Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: U.S. History
August 3, 2020 11:41 AM - Season 7, Episode 20 - Subscribe

This week, from the white void: Coronavirus spreads like crazy due to idiotic mass gatherings by US Americans, enabled by powerful idiots who refuse to take it seriously. And Now: For An Extra $150, Steve Gutenberg Brainstorms Names For Our Co-Worker's New Dog. The main story is on U.S. history, and many US Americans' ignorance of it, especially its history of slavery. On YouTube (28m) LWT is off next week.

LWT's three big mistakes that historians say we in the US make and should be corrected in schools and beyond:
  1. We don't fully acknowledge the history of white supremacy in America.
  2. We view history's progress as if it was constant and inevitable.
  3. We don't connect the dots to the present.
Steve Gutenberg's list of things to Google:
Claudette Colvin - "She's amazing"
A. Philip Randolph - "There's a whole history there"
James Baldwin - "There's a great documentary"
The Red Summer of 1919
David Walker's Appeal
The Brownsville Affair
The 1881 Atlanta Washerwoman Strike

WTF of the week: "A Chainsmokers concert featuring a guest performance by Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon, who moonlights as a DJ." (chef's kiss) "DJ D-Sol."

F.37: "Tokus Blokus," TIKTOK
posted by JHarris (3 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't mind how forceful John is when I am learning new stuff. I admit I am biased -- I loved him back in The Bugle days -- but I don't really believe that you could get him to persuade anyone who's of a different viewpoint, because he is *so* passionate.

Am I wrong about that?
posted by wenestvedt at 8:39 AM on August 4, 2020

I've heard it both ways. If you're not passionate you have no chance of convincing them, because they think emotionally, and if you're too passionate you have no chance, because they'll just hear the words BIAS BIAS BIAS when you talk to them.

How I think this really helps is that a lot of people have stupid opinions that they're stupidly obstinate about holding onto, and are enabled by an entire industry enabled by tax-hating billionaires and a legion of grifters. What John Oliver is really doing it helping to change the atmosphere, which may some day cause them to realize how wrong they are on their own, helping to entrench the right side of history, so we don't lose yet more ground, and because some powerful people are, absurdly, on the fence, partly because of their political position, and those people can be moved. Public opinion doesn't turn on a dime, but it does move slowly, sometimes achingly so. Well, is how I see it.
posted by JHarris at 7:39 PM on August 4, 2020

I wish he would've mentioned 'dogwhistles' in the Atwater segment e.g. states' rights. That's a concept I didn't really get until I hung out in the prog-o-sphere quite a while as a younger dude.
posted by j_curiouser at 4:28 PM on August 6, 2020

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