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The Joy Machine
November 14, 2012 12:21 PM   Subscribe

COLBERT: I suppose fear is like a drug. A little bit isn’t that bad, but you can get addicted to the consumption and distribution of it. What’s evil is the purposeful distribution of fear. As Paul said when he was faced with the gom jabbar, “Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.”
PLAYBOY: Did you just make a Dune reference?
COLBERT: I did! [laughs] If you’re injecting fear into other people, then you’re trying to kill their minds. You’re trying to get them to stop thinking.
A thoughtful interview with Stephen Colbert in Playboy (NSFW ads)(Non-Playboy copy.)
posted by rewil (46 comments total) 67 users marked this as a favorite

 
Colbert is the comedy Kwisatz Haderach
posted by Renoroc at 12:23 PM on November 14, 2012 [20 favorites]


Colbert is the comedy Kwisatz Haderach

Does that mean that his son is the God Emperor? The one that will rule humanity for thousands of years?

I'm oddly comfortable with that.
posted by Sphinx at 12:29 PM on November 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Frank Herbert is one of the most influential writers that non-geeks have never heard of.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:31 PM on November 14, 2012 [7 favorites]


I believe he is on record as saying that the best character in dune is the 3rd Stage Guild Navigator, which is totally correct.
posted by Artw at 12:33 PM on November 14, 2012 [10 favorites]


I don't understand why growing up is terrible when Bill O'Reilly acts normally.
Is growing up pleasant when Bill O'Reilly acts weird?
What if I never heard of Bill O'Reilly when I was growing up?
Is he in my toaster or something?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:33 PM on November 14, 2012


Bill O'Reilly is Shaddam IV
posted by elizardbits at 12:40 PM on November 14, 2012


The interesting thing about grief, I think, is that it is its own size. It is not the size of you. It is its own size. And grief comes to you. You know what I mean? I've always liked that phrase He was visited by grief, because that’s really what it is. Grief is its own thing. It’s not like it’s in me and I’m going to deal with it. It’s a thing, and you have to be okay with its presence. If you try to ignore it, it will be like a wolf at your door.

That's quite an eloquent, poetic depiction of grief. "It is its own size," is a perfect way to put it. Just this perfectly phrased little bit makes me curious about what Colbert's non-comedy writing would be like.
posted by yasaman at 12:40 PM on November 14, 2012 [41 favorites]


And Limbaugh is clearly Vladimir Harkonnen.
posted by elizardbits at 12:41 PM on November 14, 2012 [15 favorites]


Rupert Murdoch, perverter of narrative, is Brian Herbert. Whoa, so meta....
posted by reverend cuttle at 12:44 PM on November 14, 2012


Is Michelle Malkin or Ann Coulter the Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam? And if Colbert is the Kwisatz Haderach, does that make Jon Stewart Duke Leto Atreides or Lady Jessica?
posted by zombieflanders at 12:47 PM on November 14, 2012


Colbert is the comedy Kwisatz Haderach

The one who can go into the place no woman can go?

...hmm.
posted by adamdschneider at 12:48 PM on November 14, 2012


I really should have tried harder to go out with Frank Herbert's grand-daughter when I had the chance...
posted by Aquaman at 12:49 PM on November 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


PLAYBOY: You’re not going to tell us anything, are you?

COLBERT: [Smiles, says nothing]

PLAYBOY: You sneaky bastard.

COLBERT: You were asking how the book affected me as a teenager.


Sneaky bastard indeed.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:52 PM on November 14, 2012


Oh man just think of the endless horrible suggestive sandworm jokes to be made.
posted by elizardbits at 12:52 PM on November 14, 2012


Theory: Stephen Colbert is the greatest comedian of all time
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:55 PM on November 14, 2012 [7 favorites]


Cue self-righteous fear-mongering relating to climate change.

If you can't confront the truth, you're probably already afraid of it.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:58 PM on November 14, 2012


I believe he is on record as saying that the best character in dune is the 3rd Stage Guild Navigator, which is totally correct.

Naaah.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:18 PM on November 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, that's a really, really good interview. Thanks, rewil.
posted by jeffkramer at 1:19 PM on November 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


The description of grief is quite good, but yeah, combined with the rest of his anecdotes, dang. I would have gladly read...like...an entire New Yorker article about him. Or something else that's even longer.
posted by redsparkler at 1:27 PM on November 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I tell you who was worth more page-space than he got was Count Fenring. A eunich duelist with a Bene Gesserit wife and a humming secret language? What was up with that guy? Why didn't he call Paul out?
posted by Bookhouse at 1:27 PM on November 14, 2012 [7 favorites]


Stephen Colbert, on life and the allure of being a follower:

I’m surprised there aren’t more unbalanced people in the world, because being alive is not easy. We’re just not that nice to one another. We’re all we have, and Jesus, are we shitty to one another. We really are. The only thing that keeps us going back to one another is that we’re all filled with such enormous self-doubt. We have doubts about our ability to be alone, to self-actualize. We’re on such a rocky road all the time. Every moment is new. Every inch of the mountain is fresh snow. If someone said, “I have been out ahead and I know what you’re supposed to do,” if I believed that were true, I would absolutely obey whatever father told me. I would stay on the compound.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 1:28 PM on November 14, 2012 [28 favorites]


1. My favorite line isn't even from Colbert
PLAYBOY: You sneaky bastard

2. I had Bill Cosby Is A Very Funny Fellow... Right! growing up
too! WHY ME NO AS FUNNY AS HIM?!

3. Finding out he has a LOTR pinball machine makes me want to email him and taunt him with knowledge of the game rules. "Did you ever hear of VALINOR? Oh, it's just something. Something in that pinball game you own. Something YOU'LL NEVER FIND IN A MILLION YEARS. Heh heh heh...."
posted by JHarris at 2:27 PM on November 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Why didn't he call Paul out?

Why would he do that?
posted by adamdschneider at 2:31 PM on November 14, 2012


"Did you ever hear of VALINOR? Oh, it's just something. Something in that pinball game you own. Something YOU'LL NEVER FIND IN A MILLION YEARS. Heh heh heh...."

I have a feeling he would instead tell you about the actual (fictional) Valinor in extensive detail. From the Kimmel interview:

There, during "a party with all of the dwarves," Colbert said he went hairy toe-to-toe with Jackson's resident Tolkien expert Philippa Boyens in a 50-question quiz. "I smoked her," said Colbert. "Peter Jackson officially said I'm the biggest Tolkien geek he has ever met."
posted by Gary at 2:45 PM on November 14, 2012 [7 favorites]


I believe he is on record as saying that the best character in dune is the 3rd Stage Guild Navigator, which is totally correct.

Wait wait wait. Is he a fan of the book or the film? (though yes, could be the series)

Should have asked him about weirding modules.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 2:52 PM on November 14, 2012


Time for me to re-read Dune, I guess. I don't even particularly enjoy Cobert, the show; but Colbert, the guy, has me a little misty eyed.
posted by thylacinthine at 2:57 PM on November 14, 2012


Why didn't he call Paul out?

Because as someone who was almost the Kwisatz Haderach but didn't quite make it, he shared a moment of like, genetic camaraderie or something? I think?
posted by elizardbits at 3:12 PM on November 14, 2012




I always like reading Colbert interviews, just because he seems like an incredibly sweet, kind and intelligent person.
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 4:07 PM on November 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Wow. I may have to take the rest of the day off to swoon after reading that interview.
posted by dialetheia at 4:18 PM on November 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Fenring was on board with the BG program, too. I don't think he had any interest in Paul's demise.
posted by adamdschneider at 4:19 PM on November 14, 2012


Fenring was on board with the BG program, too. I don't think he had any interest in Paul's demise.

From memory it's a little more complicated than that. Paul realises that Fenring was almost the Kumquat Hagendasz* but didn't quite make the grade. He feels sympathy for him, and they have a Moment, some kind of wordless Herbertian connection.

And Fenring turns the Emperor's order (to kill Paul) down.

*If you haven't read the Harvard Lampoon's DOON, track it down and do so it's wonderful.
posted by Sebmojo at 4:38 PM on November 14, 2012


Also - what a wonderful interview, and what a delightful man.
posted by Sebmojo at 4:38 PM on November 14, 2012


Ah, yeah, that does sound familiar.
posted by adamdschneider at 4:49 PM on November 14, 2012


The segment on what Stephen could do with his PAC money the other night was freaking brilliant.

But geek that I am I also have to applaud when Colbert was trying to decide whether or not to launch a presidential bid. "If only I had some sort of sign." Viggo Mortensen showed up in the full Aragorn ranger outfit and offered up Narsil. Then Stephen said it was a cool letter opener and wished he could receive a sign.
posted by Ber at 4:54 PM on November 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


He named dropped Robertson Davies. And I thought I couldn't love him more.
posted by bswinburn at 5:16 PM on November 14, 2012


There are a couple of sections in that interview - where he talks about grief, and then when he talks about keeping his brother's belt before giving it to his son ... just unbelievably beautiful, heartfelt things.

This guy is wonderful as the character he plays on TV, but I get the impression he is rather brilliant as his real life self as well (even though he'd probably not admit that).

Wonderful interview. Wonderful talent. As a journo, that was a great read.
posted by chris88 at 5:30 PM on November 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Stephen Colbert is one of those people that I will almost certainly never meet that I just love.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:41 PM on November 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


My goodness. He just gets it.

Thanks for posting this.
posted by droplet at 5:51 PM on November 14, 2012


Do you mind if I tell you how I am? I had a shitty week.

I long ago wore out my friends with this and no longer have those resources. Alas.

Great interview.
posted by maxwelton at 6:23 PM on November 14, 2012


Colbert continues his excellence in being not only a spot-on satirist who is perfect for our times, but also in giving non-character interviews which are delightful and insightful and even touching.

Great interview, thanks so much for posting!
posted by hippybear at 6:24 PM on November 14, 2012


I would like Colbert to write an actual novel.
posted by empath at 8:54 PM on November 14, 2012


You mean, aside from Stephen Colbert's Alpha Squad 7: Lady Nocturne: A Tek Jansen Adventure?
posted by hippybear at 9:56 PM on November 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


Wow, love this quote:
COLBERT: Things didn’t seem that important anymore. Nothing seemed that important anymore. My mother said to me—and I think she said this to all my brothers and sisters—she urged me to look at everything in the light of eternity. In other words, it doesn’t matter what I wear. I just wear the uniform of my youth. I wear an oxford-cloth shirt and khakis. What does it matter? What does it matter what I wear?
posted by Theta States at 9:52 AM on November 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


PLAYBOY: There have been quite a few books written about you.

COLBERT: I heard that that exists.

PLAYBOY: There’s America According to Colbert, The Stewart/Colbert Effect, Colbert’s America: Satire and Democracy. The list goes on and on.

COLBERT: It’s all poison to me.

PLAYBOY: Poison? How is it poison?

COLBERT: Other people’s deconstruction of your motivations doesn’t help you do what you do. You can’t swallow and think about swallowing at the same time.
posted by Theta States at 10:00 AM on November 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Obviously, a droud is the real joy machine.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:51 PM on November 16, 2012


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