I’m going to level with you: it’s been a hell of a morning already. It feels hard, and a little weird to shake off something as serious as the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history (after already shaking off the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico, and our President’s* barely-concealed racist response to that crisis this weekend), but, to a very terrible extent, I think we’re out of other options?
I’m not trying to bring anyone even more down than they might have already been and I certainly don’t want to ruin anyone’s weekly Oliver dosage (especially when it’s so sorely needed), but the hours between when this segment aired and when I finally got to write about it have dramatically changed how I feel about the fake show Oliver is proposing. Mainly, I don’t think it’s a joke.
People aren’t stupid. Or, actually a lot of people are stupid, but they’re still educable. Most people could be taught facts, but it’s hard for them to integrate those facts when they go against emotions. We feel that science is infallible, so we treat it like it is. Even when the people doing the sciencing are telling us it’s not as clear cut as that. And partly we treat it like that because the images we have of police sciencing are good guys inevitably and miraculously always catching the bad guy with nearly magical science. In fact, one of the most remarkable things about the images we’re shown is that they can contrast how twenty years ago, a lot of us refused to believe in the science we now take as gospel while continuing to deepen our commitment to that gospel.
So if TV is powerful as all that (and given my undying devotion to Lip Gallagher, I feel comfortable saying it is), maybe having a show give a more realistic portrayal of forensic science might not be a bad place to start. Maybe a more realistic portrayal of guns and gun violence might not be a bad thing either. Because as of right now, nothing else seems to be working, and we’re getting dick from our leaders besides “thoughts and prayers.” Shit, at least TV might make its uselessness entertaining. If we can’t do anything about a problem that affects only our nation in the entire world, I’d like to have someone like John Oliver tell me about it.
Enjoy as much as possible.