Before bidding the conventions a final adieu, a little notebook cleaning:
Like we said last week, keeping up with The Daily Show along with all of the other convention coverage was a bit difficult. But it was well worth catching up, online or on Comedy Central.
(Note on all the links below, in this section: I didn't embed any of the clips because, frankly, all of them have a certain level of raunchiness and this is a blog associated with a family newspaper. So, if you click, understand, you may hear some bleeped proafnity and graphic language.)
The consistently excellent features of this week's Daily Show episodes were video splice packages. They highlighted things like the fact that several Republican commentators and officials who were calling questions and criticisms of vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin "sexist" this week were saying Hillary Clinton needed to stop playing the gender card earlier this year. There was also a splicing of Republican Presidential nominee John McCain's acceptance speech with President George W. Bush's 2000 acceptance speech (it starts around the 5-minute mark) that would make a great campaign commercial for Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama, if he wants to paint McCain as McSame.
There were also priceless moments such as host Jon Stewart playing Freebird on air guitar as Rudy Giuliani invoked 9/11 in his Wednesday night keynote speech.
My favorite moment was when Stewart responded to Giuliani and Palin's mocking of community organizers.Yes, it's on Obama's resume, and no, community organizer in and of itself is not a qualification to be President. But for the party who's 1988 Presidential candidate praised people trying to better their communities as "a thousand points of light," to denigrate thousands of community organizers across this country from its biggest stage was really offensive. Stewart's retort was pitch perfect (It starts at the 7:25 mark).
The best sport award has to go to former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who was the subject of a graphic joke at the beginning of the Thursday's episode but proved to be a cordial, funny guest at the end.
Over its two-week road trip to Denver and St. Paul, The Daily Show cemented its reputation a the smartest and sharpest political satire show out there. Take it as seriously as you want.
McCain came out on top in the Nielsen ratings after all. His speech Thursday night attracted 38.9 million people, 500,000 more than tuned in Obama's Aug. 28 speech. Palin was close behind the ticket toppers with 37.2 million viewers on Wednesday. NBC had the most watched broadcast of the speech with 8,663,000 viewers.
Heart's cease and desist notice to the Republican party to stop using their song, Barracuda, followed Van Halen's request that their Right Now not be used in conjunction with Palin, a VH fan whose nickname as a high school basketball player was Sarah Barracuda. Since we actually read song lyrics in this corner, we should point out that in Barracuda, the title fish is not portrayed in a complimentary light. I suspect if the GOP had gone with the obvious follow-up to Palin's speech, John Mellencamp's Small Town, they would have had a similar problem.
It all takes pop culture vultures back to 1984, when Bruce Springsteen asked President Ronald Reagan to stop invoking his Born in the U.S.A. in his re-election campaign. Not that Springteen stays away from politics. Born in the U.S.A. and his recent hit, The Rising, have both been used by the Obama campaign with no protest. In fact, there was a hot rumor that Springsteen, who has endorsed Obama, was going to play at the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Mile High Stadium, but he did not appear.
Anyone have any ideas for a campaign song for Gov. Palin?
That video screen we talked about earlier this week turned out to be a bit of a clunker for the broadcast of McCain's speech. Viewers at home mostly just saw the colors behind McCain steadily changing through his speech while delegates in the Xcel Center were seeing giant images flash behind him. One bad choice was a school with a vast green lawn in front of it. (AP photo, right, by Ron Edmonds.) Viewers at home saw McCain in front of what appeared to be a green screen like weather forecasters use. It was actually a photo of Walter Reed Middle School in North Hollywood, Calif., which brought up a number awkward questions and situations:
- Did the RNC intend to use Walter Reed Army Medical Center and get confused?
- The school's principal issued a statement saying permission to use the school's image had not been granted, and it should not be inferred as an endorsement. (Upside, it may be the most famous middle school in America, now.)
- The green lawn was reminiscent of McCain's early summer speech in front of a similarly uncomplimentary green backdrop on the night Obama claimed the nomination.
That actually -- bringing this post back to Comedy Central -- inspired a Colbert Report contest to see who could come up with the best background for the green screen. All of it begs the question of why convention producers got this cool toy, but didn't figure out the best ways to use it for the live and television audience.
When it comes to sound, the decision to stay inside worked well for McCain. While cheers at Obama's speech seemed to float into the skies above Denver, McCain was nearly drowned out by the crowd in the Xcel Center, and that clearly came across at home.
Now that the conventions are over, I can go back to watching Project Runway.