Concerning news out of Cleveland for those invested in the future of American democracy: city police have begun to stockpile riot gear in advance of hosting the Republican National Convention in July. The news bodes ill not only for those interested in maintaining a civil discourse both within, and between, political parties, but also for those distressed by the increasing militarization of municipal police forces across the country.
Late night TV hosts sometimes understandably like to make sure their viewers are still awake. John Oliver, for instance, delights in mislabeling his maps just to keep you on your toes:
In August, Jon Stewart inexplicably forgot about Washington (and the legality of its weed). More recently, erstwhile replacement John Oliver committed similar oversight during his segment on the controversial “Race Together” campaign from Starbucks:
Oliver described the recent scientific discovery that gerbils may have been responsible for the spread of black plague — not rats — and then proceeded to air a brief reel on behalf of the human race, “to apologize to the rat community for centuries of demonization.” While the voiceover artist expressed his sincere regrets, images of rat persecution flashed across the screen — including this one:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s extended campaign ad — filmed before the United States Congress — has been grabbing all the headlines, but on Last Week Tonight last night, John Oliver drew viewers’ attention to an earlier piece in support of his reelection:
First they came for Colbert, and I didn’t speak up because I still had Stewart. And even though the end of The Colbert Report made it crystal clear that no show, no matter how exquisitely crafted, can last forever, I still wasn’t prepared for Jon Stewart’s announcement Tuesday that his time at The Daily Show will soon draw to a close.
On this week’s episode of Last Week Tonight, John Oliver was quite pleased to report that at least one Halloween costume vendor is responsible for “Sexy John Oliver” (see above). But though Oliver may be all the rage after the successful launch of his weekly program at HBO, anyone just beginning to ape his wardrobe is already quite late to the party.
You see, I noticed back in February of last year — when he appeared in a segment titled Halal in the Family — that John Oliver and I own nearly-identical (to my flawed vision) glasses. In fact, I’ve had a folder pointlessly (until now) saved on my computer ever since titled ‘John Oliver has my glasses’, containing only a screenshot* I grabbed from that episode of the Daily Show as evidence:
A little over two months ago last night, John Oliver* — in a segment on the phenomenon of police militarization, prompted by then-recent events in Ferguson — poked fun at the Keene Police Department for having cited the tiny town’s annual pumpkin festival as justification for its purchase of a Bearcat** (which looks like this):
So when this year’s festival erupted in riotous disarray, a whole mess of people gleefully and predictably gloated that those events somehow served to vindicate the Keene PD. Here’s a brief sample:
In the course of last night’s discussion of why the International Olympic Committee is having so much trouble finding a city willing to host the 2022 Winter games, John Oliver noted that perhaps the organization’s extravagant demands had something to do with the lack of interest on the part of formerly-interested countries like Norway.
For example, the IOC requires that host countries stock their hotel rooms with seasonal fruits and pastries. “Incidentally,” Oliver continued, “what the fuck [this is HBO] is a seasonal pastry in Oslo in February? I’m guessing it’s something like herring with vanilla frosting.”