global politics, relationally

The Politics of John Oliver

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There has been a bit of excitement about the finding in journal Mass Communication and Society that the viewers of the Colbert Report were more informed about campaign finance (Super PACs and 501(c)s) than viewers of other forms of news media.  Fake news is on the ascendancy, but everyone seems to focus on the established outlets of the Daily Show and the Colbert Report.  Meanwhile, I have been delighted with the success of John Oliver”s Last Week Tonight on HBO (I am also really excited for Larry Wilmore”s Minority Report to replace the Colbert Report).  Luckily Sky Digital gets it in the UK, so I wanted to highly a few of the recent pieces that demonstrate why the show is so good and deserves your attention as your go to fake news (but not really fake) show of choice about relations, internationally.


Other People”s Presidents

Oliver”s piece on Abbot is purely brilliant, and a nice follow up on his Daily Show segment on Australian gun politics (if only that had called this segment OPP).  As a friend (h/t Andrew Banecker) remarked on the the Abbot report, “it is great to see what it looks like when it”s justified to hate a leader as much as Fox News types hate Obama.”  While Obama accomplishes mission after mission (sarcasm font), Abbot has been a disaster and its time America”s paid attention to “Tony Dumb Dumb” as a warning to how far things could go, wink.

Net Neutrality

Oliver”s segment on Net Neutrality is important for its educational aspect to an important issue, as well as its anarchist sentiment in bringing down the FCC webpage.  I find the segment useful in that it suggests an international dimension to the question.  Net Neutrality is the idea that our online systems do not discriminate by user, everyone gets the same priority on bandwidth, assuming you have the capacity.  Oliver notes that the U.S. already falls well behind other countries in download speeds, including Estonia, a country where he says “they still worry about Shrek attacks.”  Falling behind other オンライン カジノ countries is an important issue as we become closer to a digital society, revoking net neutrality will only make the problem worse.

FIFA and Religion

Many of us love football and the World Cup, but getting into the sausage making of the process is painful.  And boy is Oliver”s segment painful.  To see all the ills of FIFA laid out in such a manner is horrifying.  Even this omits some of the more prominent international relations considerations such as influence of former colonial masters on voting patterns and that insistence that domestic football organizations be free of the influence of politics, a requirement the global body itself  likely cannot meet.  Oliver is right, FIFA and soccer fandom “is an organized religion and FIFA is its church.  Just think about it, its leader is infallible, it compels South American countries to spend money they don”t have to build opulent cathedrals, and it may ultimately be responsible for a shocking number of deaths in the Middle Death.  But for millions of people, it is also the guardian of the only thing that gives their lives meaning.”  And on that note, the World Cup starts tomorrow!

Author: Brandon Valeriano

Brandon Valeriano is the Donald Bren Chair of Armed Politics at the Marine Corps University.