Now, I should say at the outstart that with a to-do list the length of mine, I have absolutely no business scarfing down late-night TV. But I let myself go last night, only to find it a bit of a busman’s holiday:
1) Stephen Colbert’s faux-conservative schtick is usually good for a few laughs, of course, but last night’s back-and-forth with food and nutrition professor Marion Nestle over the latest news about sugar price supports was delightful. (Yes, I did put “sugar price supports” and “delightful” in one sentence. Bear with me.)
In what can be described an actual, bona fide conservative position, Colbert and Nestle lampooned the idea that the government should restrict foreign imports of sugar — “Jesus’s dandruff,” a sugar-crazed Colbert calls it — in order to keep domestic producers in business.
I learned quite a bit about this argument when I was covering how a quota-supported cane sugar belt in Florida was helping to kill the Everglades. It’s a complicated subject and the domestic producers do have some arguments in their favor, with lots of examples about how the whole world’s sugar market is rigged by quotas, price supports and tariffs. There’s lotsa complicated trade policy involved.
But forget about all that! It’s late August, man — laugh a little! Just watch Colbert’s 2:59-minute intro if you want only the funniest bits, although the entire 5:24 is time that I don’t mind saying I’ll never get back:
|The Colbert Report||Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|Sugar Shortage – Marion Nestle|
2) David Letterman had Ken Burns on, and while it wasn’t the chuckle-a-minute of Colbert’s show, Burns made some interesting points about our National Park System in preparation for releasing his latest special, on same. Title: “The National Parks — America’s Best Idea.”
Burns riffed on how we might see McMansions on the edge of the Grand Canyon if not for the park service, and said a lot of other interesting things, too. But I’m afraid I can’t find this video either at Letterman’s show or on YouTube. Anyone out there know where this is?
Meanwhile, there is this funny little ditty to introduce Burns.
Want a bit more? There’s a link to a 27-minute preview of Burns’ 12-hour series attached to commentary by a former park ranger over at HuffPost.
Update 3:44 p.m.: Whoops. How could I forget that just the other night, Bill McKibben was on Colbert, too.