The Brit has made a career of taking on the injustices of the world and attacking them mercilessly. Wrapped carefully in humour and skits, no-one would mistake John Oliver’s coverage for kindness. If you’re on the show as a feature story, you did a bad, bad thing. He’s mastered the viral video and impassioned higher accountability for those in power.
Oliver’s attacks say what we all are thinking or point out with hilarity the irrationality of it. His work has even earned the label The John Oliver Effect, wherein his videos bring about change. So we’ve rounded up 5 of his best rants that take on touchy subjects with his usual flair. John Oliver is always on point.
#1 Ferguson + Police Militarisation
Cops in tanks, the riots and everything in between John Oliver slammed it all. Approaching the issue of weaponising local police forces with tanks, military grade weapons and explosives as just a little excessive. Seems like Oliver then issued the most damning sentence ever uttered,
“I know the police love their ridiculous, unnecessary equipment, so here’s another patronizing test: let’s take it all away from them and if they can make it through a whole month without killing a single unarmed black man — then, and only then, can they get their fucking toys back.” Truth.
Most noteworthy is FIFA, an organisation so corrupt Oliver took it down twice. Oliver’s position is that of a saddened football fan in the original vid, whose love and excitement for the world cup is tainted by FIFA. He took on the plight of the Brazilian people, then in 2014 protesting against the World Cup. In 2015 when a host of FIFA’s top officials were arrested and “Swiss demon” Seb Blatter finally dethroned, John Oliver revisited his previous take down. As as result when a FIFA official uses an article from The Onion as a point of reference, there’s not much further down hill things can go from there.
#3 Government Surveillance
John Oliver broaches this subject with a disclaimer, realising people would rather talk about literally anything else. Do mobile phones give you cancer? Do goldfishes suffer from depression? Diving into redaction, the patriot act, key stroke software and government phishing efforts in the name of the law. He goes straight to the source of government surveillance gone rogue and speaks to Edward Snowden, now a gatekeeper of the content he leaked. Don’t worry, he didn’t forget about Aussie abroad Julian Assange either, noting not even Benedict Cumberbatch could make him likeable. So is ignorance is bliss? Yet no longer a fitting excuse in Oliver’s words, so listen up.
#4 Online Harassment
The info is USA focused, but the points raised are particularly relevant to you and I in Oz right now. John Oliver tackles revenge porn, twitter trolls and every lurker on the internet in one fell swoop. The internet is a wonderland. Vintage ads for the internet make light of the hope and excitement as it came to light, kayaking buddies galore, but with it comes a dark side. The law is horribly ill-equiped to deal with online harassment misunderstanding graphic threats, identity theft and acts of revenge porn as intangible crimes. Watch out for John Oliver pronouncing Barcelona like a foreign exchange student returning home, too good.
#5 Donald Trump/ Miss America – more than once
John Oliver isn’t a fan of the Trump’s. If all videos were to be included in this piece, your browser would likely implode. That’s just the amount of times John Oliver has gone to town on the Donald. The team at Last Week Tonight, uncovered Miss America’s mislabelling of a scholarship fund worth $45 million, the financial impossibility of that wall he wants to build and even Trump’s real name. Drumpf. While filmed before the second presidential debate, he took on Trump’s locker room talk or thinly veiled brag about sexual assault. Hence, in peak John Oliver fashion he savages the presidential candidate with fervour. He describes Trump as “spray tanned Furby eating KFC.” So accurate.
Image source: Digital Trends.