Thursday, April 2, 2015

Noah's Arc

It'a almost time for the Daily Nightly News Show, so.... 

"Trevor Noah feels the envelope push back" by Ty BurrGlobe Staff  April 02, 2015

I’ve begun to think of Twitter as a giant megaphone in the shape of an albatross that hangs around our necks. As always, we can say whatever we want, but now we get to say it loud enough for the entire planet to hear, and it never, ever goes away.

That’s a horrifying thought, as Trevor Noah surely understands. Noah is the 31-year-old South African stand-up comedian and social satirist who was tapped Monday as Jon Stewart’s replacement on “The Daily Show” and who on Tuesday was at the center of a media firestorm over a handful of racially insensitive and/or misogynistic jokes he has tweeted over the years.

True, we’ll be on to another celebrity “scandal” in about 48 seconds, and this one will be pushed out of the way like a boxcar on a siding. But let’s look at it for a moment before it disappears into the ether.

I call it the memory hole, but same thing.


On his “Daily Show” segments, which began last year, Noah’s actually pretty good: smart, sharp, poised, maybe a little smug. In his debut, he tweaked Stewart, who played along as an average American bonehead, about this country’s cartoon image of Africa as “one giant village filled with AIDS, huts, and starving children,” contrasting dire photos of Detroit with images of superhighways in the Central African Republic.

I must confess, I stopped watching it when Stewart was still there and haven't seen this guy at all.

In a stand-up routine from 2013, available on YouTube, Noah talks with genial acerbity about growing up the son of a black mother and white father in apartheid-era South Africa and then coming to America, where everyone just sees him as black. Maybe not groundbreaking stuff, but pointed and funny. One can imagine him growing into something someday.

But those tweets — oh, dear.

From 2009: “Almost bumped a Jewish kid crossing the road. He didn’t look b4 crossing but I still would hav felt so bad in my German car!”


From 2011: “Oh yeah the weekend. People are gonna get drunk & think that I’m sexy! — fat chicks everywhere.”

What's wrong with that?

It’s worth noting that Noah has a Jewish grandparent on his mother’s side.

That would make him, what, a Mischling of the second degree?

Should that give him a pass? Not really.

But it often does.

More to the point, would he have stayed out of hot water if the jokes had actually been funny? Or, rather, funny in ways that illuminate our penchant for idiotic stereotyping instead of merely illustrating them?

Yeah, and speaking of stereotypes:

The real audience at N.H. town hall meetings

How idiotic!

Stewart, abetted by his “Daily Show” writers, is something of a genius at ethnic and social gibes that detonate in several directions at once, half the time in the audience’s laps. But he has had 16 years to refine that gift. When he was the age Trevor Noah is now, Stewart was coming off a failed MTV sketch-comedy show, and surely — surely — he cracked one-liners back then that he is relieved haven’t survived the years. We all have. I remember telling a few jokes in my own Reagan-era college days, when I was both well- educated and profoundly stupid, that make my older and (hopefully) wiser self cringe with shame. I stopped only when I told one to a grown-up I admired and received a look of withering pity that remains with me to this day.

Youth is known neither for its modesty, nor its self-censorship. But that doesn’t necessarily mean we should all be defined by our worst moments. (A shocking idea: Why not our better ones?)

Meanwhile, we’re at a curious point in the politics of cultural humiliation, one in which the pendulum seems to be swinging back from the joyous pile-ons of recent years. Journalist Jon Ronson has just published a provocative and tremendously entertaining book called “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed” about the righteousness of the online mob and the ease with which it can destroy lives.

Like the way governments and their mouthpiece media start wars that literally destroy lives? 


Comedian Patton Oswalt, who can be fiendishly intelligent about the call-and-response of taboo humor and social backlash — he once tweeted apologies for insensitive jokes he had never tweeted in the first place, then sat back and watched as online outrage explode over something that didn’t exist — issued a deadpan, 53-tweet parody of PC thinking, in an effort to support Noah. 

Look, I'm for all speech no matter how offensive.

For himself, Noah simply tweeted, “To reduce my views to a handful of jokes that didn’t land is not a true reflection of my character, nor my evolution as a comedian,” and left it at that. Which, honestly, may be the only thing he can do.

An underacknowledged point here is that context matters. If Trevor Noah were a white American comic instead of a mixed-race South African, the response would surely have been harsher. If he were a Jewish woman instead of a man with a Jewish grandparent, no one might have noticed; think of the stuff Sarah Silverman gets away with on a daily basis. But Silverman’s humor — the comic thinking that underlies her humor — is generally more complicated and more subversive to our own habits of thought than a lazy joke about women or Jews.

Yeah, the disgusting Sarah Silverman is a real intellectual.

What Noah forgot when he sent those tweets — what every young comic struggles with — is that every one-liner asks us to laugh at somebody, and that that somebody exists in an implied power relationship with the person telling the joke and with the people laughing at it.

Tell a gag about somebody with less social power than you, and you become a bully. Poke fun at someone with authority over most of us, and you’re a hero.

This is why goofing on straight white WASP men is the safest comedy of all. The only problem is that we’re too boring to be funny.

Over time, Jon Stewart made this into a nightly balancing act, one whose wit and daring could take your breath away.

Speaking of taking breath away: Bibi's Big Adventure

Trevor Noah may get there, provided he tells better jokes, but he has a huge learning curve ahead of him.


"Tweets don’t do Noah’s comedy justice, or offer context" by Michael Andor Brodeur, Globe Correspondent  March 31, 2015

Trevor Noah, the South African comic tapped this week to replace longtime host Jon Stewart of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” came under severe scrutiny for a range of tweets extending back to 2009 that take hackneyed shots at women, Jewish people, and LGBT folks.

These cracks have predictably raised the ire of the Internet, prompting many to wonder what, if any, vetting of Noah’s Twitter account took place prior to the network’s decision to hire him.

Despite the show’s unwitting transcendence of its “fake news” premise into a show that, as the Daily Caller’s Jamie Weinstein put it Monday, “shapes perceptions” with its heavily ironized critiques of social issues and media distortions, Stewart remained militant in absolving himself of any real journalistic responsibility behind the “Daily Show” desk.

Given all the staged and scripted fictions and false flags that have been presented to us as real, that is some chutzpah by the ma$$ media.

"The world is so messed up that it is no longer possible to distinguish the truth" --xymphora

Couldn't have said it better myself.

If the controversy seems familiar, it may be because it bears striking resemblance to the outbreak of the #CancelColbert kerfuffle, prompted by a racially offensive tweet issued under the account of Stewart’s former time-slot neighbor, “The Colbert Report.” While the tweet itself was credited to a staffer rather than Colbert himself, and while it was based on a bit from the show that enjoyed more contextual breathing room on air, the stink surrounding it made clear the limitations and hazards comedians face on Twitter and the care they must take when packaging jokes in the hermetically sealed confines of a tweet.

“Who would have thought that a means of communication limited to 140 characters would ever create misunderstandings?” Colbert quipped in response. 

I won't be watching him, either.

It may be that “The Daily Show” maintains too perilous a proximity to actual American political discourse, and that jokes like “South Africans know how to recycle like Israel knows how to be peaceful” are too reckless for a news anchor, even a fake one, to make.

That was the tweet that killed him, yes.

It may also be that viewers new to Noah’s shtick, but it’s more likely that Noah needs to reassess the role of Twitter in his comedy, and his career. With over 2 million followers now paying close attention to every character he types, he may find himself holding greater responsibilities....

The reporters really have internalized their Zionist master's values, right down to choice of words.


He didn't tweet anything about Hewitt, did he?

RelatedWith Noah, ‘Daily Show’ is keeping it fresh

That was before!

Only one thing left to do before going to bed and that is to grab the toothpaste, brush the teeth, and rinse! Maybe one day none of us will need to do that. 

That brings us full circle, readers. Good night.