John Oliver interviews Edward Snowden



A joke, conventionally, runs through three major phases. First, you have the setup- you introduce the world of the joke, and its key concepts, to the audience. “An infinite number of mathematicians walk into a bar.” Then, you introduce a twist- an unusual or just plain weird event. “The first orders a beer. The second orders a half of a beer. The third a quarter, and so on.” That twist gives you your punchline, a conclusion that follows the unusual event to an unexpected place: “The bartender puts two beers on the bar and says, ‘Fuck you guys.’”

In this clip, the setup is John Oliver ranting at the camera in his charming way for a few minutes. The punchline is dick pics.

The unusual and weird element that sets up that punchline… was journalism.


Genius. In as much as the job of journalism is to make people care about things that should be important to them, this was the best journalism I’ve seen in years.


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Snowden is one of the very few people in these kinds of interviews who actually got the jokes.


“I would also want the Dick Pic Program changed.”

One of the good things about the way Google works is that Americans can’t just say, “spying? Well, as long as it’s just on foreigners”. Now it should be clearer that Marjane Satrapi was right in more ways than one:

If I have one message to give to the secular American people, it’s that the world is not divided into countries. The world is not divided between East and West. You are American, I am Iranian, we don’t know each other, but we talk together and we understand each other perfectly. The difference between you and your government is much bigger than the difference between you and me. And the difference between me and my government is much bigger than the difference between me and you. And our governments are very much the same…

It has to be unacceptable to do this kind of dragnet spying on any country’s citizens. I can’t see why claiming that it only affects non-Americans should make any difference.


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