John Oliver On Televangelists

There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear

Those were the words of one Stephen Stills, written back in ’66, when the man tried to cramp the style of the youth, back before Pandora’s Box was paved over and everybody dashed for cash.

How did that work out for the man?

It didn’t. There was a revolution. The war in Vietnam stopped, Woodstock drew hundreds of thousands and not only did rock rule, so did the baby boomers, the establishment was wiped from the landscape in one fell swoop.

You see you can’t argue with the dedicated youth when they’re speaking the truth.

But the youth have lost their way. Growing up in a challenged economy they’ve paid fealty to the almighty dollar. There’s no mystery why rap videos feature Benzes and country lyrics contain alcohol brand names. Because these empty suits were brought up in an era where speaking truth to power was anathema, in other words, we haven’t had that hip-hop spirit here since 1999.

As for the other musical genres, don’t make me laugh.

But HBO is the Warner Music of old. With a faceless king known as Richard Plepler who’s akin to nobody so much as Mo Ostin, who believed in letting the artists rule, that if you follow them, you win in the end, both artistically and financially.

That’s right, most of the other outlets are triangulating, living in fear. Which is why we get empty-headed sitcoms no one can relate to, why there’s no one like you on TV. But on HBO…

This John Oliver thing is fascinating. He’s the thinking man’s Donald Trump. The person who’s speaking the truth not to win in the end, but to point out the folly of our leaders and our country. John Oliver is sticking up for us.

Or, as Michael Moore once asked, “Dude, where’s my country?”

We were led to believe someone was looking after us. Before the right wing declared government uncool and pulled financing from the IRS. Such that we get zillionaire televangelists flying around in private jets. Multiple private jets. Living a tax free lifestyle equivalent to a tech CEO. Start a band? START A RELIGION!

Which is what John Oliver did, mockingly.

But before that he pointed out the fallacy of religion, a third rail topic in America if there ever was one. You’ve got to believe in God, the family and…if you’re a Republican, no abortion, no unions… Corporations are unfettered, but human beings must heel to the mindless and monied who want them to live by their rules.

But not on HBO.

We’re experiencing a revolution. And music is not involved. It started on television. Which makes sense, since we are in the golden age of television.

It turns out you can say that on TV today. And we want to hear it from seasoned players whose minds we respect more than their bodies. Teenagers have no place on HBO. And neither John Oliver nor Bill Maher are models. But what they’re doing is speaking their mind, and they’ve got an army of millions. That’s right, HBO cumulatively speaks to more people than almost every other media outlet. That’s power. And power is much more interesting than money. Because with power you can change the world. It’s easy, like taking candy, from a baby. All you do is point out the follies of the monied, in-power class.

It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

And John Oliver does this every week.

This is not David Letterman, attitude and nothing more, a loner on the fringe. It’s certainly not Jimmy Fallon, who’s as phony as the teacher’s pet and is most interested in ratings. If I hear another word about how Jimmy harnesses the power of the web…how about harnessing the power of the TRUTH!

But John Oliver, functioning in a ratings free zone, is changing the world.

Everywhere I go this week people are talking about this episode.

And that’s how it starts, via conversation.

After inroads have been made.

In music, you have one hit and you play arenas. But real stars grow slowly, doing great work week after week, with their flock spreading the word.

It’s a new era baby. How long can we listen to corporations tell us they have our best interests at heart? How long can we vote for politicians who are beholden to said corporations? How long can we sit here on the couch until we say…I’M MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANYMORE!

All the scuttlebutt and the maneuvering about income inequality, it’s irrelevant. The seeds have already been sown. The ball is moving. Change is afoot. Because comedians, from the “South Park” guys to Jon Stewart to John Oliver to the “Simpsons” team, are poking the establishment in the ribs. And while the corporations and their lackeys are busy maneuvering behind closed doors, it’s morning in America, their doorbell is getting ready for the wake-up ding-dong.

Don’t doubt me. This is not the disorganized Occupy movement. This has got nothing to do with the financially-challenged newspapers. This is television, run by the financially solvent HBO, giving power to people who gleefully point out the inanities and inadequacies of life.

To watch John Oliver is to think he’s immune to blowback, that nothing and no one can get to him. That he can keep on speaking the truth. He’s Mr. Smith speaking to Washington, not Bernie Sanders. Oliver’s got the bigger audience.

And “For What It’s Worth” was a hit in ’67 but Woodstock didn’t happen until ’69.

Strap in baby, it’s gonna be a wild ride.

But we’re gonna win in the end.

Because they’ve taken it too far and we’re no longer gonna sit idly by.

They may have all the money, but the truth is on our side.

And truth triumphs.

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