John Oliver (on the “cartoonishly evil” FIFA)

“There are now allegations that some FIFA executives took bribes to put the World Cup in Qatar. And I hope that’s true, because otherwise it makes literally no sense….You are hosting the World Cup somewhere where soccer cannot physically be played [because of the heat]. That’s like if the NFL chose to host the Super Bowl in a lake….FIFA is just appalling, and yet, here’s their power: I am still so excited about the World Cup next week.”

John Oliver (1977-) is a British comedian and satirist. His “Last Week Tonight” show on HBO is not unlike Jon Stewart’s “Daily Show”, where he got his start on the west side of the Atlantic. So: though many Americans are reflexively antagonistic to somebody with an accent (different from theirs) on their airwaves, he has a pretty big fan club. He’s no Republican, though, and many Americans must hate him because he’s “smug” (all Brits and Frenchies are smug) and he laughs at stuff that might otherwise make him scream. He can mock himself, too, but it’s mainly the rich and entitled that he skewers. Mockery of the powers that be is a guilty pleasure. I’m slightly conflicted about it, but I’d rather laugh than rage. Mostly.

Confession: I’ve seen exactly two pieces of John Oliver. One was a staged bit showing how ridiculous most climate change “debates” are, and the other was this attack on the governing body of world (soccer) football. His criticisms aren’t novel, and he may not always allow the facts to muddy up a good line. However, he’s comically indignant about some things that I have trouble finding funny, but which are worth any amount of indignation. So, based on limited exposure, I’m not the fan of Oliver that he is of (soccer) football, despite his horror at how it’s run, but I like his stuff.

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