Interview (Stephen Colbert and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes)

In the US there is a comedian named Stephen Colbert who pretends to report on political news. Somehow he is able to get interviews with members of Congress, in which he twists them around in their own words, distorts their voting records, and generally makes fun of them. Some of the congressmen find it amusing and joke along, some of them find him frustrating, and sometimes you can’t figure out what they’re thinking. Here he is interviewing the congresswoman from Washington, DC, which is not a state, so its representative can’t vote. Note the German word he uses toward the beginning of the clip. … an_am.html

Hi Jamie, yes that interview is quite funny, I’ve seen Stephen Colbert in The Daily Show.

What do you think how much time and information he gives his interviewees to prepare for the interview? I mean, I can’t imagine those interviews to be absolutely ‘real’ simple because most Americans probably Stephen Colbert and the way he is making fun of government officials.[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEFL listening discussions: A conversation between two university students (2)[YSaerTTEW443543]

I don’t think that these politicians have much time at all to prepare for those interviews, and that if they accept the invitation they are usually either very smart and witty, or stupid. You should see some of the looks of dull-witted surprise he gets from some of the politicians when he twists their words around, while others throw it right back at him and can be funnier than he is.

Notice that the senator made a big point of insulting him by calling him French. Saying someone is, acts, thinks or dresses like a French person can sometimes be very insulting in the US. In fact, in one American cartoon show, the villain is a little girl who dresses in a beret and insists on speaking bad French a lot.

Hi Jamie,

Why is it insulting in the US to call a person French?[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEFL listening discussions: A conversation between two university students who met on campus[YSaerTTEW443543]

There are hundreds of reasons. Some are associated with food and the fashion industry, and therefore with being gay, or men who act gay even if they’re not. Sometimes the French are associated with phony intellectualism. They are a nation who twice did not defend their country, waited for the British and the Americans to get thousands of men killed in order to free them, and then behaved ungratefully and arrogantly. (A typical situation occurred when a Frenchman wrote to an American news commentary show accusing Bush of being a fascist. The commentator said, “You should know a lot about fascists, sir, because your country entertained them for a couple of years in the '40s.”) The French are associated with betrayal, such as giving a genocidal dictator military intelligence and advice on how to fight their own ally, and even illegally selling him arms to do it. Their current president will sometimes bogusly condemn the leaders of democratic nations as fascists (or nearly so), while inviting pariahs like Robert Mugabe on state visits.

This doesn’t exhaust the list. In addition, in every textbook on French history or the French language here, they show that famous picture of Louis XIV with his big wig and fancy clothes, displaying his legs like a pinup girl from the 1940s. What healthy boy can look at that picture and want anything to do with the French?