TDS/TCR (Missed it by that much)


I love the smell of smog in the morning.  Smells like… prosperity.


Quit smoking my ass.

The real news and this week’s guests below.

This week’s guests-

The Daily Show

The Colbert Report

EXCLUSIVE: Jon Stewart’s Salon interview: Humanizing torturers, our dysfunctional politics, and why we view our political enemies as X-Men

Andrew O’Hehir, Salon

Wednesday, Nov 12, 2014 12:45 PM EST

Stewart is well aware that he’s painted a target on his own chest with “Rosewater,” which is well-intentioned, humane and often compelling, but also sometimes feels like a movie directed by a television host. If critics want to take their shots, he says, then fire away. “Rosewater” tells the story of Maziar Bahari, an Iranian-Canadian journalist (and friend of Stewart’s) who was detained by the Iranian secret police and imprisoned for 118 days while covering Iran’s contested 2009 presidential election for Newsweek. What Bahari went through was appalling, without doubt: He was isolated, repeatedly interrogated and subjected to both physical and psychological torture, and coerced into a propaganda broadcast in which he “confessed” to working as a Western spy and trying to incite anti-Islamic rebellion. And no one can or should defend the Iranian government’s atrocious record on human rights and press freedom.

Bahari says that Stewart originally proposed making the movie in Farsi, with a cast of Iranian expatriates, but that he encouraged Stewart to think of the project as a mass-market infotainment primarily aimed at North American viewers. Personally, I might rather see the more “authentic” version of that story, but Stewart’s defense of the “considered inauthenticity” of this version is so frank and non-defensive that I was about half convinced. Among other things, there’s no reason for an American comedian, who is not an expert on Iran and does not speak the language, to compete with the broad and varied tradition of Iranian cinema that continues to thrive both at home and in exile. If you’re a scholar of Middle Eastern studies or an Iranian émigré, Stewart agrees, you’re likely to find this movie pretty simplistic.

It’s easier for American viewers to understand both Bahari and his torturer as human beings trapped in a bad situation, Stewart argues, if the context is more generic. Rosewater does despicable things, but we also see him having apologetic phone conversations with his wife and being hectored by his supervisor; ultimately, his prurient obsession with the specific details of Bahari’s decadent lifestyle in the West prove to be his undoing. He pretends to be a worldly man but has never heard of “The Sopranos” or Leonard Cohen. (The first is porn, the second Zionist propaganda.) Beyond that, Stewart’s real point in “Rosewater,” as we discussed, may be to drop a few broad hints about the nature of our own society and government, which may not be as totally different from the Iranian regime as we would like to think.

Steve Carell was, in my opinion, always the less talented of the two Steves even though he’s got the big movie/sitcom career.  Now you may disagree, but I’ve always found him in whatever role to be distant and disconnected, self aware to the point of ruining the suspension of disbelief necessary for entertainment.  His work elicits from me mostly the feeling- hey, that might have been good if someone who could really act had done it.

Tonight he’ll be talking about Foxcatcher, if in fact he and Jon talk about anything substantial at all and don’t just go straight to the inside joke yukfest disaster that most of Jon’s comedian interviews are.

Terence Tao is a mathematician who works on harmonic analysis, partial differential equations, additive combinatorics, ergodic Ramsey theory, random matrix theory, and analytic number theory.  No, I don’t know anything about them either.  Hopefully I’ll be a little more educated after the interview.


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