Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Italian Elections
February 26, 2018 8:24 AM - Season 5, Episode 2 - Subscribe

John Oliver starts with a quick update over the (recently thrown) Bob Murray defamation suit, then moves to the recap of the week: Trump's terrible plan to stop school shootings and foreign dignitaries visiting India, including Justin Trudeau's visit where he visited like a cheap backup dancer for a Bollywood movie and Donald Jr trip to sell condos and manage to give the only wrong answer to a softball question, and finally, the main Story: Italy (21:11), who in a week are going to elect their 65th government in 70 years and are seeing a rise of far-left and neo-fascist violence, as well as fake news, choosing between a former failed centrist prime minister, a candidate from a party started by a comedian, a fascist Mary Poppins and Mr. Bunga Bunga.

The NRA Plan to stop climate change: point a Glock at the ocean, and dare that motherfucker to rise.
Full Canadian formal dress: a gravy stained Toronto Raptors jersey and Roots sweatpants
Donald Trump Jr: Man of The Year for Daddy Issues magazine 40 years running.
Trump has Arrived: what Don Jr. says when he orgasms (saving the have you? for special occasions)
And Now, the quiet pain of Rachael Ray (who can't feel her fingers since the late 80s)
Mussolini, the Turner to Hitler's Hooch
Pope Francis: Fake news is like getting sexually aroused by faeces (Indy). A magical time to be alive.
Matteo Renzi in Ruota della Fortuna and Matteo Salvini on Doppio Slalom and Il Pranzo รจ Servito
Donald Trump: The Forrest Gump of Human Misery
Things John Oliver can find Berlusconi doing on a photo: receiving a rifle from Gadaffi, wearing matching hats with Putin and looking like Pitbull at a slumber party. Things he can't: his artificial, remote-controlled volcano.

F.37: Coldus Goldus, the US Women's Hockey Team
posted by lmfsilva (13 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Ah, thanks for taking care of the post this week. I had an unexpected panic when I lost a lot of work out of a document I'd been building, and have been trying to rewrite it the past few days.

Italian politics sounds depressingly American at the moment. All the worst people in the world seem to be friends of Vladimir Putin. To think that Berlusconi could reemerge onto the world stage. Ugh. Are there any good people that Italians have to vote for this time? Besides, of course, John Oliver?
posted by JHarris at 2:00 PM on February 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

Hate must be so invigorating, it's the only thing that I can see to explain the perennial resurgence of fascism.
posted by Marticus at 2:17 PM on February 26, 2018

That was a righteous science fair volcano. The sets peeps must have had a blast building it.
posted by porpoise at 2:48 PM on February 26, 2018 [2 favorites]

one of the perennial attractions of fascism is that, for the average person, it doesn't really ask you to do much.
posted by The Whelk at 9:34 PM on February 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

yeah, not much, except to disbelieve your eyes, to stop listening with your ears, to stop having a conscience....
posted by eustatic at 9:38 PM on February 26, 2018

Considering how broken the political system is in Italy, it shouldn't be that surprising. In my country, fascism rose through the big-ass cracks of the first republic, and stayed there for 41 years.

Fascists promise order, at the expense of liberties and sacrificing a few scapegoats along the way. If people are tired of well-intentioned democrats (small d) fucking up, and overall feel their interests are not with the people but the wealthiest classes, or being self-serving or plain corrupt, they risk seeing voters move to fringe parties or fringe ideologies inside big tent parties. This is why I think the kind of radical centrism that took over a lot of working class parties in the final two decades of the last century was a shit deal in the long run because those "business friendly" ideals eventually bite real people in the ass since they don't have the guts or financial interest to protect them every time the window shifts a bit more. For instance, there are some assholes here crying out for the end of minimum wage and the end of worker protections to "stimulate growth". 40 years ago that kind of talk could end up with a literal beatdown. These days, it's hunky dory, the left will call them names on social media and there's that. Not that I'm advocating beating the shit out of economic liberals, but man, there's a limit to bullshit, like I'm not going to advocate the nationalization of all private enterprise.

I wouldn't be surprised if Brasil ended up the decade on a military dictatorship again. In Italy, the best case scenario at this point almost seems a return to the Years of Lead.
The government must care for its people, because the milquetoastness of "the people will take care of each other" is a myth. If people are struggling for too long, eventually they'll stop caring about the others. It's a cynic thing to say, but I doubt there was an totalitarian government that reached power because everyone was bored and well fed.

(apologies for the rambling and going off on a tangent, but it's 9 am here and I couldn't sleep, so I'm very off)

ALSO: If someone wants to do the next post, let me know. Not that I mind doing it.
posted by lmfsilva at 1:00 AM on February 27, 2018 [3 favorites]

I might do it. The format I used last time didn't take very long to put together. If researching individual points seems interesting/useful to folk that time, I could always add it later in comments I guess.

I'd also like to say, two episodes in, that I like that the show seems a bit more focused this year. It doesn't seem to have as many of those random jokes (Janice) that, while funny, don't seem to really have to do with the subject, or instances of Oliver shouting something repeatedly in an iconic temper-tantrum way, which was sort of his schtick. They seem like they're pressing to get all the important stuff into the runtime now, and yet the show is still funny, in fact funnier.

Maybe it's just the subject matter so far. Last week Trump was the main subject again, who of course was God's gift to comedy news presenters, and any episode that features the return of Silvio Berlusconi to prominence is bound to be hilarious.
posted by JHarris at 7:31 AM on February 27, 2018 [2 favorites]

I meant to say ironic temper-tantrum way.
posted by JHarris at 10:34 AM on February 27, 2018

instances of Oliver shouting something repeatedly in an ironic temper-tantrum way, which was sort of his schtick iconic.

JHarris, I hadn't noticed that about the lack of Janice asides and shouty ranting, but I think you're right.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 10:51 AM on February 27, 2018

Janice is probably taking more leave than she should because she just doesn't give a fuuuuuuuck.
posted by Marticus at 12:46 PM on February 27, 2018 [6 favorites]

I think their writing staff handles running jokes pretty well, including Janice in accounting and her lack of decorum.
posted by lmfsilva at 2:11 PM on February 27, 2018

It's not running jokes, and it's not Janice. It's not necessarily anything in fact. Just that the two episodes so far this season have been fairly packed, and entertaining too, so there's less of a need for those bits to keep the audience focused.
posted by JHarris at 8:00 PM on February 27, 2018

Jill Twiss is the face of Janice, and she's an awesome follow on twitter.
posted by gladly at 5:14 AM on February 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

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