There’s a need in me to synthesize what I’ve seen tonight, August 6, 2015: the Republican party had a debate among ten of their seventeen primary candidates, followed immediately by Jon Stewart hosting his last episode of The Daily Show.
It was notable that Stewart did not engage in much comedy about the debate itself. Obviously the show is taped earlier than the debate, so there was an ongoing gag about that. The debate was ripe for ridicule, though, and the viewing audience was, for the first time, made to realize that this man (and his writing staff and correspondents) wasn’t going to be there each night to make sense of it all.
I kept up pretty well this month in cataloguing all the best podcast episodes I listened to in May, finishing my list days before the end of the month. This was probably for the best, because podcast listening is taking a backseat for the Sunday Assembly conference this weekend.
This month was a mix of brand new podcasts (for just me, maybe) as well as great favorites making a return. Peruse them and see if any strike you as interesting! I’d love to hear what others listen to, as well.
Trevor Noah was recently announced to be taking Jon Stewart’s place as the head of The Daily Show towards the end of this year. I haven’t been a regular viewer of the show for some time, though it and The Colbert Report hold a special place in my heart from high school and college.
The news was met with excitement that finally someone other than a white straight cis man was going to head a major late night show, even if it’s in a slightly different, “comedy newsy” category. I went to watch a few of Noah’s segments from the past few months he’s been on the show.
“Spot the Africa” is fantastic, juxtaposing Americans’ expectations of what Africa is with the reality that it’s more similar to the US than we perceive. The impact is so strong that the audience clearly gets a little uncomfortable.
“Boko Haram in Nigeria” is similarly powerful because it highlights a huge oversight in our public consciousness on current events in Africa and their similarity to the Middle East, pointing to our priorities and misperceptions.
Within a day of the announcement, though, scrutiny of his past behavior has become the more dominant headline…
CNN aired a special all about atheism this evening, titled “Atheists: Inside the World of Non-Believers“.(1)Teaser linked for now This is surely the end product of activity last year when some reporters were asking around the atheist circles. They recorded a Georgia Tech Campus Freethinkers meeting and one of Atlanta’s Sunday Assemblies, both of which I was present for, and I sent them a long email about my journey to nonbelief. None of that is featured in the special, but it’s nice to see the project I saw in the works finally completed.
This airing seems to coincide with another feature of nonbelief for CNN. Just the other day they published a lengthy article called “The Friendly Atheists Next Door” highlighting a delightful, happy family that manages to also be nonreligious. To people in the atheism community for a while, this may seem mundane, but for the millions who believe we apostates to be evil, Harry Shaughnessy stands in stark, cheery contrast.
The special tonight moved between many different members of the larger atheism movement: Dawkins, Silverman, Dewitt, and some younger faces. There’s a lot within the community, and there are some differing opinions on the show’s quality. I’ll offer my opinions on the good and bad points.
I’ve been hearing about the new HBO show Silicon Valley (Episode 1) for a while now. I’m fans of Thomas Middleditch and Kumail Nanjiani, who have talked about it on podcasts. But I also saw the trailer for the show get some attention and mixed reactions from people I follow online. Most notably, some female feminists noticed that the only recognizable woman shown was a stripper…