Pop Culture References in The Colbert Report Apr 4-7, 2011

Pop Culture references from the Colbert ReportWelcome to No Fact Zone’s weekly roundup of cultural references on The Colbert Report. From Darcy to Danger Mouse, String Theory to Shakespeare, we’ve got the keys to this week’s obscure, oddball, and occasionally obscene cultural shout-outs (hey!).


Cheerio Zoners! Another smashing week on the Report! It was great to catch a glimpse into British culture. I usually only get that from my favorite Brit Coms. I nearly broke a rib laughing during the tea segment! And how about James Franco? He really is living my dream. If I had the chance, I’d go back to school in a heartbeat! What were your favorite segments?

Monday

Stephen Shows Off the Ipad 2

That’s like 11 new verses of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start The Fire” and I still haven’t recovered from the original

“We Didn’t Start the Fire” is one of three #1 hits for singer-songwriter and pianist Billy Joel. It was featured on his 11th album, Storm Front which was released in 1989. The song is sung in a stream of consciousness timeline of events which occurred during his lifetime up until the release of the album (1949 – 1989). I find it interesting that, in my research I found many teaching websites with lesson plans on this song. When it first came out, my history teacher assigned our class each a line (or part of a line) from the song and we had to research what it meant (blacking out the adult words of course). I remember I had the “Peter Pan, Elvis Presley, Disneyland” line from 1955. It had enough of an impact on me that I saved up enough money and bought the album – it was my first CD. If you’re interested in discovering the meaning behind all of the events, here is a good resource.

The Word: That New-Smell Smell

Inescapables aromas are like D-Day on your nasal cavaties [Aroma-ha Beach]

On June 6, 1944, one of the deadliest battles of D-Day occurred at Omaha Beach. Omaha differed from other beaches on D-Day in that it was dominated by high bluffs that looked down onto the beach. This gave German defenders the high ground, and they had a large number of concrete bunkers on the bluffs, containing machine guns and artillery, and the only way off the beach was to scale the cliffs. Despite many obstacles and casualties (3000) the Americans had a gained a foothold by the end of the day, and subsequently won the original D-Day objective. Those who saw Saving Private Ryan got a glimpse of what it might have looked like, as it was depicted in the movie’s opening scene. Toad’s father’s namesake received a purple heart for his part in this action. Toad is very proud!


Tuesday

Tim Pawlenty Appeals to Youth Vote

Wazzup with Libya?
Where’s the beef with Obama’s War Policy?
Why won’t he get giggy with the budget and say “I’m too sexy” for this defecit?
I hear ya homeslice! Dy-no-mite!

Where to start with this one? This scene was chock full of pop culture references. I especially enjoyed the the Doctor’s Jay-Z t-shirt and backwards Washington Senators hat. The wazzup reference dates back to 2000, when it began as a cultural phenomenon in a Budweiser commercial originally aired during the Superbowl. It was hard to escape at the time, and was even parodied on online humor sites and in movies. They also updated the commercial in 2008 to reflect cultural changes.

“Where’s the beef” was a famous advertising slogan Clara Peller used in Wendy’s commercials across the United States and Canada in 1984. It became so ubiquitous at the time that it even came up during the 1984 presidential election when Walter Mondale said to fellow candidate Gary Hart: “When I hear your new ideas, I’m reminded of that ad, ‘Where’s the beef?’”

When referring to “getting jiggy with” something, don’t thing Irish, think Will Smith. The song, which came out in 1998, comes from his album Big Willie Style and was his first hit without his longtime partner Jazzy Jeff. The term “jiggy” according to Will, comes from his association of that term with a derogatory word (jigaboo) for African Americans. Thus, the literal meaning of the song becomes “getting African-American” with it, which he felt was racially empowering and subsequently lessened the negative effects of the original word.

“I’m Too Sexy” was a chart topping single sung by Right Said Fred (an English band who got their name from a song by the same name sung by Bernard Cribbins in 1962) wherein the singer is notably too sexy for inanimate objects and places, including his shirt, his car, the catwalk, his cat, this party, Milan, Japan oh and the song.

Homeslice is a term of endearment, much like homeboy. Or, if you live in Austin, it is also a pizza joint.

And who could forget J.J Evans’ catchphrase “Dy-no-mite!” from Good Times? In fact it is often cited as one of the most popular catchphrases in television history. In fact, Jimmie Walker (the actor who portrayed JJ) has embraced what made him famous, the address for his personal website is “dynomitejj.com


Wednesday

Hugo Vickers

Are you going to arise to a stiffy on the day?

Of course he is talking about the detachable collar, what else were you thinking? These collars – also dubbed “wing tipped collars” or “stiffies” – are separate from the shirt and are fastened it by studs. The collar is usually made of a different fabric from the shirt, is typically white and can be specially starched to a hard cardboard-like consistency (hence the nickname). But if you’re interested, there is a Facebook fan group for stiffies (get your mind out of the gutter!)

Sir David Tang

First of all thank you for all of your years of service to our space industry.

He is referring to that (for lack of a better word) tangy orange breakfast drink which was a staple of some of our childhoods, Tang. I know many of my friends thought this stuff was bland, but I really like this stuff, and was very happy when my mom would buy it, and not so happy when she bought the store brand (which for us was more often than not). Share your Tang memories in the comments.

TANG

Who needs space for bland, powdered drinks? Try your local S-Mart!


Thursday

My Fair Colbert – Hugo Vickers Pt 2

What do they call newspapers over there, lorrys?

The term lorry is actually British for truck, specifically a truck used to transport cargo. Unless of course he meant these type of lorries, which are birds.

The Koran’s Best Day Ever

Finally, no trip to New York would be complete without taking in a Broadway show like The Book of Mormon.

The Book of Mormon is a Broadway play written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park fame. It is a satirical look at the adventures of two mismatched Mormon missionaries sent to a dangerous part of Uganda to spread the word. So far it has received critical acclaim, mostly praising the plot, score, and choreography. It is not the first muscial venture for the two. In fact, prior to collaborating on South Park, Matt and Trey collaborated on Cannibal! The Musical, in 1993.

Comments

  1. Here’s a link to an explanation of pornography versus didactic art, which was what all the Joyce references were about during Franco’s interview.

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    • Thanks… That was a great link. Very informative! I am wondering if perhaps Joyce is second only to Tolkien on Stephen’s desert island reading list. I am now wondering what happens if pornography leads to self loathing or fear, rather than desire for the object, and if that makes it didactic pornography or something else entirely. This is why I love the Apopcalypse section of this site. Sometimes it allows me to imagine myself at a quite corner table in a dark restaurant with Stephen, having these kinds of discussions.
      Except, I am afraid that ultimately it always seems to lead to desire for the… um, object. Or his desire for… oh, never mind.

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    • Karenatasha says:

      Such a negative view of movement. Given that Joyce’s daughter was a dancer, that’s quite interesting.

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      • I wondered about that too (about the negative view of movement, I mean. I had no idea Joyce’s daughter was a dancer!) But then I thought perhaps he simply meant that art for its own sake didn’t “move” one toward a cause or toward “action” of some kind. The way looking at a painting of a sunset is different from looking at Picasso’s Guernica. Of course, it’s Joseph Campbell’s interpretation, so who knows if Joyce was even referring to dance or including it in the same category. It does make me wonder, however, what on earth Joyce must have thought about “religious” art. Would he have considered that pornography? Hmmm. Very interesting. Where is Stephen and a nice quite table at a restaurant when you need them?

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        • Karenatasha says:

          Well, honestly, I don’t think Joyce WAS speaking about dance at all, and it was a metaphor–and then filtered through Joseph Campbell, yet, in that quote. But the irony is if you talk about movement and stirring desire, dance does come to mind, and his daughter Lucia was pretty much kept from her career in ways that had a seriously tragic effect on her well-being. There’s a great biography of her, called “To Dance in the Wake,” and I highly recommend it. And by the way, speaking of sexy, if you haven’t read Joyce’s letters to his wife Nora, you should. Talk about sizzling hot, and I’m sure many people considered THAT pornographic at one point.

          While a nice quiet table at a restaurant to talk with Stephen would be an amazing experience, I don’t believe I’d ask him about Joyce, particularly–not his special area of expertise. (Though he does read “Ulysses” wonderfully.) I’d probably talk to him about comedy, and his views on the greats, like Keaton and Chaplin. I’d so love to hear his perspective on that.

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      • Well, if you’ve got an extra seat at that table, I’d love to join in! Sounds like a perfect evening to me! I had no idea about Joyce’s daughter or her biography and it sounds really fascinating. Thanks for the tip! And those letters sound like a pretty good read as well. Look out Amazon.com, here I come (again). (There’s never time to go to the library, and if you saw the number of books I have stacked up waiting to be read, you’d have a good laugh. Don’t even ask when I imagine I will have time to read them all. My worst fear is that I’ll end up like that Burgess Meredith character in Twilight Zone with my reading glasses shattered to pieces when I’m 80 years old and finally have the time to read all those books…)
        Why is it that so many great artists, Joyce among too many others, turn out to be such less than likeable people in real life? I still love Woody Allen films, for example (well, I am from New York after all), but his personal life? Blech. Maybe that’s yet another reason why we love Stephen Colbert so much. Perhaps it’s rare to find a genius, and a funny one at that, who is such a sincerely, deeply nice human being. Oh, and Charlie Chaplin — he was yet another genius who didn’t exactly have a perfect personal life. I can’t think of her name… Goddard… Wasn’t she 17? He and Woody could trade pointers. But they’re both geniuses nonetheless, I think.
        Aw, the heck with it. I’ll just take Stephen.

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        • Paulette Goddard, I think. And don’t even get us started on Roman Polanski. I too have often wondered why many ‘geniuses’ are very deeply flawed individuals. Or maybe that’s their artistic excuse and they’re just plain ******s.

          But just take Stephen, SW? You realise you’d have a helluva fight on your hands around here, not least from me!

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        • Karenatasha says:

          Yes, Chaplin was married to Paulette Goddard, although the scandal was over the 16-year-old….
          That said, when he finally settled down with Oona later in life, he appeared to find happiness and to be a very good father. He certainly was a genius, even though I continue to insist my preference is for Buster Keaton.

          Actually, James Joyce wasn’t a terrible person. Just one who, like so many artists, was wrapped up in his work. He was crushed by what happened to his daughter—and he was far, far better to her than his wife was. And Lucia had a devastating romance with Samuel Beckett, who she wanted to marry, so that contributed to her problems, too.

          Now, my other fave comedian, the other seemingly decent man, the other man who’s funny, smart, and multi-talented, is of course Steve Martin. No scandal about his behavior and I’ve never heard anyone utter a negative word about him.

          As for Stephen: if we’re talking about that chat at the table, there’s room for a few! I would like to dream the (very, very) remotely possible.

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      • Yes, Karenatasha & Arkadina… I think we would all fit around that discussion table! (And Arkadina, just what did you think I was referring to when I said “I’d just take Stephen?!?” — as if you didn’t know. That’s okay. When I’m finished “taking” him, I promise I’ll send him to Dubai for a little change of scenery…! Ha!
        Here I am blaming creative geniuses — well, certain creative geniuses — for their lack of moral backbone and look at me. I may be an invertebrate, but you must admit, I have good taste!)
        Yes, I also agree about Steve Martin. He would be another good person to have at that table, so let’s definitely invite him too. And Arkadina, I think it’s only fair that we take turns sitting in between the Stephens. Now, Karenatasha, when are you going to set this up for us?!?

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    • I remember reading APotAaaYM back in high school, but I don’t remember reading that bit about proper vs. improper art. Guess I’ll have to go back and re-read it some time. That’s the only brush with James Joyce that I’ve ever had. He’s quite a prolific writer based on my limited exposure, but his material makes me think too much, which I already do much of on my own. I approve of that link, though; it’s a very concise but informative description on the subject of art and helped me understand what it meant by art that incites either intellectual, critical contemplation or emotional, carnal reaction…at least to my understanding since I had a hard time following that part of the interview (plus the Tolkien stuff).

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    • Meant to say, thanks for the link!

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      • I’m going to give this another go at posting (the first is off in the ether, I think) and say “y’welcome” and “insert wry comment about an undergrad prof who was quite fond of Campbell and Joyce” and something about “figured not everyone had that ‘benefit’,” :-)

        More seriously, though, I think it’s kind of amusing that people are talking about how they can’t “keep up” with someone like Colbert, and yet are actually having a serious conversation about Joyce, art, movement/dance, and interpreting an interpretation, it’s validity as an accurate reflection of Joyce’s intent, and so on.

        Seems pretty impressive from this vantage point. :)

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        • You mean we are not merely his sex goddesses?

          Yes, I miss that old thread that seems to have disappeared. I always enjoy it when we get a good discussion going!

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        • Yeah I hope all the threads come up again once everything’s been fixed. There were some replies that I was going to reply to before it happened.

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  2. Hmph. Apparently I forgot what I decided I was going to post on this site as, and used my actual name for the other posts I made. Okay, nameswitch, sorry about that!

    Given that Colbert has done Bloomsday, it’s pretty clear he’s a big Joyce fan. I think the affinity makes sense if you consider that Joyce was a very firm believer in the Catholic faith – and simultaneously one of it’s biggest critics while he was alive. An intellectual, favouring intellectualism, who still found faith? Yeah… :-)

    (And given that there is, in the Campbell quote, a definition for didactic pornography – almost literature since Zola – it’s clear there’s some overlap. And that’s where my knowledge ends, unless we shift to talking about how Bataille and the French tradition view these ideas in art, heh.)

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  3. As it wasn’t linked in the post, here is Jon’s interview with Trey Parker and Matt Stone on the Book of Mormon, if anyone’s missed it: http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-march-10-2011/trey-parker—matt-stone
    It’s an entertaining and interesting interview, I really liked it.

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  4. Karenatasha says:

    I’m just posting again because my reCaptcha is Celtic istsity and I want to use it! Wow–Irish Stephen, Irish James Joyce and Samuel Beckett, who I’ve been discussing here…and THAT pops up!

    These reCaptchas have ESP.

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  5. I’m telling you, that thing is eeerie! But don’t ask me what mine means: “oingeste excess”

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  6. I’m happy that things are back up and working. I’ve missed everyone here on NFZ. But it’s too bad that comments and conversation threads are missing here and there. There were some replies that I was going to reply to and now they’re gone, plus comments of my own have gone *poof*. But it’s all right. I’ve had time to reflect on my thoughts during the downtime, and now that I know that things are stable again, I’m only going to attempt this one LONG comment, so if it takes too much of your time to read it, don’t feel obligated.

    Like I said before, I’m happy to be back, and I’ve missed being around. But as the Company weekend went on and everyone’s reporTs started coming in, I felt myself descending into darkness again and I felt like a bad Zoner because I kept breaking the 10th Commandment of NFZ, so I felt that it was necessary to impose a temporary self-exile on myself until the Company hysteria had died down/I felt better/I started to feel lonely (it was kind of a mixture of the three; good thing they all arose at the same time).

    Anyone who’s at least attempted to read Joyce’s work and, even better, comprehend it: consider yourself lucky. These are times when I wish that my inner intellectual would be able to comprehend all those difficult texts that people like Stephen enjoy (like Joyce). I get what’s going on and I recognize/appreciate the writing styles/nuances of the writer, but after some time my mind clouds over and I can’t get through any more…kind of like when you study for a test way too long and no more info can be processed into your brain. Then you don’t feel very smart compared to anyone else who actually finishes reading the book and understands/is able to discuss it. So as much as I’d love to take part in that tableside convo, I’d most likely spend almost all of it just listening to everyone and not being able to add anything to the discussion because this is not my area of expertise. I could never match up to Stephen’s intelligence anyway. Though I would love to have a talk of intellectual sorts with Mr. Renaissance Man (you know whom I’ve talking about), for me, a dream conversation with Stephen wouldn’t consist of deeply-involved intellectual discussion; being a dreamy, emotional girl, I’d want to talk to him about life, its joys and sorrows, successes and failures. From well-adjusted, genuinely happy, deservedly-accomplished, inspirational master to uncertain, struggling, still-searching-for-happiness-and-peace-of-mind novice looking for guidance and reassurance that life does get better. I’d also probably talk to him about musical theatre since that’s my area of expertise (Stephen, please please PLEASE be in another musical…or 3…or 7…or more…give me another chance to hear your golden vocal chords live for real). Hell, I’d prefer to have a singing duet with him than a conversation, although doing both would be wonderful. If only…

    On the other hand, back to the tableside convo, I could try to shrink myself and situate myself in someone’s pocket (preferably a front one)…then I could ease against the pocket’s inner folds, close my eyes and let Stephen’s soft, velvety voice wash over me like warmth and comfort during the discussion…(he DOES have a beautiful speaking voice, after all)…

    I LOVED the Colbert British Etiquette segments (first cracking up at the “Crown Jewels” in the title gave me a feeling that this would be a good one). Having a Malaysian mother (Malaysia, if you weren’t sure, used to be a British colony) and relatives who have lived or live in England, I’ve developed an appreciation for taking British tea with some of my friends once in a while. I was especially happy and surprised when I saw it was Tea & Sympathy. I’ve only been there once, about 4 years ago, when my BFF and I visited it for Sunday breakfast on our very first “date in the city” together in the early stages of our BFF-ship. I’ve been wanting to go back there ever since but it never happened. So yay for being somewhere where Stephen has done his on-location segments! Hugo Vickers was a great sport and foil for “Stephen’s” silliness, and he looked so spiffy in his jockey outfit. Still prefer the glasses look though to his no-glasses look…or he should have at least put on a monocle if he wanted to look more “British”. All his antics at tea…I don’t have words for them. Everyone else who’s voiced their thoughts on them has articulated perfectly what I had in my head. When the episode guide containing Parts 2 and 3 of MFC: SC’sCJ is put up, I have a few more choice thoughts for those.

    Phew! That was a lot to write. Again, don’t feel obligated to read everything if you don’t have the time. I guess, like everyone, after having been deprived of an outlet for so long (it’s NOT your fault, NFZ. I completely understand), it just feels good to be able to type again. Hope everyone else is doing well.

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