Here’s another “what’s new” in the new year item. My two favorite late-night TV shows are now shown in HD – The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. In case you didn’t know the latter show is pronounced “Cole-BARE RAH-pour”, as both “T”s are silent. From this you might guess that the show is a little different than your average show. While The Daily Show makes fun of how the daily news is covered, The Colbert Report makes fun of, well, The O’Reilly Factor and shows like it.
The character that Stephen Colbert plays nightly is hardly humble or reflective. So with typical bravado, Colbert announced on his January 4th show that the Report was now in High-Def. “My opinions will be crisper, [and] my anger more saturated”, said Colbert. He proceeded to demonstrate that people watching in HD were getting 15% more show. He then chided those who watch in Standard Definition that they didn’t get to see the really cool stuff on either side of the screen. “Nobody tell the ‘Standard-Defs’ about what they’re missing”.
The larger point of this is that going High-Def does mean more picture on your screen. Previously, I was watching Colbert with black bars on the sides. Now I can see the coffee mug and the box of tissues, and it was so worth it paying for that new HDTV. But seriously, The Daily Show and Colbert were two of the final holdouts of the 4:3 screen ratio. Now the only thing that I watch with any regularity that isn’t in a 16:9 ratio is WRC-TV News from Washington D.C. Doesn’t sound like that’s going to change any time in the near future despite WRC having the areas highest rated newscast.
Something got in my way of writing this on February 22, 2009. It’s name was Bluehost. Now I don’t really hold a whole lot against Bluehost. I know they are trying to provide a good service, just like many other web hosting companies. No, this is not about what got in the way of that post. It wasn’t ready 11 days ago. Now it is.
Every once in a while an event reinforces what you’ve been feeling for days, weeks, months, or even years. I don’t want to be flippant with this or melodramatic, but I feel like finally someone has recognized the truth and stated it so eloquently (Jon Stewart would humbly disagree). However, it requires an effort. Approximately 21 minutes of your time. Watch this episode these clips of The Daily Show.
Alright, I realize that you probably didn’t just watch this video these videos just because I said so. You might watch it later. You might start to watch it and feel like you should be working instead. You might even watch and say “what’s the big deal”. Hell, you may decide not to watch it at all. Do me a favor and watch at least the first 3 minutes to see where Stewart is going with the show. Then go about your business if you want.
So why should you watch it? Here’s the background. Stewart’s guest was supposed to be Rick Santelli from CNBC. Yeah, the same Santelli I called a “horse’s ass” (twice) in my Feb. 22 post. I felt it was justified because of comments he made about “loser” mortgage holders and bailing them out. “Populist” sentiment that at least got the right-wing riled up. Anyway, Santelli cancelled the Daily Show gig, for reasons that were never made clear. Instead, Joe Nocera, a financial analyst from the New York Times, thankfully took Santelli’s place.
What we get then, is a most glorious send up of the analysis of Santelli and his other colleagues at CNBC. We begin with the comparison of Santelli to Howard Beale, the character in the movie Network who is featured in the video at the top of this post. That’s followed by the predictions of some of CNBC’s most “gifted” analysts such as Jim Cramer. Predictions, as it turns out were laughably (in a sick, pit of your stomach sort of way) wrong. Next, we see a parade of greedy corporate leaders being interviewed with kid gloves. The very people directly responsible for making some of the most disastrous financial decisions this country has ever seen. They get asked questions like, “how much fun were you having at that lavish corporate party?” Analyst after analyst, pontificator after pontificator, gets the financial picture so wrong. Contrast that with the people who Santelli and others believe are the real villains in this economic crisis. The “loser” homeowners, who have the chutzpah of wanting to get ahead, and after being told that they could afford the home, their value only going up, they were the ones who crashed the party. Yes, let’s equivocate the homeowners with the Sir Allen Stanford’s of the world. Stewart says it for us all when he says, “Fuck You!”
In the next segment of the show, Stewart offers his public service message of providing a revolutionary way of telling how well the president is doing – The stock market. Despite his public approval ratings of 60%, the analysts from Fox News say he’s doing terribly, because the stock market knows all. In the final segment, Stewart’s guest Joe Nocera is praised for his article about AIG and its, oh what’s the word? Ah got it – SCAM. AIG’s belief was it wasn’t their fault, they were just serving their customers. Stewart’s analogy of the failing financial industries as a character in a Bruce Willis movie with a bomb around their chest about to push the detonator, is about as dead on as it gets. I guess we don’t have much choice but to negotiate.
So this will now give you a clue as to why I think Rick Santelli and his ilk qualify for the term horse’s ass. Or worse. However, I remain optimistic. That is if we stop listening to the assholes. At a minimum this country has switched from one where our leaders told us what to be afraid of (apparently it wasn’t terrorism, but the economy we were supposed to fear), to one in which our leaders are telling us how we can fix things. We’ve gone from “there’s nothing wrong with the economy” to “there’s something deeply wrong, but I believe we can fix it, if we pull together.” So I’m not going to take their crap any more. I’m behind President Obama (and Jon Stewart). It would be unpatriotic to root for the president and the country to fail. Right?