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Michael Palin is not the funniest Palin anymore.
October 18, 2008 4:42 PM   Subscribe

John Cleese talks Election 08 with Seesmic (YT) and discusses his views on American Politics, and americans in general. (via)
posted by blue_beetle (54 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is part II, but I couldn't find part I
posted by blue_beetle at 4:45 PM on October 18, 2008


John Cleese has a much more charitable take on Palin's memory than I do.
posted by inconsequentialist at 5:02 PM on October 18, 2008


Lovely, I enjoyed that.
I feel that the Bush Presidency is more like a Terry Southern treatment than it is like a Monty Python skit. It is way too dark to be Python.
posted by dougzilla at 5:03 PM on October 18, 2008


"This Palin wouldn't voom if you shot 20,000 volts through it."
posted by Optamystic at 5:19 PM on October 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Great clip, thanks beetle!
posted by JHarris at 5:24 PM on October 18, 2008


John Cleese is awesome. Does supercilious expertly, can walk like loon, and looks hilarious in a dress.

Who gives half a fart what he thinks of American politics?
posted by codswallop at 5:33 PM on October 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


What's with all the cuts? I found it disorienting how the camera would change in the middle of a sentence...were they cutting out umms or making entirely new sentences out? There was enough of it that it started to feel creepy and I turned it off.
posted by stevil at 5:38 PM on October 18, 2008


I think his point about USians resenting presidential candidates who are smarter, better educated, more eloquent, etc., than them, quite incisive.
posted by signal at 5:51 PM on October 18, 2008


I think his point about USians resenting presidential candidates who are smarter, better educated, more eloquent, etc., than them, quite incisive.

Really? I've never bought into the 'elitist' stuff. I think there are a lot of people who are simply single issue voters or deeply partisan and will grasp for anything negative to say about an opposing candidate. Elitism seems more like a convenient attack rather than a substantive concern for most people. The same people critiquing Obama's elitism and falling over themselves for Palin's folksy charm would be just as passionate about an educated, eloquent, intellectual candidate that supported all their issues.

People just choose whatever argument is convenient to their opinions.
posted by jpdoane at 6:09 PM on October 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


What a horrible web site. Ignoring for a moment that the entire thing is in Flash (which is enough to make the Baby Jesus cry), my slowish laptop was grinding to a halt trying to play the video. So, I downloaded the actual video file to play in VLC. Lo and behold, it's actually a HD image: 960x1280, 1300 bitrate. Yes, they stuffed it into a YouTube-sized window instead of making a low-quality web version.
posted by cj_ at 6:11 PM on October 18, 2008


Really? I've never bought into the 'elitist' stuff.

GWB is going to be pissed when he finds out that the last-minute ranch in Crawford was a total waste of money.
posted by moxiedoll at 6:19 PM on October 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


... Oh, and if that's not WTF enough, the actual media looks like it was resampled from much lower quality, because at 1280x960, it's full of artifacts. Also, it has black borders around all four edges, making the viewable area about 1000x600. Do they do this for a living?
posted by cj_ at 6:25 PM on October 18, 2008


Olbermann reads a poem by Cleese.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:25 PM on October 18, 2008


John Cleese is awesome. Does supercilious expertly, can walk like loon, and looks hilarious in a dress.

Who gives half a fart what he thinks of American politics?


Who gives a fart what you think about John Cleese?

Gosh, that's a useful construct. No need to address the actual conversation at all. Just suggest that nobody cares. Brilliant.

The dictionary is an interesting hunk of wood. Weighty. Quite useful for keeping a door open or hitting someone on the head. But who gives half a fart what it has to say about the proper pronunciation and usage of the word "gazebo?"

Yes, I like that.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:34 PM on October 18, 2008 [5 favorites]


Actually, Cleese is a really interesting guy who thrives on pondering some of the bigger questions out there. Beyond being silly in 70s TV, he's been involved in some more "serious" work. "The Human Face" is one. So, what he has to say on US politics is useful.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:51 PM on October 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Who gives half a fart what he thinks of American politics?

Well, since he IS an American citizen now, presumably he is indeed entitled to HAVE an opinion of American politics, surely? Whether or not you listen to his opinion is up to you, just as it is whether you listen to any other American citizen's opinion.

....And if you're reading the election threads in here, then you are indeed interested in other American opinions, right?

So, since you are interested in the opinions of your fellow Americans regarding the election, YOU give half a fart what John Cleese thinks of American politics. QED.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:54 PM on October 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


(dons flame-retardant suit, steps gingerly into thread)

John Cleese's comments pretty well sum up the opinions of many non-USians around the world about the last eight years of George W. Bush as American president, and why the prospect of McCain/Palin is so daunting. There is no valid reason why John Kerry should not have won the 2004 election, no matter how wooden or uninspiring he seemed. As Cleese points out, Dubya really does seem like a banana-republic-styled figurehead, and he was never qualified to lead a country -- hell, even Reagan had at least a veneer of competence. After the botched Iraq invasion, the validation of torture, and then the Katrina disaster (you can come up with your own reasons in addition, I'm sure), America needs a grown-up for president, now more than ever. The world is sick and tired of being scared of the United States.
posted by spoobnooble at 7:06 PM on October 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


I feel that the Bush Presidency is more like a Terry Southern treatment than it is like a Monty Python skit.

Southern and Cleese do have that Peter Sellers connection in common.
posted by 3.2.3 at 7:07 PM on October 18, 2008


Who gives half a fart what he thinks of American politics?

Not caring about how the rest of the world sees us is exactly part of the problem we as a country have today.
posted by Mikey-San at 7:07 PM on October 18, 2008 [9 favorites]


Cleeseblog
posted by hortense at 7:11 PM on October 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


There are no half-farts. Either wind escapes or the sphincter is compromised. There is no intermediary zone.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:21 PM on October 18, 2008


Oops. Rather, the sphincter remains uncompromised. Whatever.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:26 PM on October 18, 2008


Cleeseblog seems rather cool!
posted by JHarris at 8:15 PM on October 18, 2008


Like stevil, I was put off by the editing. All those mid-sentence cuts made the speech awkward and too fast paced, like reading the first line of every paragraph back to back. It's a long shot, but does anyone know where to find the raw footage of this interview?
posted by waxboy at 8:54 PM on October 18, 2008


What Cleese has to say is great, and very on point.

What anyone who uses the "word" "USians" has to say is beneath the time and energy of anyone else to even consider.

Seriously, stop with that bullshit.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:15 PM on October 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


What anyone who uses the "word" "USians" has to say is beneath the time and energy of anyone else to even consider.

But you used the word USians... so what you have to say isn't worth considering... but if what you say isn't worth considering, then people who use the word USian are okay... but then what you say is worth considering... but then it isn't.

DOES NOT COMPUTE! ILLOGICAL!

*compu-brain explodes shooting gears everywhere*
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:29 PM on October 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


What anyone who uses the "word" "USians" has to say is beneath the time and energy of anyone else to even consider. Seriously, stop with that bullshit.

"US Americans / USians" is (an) annoying (neologism?), but it's strictly more accurate than using "Americans" to refer only to citizens of the US in some weird inverse-metonymic sense. Oh Miss Teen South Carolina, I personally believe... that you got at least something right.
posted by kid ichorous at 10:38 PM on October 18, 2008


" Either wind escapes or the sphincter is compromised."
I pictured one of my ass cheeks detonating because I had foolishly attempted to hold in the truth.
posted by qinn at 12:55 AM on October 19, 2008


USians" is (an) annoying (neologism?), but it's strictly more accurate than using "Americans" to refer only to citizens of the US in some weird inverse-metonymic sense.

Are there really people out there that self identify as 'United Statians?'
posted by Thoth at 1:01 AM on October 19, 2008


Are there really people out there that self identify as 'United Statians?'

Well, we could say "Yanks" ... though, I imagine we are more often called "Wanks (ers)" these days.
posted by Surfurrus at 3:19 AM on October 19, 2008


Yank bastards.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:39 AM on October 19, 2008


Oops, sorry, did I say that out loud?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:39 AM on October 19, 2008


I didn't hear anything Stavros. Also, I had no idea Cleese naturalised to the US.
posted by michswiss at 3:58 AM on October 19, 2008


People just choose whatever argument is convenient to their opinions.

Actually I would agree that people (in my experience) generally have their moral compass pointed in the direction of convenience.

But I found that what Cleese said to be pretty spot on. It made me think of the opening line of Declaration of Independence. When I googled this and looked it up on Wikipedia, it made even more sense in the light of it being a rebuttal to a political doctrine of it's time. A doctrine that was upheld for quite a long time in the country Cleese comes from.

Take a moment and think of how the rest of the world views us, as Mikey-San pointed out, and why they would view us this way.

Just as we chose between left and right or pull one issue out we feel strongly about. Is the idea of either having the normal-regular person or someone smarter and more deserving in the Oval Office another way for us to choose?
posted by P.o.B. at 5:07 AM on October 19, 2008


"US Americans / USians" is (an) annoying (neologism?), but it's strictly more accurate than using "Americans" to refer only to citizens of the US in some weird inverse-metonymic sense.

Curious, do citizens of other countries on the landmass refer to themselves as Americans?

As one who was born and grew up in the US, I very rarely hear them referred to as Americas. It's usually Canadians, Brazilians, Colombians etc, etc. But that just might be US culture which sees everyone else as other, even those nice, non brown Canadians.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:07 AM on October 19, 2008


What anyone who uses the "word" "USians" has to say is beneath the time and energy of anyone else to even consider.

You're right, I should have said "Gringos".
posted by signal at 5:20 AM on October 19, 2008


Cleese's hollow laugh, when the interviewer merely said Sarah Palin, was trés interesting. I'm used to seeing people break into grins when someone mentions a comedian's name; this is perhaps the first time that I saw a comedian break into laughter on hearing a politician's name.

How sad must your life be, if one of the world's premiere comedians himself thinks you're a hearty punchline to a meta-joke we all live in.
posted by the cydonian at 6:45 AM on October 19, 2008


Sarah Palin is still not quite as funny as the word gazebo.
posted by sfenders at 6:59 AM on October 19, 2008


How sad must your life be, if one of the world's premiere comedians himself thinks you're a hearty punchline to a meta-joke we all live in.

Oh, PLEASE. She's been a mayor and governor and is currently on the world stage as a VP candidate i.e. she's got most of what she's wanted so far in her life. I don't like her and think she's vastly overrated except for entertainment value, but let's not do the intellectually lazy but emotionally satisfying thought process that Sarah Palin has lead a sad life just because some comedian, who has had no impact on her life, giggles at the mention of her name.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:21 AM on October 19, 2008


palin on SNL :P they crossed the streams! cf. and btw...
posted by kliuless at 8:42 AM on October 19, 2008


Curious, do citizens of other countries on the landmass refer to themselves as Americans?

As one who was born and grew up in the US, I very rarely hear them referred to as Americas. It's usually Canadians, Brazilians, Colombians etc, etc. But that just might be US culture which sees everyone else as other, even those nice, non brown Canadians.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:07 AM on October 19 [+] [!]


Many Spanish (and Portuguese as well?) speaking residents of North, South and Central America do refer to all of the continents as "the Americas" and thus all of us on these continents as "Americans". "American" is a continental term, like "European"; people from the U.S.A. are names after the "United States" (can't remember how it's spelled).

But English speaking Canadians most certainly do not. In English Canada, "America" or "American" only ever refer to the U.S.A., and we don't want any politically correct Americans trying to not offend us by calling us Americans, because that's actually a little offensive (don't call a Scot an Englishman either, or a Kiwi an Aussie). So in not trying to offend, they have offended.

However, I am ashamed to say that I have no idea how francaphone Canadians feel about the issue. Can anyone enlighten me?
posted by jb at 8:47 AM on October 19, 2008


Many Spanish (and Portuguese as well?) speaking residents of North, South and Central America do refer to all of the continents as "the Americas"

In my experience, Spanish speakers refer to the whole landmass (North, Central and South) as "América", not "Las Américas".

people from the U.S.A. are names after the "United States" (can't remember how it's spelled).

"Estadounidense".
posted by signal at 9:00 AM on October 19, 2008


When angry people around the world shout "Death to America!" who are they talking about?

OK. Can we move on from this then?
posted by Cyrano at 9:09 AM on October 19, 2008


However, I am ashamed to say that I have no idea how francaphone Canadians feel about the issue.

Pretty much the same as in the rest of Canada, far as I have observed.

It is a relatively recent development I think; perhaps a few decades ago it was more ambiguous in parts of Canada due to the British influence, where "American" still meant "from the Americas" to a lot of people as recently as twenty years ago when I first visited there. (In France on the other hand, I was expected to know that America meant the USA.) I suspect that Canada was the first place outside the United States where the name American came to almost always mean USAmerican, and Canadians travelling all over the world telling people they're not American probably did quite a lot to make it catch on globally. And now it seems there aren't too many people resisting this American cultural domination of the word "America" outside of South America. I wish them luck. Arguing about it is certainly in keeping with the stupid distractions that so often dominate American political discourse, so in the spirit of democracy I think we should keep the argument going, and preferably also find some way to make it about Sarah Palin.
posted by sfenders at 9:26 AM on October 19, 2008


In my experience, Spanish speakers refer to the whole landmass (North, Central and South) as "América", not "Las Américas".

"Estadounidense".
posted by signal at 12:00 PM on October 19 [+] [!]


Thanks for the correction.

I realized that this whole name thing is the opposite problem from what the Brits have -- whereas the US is claiming the broad name for just one country, I keep noticing that there are still people calling Britain* "England", taking the name of just one country from within the United Kingdom and making that the name of the whole.

(*yes, I realize that "Britain" itself excludes Northern Ireland, but it is widely used there, probably because there is no adjectival form of United Kingdom - United Kingdomish or United Kingdomian?)
posted by jb at 9:40 AM on October 19, 2008


United Kingdomish or United Kingdomian

This thread is sounding more and more like a Monty Python routine. "Judean People's Front? People's Front of Judea?"
posted by SPrintF at 10:31 AM on October 19, 2008


palin on SNL :P they crossed the streams! cf. and btw...

She seems good natured about the whole thing.

posted by P.o.B. at 11:13 AM on October 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Curious, do citizens of other countries on the landmass refer to themselves as Americans?

Not south of the US, but as noted they don't generally refer to Americans as "americano" but rather "estadounidense" or, less formally, "norteamericano."

Which isn't relevant unless you're speaking Spanish to a Latin American. In the same way that it would be stupid when communicating in English to call a German person "aleman" because that's the word the Latin Americans use to call people from Germany, it's silly to call people from the US "USians" when speaking English just because Latin Americans call people from the US "estadounidenses."

there is no adjectival form of United Kingdom

If USian is good enough for the US, then UKian or UKoGBNIan is good enough for the UK.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:30 AM on October 19, 2008


She seems good natured about the whole thing.

Of course. That's why she's there.

I'm not saying she's not good natured about the whole thing. Maybe she genuinely is.

But this looks like a campaign move to me. Her campaign appeal is largely based on her personality, on who she is. So this is their way of communicating that in addition to being an Average Hockey Mom™ (and Hotm and a Hunterm and a Christianm and an Outsider), she's (a) cool enough to go on SNL and (b) the kind of gal who can laugh at herself, not the kind of gal who withers under a joke.

The less obvious subtext is that off course SNL is just joshin', and the Palin Vice Presidency really isn't that much of a joke.

Either that, or it's like some people have been saying: she doesn't matter much anymore, this isn't a Biden-Palin race, really, it's Obama vs McCain, and so she's just having fun while it lasts.
posted by namespan at 12:18 PM on October 19, 2008


the powell endorsement (esp after the wtf stevens' character reference) seems like another nail in the coffin (or turning point, depending on your PoV) for (neo)conservatism.
posted by kliuless at 1:00 PM on October 19, 2008


there is no adjectival form of United Kingdom

Citizens of the Empire. GSTQ!
posted by blue_beetle at 2:50 PM on October 19, 2008


Hello, I'm from metafilter and I can overthink an entire continent.
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:42 PM on October 19, 2008


EstadouniDENSE, amirite?
posted by CitizenD at 8:16 PM on October 19, 2008


Septic tanks?
posted by Kiwi at 2:25 AM on October 20, 2008


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