Last Week Tonight Two Nights Ago
Here's part of the most recent episode of John Oliver's HBO show Last Week Tonight. The segment is a particularly good look at the Confederacy and its part in today's history. In true Last Week Tonight fashion, they're able to make it pointed and often hilarious.
In fact, I particularly like how the segment begins, with Oliver telling a personal story about a favorite TV show he had growing up in England, which puts the whole concept of not honoring iconic heroes of the past in proper perspective. But I also found it notable for another reason.
His story concerns an extremely popular show in England that starred a fellow named Jimmy Saville, called Jim'll Fix It, where people would write in with their wishes, and the show would try to make them come true. And years ago, I came across a wonderful video from the show which I sent around to friends. (I believe it was before the site began -- I may possibly have posted it on the Huffington Post, though think not.) The long clip was of a little girl, perhaps about seven years old, who had wanted to to dance the Singin' in the Rain number with Tommy Steele, who was then starring in (and had directed) a London stage musical version of the film. The show put them together, Steele rehearsed with the little girl, and the video was absolutely charming.
I tried to find it again a while back to post it here, but couldn't. A few months ago, readers here may recall that I was writing about the show -- which I had seen in London -- and wanted to find a clip but couldn't. I remembered that clip from Jim'll Fix It, and tried again to track it down, but again alas with no success. So, instead, I posted a clip from a recent revival. I was pretty sure at this point, though, that I wouldn't find a clip because I knew a bit more of the background of that show and Jimmy Saville. John Oliver explains it all, but let's just say that a few years back, doing research into finding the click, I found out that after Jimmy Saville died, a secret part of his life started to come to the surface and it was...well, not just surprising but pretty horrible. And my sense is that the BBC (actually, a bit understandably, I think...) wiped any videos connected to him off of YouTube. So, I'm fairly certain that, though the history remains, the video is gone.
That's the starting point John Oliver addresses when talking about honoring statues with a reprehensible past, and he'll explain more in detail in this clip.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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