by Oliver Bateman
Friday, 19
August 2022

How Greg Gutfeld conquered American late-night comedy

Viewers are tired of Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon's liberal clichés

For now, Fox News Channel host Greg Gutfeld stands alone as the undisputed king of American late-night television. His show Gutfeld! lapped the field last week, outdrawing nearest competitor Stephen Colbert by 2.355 million viewers to 2.143 — and nearly doubling the numbers posted by NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon (1.318 million viewers) and ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! (1.084 million viewers). Not only that, but Gutfeld! also led all three competitors in the coveted “adults aged 25-54” demographic. In the midst a late-night landscape littered with lame Donald Trump jokes and garish vaccine pandering, how on earth is Gutfeld — marooned as he is on a partisan cable news network — outdrawing the highly-paid clowns on the major networks? ...  Continue reading

by Oliver Bateman
Tuesday, 9
August 2022

You can’t cancel Bill Maher

The presenter has withstood many attempts over the years

During the latest episode of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, American comedian Bill Maher discussed America’s obesity epidemic and critiqued the notion of “fat acceptance” as “fat celebration”. “Let me ask you this,” the HBO host said. “Have you ever seen a fat 90-year-old?”

Maher’s comments are the latest in a recent string of comments that have seen him questioning the rise of politically correct language like “birthing people,” apocalyptic concerns about reproductive justice being threatened by the overturning of Roe v. Wade precedent, and the use of puberty blockers as a form of gender-affirming care for self-identifying trans children ...  Continue reading

by Oliver Bateman
Monday, 4
July 2022
Behind the news

Meet Griffin Green, the cancelled ‘Bodega Bro’

The graduate lost his job shortly after moving to New York

Griffin Green, a former college football player at Denison University in Ohio, had a ‘no good, very bad’ week. His first mistake? Uploading a video to TikTok — a Beijing-based streaming company that has helped popularise things like “femboys” and “sissy hypno” in foreign markets while remaining rigorously censored in its home country. The second mistake concerned the contents of the video itself, in which the midwestern transplant impugned the quality of New York City’s bodegas, noting that they compared less than favourably to chain grocery stores such as Whole Foods and Kroger. He then proceeded to complain about the city’s issues with sanitation and homelessness.  ...  Continue reading

by Oliver Bateman
Wednesday, 22
June 2022

Russell Brand: the latest Leftist to endorse Fox News

The comedian gave Tucker Carlson's show a thumbs up this week

Commenting on Jimmy Dore’s recent appearance on Tucker Carlson Tonight, comedian Russell Brand took to his own YouTube channel to make a bold claim:

Fox News used to be a channel that we continually berated and baited when it was Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity. We used to torment them about their stances on numerous issues. But nowadays, if you want a channel that’s going to criticise big business, big tech, big corporations, and the mainstream media, you’re most likely to find that on Fox News….Why don’t we have a Leftist mainstream media outlet that would showcase a voice like Jimmy Dore’s? Why is that? What has become of the Left?
- Russell Brand

Brand — an inescapable part of the pop-culture firmament between his 2008 star-making turn in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and a widely-panned performance in the 2011 remake of the 1981 film Arthur — has spent much of the past decade becoming an increasingly strident and heterodox social critic. The actor’s praise for Fox rested primarily on the relative openness of the forum afforded by host Tucker Carlson, whose willingness to smirk and nod through interviews with the likes of Angela Nagle and Glenn Greenwald has infuriated many on the Left while helping his show dominate prime-time ratings among viewers age 25-54 for weeks on end.  ...  Continue reading

by Oliver Bateman
Friday, 21
January 2022

Vaccination is the new dividing line in Republican politics

Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis are now on opposite ends of the fight

Although the 2024 presidential election remains two years away, the Republican Party’s moderate position on Covid-19 management has coalesced. Glenn Youngkin, Virginia’s new Republican governor, distilled the policy in a series of recent initiatives: vaccinated and boosted himself, he extolled the virtues of vaccines and boosters while simultaneously rescinding a mask mandate for his state’s public schools and a vaccine mandate its public employees.

Perhaps more surprisingly, this line has been echoed by former president Donald Trump, who has received a booster after initially expressing scepticism about them. He regularly touts the development of the vaccines as a significant policy achievement of his administration. This puts Trump at odds with many members of his own base and even longtime supporter Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. DeSantis has played it coy with regard to whether he intends to receive or has received a booster for his single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, stating only that he had “done whatever I did, the normal shot.” Trump, perhaps sensing the shifting of the political winds, fired back at his erstwhile ally, claiming that failing to disclose one’s booster status was “gutless.” ...  Continue reading

by Oliver Bateman
Wednesday, 8
September 2021

What has Bernie Sanders actually accomplished?

The Senator turns 80 today — his most enduring legacy may be his failures

Senator Bernie Sanders turns 80 today, and boasts what historians might describe as a mixed legacy. Did he, among the oldest living Left-wing baby boomer politicians, survive to see his ideas vindicated and his cause prevail? Or did he merely excel at “taking one for the team,” appearing to win as he was robbed by the powers that be?

It is in the latter phase of his career that Sanders achieved his greatest celebrity, and where postmortems most focus their attention.

As a mayor, Sanders had proven surprisingly effective, and in both the House of Representatives and Senate he had compensated for a lack of Lyndon Johnson-style pragmatic leadership and legislative output with a willingness to wax poetic about various Leftist-first principles. But until his run in 2016, I saw him as indistinguishable from similarly admirable anti-war Democrats such as Ohio Congressperson Dennis Kucinich and erstwhile presidential candidate John Edwards. Freddie deBoer — a grad student turned Leftist hot-take pundit — summarised the unease of many hesitant Sanders supporters in a Politico article in which he characterised Bernie as a “SINO,” a “socialist in name only.” ...  Continue reading

by Oliver Bateman
Friday, 20
August 2021

What’s left at Current Affairs magazine?

Nathan J. Robinson's hypocrisy sums up the emptiness of American Leftism

This week, a crisis rocked the digital newsroom of Current Affairs, a small but influential American Left-wing publication established in 2016 by Nathan J. Robinson, a Yale Law School graduate and erstwhile Harvard Ph.D. candidate. Robinson is a foppish character: he affects an English accent and a dandified mode of dress, and had grown weary of his employees’ recent attempts to organise a cooperative workplace rooted in egalitarian principles of governance.  Following a contentious Zoom meeting on August 7, Robinson began eliminating positions as part of an attempt to regain control of a project he regarded as uniquely his. ...  Continue reading

by Oliver Bateman
Tuesday, 27
July 2021

The only way to survive the vaccine wars

In times like these, the best course is to disengage and stay out of it

In America, the personal is well and truly political — and one of the tools that blends the two together is “nudging“.

Covid-19 safeguards constitute the latest front in this new form of behaviour change, with federal and state governments content to hand off essential public health and police functions to an army of citizen-deputies who work for free. Boldly proclaiming one’s resistance to vaccination or masking when such measures are required, or reporting and shaming those who run afoul of those rules, puts everyday workers — who might politely suggest you put on a mask, or forget to wear one themselves — squarely in a neoliberal no-man’s-land, surrounded on all sides by potential enemies. ...  Continue reading