Author Topic: In the New Yorker...  (Read 440930 times)

Offline serious crayons

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1790 on: September 30, 2017, 11:01:42 am »
Granted Kimmel may be centrist and less partisan than a Remnick,, but how many "Joe the Plumbers" do you think are watching and listening to Kimmel? I could be wrong, but I suspect not a whole lot.

He's still preaching to a choir, don't you think, albeit a more intelligent and sensible one than, say, a Bill O'Reilly? But he's not going to change any minds on the Far Right, or, I suspect, even many more Centrist Trumpites.

I'm not sure how the late-night schedule works -- who is on at the same time as who. And keep in mind I almost never watch any of these shows at all; I used to watch John Stewart and I've watched Colbert a handful of times. But mostly I just see particularly standout segments on the internet later. However, I watch enough internet that I have a pretty clear idea of where the late-night hosts stand, politically.

Lefties who want unabashedly left-leaning political humor watch Colbert, Trevor Noah, Seth Meyers and/or Samantha Bee. John Oliver on Sundays. I don't think Conan O'Brien gets all that political, from what I've seen, but I would imagine his audience is probably somewhat left-ish.

As far as I know there are no unequivocally right-wing late-night comedy shows. People like O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson aren't on that late and aren't at all funny. Dennis Miller is funny and conservative (a rare combo!) but I don't think he has a show of his own. So there are no funny hosts who are as politically right-wing as the hosts in the paragraph above are left-wing.

That leaves Jimmys Fallon and Kimmel. Fallon got in some political trouble during last year's primaries by having Trump on his show and playfully ruffling his hair (as opposed to treating him like the evil emperor he is). Fallon aims to be harmless and politically neutral and centrist-friendly, though I think he has since expressed regret about the hair ruffling as going too far. I believe Stephen Colbert had Trump on once, too, and later regretted being as polite as he was to Trump. But no one would accuse Colbert of not being left-leaning enough.

So then Kimmel. I had only seen a few things by Kimmel before his baby was born and they weren't at all political. They were kind of biting -- he gets celebrities to read mean tweets about themselves on air, he had parents steal their children's Halloween candy and then record their children's reactions when told it was gone. He has carried on a long fake feud with Matt Damon -- pretending Damon was going to be a guest and then saying they'd run out of time before Damon came out, stuff like that. So Damon and Sarah Silverman, Kimmel's then-girlfriend, made a hilarious video called "I'm Fucking Matt Damon." Kimmel retaliated with an even more hilarious, star-studded video (cameos by everyone from Brad Pitt to Josh Groban) called "I'm Fucking Ben Affleck." (Note: That sounds like it has the potential to be kind of homophobic humor but to this straight person, at least, it didn't seem particularly offensive.) When Jay Leno bumped Conan off the Tonight Show, Kimmel went on Leno's show and very frankly and brutally bashed him for doing that.

Anyway! The point is, Kimmel doesn't joke about politics. Apparently never mentioned anything remotely political until his baby was born. So while no doubt some socially conservative types wouldn't like "I'm Fucking Ben Affleck" conceptually, an easygoing conservative could easily find all this very funny and not politically offensive. And many conservatives stay up late and like comedy, just like liberals. So I imagine Kimmel's audience represents a mix of political views, even if just by default. Conservatives who want to watch a late-night talk show without being politically enraged have to choose between Fallon and Kimmel (or watch both, or watch one and record the other). I don't know if the conservatives I work with watch late-night shows, but if they did that's what they would watch.

So that's why I say Kimmel doesn't have a choir -- unlike Remnick, Colbert, Noah, Bee, Oliver, etc.

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And, I know it's ugly to say this, but I also wouldn't be surprised if there are some out there who might consider him talking about his own son's experience as a cheap shot. ("Cheap shot" is really not the term I want to use, but it's the only one I can think of at the moment.)

Of course. It's the internet. There's always someone out there saying anything, particularly if they disagree politically. But I have read quite a bit about this issue and I haven't seen even a hint of that kind of judgement from any responsible source. Yeah, I'm in a bubble, but still -- not even a Fox News person would be scummy enough to say that. (What conservatives say is that Kimmel isn't qualified to speak knowledgeably about the health-care plans).

But perhaps you haven't actually seen the monologue about the baby? If you have, you'll see why it would be hard for anyone to accuse Kimmel of exploiting his newborn son's life-threatening heart defect for political purposes. If you haven't, I highly recommend it. It's very powerful, and it's also actually funny.

The politics only take up final 2.5 minutes of the 13 minutes in the video. And even then it's a very "we're all in this together" tone, not a divisive or partisan tone. Before that, he just tells the story of what happened to his son, pulls out a list and thanks by name every single doctor and nurse who helped him as well as members of his family, etc.


[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmWWoMcGmo0[/youtube]




Offline serious crayons

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1791 on: September 30, 2017, 12:29:28 pm »
Two more thoughts about Jimmy Kimmel's non-partisanness. After the initial baby monologue he had Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana on his show in apparent good faith. So conservative viewers could be pleased about that. Cassidy promised Kimmel that any health care plan would have to pass the "Jimmy Kimmel test." Only after Cassidy literally co-wrote a bill that absolutely did not pass the JK test did Kimmel criticize him.

And, according to what he said in another video, Kimmel once also wrote a blurb for some Fox News commentator's book. He slammed that guy for implying that Kimmel was trying to impose his elite Hollywood values on America and celebrities don't know what they're talking about. Kimmel, despite all his amusing self-deprecation, clearly does. And he pointed out that the Fox guy was a huge celebrity-seeker who sucked up to Kimmel and asked for the blurb.



Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1792 on: October 01, 2017, 06:28:51 pm »
We'll just have to agree to disagree. I wasn't limiting my thinking to late-night hosts and shows.

In this political climate do you seriously believe there is such a thing as an "easy-going conservative"?

We also may have different ideas of what constitutes a choir. You haven't convinced me that Kimmel doesn't have a choir of his own, so we may as well just drop it.
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline serious crayons

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1793 on: October 01, 2017, 07:09:25 pm »
We'll just have to agree to disagree. I wasn't limiting my thinking to late-night hosts and shows.

Well, obviously there are all kinds of people out there expressing opinions about health care. Most of them, like Remnick or Colbert or O'Reilly, are doing it in a context where their opinions are expected and predictable. My point is that I don't think left-leaning opinions are expected or predictable from Jimmy Kimmel (and his, even in the end, weren't so much "left-leaning" as just criticizing Republican health-care bills and some on Fox; as far as I know he hasn't even gotten into Trump).

I guess it would be even more powerful if, say, Laura (or George!) Bush came out against a Republican bill. But until that happens, a talk-show host that most people don't think of as partisan seems like the next best thing to non-choir-preaching.

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In this political climate do you seriously believe there is such a thing as an "easy-going conservative"?

Of course!

In the context where I used it, I thought I was pretty clearly referring to conservatives who wouldn't be offended by the homoerotic (or phobic?) humor and swear words in the "I'm Fucking Ben Affleck" type of thing. And of course there are millions of conservatives who fit that category -- heck, we've known a bunch at BetterMost. Others are probably plumbers or Wall Street brokers or frat boys or, for all I know, alt-right white supremacists. (That last category obviously isn't easygoing in other ways.)

But if you are taking "easygoing conservative" to mean something larger, like a centrist conservative, or a moderate conservative, or a conservative who isn't a Trump supporter or who doesn't like the Republican health-care bills, then my answer is still the same. Yes, of course, there are plenty. I know some of them.

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We also may have different ideas of what constitutes a choir. You haven't convinced me that Kimmel doesn't have a choir of his own, so we may as well just drop it.

Well, I guess every celebrity from Kim Kardashian on down has "choir," depending on how you define it. So by that definition, sure, why not. But you have not offered any reason to think that Kimmel's is heavily left-leaning.



Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1794 on: October 03, 2017, 12:40:21 pm »
Anybody else read the Gloria Allred profile (Oct. 2)? I had no clue she's Philly born and bred.

(At the risk of provoking an argument that I'm really not interested in, I'll admit I'm not a fan. I think she's a publicity hound. I recognize that her tactics have been clearly, if not extraordinarily, successful; it's just that I was brought up to distrust publicity hounds.)

Based on the TOC, lots of interesting stuff in this issue. I've already read Adam Gopnik on Ulysses S. Grant. Next up for me will be the Atul Gawande. I haven't decided what comes after that, the Willa Cather fans or the Aung San Suu Kyi, though I will read both.
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline serious crayons

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1795 on: October 03, 2017, 04:33:23 pm »
Based on the TOC, lots of interesting stuff in this issue. I've already read Adam Gopnik on Ulysses S. Grant. Next up for me will be the Atul Gawande. I haven't decided what comes after that, the Willa Cather fans or the Aung San Suu Kyi, though I will read both.

I know! That looks like such an interesting issue that I'm doing something I rarely do, which is paging through it in order, cover to cover, starting even with the event listings and then Talk of the Town!


Offline serious crayons

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1796 on: October 03, 2017, 08:24:58 pm »
OT again, sorry, but I thought this was an interesting article (Vulture, not the New Yorker) about the Jimmy Kimmel effect/choir/audience issue.
 
http://www.vulture.com/2017/10/why-jimmy-kimmel-is-the-most-important-host-in-late-night.html

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Last night, it was personal again — Kimmel grew up in Las Vegas and reminded audiences that’s not a dream palace but a real city filled with real people. And he got very specific about Congress’s consistent failure to pass or even consider gun laws, saying bluntly of Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan that “the NRA has their balls in a money clip. [They sent] their thoughts and prayers today — which is good. They should be praying. They should be praying for God to forgive them for letting the gun lobby run this country.” This wasn’t Kimmel chasing the studio-audience political approval known as “clapter”; his audience leaned in, absolutely silent for more than seven minutes before finally applauding at the line, “No American needs an M16.” Kimmel concluded his remarks, his voice continuing to break, by saying, “I’m sorry for getting emotional. I’m not great with this kind of thing. But I think it’s important.”

Being “not great with this kind of thing” is exactly why Kimmel is, right this minute, the most important host in late-night TV, a designation he would no doubt shun. In March, I wrote a critical piece that rounded up how various hosts were handling the Trump administration. I had a lot to say about many of them, and little to say about Kimmel other than that he doesn’t “seem to have an immense appetite” for taking on the politics of the moment. I stand by that: He doesn’t. And his reluctance — he didn’t ask for this — is what makes him so essential. In politics, elected officials fear few things more that the swing voter, or the voter who goes from indifferent to galvanized. That does not describe Seth Meyers, who gets into politics with welcome precision and terrier avidity, or John Oliver, who makes a banquet of wonkish specifics. Kimmel doesn’t — or didn’t until this year. His awkwardness — his voice quavers when he’s angry or upset, he can ramble, and every word isn’t perfectly chosen — is the awkwardness of someone who is awakening to the fact that “politics” can’t be walled off in an area that’s separate from personal experience. Kimmel is why, in every State of the Union address and political stem-winder, elected officials trying to make a point resort to “Like the story of Mary Smith, from Ames City, Iowa, who …” In their clumsy, manipulative, PowerPoint-and-whiteboard way, they’re trying to teach you that “politics” matters when it happens to you.



Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1797 on: October 05, 2017, 09:17:47 pm »
I just read Rachel Aviv's truly terrifying article about guardianship in the October 9 issue.

It makes me feel that I should try to find out what the law is in Pennsylvania, not so much for my father's sake as for my own sake.

Probably not a bad idea for all of us who are aging.
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline serious crayons

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1798 on: October 06, 2017, 09:42:53 am »
I just read Rachel Aviv's truly terrifying article about guardianship in the October 9 issue.

It makes me feel that I should try to find out what the law is in Pennsylvania, not so much for my father's sake as for my own sake.

Probably not a bad idea for all of us who are aging.

I haven't read it yet, but I will. I have two friends, brothers around my age, whose mother was poor all their lives. On Welfare. Lived in an old house with all kinds of structural and other problems. (Eventually one of the sons, a successful construction contractor, built her a new one.)

Finally, long after the kids had left the house, she inherited some money. Quite a bit -- enough to live in comfort the rest of her life. But she was ailing now, so she was appointed a guardian (I think by my friends' untrustworthy half-sister.) The guardian stole most of her money. They went to court, but weren't able to recover most if any of it.

My friends contacted the newspaper consumer advocate, who wrote an expose drawing attention to the problem, for what that was worth. I was living away for part of the time so wasn't aware of all the details. But just think, had I paid more attention I could have written about it and sold it to the New Yorker and now I'd be in Rachel Aviv's shoes. Not that it would have helped the mom, of course.  :-\

I went to a little birthday party her sons held for her last year at her nursing home. She seemed a little out of it, but fairly alert. The nursing home isn't bad, as nursing homes go. She seemed cheerful, at last in the party setting. But she has led a hard life. :-\



Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1799 on: October 06, 2017, 10:52:05 am »
I haven't read it yet, but I will. I have two friends, brothers around my age, whose mother was poor all their lives. On Welfare. Lived in an old house with all kinds of structural and other problems. (Eventually one of the sons, a successful construction contractor, built her a new one.)

Finally, long after the kids had left the house, she inherited some money. Quite a bit -- enough to live in comfort the rest of her life. But she was ailing now, so she was appointed a guardian (I think by my friends' untrustworthy half-sister.) The guardian stole most of her money. They went to court, but weren't able to recover most if any of it.

My friends contacted the newspaper consumer advocate, who wrote an expose drawing attention to the problem, for what that was worth. I was living away for part of the time so wasn't aware of all the details. But just think, had I paid more attention I could have written about it and sold it to the New Yorker and now I'd be in Rachel Aviv's shoes. Not that it would have helped the mom, of course.  :-\

I went to a little birthday party her sons held for her last year at her nursing home. She seemed a little out of it, but fairly alert. The nursing home isn't bad, as nursing homes go. She seemed cheerful, at last in the party setting. But she has led a hard life. :-\

Um. ... I know this is going to spoil some of it, but that's pretty much the situation that Aviv's article is about. I won't go into any more details.

You could have sold that article to TNY!
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.