Traduttore, traditore: An act of translation is always an act of betrayal. [more inside]
In 1920s China, a bandit arrives in a remote provincial town posing as its new mayor, where he faces off against a tyrannical local nobleman. Streaming in select Netflix markets but also available in Amazon and Apple TV. [more inside]
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Taiwan Season 8, Ep 27
This week: police officers around the US threaten to quit rather than get vaccinated. And Now: The Weather Channel's Graphics Department Is Still Not Fucking Around. Main story: Taiwan, its history as an anti-communist tool by the West, its current-day democratic miracle, and its fraught relationship with Communist China. And Now: James Corden Loves Cinema. [more inside]
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: China & Uighurs Season 7, Ep 19
This week, again from the void (but with a glass desk now): the protests in Portland over the death of George Floyd escalate sharply as Donald Trump sends in anonymous federal agents in unmarked vans to kidnap protesters off the streets, dear god. And Now: Martha Stewart Loosens Up During The Lockdown. Main Story: the Uighurs, an ethnic minority in China whose culture that nation is trying to destroy. And Now: We Promise You These People Are Not Saying "Masturbate." [more inside]
In an industrial city in China, a young dancer named Qiao falls in love with a mobster named Bin. When a fight breaks out between rival gangs, Qiao uses a gun to protect Bin and is sent to prison for five years. [more inside]
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The Coronavirus Season 7, Ep 3
The Coronovirus, the speed of its spread, nationwide panic caused by it and the mishandling of it around the world, including by Trump. And Now: Chris Matthews Just Cannot Seem To Nail His Sign-Off. And what could be the unpfortunate pfinal days of the Phillie Phanatic. #respecttheconicalhonker [more inside]
In 1784, passengers on the ship Empress of China became the first Americans to land in China, and the first to eat Chinese food. Today there are over 40,000 Chinese restaurants across the United States. Now, in Chop Suey Andrew Coe provides some history of the American infatuation with Chinese food, telling its fascinating story for the first time. It's a tale that moves from curiosity to disgust and then desire. From China, Coe's story travels to the American West, where Chinese immigrants drawn by the 1848 Gold Rush struggled against racism and culinary prejudice but still established restaurants and farms and imported an array of Asian ingredients. He traces the Chinese migration to the East Coast, highlighting that crucial moment when New York "Bohemians" discovered Chinese cuisine--and for better or worse, chop suey. Along the way, Coe shows how the peasant food of an obscure part of China came to dominate Chinese-American restaurants; unravels the truth of chop suey's origins; reveals why American Jews fell in love with egg rolls and chow mein; shows how President Nixon's 1972 trip to China opened our palates to a new range of cuisine; and explains why we still can't get dishes like those served in Beijing or Shanghai. The book also explores how American tastes have been shaped by our relationship with the outside world, and how we've relentlessly changed foreign foods to adapt to them our own deep-down conservative culinary preferences. Andrew Coe's Chop Suey: A Cultural History of Chinese Food in the United States is a fascinating tour of America's centuries-long appetite for Chinese food. Always illuminating, often exploding long-held culinary myths, this book opens a new window into defining what is American cuisine.
Rotten: Reign of Terror Season 2, Ep 2
In the south of France, frustrated winegrowers go to extremes to stave off cheap imports from Spain and new competition from China. [more inside]
In post-industrial Ohio, a Chinese billionaire opens a new factory in the husk of an abandoned General Motors plant, hiring two thousand blue-collar Americans. Early days of hope and optimism give way to setbacks as high-tech China clashes with working-class America. [more inside]
IMDB: "The sun is dying out. The earth will soon be engulfed by the inflating sun. To save the human civilization, scientists draw up an escape plan that will bring the whole human race from danger. With the help of thousands of infusion powered engines, the planet earth will leave the solar system and embark on a 2,500 year journey to the orbit of a star 4.5 light years away." This Chinese blockbuster has been released in AMC theaters in the US with English subtitles. Review from the Verge.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Gene Editing and CRISPR Season 5, Ep 17
Let's catch up a bit, shall we? This was the episode that aired July 8, 2018:
- Trump's "We got more money, we got better brains, we got more houses," etc. speech.
- The week's prerequisite bombshell was the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy. As of this writing his position has still not been filled. Oliver reminds us that this has the potential to be really really bad for reproductive and LGBT rights. Democrat hopes to block mean once again playing America's most depressing game show, HOPE SUSAN COLLINS FLIPS AND BE DISAPPOINTED WHEN SHE DOESN'T!!! Jeffery Toobin made a tour of talk shows to make sure everyone's hopes were appropriately dead.
- And Now: For Canada Day, The Most Canadian Thing Imaginable: Polite Interactions Between Professional Curlers At The 2018 Tim Hortons National Championship
- Main story: Gene editing, and how a revolution in technology, "CRISPR," puts it into the hands of people literally working in their garage. Contents: jacked, sexy beagles; work on reviving wooly mammoths; irresponsible biohackers; the hope to wipe out malaria; an Australian man who hates invasive cane toads; a Lyme disease experiment on Nantucket Island; the question of whether deafness and dwarfism are diseases that should be eliminated; and China's pushing the boundaries of gene editing. It's on YouTube (20m).
- And Now: Hey Guys--What The Fuck's Going On With Animals In Florida?
Lu and Feng are a devoted couple forced to separate when Lu is arrested and sent to a labor camp as a political prisoner during the Cultural Revolution. Twenty years later, he returns home only to find that his beloved wife no longer remembers him.
Mr. Robot: Eps3.5kill-process.inc Season 3, Ep 6
Elliot faces off with Mr. Robot; Dom gets tired of the red tape; Tyrell has a new plan. Elliot has a talk with with Angela; Darlene has a talk with Angela. "Will you believe with me?" [more inside]
Mr. Robot: Eps3.4runtime-error.r00 Season 3, Ep 5
Elliot tries to remember his weekend; Darlene tries to help. Darlene gets things done. [more inside]
Mr. Robot: Eps3.1undo.gz Season 3, Ep 2
Elliot becomes encouraged trying to undo five/nine; Darlene gets stuck between a rock and a hard place; Mr. Robot sparks a panic. [more inside]
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The Dalai Lama Season 4, Ep 4
Over the last seven day period....
- The good will President Trump earned addressing Congress in a manner unlike a madman is burnt away by continuing revelations that his pick for Attorney General perjured himself in his confirmation hearing by claiming never to have met with the Russians.
- Trump also claims Obama tapped his phone, an allegation apparently gotten from the Breitbart website, then asks Congress to investigate whether it is true, reversing the usual order of investigations.
- And Now: Does Anyone Know If CNN's Brooke Baldwin Would Consider Herself A Nerd?
- Main Story: The Dalai Lama (YouTube 19m), and China's attempts to surpress his influence over Tibet. The bit concludes with an interview between Oliver and the Dalai Lama himself.
When a mercenary soldier (Matt Damon) is imprisoned within the Great Wall, he discovers the purpose behind one of the greatest wonders of the world and joins forces with his captors, a huge army of elite warriors, to confront an unimaginable and seemingly unstoppable force.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Encryption Season 3, Ep 5
This week....Hillary Clinton apologizes for remarks made about Nancy Reagan on the occaision of her death. Trump rallies erupt in violence, but he claims (despite multiple recorded examples) not to have encouraged it. International Women's Day is observed, sometimes oddly, throughout the world. Swiss president Johann Schneider-Ammann commemorates the Day of the Sick with a weird speech. And Now: Everybody Listen, Bernie Sanders Has Something to Say. Main story: Software encryption (18m), especially relevant concerning Apple's current court case. LWT made a commercial on behalf of Apple about the nature of software security. [more inside]
One Child: Three part mini series Season 1, Ep 0
In this BBC / Sundance production, adopted Mei Ashley (Katie Leung) is called back to Guangzhou to meet her birth mother for the first time, and to help save the brother she never knew she had from a corrupt legal system.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Fantasy Sports Season 2, Ep 34
This week.... Terrorist attacks kill over a hundred people in Paris. Singles Day, a minor holiday turned into a gigantic sales event, hits the nation of China, and called in to promote it are foreign celebrities Adam Lambert, Daniel Craig and Kevin Spacey as, of all things, his House Of Cards character Frank Underwood. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays his first visit to the UK, while Indian industrialists prepare legal challenge for the return of the Koh-i-Noor, a huge diamond that currently serves as the centerpiece of the Queen's crown. And Now: Another One Of John McCain's Favorite Jokes. Main story: Daily fantasy sports apps DraftKings and FanDuel, and their skirting laws regulating gambling. Last Week Tonight provides a more honest ad for the apps than the ones they have been filling the airwaves with. YouTube (19m) [more inside]
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The Medicaid Gap Season 2, Ep 32
This week... John Kerry holds a conference in Vienna to try to get Syria to reach an agreement with rebels, but while delegates from 20 nations show up, neither Syria nor the rebels attend. "Chewbacca" is arrested in Ukraine for campaigning on behalf of "Darth Vader," who is running for mayor there. In the UK, the threatened removal of tax credits for the poor are thwarted by an unlikely benefactor: the House of Lords. And Now: The Inevitable, Sad Consequences Of Morning Show Anchors Celebrating Halloween. The main story: 2015 state elections determine whether more states will opt out of expanding Medicaid to their residents. YouTube (14m) And Now: Oh Sweet Jesus, They've Put The Weather Forecasters In Costumes Too. Finally, China attempts to gain control over shipping lanes in the South China Sea by claiming sovereignty over artificial islands, a situation that has become tensely volatile and a potential cause for war. In an attempt to introduce some reason, Last Week Tonight brought on Kenny G (unexpectedly popular in China) to sing a song about it. [more inside]
Benjamen and Mathilde continue exploring the intersection between France and China over wine. In this installment they traverse China talking with winemakers, wine enthusiasts and drinkers to find out what the emerging middle class of China, one of the most powerful forces on Earth, wants from a bottle of wine. Plus Your host is forced to defend his working methods and his beliefs in the art of living well. [more inside]
The voice of the ToE episode announcer revealed! (her name is Mathilde) and she joins our host for this two part series about the intersection between France and China and wine. The story of the red obsession of Wealthy Chinese has been told many times, but what is going to happen when China’s elusive emerging middle class gets wine fever? Can wine transmit cultural values? Can it transcend consumerism? In this installment Benjamen and Mathilde traverse France to discover this vino nouvelle vague. [more inside]
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The problems with the US bail system; John Oliver drinks Bud Light Lime Season 2, Ep 16
This week: Sepp Blatter steps down as president of FIFA, a week after John Oliver promised to drink Bud Light Lime if he did... but that's for later. First, former FIFA vice president Jack Warner promises to review damaging information about his former employer, and bought time on Trinidad television to air it. Last Week Tonight has also bought five minutes on Trinidad TV, to show their own opinion on the matter -- it will air Tuesday night at 9 PM local time. Chinese hackers are suspected of stealing data on four million US federal employees. In Turkey, a member of the opposition party accuses the Turkish president of buying a golden toilet with taxpayer money. And Now: Last Week Tonight Salutes All The Horses Who Didn't Win The Triple Crown This Week. Main story: the problems with the bail system in state courts, and how they disproportionately harm the poor (sometimes forcing them to plea guilty rather than pay) over the rich, and how reality television has glorified bounty hunters that profit off it. (YouTube 18m) LWT produced their own, less exciting, reality show depicting a saner alternative. And, finally, John Oliver wears a pair of goofy golden Adidas shoes, takes a bit out of everything on McDonalds' Dollar Menu, and, yes, drinks an entire Bug Light Lime. In one go, in fact. [more inside]
It used to be that the American expats in China were the big shots. They had the money, the status, the know-how. But that's changed. What's it like to be an American living in China now? And what do they understand about China that we don't?
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Judge elections in the US and the Chinese Year of the Sheep/Goat Season 2, Ep 3
This week: Greece gets a loan reprieve. Cease fire violated in Ukraine, Egypt butchers the Russian national anthem. The UK's Labour Party tries to appeal to women by means of a pink bus (YT 4m). Last Week Tonight imagines what would happen if Labour did damage control in a video segment, Pretty Princess Ponies. Main story: The many problems with electing state judges in the US (YT 13m). And Now: CNN Weatherman Chad Myers Hates His Job, His Life and Everyone Around Him. China celebrates the beginning of the Year of the Sheep. Or is it Goat?
Succession issues weaken the Mongol Empire as the grandchildren of Genghis Khan fight over their imperial inheritance. This doesn't stop them from dealing out pain, suffering, and ironically good governance while doing so.
The death of Genghis Khan, the founder of the Mongol Empire, should have slowed the momentum of Mongol conquests, but instead it accelerated it. This time though, all of Europe is on the Mongol hit list. [more inside]
The expansion of Genghis Khan's conquests continue, with locations as far apart as Europe and China feeling the bloody effects of Mongol warfare and retribution. Can anything halt the carnage?
The Mongol leader Genghis Khan displays an unmatched level of strategic genius while moving against both Northern China and the Eastern Islamic world. Both civilizations are left stunned and millions are slaughtered. [more inside]
NEW PODCAST ALERT! In late 2014, China announced it was to ban puns. Helen Zaltzman wishes she could ban puns in her own family. Warning: this episode features some hideous incidences of wordplay. [more inside]
In one of the most violent outbursts in history a little-known tribe of Eurasian nomads breaks upon the great societies of the Old World like a human tsunami. It may have ushered in the modern era, but at what cost? [more inside]
This week: Hong Kong protests China's increasingly intrusive control. A roundup of silly candidates for Brazil's upcoming mandatory election. Norway drops out of the running for the 2022 Winter Olympics due to excessive IOC demands, leaving China and Kazakhstan as the sole remaining candidates. How Is This Still A Thing: Columbus Day. Main story: police abuse of civil forfeiture (16m MeFi). Special guest: Jeff Goldblum. Jell Goldblum outtake clips (1m).