Monthly Archives: January 2007

Colbert and Papa Bear

I recently watched Bill O’Reilly as a guest on the The Colbert Report. So I had to go online to see Colbert on the O’Reilly Factor.

Then I watched another clip on YouTube called “Colbert on O’Reilly Pt 2”. Analyst Bernard Golderg is way too funny! You know it’s going to be good when he begins with:

You always run the risk when, when you try to seriously analyze comedy, because you, you run the risk of coming off as a dufus. So you, So here I go taking that…that risk

Such a disclaimer lets us know two important things:
1. What will follow will definitely make him come off as a dufus
2. The guy is wildly uncomfortable with what he is about to say

Of course one can analyze comedy. People do it all the time — quite successfully. It’s the thinking person’s job to analyze (or am I just showing that I am an English teacher?). If you are coming off as a dufus, you should probably rethink your analysis. True, EB White said: “Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it,” but we’re not talking about dissecting a joke here.

He goes on to talk about how Jack Benny, Lucy Ball, and Jackie Gleason poked fun at themselves — a golden age of comedy, completely ignoring the fact that people used to make up “comedic” racist caricatures — think Andy Rooney in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” He then compares these “wholesome comedians” (of course linking them to comedy of yesteryear) to the “wiseguys” of today. If you’re calling Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert a “wiseguy” you’re just asking for it. He says they are seen as cutting edge and that:

The media, the old media especially, which is not hip at all, thinks that some of the hipness is going to rub off on them if they build these guys up and put them on the cover of their magazines and stuff like that.

This is all from a guy who wrote a book called 110 People who are screwing up America. I am at first shocked that a news network would have this nitwit on, but then I have to consider the source.

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The Sneopard

One of the perks of working at my school is our Symposium signature program. Last year we had Tim O’Brien visit, an author whom I love. This year we had Peter Matthiessen visit. (For those with more discriminating tastes in resources, here’s is your Wikipedia.

To be honest, I wasn’t thrilled that he was going to be our author, but once I began reading his non-fiction, I began to dig him. I can’t say that I worship everything he writes. (after all, he is no Arundhati Roy.) But I did begin to appreciate much of his work. I love his interplay of subjectivity and objectivity. Much to Sujal’s chagrin, I am one of those people who believes that everything is subjective.

In terms of Matthiessen’s work, I read from the The Peter Matthiessen Reader. I really enjoyed the excerpt from Wildlife in America that featured the now extinct Great Auk. I also like The Snow Leopard, which I affectionately call The Sneopard. (And I wonder why the kids love me!)

My favorite excerpt cam from In the Spirit of Crazy Horse. The section I read told a section of the narrative on the events June 26, 1975 on the Pine Ridge reservation leadning to the incarcertaion of Leonard Peltier. The New York Times has this cool little feature — featured writer section on him.

He is a talker, all right. During both of the “readings” I attended, he mainly told story after story, which was actually quite fun. Since I haven’t read any of his fiction, I’m looking forward to checking it out.

For Sujal

Sujal has been complaining that I never post — and since my last post was December 4th, I think he may have a point. Things have been crazy with work, and I’ve developed a side obsession with the TV show Scrubs. I don’t know if these posts will be any good. The good news is that you don’t have to read them.