John Oliver

February 21, 2018

 

I was really interested in what John Oliver had to say in this interview he gave to Sky News (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZF0PBDlKl4) during his promotion of his new series of 'Last Week Tonight'. He spoke about the importance of reminding yourself that every weird and terrible thing that's happening in the world right now is NOT normal, which is fundamental to his comedy act. 'If we just get callused to 'everything is hell', then it's too easy not to think that something is not an aberration when it is'. Part of his job, he feels, is to make sure that everything we hear in the news still feels ridiculous to us as the listeners. This is also the aim of most satirical T.V. Panel shows.

 

 

In Sophia McClennin’s book ‘Is Satire Saving our Nation? Mockery and American Politics’, she talks about this and the importance of these T.V. Panel shows in delivering us the news and how mainstream media takes the news that they give way too seriously.

 

In a VOX info clip presented by journalist Carlos Maza (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fUDIucr2eo&t=88s), he mentions Sophia McClennin and spoke about this very thing too. Satirical shows like John Oliver’s ‘Last Week Tonight’ trains us as the viewer to be sceptical of what we hear and to review it critically. According Maza, one of the things that satire has is a ‘really low tolerance for bullshit’. The other ability that presenters like John Oliver have is to be able to dumb down the story and allows the viewer to not take it seriously because the aim is to mock and criticise the news.

 

 

The problem with TV panel shows, however, after they’ve broken down the news to its core and declared it pointless news or ridiculous scandal, there is then a danger that people become numb to the severity of the things that are going on in the world.

As John Oliver says: 'If we just get callused to 'everything is hell', then it's too easy not to think that something is not an aberration when it is'. The aim of these panel shows is also to remind us that the issues that we hear are still very serious and closer to home than we think. John Oliver in this interview said about the ridiculousness of Donald Trump, ‘you wanna make sure he still has the capacity to hurt you’ because otherwise, he says, we will be too desensitised to things that really are serious issues in the world. Things like Donald Trump aren’t normal things to happen!!

 

How this relates to my theme is that when he talks about making sure we don't become numb to what we're hearing, in much the same way we must not become numb to what we have around us. Our possessions, family and friends are essential to our lives and it’s so easy to take them for granted and become numb to their existence.

 

It's important to reach this realisation! That, in my opinion, is the hardest part of this entire concept. You hear about it and talk about it but more often than not you don't invest that much time thinking about it and seeing how this affects you or seeing how you are doing the things that are being ridiculed.  

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