Today’s Twitter tempest in teacup, per Dave Weigel at Bloomberg Politics:
… On Monday, Vox‘s Max Fisher introduced [Trevor] Noah to readers with “seven of his funniest clips,” and predicted that the host would make his show “a fresh and perhaps invaluable contribution to how we talk—and joke—about race and nationality.” He proved it, with a dive into Noah’s popular videos, pulling out solid routines about how bad Africans looked in famine relief ads and how mixed-race people get “upgraded to black” when they’re famous.
Yet within a day, there was dissent within Vox; writer Kelsey McKinney was explaining why Noah might be unfit to lead TDS. “A Daily Show host should be held to a higher standard than other comedians,” she wrote in regard to the tweets. “These jokes are offensive because they are reflections of cultures that are oppressive and privileged—and rather than being critical of those societal constructions, the jokes instead reinforce them.”
In another era, like when Stewart took over TDS, a couple of clunkers about race and gender would have been just that—clunkers. The audience groans, the show moves on. But the show plays a larger role in progressive life and thought than anyone could have expected when Stewart took the job…
Implicit in that analysis: The elevated status of The Colbert Report, and The Daily Show, meant that they needed to enrich their viewers as well as entertaining them. The phenomenal success of John Oliver’s HBO spinoff of TDS, Last Week Tonight, has not entirely been about his humor. Oliver’s monologues show up on progressive sites, on Monday mornings, as viral explainers for things that are Wrong With America. The brand of satire Stewart invented now plays for progressives the role that Fox News or talk radio plays for conservatives.
In his Vox analysis of why Noah would work, Fisher insisted that a South African comic with routines that challenged people’s hidebound views of race was just what the show needed. It wasn’t just a way for Comedy Central to avoid replacing Stewart with a carbon copy. “Americans love to hear themselves mocked by foreigners,” wrote Fisher. “It’s a low-stakes way of talking about American problems and weird habits, and there’s also a real degree of narcissism to it: people just like hearing about themselves.”…
Just not quite as much as they like hearing themselves talk!
Apart from the usual circular firing squads, what’s on the agenda for the evening?