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Image Hosted by Tonight on TDS, Bill O'Reilly; and on TCR, Ken Burns. Meanwhile, Conan's got Seth Rogen, Kid Cudi, and Daryl Hall.
sausage grinder of snark

Well, I assume Ken Burns' Prohibition will be worth watching. Here's just a bit from an AV club interview:
AVC: So what about Prohibition can help us answer the question of who we are?

KB: Prohibition is about single-issue campaigns with horrible consequences, the demonization of African Americans and recent immigrants, Presidential smear campaigns. These are only a handful of things that Prohibition engages, but you’ll watch and think, “My goodness, these are things we’re grappling with today.” Maybe we’re having a hard time talking about them today, but we come to realize that there is nothing new under the sun. What’s really interesting is to watch contemporary society, which thinks it’s so youthful, so sexual, so cool, and so hip, yet our grandmothers and great-grandmothers were doing the same things. We think of them as old, but they were taking drugs, having premarital sex, going to illegal speakeasies. Doesn’t that make my grandmother less stodgy? And doesn’t that require me to ask questions of her life and my own?

This isn’t homework. We’re trying to make art, but once documentary films are done, they’re not mine, they’re yours. You can make of it what you will. It will provide some understanding of today or it won’t. Some people will see it and say, “Let’s go out to the new bar that’s modeled on a speakeasy and have that old cocktail they used to make in the 1920s.” Others will see that we lack a civil dialogue. Prohibition reminds us of the dangers of taking things to the extreme, but there’s no right answer of what to take from it.

AVC:When I was in high school, history wasn’t required every year. We have politicians and public figures adjusting history to their needs. What are some ways we can improve our historical knowledge in this country?

KB: The first thing is to teach it, which we don’t do. The second is to realize that history includes the word “story,” and we can tell stories and not depend on dates and acts. We hope we’re able to get into an emotional archaeology, and when we do that, you’re riveted. When you don’t know where you’ve been, you don’t know where you are, or, more importantly, where you’re going. We’re seeing the tragic consequences of feeling like we could shortcut history in favor of more important subjects, but I can’t imagine anything being more important than the great pageant of everything that has brought us to this moment. We see politicians manipulating history or outright getting it wrong. It’s hypocritical to see politicians railing against recent immigrants when they couldn’t pass the test that immigrants are given. This is an interesting thing and a constant reminder that the U.S. is in perpetual tension between the prurient and Puritan. Prohibition came down to the divide between Sunday morning righteousness and Saturday night fun.

And you can guess how I feel about Jon's guest. For your alternative entertainment, here's a bit of a post by Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon yesterday (if you don't stop in there at least once a week, you're missing out):
The true incivility

Yesterday for RH Reality Check, I wrote a piece about how civility is really impossible in political discourse for those who political opinions are uncivil.  I'm sick of how the focus on "incivility" has been around the least toxic aspects of our political discourse, namely joke-telling and an unwillingness to pretend to like the opposition more than you do. I don't really have a problem when people make fun of each other or call each other assholes, Wingnuts are poised to call me a "hypocrite" on this, I'm sure, but trust me, I get called every name under the sun and I don't really waste time worrying about it. I do have a problem with bigoted language..Public figures should not whine about having people making fun of them.

No, as I note in the piece, what bothers me is that all this focus on civility doesn't dive into the very real problems of incivility in our political discourse, the vast majority of which is, like it or not, coming from the right: lying and abusing private citizens for the "crime" of being human beings with needs/rights where the two I discussed. I was focused on anti-choicers, and my point was that the incivility of their position---civil people do not lay claim to own the bodies of others, even if "only" for the limited purpose of forcing them to bear children against their will---made their lying and clinic abuse inevitable...Double standards are a constant incivility of the right; in fact, I would say it's the engine that drives their movement.  The Tea Party's motto should be "Rights and privileges for me, but not for thee."  Their rationale is always that they clearly deserve all the advantages, but other people, who are clearly inferior (no proof needed; bigotry will do), deserve nothing...

She then discusses the Obama-Teleprompter jokes --
But how does that explain all the Republicans who straight up read a teleprompter, even while making fun of Obama for doing so?  

Well, having spent plenty of time around wingnuts and reading their self-rationalizations, I would say that their reasoning is, "That's different. They don't need the teleprompter; it's just a tool for them. But he's dependent on it."  The evidence for this is crickets, of course, since both Obama and the people making jokes about him use the teleprompter at equal rates. But people making teleprompter jokes assume that it's self-evident that Obama is dependent and his critics aren't.  Of course, the reason that they assume it's self-evident is their racist mythology about "affirmative action"---their knee-jerk assumption that a black man holding a job previously reserved for privileged white people is given advantages because he certainly isn't smart enough to have done it on his own.  The advantages of privileged whiteness are considered not-privileges, but just natural results of inherent superiority.

I'd say that kind of routine bigotry is far more uncivil than the snark that obsesses people clamoring for more civility. It's not that teleprompter jokes are snarky that's the problem.  It's that they only work if you assume a racist double standard...

Just for your perusal.

Though if you're in the market for less thought-intensive alternative entertainment, here's this:

Up this week:

Mo 9/26: Rep. Ron Paul
Tu 9/27: Seth Rogen
We 9/28: Bill O'Reilly
Th 9/29: Tony Bennett


Mo 9/26: Radiohead (special one-hour show)
Tu 9/27: Melinda Gates
We 9/28: Ken Burns
Th 9/29: Mark Cuban


Mo 9/26: Taylor Lautner, Kevin Hart, Neal Brennan
Tu 9/27: Marisa Tomei, Casey Wilson, Joe Mande
We 9/28: Seth Rogen, Kid Cudi, Daryl Hall
Th 9/29: Patton Oswalt, Ruth England & Mykel Hawke, Portugal. The Man

(listings and occasional links  via The Late Night TV Page, some links & more guest info available at, (a new site by former NoFactZone contributors -- a good 'just one link' click), and a judiciously-used

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