s high rate of vegetarianism, ‘twould be the odd politician who promises to put animal flesh on the plate of every Indian, methinks.

Anyhow, Stephen offered an update on Thursday’s show; despite steep odds, Shashi Tharoor

defeated his nearest CPI rival P. Ramachandran Nair by a margin of around 100,000 votes when the results were announced on 16 May, 2009.

Tharoor’s victory, of course, being due in no small part to The Colbert Bump.
 

 
During the segment, Stephen replayed his endorsement of Tharoor:

I hereby endorse Shashi Tharoor. He will put a chicken in every pot. Or – at least – at least – a chicken in every tandoor.

which he interrupted thusly:

Of course, since many of his constituents are vegetarian, he could promise a Tofurky in every tandoorky.

I feel like a totally deranged egotist in saying this, but…could that possibly have been directed at me?! Does one of The Colbert Report writers frequent my humble blog?! ZOMG, could it be the Sonic guy?!

Nah, I don’t think so, either. Either way, I love it.

Bonus AR goodness:

[Stephen, on Tharoor’s candidacy:] I was so excited to have a horse in the Indian Parliamentary race. Especially since this one was so much better than my pick for the Preakness, “Headed for Alpo.”

Is it just me, or has there been an uptick in disparaging, anti-horse racing / horse meat jokes on tv as of late?

Videos included in this post

The Colbert Report – Thursday, May 21, 2009 – Naan-Partisan
Stephen calls Shashi Tharoor to congratulate him on getting the Colbert Bump. (04:01)