Tuesday, December 06, 2016

You Don't Have To Go To Cuba, Nigeria, or Saudi Arabia To See A Tin-Pot Dictator In Action — We Have One Right Here In The USA

Within minutes after "Saturday Night Live" aired its opening skit featured Alec Baldwin as the POTUS-Elect in the grip of a bout of Twitter-mania, Twitter featured a tweet from @realDonaldTrump: "Just tried watching 'Saturday Night Live' — unwatchable! Totally biased, not funny and the Baldwin impersonation just can't get any worse. Sad." What is sad is the reality that this lunatic will occupy the Oval Office in slightly more than a month. If this is the (fair & balanced) manifestation of authoritarianism, so be it.

[x NY Fishwrap]
How to Cope With Trump? Laugh
By Adam B. Ellick, Mona El-Naggar And Taige Jensen

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created at TagCrowd.com

8 international comedians — from Cuba to Nigeria to Saudi — talk about coping with their political angst

Liberal Americans have been distraught since Donald J. Trump’s victory last month. New Yorkers cried on the subway the morning after the election. Others have threatened to leave the country. Many are protesting. #NotMyPresident trended for days.

But in many parts of the world, being depressed about politics is a tradition. Millions of people have spent their entire lives ruled by leaders they detest. So we asked a group of comedians, cultural commentators and political satirists from around the world to share their experiences and to offer a tool kit of coping mechanisms for American liberals — via video selfies.

Here are some of the questions we posed to the contributors:

• How do you navigate your own frustration and helplessness?

• How do you decide when to fight the system, or when to fall into a silent apathy? Or even to move away?

• How do you isolate the unfavorable qualities in your country’s leadership — like corruption, sexism, human rights abuses — from the values you foster at home?

• Are Americans politically spoiled?

Here are the contributors.

Bassem Youssef, known as “the Jon Stewart of Egypt,” is a cardiac surgeon turned political commentator. His satirical television program, “The Show,” was conceived during the Arab Spring. With millions of viewers and unprecedented ratings, Mr. Youssef’s program drew the ire of the Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt’s military leadership. Citing political pressure and threats, Mr. Youssef took his show off the air after General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was elected president in June 2014. He has since moved to the United States. “Tickling Giants,” a feature-length documentary about Mr. Youssef, recently had its premiere in New York.

Fasi Zaka is a Pakistani media personality and pop-culture critic known for his political satire, liberal politics and absurdist humor. He hosts “The Fasi Zaka & Friends Show” on radio and writes a newspaper column. He is from Peshawar and is a Rhodes scholar at Oxford.

El Chigüire Bipolar is a Venezuelan satirical news site founded in 2008 by Elio Casale, Oswaldo Graziani and Juan Andrés Ravell that became known for mocking Hugo Chávez, then the president of Venezuela. The site has continually drawn the wrath of state-controlled media. In 2010, Mr. Graziani and Mr. Ravell created “Isla Presidencial,” a web series in which Latin American leaders of different ideologies land on a deserted island and are forced to fend for themselves. In three seasons, “Isla Presidencial” amassed over 50 million views.

Hisham Fageeh is a Saudi Arabian comedian and actor, best known for his 2013 viral video “No Woman, No Drive,” mocking the kingdom’s ban on female drivers. His latest film, “Barakah Meets Barakah,” is a romantic comedy about the challenges young Saudi couples experience in the face of their country’s strict gender-segregation rules. While studying at Columbia University, Mr. Fageeh simultaneously trained in improvisational comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater and started a web series called “Hisham’s Weeklies,” which propelled him onto the Arabic stand-up comedy scene.

Carlos Celdran is a cultural activist and performer in the Philippines, where the newly elected populous president, Rodrigo Duterte, has likened himself to Adolf Hitler. Mr. Celdran’s protest against the Catholic Church’s interference in the passing of a reproductive health bill led to his arrest and incarceration and became a cause célèbre among liberals.

Pepe Billete is a Cuban-American puppet who stars on YouTube and hosts a talk-radio show and podcast in English and Spanish called “Pepe Billete Uncensored.” A cultural icon in Miami’s Latino-American community, Pepe came to the United States in 1980 during the Mariel boat lift while in his 20s. The puppeteer behind Pepe remains anonymous.

Dr. Njakiri Damages is the host of a weekly satirical online television show that caricatures political leaders and newsmakers in Africa. Its slogan is “I diagnose, you heal yourself,” and his persona has been referred to as the “ David Letterman of Nigeria.” The man playing Dr. Damages, Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo, is a journalist who fled Nigeria when it was under a military dictatorship. He lives in New York City and writes a weekly column for Saharareporters.com.

Anton Orekh is a political satirist on the Russian radio station “Ekho Moskvy” (Echo of Moscow) and a columnist for several online opposition publications. One of them, Ezhednevny Zhurnal (Daily Journal), was blocked in 2014 by the Russian federal media watchdog after running a series of articles countering government propaganda. Mr. Orekh is an outspoken critic of President Vladimir V. Putin.

Cok Da Fifi Hatunlar is an all-female stand-up comedy group of seven based in Istanbul, Turkey, since 2015. The name loosely translates to “Women who don’t give a shit.” The group heavily self-censors political humor because of the government’s recent crackdown against free speech. The comedians in this video are Hande Yogen, Asli Akbay and Deniz Ozturhan, a former writer at Cumhuriyet, the country’s last major independent publication that has had many writers jailed. ###

[Adam B. Ellick, Mona El-Naggar and Taige Jensen are journalists with the video department at The New York Times. Adam Ellick co-produced and wrote a video awarded The Pulitzer Prize in 2016. He received a BA (journalism) from Ithaca College and an MPA (international relations) from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government. Mona El-Naggar has been a video journalist at The New York Times since 2013. She received a BA (political economy) from Georgetown University and an MA (journalism) from New York University. Taige Jensen has been the Video Editor at The Times since 2013. He received an AA (computer media technology) from Bunker Hill Community College (MA).]

Copyright © 2016 The New York Times Company

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