After an Emmy-winning season of deeply funny, profoundly necessary political satire, investigative reporting, prankish philanthropy, and amusingly irate, British-accented invective, John Oliver is taking the rest of 2017 off. But until Last Week Tonight returns to amuse, advise, and infuriate us in February, Oliver took the entirety of his final episode to outline both Donald Trump’s three-pronged assault on the national discourse, and the barest glimmers of hope and advice on how to combat it.
Oliver’s point is that Trump (along with his state media organ, Fox News) routinely employs three easily identifiable, equally reprehensible strategies to advance his loathsome agenda, and turn his critics into tooth-gnashing, stomach-churning basket cases in at the same time. Trump’s M.O. of de-legitimizing the media (“Fake news!”), “Whataboutism” (“But Hillary’s emails!”), and straight-up trolling (literally 90 percent of what he tweets) is, as Oliver puts it convincingly, an assault against “the very concept of truth.” Whether because Trump is some secretly savvy evil genius (he’s not), or because he’s a petty, egomaniacal, deeply damaged, bottomlessly needy, horrible little bigot (ding!) is irrelevant, since the overall effect is to keep us off balance reacting to six horrible, bigoted, irrational, ludicrous, or otherwise baffling things before the next one comes babbling out of his maw.
Thankfully, Oliver had some parting words of snarky wisdom. Even if he had to concede that his main advice of looking at this fight against Trump as a marathon and not to give up might sound a little hollow coming from a guy skiving off for three months. Still, Oliver pointed to the fact that those people who reject Donald Trump and all the things he stands for have consistently blocked things like Trump’s racist Muslim ban, Trump’s attempts to murder both Obamacare and many people who rely upon it, and those Republican candidates (such as those in Virginia) whose attempts to ape Trump’s divisive style saw them shitcanned in resounding fashion last week.
Plus, Oliver plans an ongoing guerrilla campaign targeted where Trump’s mushy mind is most vulnerable, as Last Week Tonight will be airing stealthily educational commercials on vapid morning show from hell Fox & Friends starring the Catheter Cowboy. Taking the form of one of those medical supply ads that cater to Fox’s crotchety, gullible bigot demographic, the ads (which will run in the Washington, D.C. market) feature a Stetson-sporting, straight-shooting old-timer who slips helpful factoids (like “Nazis are bad”) into his pitch. Considering Trump’s well-documented habit of mindlessly tweeting out essentially anything he sees on the TV, it couldn’t hurt, and it exactly the sort of creative mischief we’ll be missing until Last Week Tonight returns in 2018. Goodbye for now, Mr. Nutterbutter. We shall miss you most of all.