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Author Topic: Last Week Tonight Discussion : Hair  (Read 422 times)

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Offline TheGlyphstoneTopic starter

Last Week Tonight Discussion : Hair
« on: April 05, 2021, 05:11:19 pm »
I know I've seen other people mention watching Last Week Tonight with John Oliver around here. But I'm curious if there are enough to warrant an ongoing thread to discuss whatever the latest episode was about. John is always hilarious, but he's also the first person to insist he is a comedian and not a journalist, so "objectivity" is nowhere to be seen in his monologues, and getting a more multifaceted viewpoint on the issues he raises could be educational.

To wit, here is April 4th's episode, about the US national debt.
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 01:34:39 pm by Oniya »

Offline Humble Scribe

Re: Last Week Tonight Discussion
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2021, 06:49:38 am »
I do love Last Week Tonight - it's pretty much the only reason I still subscribe to NowTV (which syndicates HBO shows in the UK) while Westworld, Deadwood, Watchmen, True Detective and Twin Peaks are all finished or on hiatus.

John Oliver is an interesting guy - Americans probably don't hear it, but it's still fairly rare to hear a Birmingham (UK) accent on British TV, let alone American TV. I was never quite sure about his appearances on The Daily Show, but since he got his own show he's taken that satirical angle and really turned it up to 11. The amount of editorial control HBO gives him is incredible, and the way they have backed him over, e.g. the whole Bob Murray lawsuit is amazing (even more so was the big budget musical fuck you they did when Murray dropped the case).

You say he's a comedian not a journalist, and that's obviously true, but there's also clearly a pretty good research team on the show. I mean yes, it's funny, but often the humour is to keep people watching what are serious subjects that are tackled in the main pretty seriously, or else at least held up to justifiable ridicule (see: Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption), and I think they do an excellent job of explaining complex issues in an easy to digest way. He's left leaning, of course, but took Obama to task over drone strikes, Net Neutrality etc etc, and it's hard to see anything political in his coverage of cryptocurrencies, gene editing, sexual harrassment or corporate tax avoidance. In general, the world is a better place with Last Week Tonight in it. It will be interesting to see where he goes now the Democrats are back in power and Trump has given up on attempted coups d'etat.

The segment on the National Debt was good as far as a it went, certainly in dealing with some of the alarmist ways the right likes to portray national debt but - as he pointed out - only when it suits them. There were some aspects that he didn't touch on, though, such as the way demographics affects calculations of what is a sustainable debt level. Ageing populations because of people living longer mean more people retiring and using more medical services while not being employed, while falling birth rates can mean fewer young people entering the labour force to balance that. Last Week Tonight did in fact tackle this very issue when it discussed China's One Child Policy, which has been the main reason for the Chinese economy slamming on the brakes in recent years.


This graph shows the difference between China and the US - the US roughly balances retirees with new young people, but suddenly China has a bulge of old people retiring and a sudden shortage of young people. Funnily enough the Greek graph looks very much like the Chinese one, which was a major factor behind Greece's debt becoming unsustainable.


Offline TheGlyphstoneTopic starter

Re: Last Week Tonight Discussion
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2021, 12:01:11 am »
Oh, don't get me wrong, I love John's show and despite his self-depreciating non-journalistic claims I know how exhaustively he researches all his topics. I learn more news from his weekly recaps than I do from actual news sites, and he does bring up serious stuff wrapped in humor. But for example, when he did his 2019 expose on the horrific working conditions of WWE freelance wrestlers, he included a clip from an interview with a wrestler. When I went looking for more info and found a wrestling fan forum, they were quite pleased at how he was bringing light on this issue but noted that the interview clip was taken out of context due to its age, and the wrestler (Bret Hart, apparently) had since changed his viewpoint. So basically, John is awesome, but at the same time I can't always assume he is showing the entire story. Hence this thread, and your response was exactly the sort of discussion I'm hoping to build on here.

Looks like this week's episode is about Nursing Homes and Assisting Living Facilities. Once the legit HBO-sanctioned clip goes up on Youtube, I'll post the link.

Offline Cuttlephobia

Re: Last Week Tonight Discussion
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2021, 07:32:40 pm »
Says a lot how similar this seems to the episode they did on prisons years ago.

Offline TheGlyphstoneTopic starter

Re: Last Week Tonight Discussion
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2021, 11:31:26 pm »
Thanks for reminding me.





Seems like the main difference is that prisons don't have glossy color pamphlets advertising how comfortable their cells are, and they (usually) don't have man-eating alligators either.

Online Oniya

Re: Last Week Tonight Discussion
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2021, 01:03:35 am »
Seems like the main difference is that prisons don't have glossy color pamphlets advertising how comfortable their cells are, and they (usually) don't have man-eating alligators either.

Just wait - one of the Florida prisons will catch up eventually.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Last Week Tonight Discussion
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2021, 12:03:08 pm »
Just wait - one of the Florida prisons will catch up eventually.

It’s a feature. And the gators here in Florida have standards. 

Offline TheGlyphstoneTopic starter

Re: Last Week Tonight Discussion : Bankruptcy
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2021, 11:19:28 am »
This week, we're discussing bankruptcy.



Truly, it is a pox upon society when people have the temerity to dare to run out of money.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2021, 07:04:15 pm by Oniya »

Offline Cuttlephobia

Re: Last Week Tonight Discussion : Bankruptcy
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2021, 10:16:00 pm »
And of course, if you're rich, losing all your money is no problemo.

Such a bizarre state of affairs.

Offline TheGlyphstoneTopic starter

Re: Last Week Tonight Discussion : Covid-19 Vaccines
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2021, 10:38:10 am »
This week, we're discussing Covid-19 Vaccines, all the stupid ways people invent to not take them, and why this is screwing over the rest of us even harder than before.

« Last Edit: May 04, 2021, 02:45:44 pm by Oniya »

Offline TheGlyphstoneTopic starter

Re: Last Week Tonight Discussion : Covid-19 Vaccines
« Reply #10 on: Yesterday at 12:27:13 pm »
Slipped my mind to update, sorry - but then, it doesnt look like there's a lot to talk about.

Anyways, this week it's about...hair? Specifically, black hair+black hairstyles, and how micro-aggressions and racism manifest along those lines. It's interesting but John's angle here is a little more opaque than usual, I think it's just highlighting yet another way Black Americans suffer from discrimination that doesn't get as much attention?


Online Oniya

Re: Last Week Tonight Discussion : Hair
« Reply #11 on: Yesterday at 01:34:21 pm »
It's definitely a thing.  You see it a lot in school dress-codes and such.

Offline TheGlyphstoneTopic starter

Re: Last Week Tonight Discussion : Hair
« Reply #12 on: Yesterday at 02:23:50 pm »
I know we have a few PoC E-members floating around here and there; I've love to see one of them chime in on this, since it's obviously something I have no real experience with. Heck, I don't even take good care of my own hair and it's as boring as you can get.

Offline Sara Nilsson

Re: Last Week Tonight Discussion : Hair
« Reply #13 on: Yesterday at 04:54:07 pm »
The video he shows a clip from with the black actors is really fascinating to watch btw



Offline Haloriel

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Re: Last Week Tonight Discussion : Hair
« Reply #14 on: Today at 05:34:59 am »
The ultimate point is not being allowed or needing a law to grow my hair out of my head as I was born to. I did not feel joy for my hair type until perhaps five years ago and I’m almost 40. My parents were born five years before Civil Rights Act in the US. Really hasn’t been that much time at all.

Even further a point is that I’m mixed with European and more cultures fairly significantly. I’m not dark skinned by any means if the person actually has compassionate, educated visual experiences and understands the full spectrum of human skin tone. So there’s a range of sadness that I remain silent on when the appropriate people are present so I can learn, if I don’t just read a book. Though there’s always that ‘you’re dark compared to...your hair is -insert passive aggressive cruelty- compared to...” which is equally part of this issue. It’s good though that it’s at least being discussed and taken seriously.

Anyway hope that helps.