Sunday Links

Just wanted to mention a New York Times article on Jon Stewart and The Daily Show that provides a little more background on how the show is produced and on Stewart’s vision of the show as a means of distilling or working through the news, to use John Ellis’s phrase. Michiko Kakutani, the article’s author, also mentions the Pew study that concluded that Stewart is the fourth “most admired” journalist, tied with Brian Williams, Tom Brokaw, Anderson Cooper, and Dan Rather. At any rate, it’s a good discussion of the ways in which Jon Stewart and (to a different extent) Stephen Colbert are informing election coverage and providing us with new filters for making sense of political discourse.

On a related note, the people behind Baracky and The Empire Strikes Barack are back with Baracky II, this time pitting Obama against McCain, who sometimes sports a Mr. T-style mohawk. In my research on political parody videos, I’m certainly interested in the ways in which shows such as The Daily Show have provided textual (and sometimes intertextual) models that video producers can use to make their own political critiques. The Baracky videos are especially adept at using some of the techniques of juxtaposition found in shows such as The Daily Show or The Colbert Report. In fact, every time I become utterly infuriated with election coverage, these videos serve as a welcome reminder of the countless participants in our political conversation who are reading things against the grain.

Update: Just wanted to mention McCain’s difficulties in making use of copyrighted materials in many of his web videos. Newsweek discusses the removal of “Obama Love,” a video that sought to link Obama to a number of celebrities with a Frankie Valli song playing in the background. The Warner Music Group asserted its copyright claim, and the clip was pulled and eventually retooled with new music. Mike Myers has also demanded that a clip depicting him in a scene from Wayne’s World be pulled. While McCain has not been nearly as aggressive as some Senators in limiting the fair use of copyrighted material, it is interesting to see him running up against some of the limitations on fair use that have been instituted into law during his time in the Senate.

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