Blog Post #3 (Week 3) John Oliver Twist vs. Jon Stewart Little

Well, looks like I’m on my third blog post. These things seem to get easier as each week goes on. Awesome. This week my wisdom tooth has been ravaging my mouth like it has a grudge. The dentist says I don’t have to get it removed so I’m toughing out the discomfort until that sucker comes down. I say all that to say that I don’t have it in me to play up whatever YA fiction accent my mind is on that week (in this case, this week). I’ve been reading ‘Mermaids’ by Patty Dann and it’s language is fairly standard, though the main character Charlotte prays to God a lot. She’s always asking him to prevent her from sinning because she’s a hormonal teenage girl who falls madly in love with like every guy she meets. In other words she’s basically me. 

But I digress. This week The Dunph told us to answer some questions about good old John Oliver:

How are John Oliver and Thomas Nast similar? Different?

John Oliver is essentially a New Age reincarnation of Thomas Nast.

Think about it: Thomas Nast created political cartoons which vilified corrupt political leaders while appealing to the common citizen. His cartoons were invaluable because most of the American people during the time were illiterate; Nast had a passion for informing the public, and people understood his cartoons better than regular writing or spoken words. Nast exposed the effects of unjust policies in a way that audiences could comprehend and relate to.

Sound familiar? Substitute a few words and you have John Oliver. His entire method of operation is to inform the public about the hypocrisies of and the injustices committed by those in power. We the public are ‘illiterate’ (to some extent. I doubt the average person knows what municipality is.) to many of the issues that Oliver explores, and he simplifies them in a way we can understand.

Take municipal violations, as he discussed in the video we watched this week. Very easily, John Oliver takes the basic parts of a federal issue and explains to us how a simple unpais ticket can lead to a sweet grandmother going to jail. And that let’s the audience step back and realize A GRANDMOTHER WENT TO JAIL FOR A FLIPPING TICKET AND THEN WENT BROKE PAYING OFF FEES FOR SAID TICKET.

Right there is the genius of John Oliver. He gives a voice to the underdog and represents the common citizen while exposing insanely unfair treatments and showing us why we ought to care. I would have never known about municipal processes had John Oliver not taught me about it. I was shocked at how ridiculously messed up the federal system is regards to municipal punishment. Using fines to fund the government while sucking the income of struggling lower class people is such an oppressive idea. Not to mention impractical. I mean, the one guy stole a $2 beer and ended up paying way past that and setting the government back by hundreds of dollars when they jailed him. You know it’s a problem when you start agreeing with an old, Conservative, Republican lawyer. Just give the guy bloody community service. And don’t even get me started on the Grinch Deputy… is Florida even a real place?

What is Oliver’s MAIN focus (not just in the video sent out) for his show?

Like I said, as did Terrance F. Ross in his Atlantic article, Oliver wants to inform and call people to action in fighting unjust policies. He does this by making the issues interesting and relatable. Oliver himself said, “If you want to do something evil, put it inside something boring.” Like the terms and conditions. Or a public service announcement. Or a Matt Damon movie.

I really dig that Oliver is so unforgiving in his boundary-breaking criticisms of corporations. Call out the machine, Oliver. CALL. IT. OUT.

Compare Oliver and Stewart if you want. Are they comedians or journalists?

I don’t want to.


Nah, but seriously. Pretty much everything I’ve talked about applies to Stewart and Oliver the same way. They are very much cut from the same cloth. They have late night shows where they sit behind a desk.

The end.

Kidding. They both report on news stories that everyday people ought to care about, break them down to understandable parts in a hilarious way and shake up the status quo on a weekly basis. They are journalists and they are satirists. You can be both, people. This is 2016, questions that include the conjunction ‘or’ are usually trick questions. They are modern day jesters; working for the machine while stabbing it in its metallic balls. 


Now if you’ll excuse my wisdom tooth and I, we have a date with some Vicodin and my bed.


One thought on “Blog Post #3 (Week 3) John Oliver Twist vs. Jon Stewart Little

  1. Hey Isaiah! Another entertaining, well-written blog post! It was clear, easy to read and enjoyable. You touched on almost all of the topics. I like that you argued that both men try to simplify big issues. I also liked the comparison between being illiterate and being illiterate in the political sense. I also liked that you made their ultimate goal to call things out. Lastly, I loved your personal reaction to the piece. Only thing I would have liked to see is some discussion of power and how the media can really influence people. Aside from that awesome!


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