I've never seen John Oliver's HBO show, but Scaramouche draws my attention to his reaction to the Paris attacks:
"So here is where things stand. First, as of now, we know that this attack was carried out by gigantic fucking assholes, unconscionable, flaming assholes, possibly, possibly working with other fucking assholes, definitely working in service of an ideology of pure assholery," he said. His audience began to laugh. "Second, and this goes almost without saying, Fuck these assholes!" The audience began to cheer. "Fuck them, if I may say, sideways!" He made some definitive hand gestures. Third, he said, nothing these assholes attempt is going to work. "France is going to endure. And I'll tell you why. If you are in a war of culture and life style with France, good fucking luck!" More cheering. "Go ahead, go ahead. Bring your bankrupt ideology. They'll bring Jean-Paul Sartre, Edith Piaf, fine wine, Gauloises cigarettes, Camus, Camembert, madeleines, macarons"â€”images of these appeared behind him as he spokeâ€”"Marcel Proust, and the fucking croquembouche!" An image of what looked like a glazed-cream-puff Christmas tree popped up. He waved his hands and pointed at it. "The croquembouche! You just brought a philosophy of rigorous self-abnegation to a pastry fight, my friends. You are fucked! That is a French freedom tower!" The crowd howled with delight.
The New Yorker was impressed by this. Not so long ago they would have spotted the obvious problem with it, but these days they're just a legacy masthead and a classy font. So their correspondent, Sarah Larson, filed a love letter headlined "Vive John Oliver":
If you happened to be up late watching John Oliver before bed, you, like me, might have found yourself laughing and crying, having the first cathartic emotional response you'd had since Friday, and grateful for it...
For clarity of expression and comedic effectiveness, John Oliver's show may be the best and purest show on television.
But in what sense is it "effective"?
This is telly "edginess" - edginess with no edge. The "fucks" and "assholes" function as euphemism, piling up profanity as a form of polite evasion - as a way of avoiding saying anything. It's the residual pose of edginess in a craven culture. Thus the paradox of our times: to say anything other than "fuck" might offend someone. And it surely doesn't get much more pathetic than that. What a croque.
As for bringing a suicide bomb to a pastry war, I like a croquembouche as much as the next fellow. But take it from a notorious Islamophobe: one of the least worst things about the Muslim world are the pastries.
~On Stuart Varney's show yesterday, Stuart asked yours truly, Steve Forbes and the rest of the gang whether Paris was a game-changer in the war on terror. You can see the video here. The reaction of Mr Oliver, among many others, suggest that this will not be a turning point. It's easier to cheer the guy saying "Fuck these assholes!" than even to identify these particular assholes, never mind do anything that would seriously "fuck" them.
~Also from yesterday's Varney show, the Democrats' court eunuchs continue to be much exercised over my mordant observation re Bernie Sanders' terrorism-causes-Isis argument. In their ongoing audition to be the jihad's lead prison bitch, the left is, of course, far more upset about hypothetical decapitations than any real ones.
~See you on the radio in Sydney and Toronto, and on the TV in New York. Full details at top right.