Friday, 16 August 2013

Let It Spread

Being on the internet is - just a little bit - inherently depressing. It's a beautiful day outside, or else you should be asleep, and either way you know an hour or two's undistracted boredom might provoke a little creativity, yet here you sit/lie/steam spinach before update after update of things that are going to make you angry, no more genuinely interacting with others than if you were passing notes in class, or perhaps more accurately - since the internet isn't a public space but rather a shared private space, a public toilet, not a town hall - writing something under a message left on the cubicle wall. Even when the good stuff is shared online, chances are it's old, or new and brave and tragic. Or if it's new and not the News, if it's something brilliant that someone has made, that too is a little depressing, because what's it doing on the internet? Why is nobody being paid to broadcast this work in a medium with proper start and stopping times, independent of the likes of us having to pass it around amongst ourselves like a pamphlet? Who's in charge? And what's happened to Alan Partridge's Mid-Morning Matters!

But I'm glad I was on the internet for this clip. It's American, like a lot of what I seem to watch online (particularly now The Daily Show is being hosted by John Oliver* - I've aways loved it, but now I'm rooting for it.) And while there's a lot to be said for keeping up with The American News (if for example the words "Carlos Danger" mean nothing to you, you might well be missing out on one of the greatest and most hilarious and simultaneously enervating mysteries ever thrown up, and I mean literally thrown up, by a political career - yes, that is what "literally" means, I've checked...) still I'm unused to hitting upon something as cheering as this Stephen Colbert clip. It's a heck of a curveball. It's big. It's good. It's a fear-killer. Shoot-to-kill laws, Piers Morgan, Putin and the trolls all turn to steam while it's playing. You should watch it.

"It's spreading."

* By the way, discussing Egypt with Andy Zaltzman in their Bugle podcast John came up with one of my favourite ever political observations:
"Under a dictatorship, you get used to a dictator kicking you in the balls. Under a democracy, you have to get used to 50% of your own population kicking you in the balls."

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