What Happened To You, John Oliver?

In case you missed it, the latest episode of John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight” was dedicated entirely towards the smearing of Tucker Carlson as a white supremacist. As a long time fan and a once admirer of Oliver, the only thing going through my mind was disappointment and the repetition of the line “What happened to you, John?”

Have you ever experienced that feeling where your opinion of something or someone changes and it makes you question whether that thing was ever good in the first place? It’s a tough process, almost in need of a sort of rehabilitation. Because for right now, I cannot understand which one it is. My entire reality has been uprooted. Was John Oliver always a hack and never funny at all, or did he actually change somewhere along the line?

So many comedians, pundits, and popular figures crashed during the era of Trump. There’s no denying how polarizing of a time it was, yet too many saw their entire identities become encapsulated in the essence of an Always Trumper or a Never Trumper. I’d like to believe John Oliver was no different. His show began as a perfect blend between comedy and a call to action. It would expose many of the absurdities and injustices taking place all over the world and then offered a way to get involved. I used to send clips to my friends, genuinely laughing out loud at every one. “This is the greatest show on television” I would exclaim…Then Trump happened. The show undoubtedly lost a step. From what once was a thirty minute, hilarious uncovering of a deeper truth soon became a Sunday night rerun, featuring the rant about how the orange man: bad.

I had high hopes that the end of Trump meant a return to normalcy in satire, but this latest episode of Last Week Tonight proves anything but that. In what thousands of people are calling an exposé, a breakdown, a revelation- John Oliver embarrasses himself by missing the mark completely.

Within the first two and a half minutes, John Oliver calls Tucker transphobic, sexist and “the most prominent vessel in America for white supremacist talking points.” He, in ironic fashion, ridicules Tucker for saying “what does white supremacy even mean?” and that is in fact the point. What used to be a term to describe a very specific group of (mostly white hood wearing) people, now has shifted to mean (mostly) republicans. John Oliver snakily laughing off Tucker’s legitimate question is the exact reason why the question has so much merit.

The entire segment is an attempt to mischaracterize Tucker’s points and reframe them as white supremacist talking points. Oliver brings up the many times Tucker has made a reference to “western civilization” and western “heritage” trying to persuade his audience to believe that he clearly is implying white people. It’s simply untrue.

Anyone who has lived in America over the last five years and has bothered to poke their head out, even once, has seen the complete eradication of our social fabric. Post-modernism is sweeping our country like an epidemic, where now things such as LEARNING MATH are seen as signs of white supremacy. We have major institutions from our corporations to our school systems engaging in trainings urging its participants to “be less white”. There are third grade students participating in activities where they line themselves up based off power and privilege. The point is, that when Tucker laments over the direction this country is going, there is real tangible evidence to back up those feelings that are by no means rooted in racism. When Oliver suggests otherwise, that Tuckers remarks are examples of white supremacy, this would make him guilty of intentionally misleading his audience, which is, if I am not mistaken, THE EXACT grievance he has with Tucker.

I don’t want to be this defender of Tucker Carlson and Fox News. There are many comments from Tucker and segments on that channel that I fundamentally disagree with. Though, the influence the left has on our culture right now is staggering. This segment is being shared thousands and thousands of times all with the same captions:

There is a charade of media propaganda occurring every single day, and it is happening on both sides. The television is misleading the public, simple as that. Stop watching them. Stop listening to them. Stop giving them your money. They are manipulating, they are lying, and they are profiting off of you. Abandon them. Be a Renegade.

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Dan Strauss

Dan Strauss

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