I don't watch "Last Week Tonight" with John Oliver, but I couldn't help hearing about his episode on "Make Donald Drumpf Again," which is available on Youtube. I watched the episode, and it is the epitome of good political satire. It almost (but not quite) persuaded me to watch another episode of "Last Week Tonight." What really impressed me about the piece was the fact that Oliver kept his shots clean and didn't hit below the belt. Some commentators disagree with me, claiming that Oliver was being just as xenophobic as Trump, and saying that Oliver was trying to disparage Trump as a German/Nazi. As a person of German descent, I was neither offended nor did it ever occur to me that Oliver was trying to portray Trump as a neo-Nazi. An idiot, maybe, but not a neo-Nazi.
I think I can offer some evidence for the proposition that Oliver wasn't in full-bore insult mode, but was actually pulling his punches.
Oliver is from England, that land which is separated from us by the Atlantic Ocean and a common language. We say pickup truck, they say lorry. We say elevator, they say lift. We say apartment, they say flat. I could go on, but I won't. Oliver must, therefore know what "trump" means in British slang. In Elizabethan times it meant the blast of a trumpet (1 Corinthians 15:52). Nowadays it means a blast of a completely different type. In British slang, to trump means to sonorously expel noxious fumes from one's rectal orifice. (Oliver's episode assured me that The Donald will have no trouble understanding the previous sentence because he went to an Ivy League school and knows lots of big words.)
If Oliver had wanted to be unfair, he could have done a riff something like this: " 'Trump' is an excellent name for The Donald. Every time he speaks, he Trumps--it's loud; it's impressive; but upon close examination, you find that it stinks." Oliver could then have taken his catalog all the silly things that Trump said (watch the Youtube episode), play them one by one, and end each with a trumpet blast. After each clip the camera could have cut back to an increasingly nauseated Oliver until, at the last "Trump," Oliver could be wearing a gas mask.
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Friday, April 8, 2016
Here is the video feed of a lecture I delivered a few weeks ago at the University of West Florida for a college class on serial killers. LECTURE