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’m a big fan of the podcast Reply All, a story-based show about the internet, hosted by Alex Goldman and PJ Vogt. I was reading a review of their appearance on a podcast live show called Cast Party that occurred on July 28th (fantastic) which got me thinking about how the hosts’ shows have changed in the past two years and made me wonder (curiously and excitedly) where they’re headed.
I was listening to Gimlet Media’s newest release, Mystery Show,(1)Delightful, charming, and funny! when an ad for KIND bars came on in the middle. These are the snacks with the sleek packaging and vibrant colors that I think taste pretty good! The advertisement revolved around the host, Starlee Kine, listing off one of their all-“pronounceable” ingredients each episode going forward.
This branding disappointed me. When I go on KIND’s website, I see they’ve even trademarked the phrase, “ingredients you can see & pronounce®“. They also say this:
“We believe if you can’t pronounce an ingredient, it shouldn’t go into your body.”
That’s the same line we hear from the Food Babe, who is at least getting her necessary volume of backlash. It’s pandering to naturalism, preying on fears of “scary” substances just because they have scientific names. It supports the trend of misinformation and misunderstanding of what goes in our food and its safety.
Pete Ludovice, a professor at Georgia Tech and comedian, and Charlie Bennett, a Georgia Tech librarian, had a conversation on their podcast Consilienceabout the sensitivity landscape of comedy. I enjoyed Charlie’s excellent questions to Pete as well as Pete sharing his personal experience and assessment of the evolution of comedy throughout the years. It might seem strange to say, but I also very much appreciated the reservation both of them had, as is usual for the podcast. Rare is it that a discussion of political correctness and comedy goes without lambasting young people for their feels or calling them buzzkills!
Ben Kuchera of Polygon wrote a thoughtful, nostalgia-laden piece in response to teases about the new Tony Hawk skateboarding video game in the works. As a fan of the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series (or more generally the Tony Hawk series), it got me thinking about the games and their highs and lows, as well as the influence that the titles I played and everything in them had on me in middle and high school.