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On the January 29, 2013 episode of The Daily Show, the topics include women’s service in the military, current tensions between nations and the guest, Bob Costas.
The episode begins with Jon Stewart discussing women’s service in the military. The military is now lifting the restriction on women serving in the frontlines. The arguments against women serving in this capacity ranges from them being too weak, sexually distracting or having an adverse effect on unit cohesion. Stewart maintains throughout his description a level of disdain for this view and at each step suggests a solution which the military is already supposed to have in place, such as a code of conduct. This segment continues with Samantha Bee interviewing Captain Zoe Bedell (one of the plaintiffs in the suit to get this ban lifted) and Kingsley Browne (who is opposed to this change) in usual Daily Show style. The result of this method is, as one might expect, Bee’s continual mocking of Browne and others with his views. The main points on Captain Bedell’s side are the women are already serving on the frontlines since there is not clearly defined frontline in Afghanistan. Many women have died, been shot at and earned awards and recognition. However, they are not officially in those roles and this fact negatively impacts their chances of promotion. Browne argues uses the arguments I described earlier. One of the big ones is that sexual harassment ruins careers. By this he means, as Bee interprets it, men’s careers. Bee then asks Bedell if she is worried about ruining a man’s career if he were to sexually assault. Bedell simply answered, “No.”
The second segment consisted of Stewart giving a brief description of the tensions revolving around Israel. He explained a web of threats, tensions and pacts that spread from Israel, through Iran, Saudi Arabia and eventually ended in North Korea’s threats against the United States. While discussing North Korea, Stewart played a clip describing one of their missiles as having the ability to destroy an area the size of lower Manhattan. Stewart objected to Manhattan becoming the unit of destructive measurement. He compared the map with the large red destruction mark as being similar to his pizza delivery zone.
The guest for this episode was Bob Costas. He was not promoting anything, but did go into detail about his comments about gun control which got him into trouble a little while ago. They had a very interesting discussion on gun control. It was interesting because it actually focused on the idea of gun culture and how our opinions on guns affect their use and availability. Costas briefly described the intersection of gun culture and sport culture and the dangers of this. This interview basically provided Costas an opportunity to explain his previous comments and he did this well.
The whole episode was brilliant. Bee’s segment was amazingly hilarious. She plays her usual vapid-ish interviewer throughout to great effect. Of course, she breaks this character on occasion which just makes it better. I adore Samantha Bee and it is because of segments exactly like this one. The rest of the episode was good, too, especially the interview. Stewart’s coverage of the international tensions managed to get across the importance of this knowledge while still making some good jokes. I definitely think any Daily Show fan, no matter how fringe, should check out this episode.