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…
Here in Georgia, Senate bill 129, or the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act”, has been a big topic of conversation. Religious leaders have been showing up at the capitol repeatedly to express their support of a bill they believe will allow them to discriminate based on LGBT* status. Georgia Unites demonstrated today to share the opposite opinion and fight for anti-discrimination.
The bill’s original sponsor, Josh McKoon, says it does no such thing as religious leaders champion and progressives fear, instead pointing to the controversial firing of Atlanta’s fire chief based on a book he wrote, without permission, containing homophobic material. Here’s a half-hour long video explaining McKoon’s side, which I skimmed through.
I have a lot of thoughts on “religious freedom” and its need for “restoration”. I think the priority religion has in overriding other laws is already often too high. I feel that nuance in different situations is lost when everything is subsumed by “public square” chatter. Overall, I feel this bill serves to further elevate the privileged and conveniently ignore the marginalized.