A Sunday Night in August
August nights are the perfect temperature. New Englanders know this well. Maybe there’s a slight breeze in the air carrying the smell of someone’s barbecue. You head out to take a walk with your girlfriend and the dog, the trees sway for you, the sky is purple; you stroll through town and suddenly you start to feel warm and fuzzy, you’re smiling. Your confidence is bubbling, you want to laugh, and you feel like a rock star. Maybe you are a rock star.
What’s going on? What night is this? It’s Sunday night.
Sunday night in New England, in August, usually means at some point earlier in the day you commuted from a cottage; where you vacuumed sand, took out trash, rinsed dishes and washed a heap of towels. Psychologically, you’re feeling a little bit of every emotion, and you’re thinking a little bit of every thought. It’s scattered and overwhelming. Monday is looming, you might want a few casual beers but you can’t have any; because some strange law based on rules Puritan settlers drew up when they settled here in 1630 AD says so.
It’s getting late, its 10:30 PM, but your circadian rhythm is completely scrambled because you are a rock star, and you didn’t sleep much last night. It’s 10:45, 10:50, still nothing to drink. Is there any Zzzquil? You check.
No, there isn’t.
10:55, 10:57, 10:58, you’re panicking. No “Game of Thrones”? When did “Entourage” end? I don’t have a Facebook. Anything fun on Instagram? No. You’ve scrolled through the same feed 15 times in 5 minutes, it hasn’t changed. You realize now you were actually alone on that walk; there was no significant other. No dog. The rock star feeling is gone. It was a mild hallucination, a side effect of seasonal depression.
The flat screen turns on and is too bright. So you squint for a second. Who is this funny Englishman on the television? You press Info, it’s HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” hosted by British comedian, John Oliver. You watch.
A hint of euphoria returns, followed by regular outbursts of laughter. What does this mean?
I’ll tell you. It means Daddy’s Home. It means you don’t need to be afraid anymore… unless you’re the American Establishment or the Status Quo.
Are you the American Establishment? Are you a corrupt government official, businessman, organization, cover-up, policy, lobbyist, international figure, or any other type of psychotic would-be criminal? If so, you’re gonna want to double check that medicine cabinet, and probably dust off your passport too. Once John Oliver catches wind of what you’re doing it’s probably best you flee to the family’s private island, or bunker, because you’re about to be publicly trounced for your harmful leech-like effect on society.
Feed Em’ Shit & Keep Them in The Dark
Feeding people shit and keeping them in the dark is more or less the public relations motto of the American Establishment and The Powerful, wherever they may be. That’s why the Edward Snowdens of the world are so frightening for an Establishment that lacks transparency. We live in a democracy, and we “elect” our politicians/officials. So we depend on reporters and news networks to provide us with the Who, What, Where, When and Why regarding the people and organizations in charge.
Those facts are much more difficult to portray accurately/objectively when the newspaper or network you report for receives donations from, or is partly owned by, the same people running for office or running the corporation you were about to publish a critical story on. It’s a conflict of interest, your story never makes it out, and we the people stay in the dark.
Take a look at the 2014 freedom of press rankings from around the world:
“Last Week Tonight”
News reporting has become more polarized and biased, catering to the perspectives of political parties, and readerships that want to reinforce their beliefs. These beliefs, as you can imagine, are sometimes extremely far from the reality of present day America, that’s when viewpoints get “extreme.” Private interests and corporate profit margins have major influences in what is broadcasted/reported and what is not. As we all know, your interpretation of reality is clearly influence by what you watch and read. So you do the math on how important it is for us, as a country, to have a strong logical voice to call bullshit.
Unconvinced? This is the prevailing understanding of Establishment leaders:
Ho ho ho! Ha ha! Richard Nixon, you crooked shit head, it is still illegal! This is precisely the thinking that nearly got you impeached for Watergate, and its amazing that you would say something as self-incriminating as that on television.
That’s why we need a dog in the fight, boys, and for some reason, that’s why we watch Comedy Central; because how else can we cope besides to make light of the sheer insanity of politics and reporting?
Comedy Central’s satirical news skits source their material from the often bizarre way news networks cover and interpret news, and decide what is newsworthy. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” and “The Colbert Report” respectively, have largely set the stage for shows like HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” and fabulous news sites like Sammy-Riggs.com.
John Oliver is widely known for his role, as the Senior British Correspondent, starting back in June 2006, on “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” where he also guest-hosted for eight weeks. Since April, when “Last Week Tonight” aired on HBO, John Oliver has served as the 50,000 watt light bulb we all hoped would come and shine some light on all that neatly packaged shit, called caviar, we’ve been being fed through the TV’s in our living rooms.
John Oliver has free creative reign over “Last Week Tonight,” because there is no sponsorship or advertising on HBO. He can go after anyone or anything. In a sense, it’s the ideal environment for journalism.
There have been 14 episodes so far, and if you haven’t seen them you can check out the YouTube channel, HBO Go, or On Demand. So far, the topics have analyzed and explored: Capital Punishment, FIFA corruption, the General Motors controversy, Net Neutrality, Immigration Reform, the Washington Redskins’ logo, Hobby Lobby, the US Prison System, the Wealth Gap, Israel-Palestine relations, Argentina’s Debt Default, Predatory Lending, Russia’s Import Embargo, ISIS and more.
These are by definition some of the most important stories of our time. When I look around, no one is addressing pressing issues in the same understandable, wide reaching and digestible fashion as Mr. Oliver, aside from us.
Next Sunday Night
At the end of this weekend, when you’re battling The Sunday Scaries, and hope is fading, open your Mac Book to Sammy-Riggs.com, take a frozen mug from freezer, fill it to the top with Sammy-Riggs Anti-Anxiety IPA, and sit back and watch 30 minutes of the best criticism of our culture there is. Thank me later, we’re in this together.
For now you can catch up with these clips below:
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