Letters To The People I Love: John Oliver – Round Two!

Date: Jan 23rd, 2018

This is Round One: Letters To The People I Love: John Oliver

I had to write Johnnie another letter, because of everything going on, and because he’s just a very good man.

. . .

Hello Johnnie,

I am ZMKF. I am 16-and-a-half-ish years old. It’s been about a year since my last letter. I’ve grown up some. I’ve debated with myself about whether I’m agender or genderfluid, been through two amazing Marine Zoology semesters that inspired a new website, joined Children’s Book World’s Teen Reader’s Council, and made two brilliant, somewhat exotically European deserts – apfelkuchen and pavlova – for the first time.

I was driving back home after accompanying an adult friend to their audition for whatever (they were “teensitting” me, the timing worked out) today, and I saw this:

That was a bad quality photo of a street ad version of this:

Isn’t he a crack up?

…He’s so much more than funny.

Yes, he’s very funny. But he has a heart. A big, kind heart beating in him. And he has power.

A few people have a few different opinions about this power.

This is from “two” (technically a year and half I guess, somewhere around there) years ago: https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2016/04/late-night-comedy/475485/

And this is from two full years ago: http://time.com/3674807/john-oliver-net-neutrality-civil-forfeiture-miss-america/

Net Neutrality seems to be the thing that everybody thinks of when they think of the “John Oliver Effect” – a term I know may give you the willies. But as I’ve said before, in Round One, the John Oliver Effect does not exist according to your terms – it is a force of nature you have simply personified. Or, a couple forces of nature combined – whatever exists to create an “Age Of Reason.”

Allow me to explain – you know those times in history called Ages Of Reason, where the leader, whether they last for 100 years or 12, seems to know what they’re doing? They’re kind, smart, honest, understanding, and fair. In India, for instance, long ago, a lovely man named Akbar seems to have been this leader. But Ages Of Reason span regions.

It is my personal belief that Ages Of Reason are due to their common people just as much as their leaders. Some great leaders are born in the wrong time and fail, horribly. Sometimes good people rise up, and, again, fail horribly. Whatever scientific force or social entity there is to make sure everything works for a time, you are that.

To me, at least.

But that’s worse, isn’t it?

That deeply profound crap I just came up with is worse than the John Oliver Effect, isn’t it? For you?

The Atlantic, in the article of theirs I linked to above, calls you a “violent man.”

I don’t think they’re right. You’re can get reasonably frustrated about the state of the world, sure, but you’re more goofy than violent.

And we really need goofy in times like these. (Which is why I saw Paddington 2 today with my older friend before her audition. It is everything Rotten Tomatoes and The New Yorker say it is. Perfect. Anyway…)

Our President could kill us all with one bad move, and he is more likely to make that one bad move than pretty much anybody else we’ve had.

I don’t know what else to say other than, “I love you.”

 

You are so strong, so brave, so ridiculous and penguin-like.

If I were able to hug you once, that might help me.

Racial tensions are high in this country (they’re high pretty much everywhere…), but as I’m “hella” white, it’s not my personal fight – which means there’s almost nothing I can do to help. Global warming is indeed a thing, and I try to shout at people to go and help. I don’t reach a lot of people. I feel like I have to save the world sometimes. And I’m in a wheelchair. I’ve gotten used to it, but sometimes…I don’t even know. Yeesh. And I worry about time. Some people describe me as smart, that’s not a good thing, that just means I have philosophical anxiety, rather than worrying about a math test. I worry about time constantly, and it’s troubling, because time, linear or not, “keeps going.” I’m relatively almost 20 and I still feel 12. I’ve diagnosed myself as a “optimistic nihilist” (traditional nihilists are “death death death i don’t care about my wife,” while we optimistic ones are “we try to be positive and it works sometimes! We care about people and being nice! Memes!”) but sometimes, I’m just…not optimistic at all.

You’ve saved the world…a bit. You haven’t done enough for the world, and you know you haven’t done enough for the world (saving the world; that would require everyone pitching in), but you’ve done something. You’ve done enough for you. And that gives me hope. I’d rather have The Atlantic’s “violent man” than someone who doesn’t care at all. I’d rather have a man who brushes off his accomplishments rather than a man with no accomplishments.

You’ve taught me about so many problems I didn’t even know about before, and though that may seem like a complaint, you’ve also taught me about solutions, and weird wonders of the world (dog congress, traffic zebras?).

I just want you to know, if you’ve also felt the “I need to save the world,” you’re not alone.

And you’re not the last. You may have heard weird reports that Americans, or people in general, are getting more stupid over time, more attached to technology. Some of that is correct. I admit, the lower-than-millenials definitely have their faults. I sure do.

You’re not the last.

My people are next.

This is a thank you.

Thank you, so, so much.

– ZMKF

Letters To The People I Love: John Oliver

Date: January 9th, 2017

+ If you’re wondering what this is about, I’ve started a new thing called “Letters To People I Love.” This is different from “People I Respect And Why,” because in “People I Respect And Why” I simply name a person or group, most often a person, and rant about how much I respect and admire them, and why, but in “Letters To People I Love” I treat the blog posts as I write as actual letters to them. A way of telling them, straight from me, how much I love them. Enjoy. +

. . .

Dear John Oliver,

My name is ZMKF. I am – currently – 15 years old. I guess you could say I’m too young to watch your show, if the people who attend it have to be 18 or older, and most of my favorite movies are all animated, excluding Harry Potter. I was – surprise! – only 11 or 12 when I first starting watching The Daily Show (with Jon Stewart) and The Colbert Report, so by the time you hosted for him, and then got your own show, I was ready to start watching Stewart’s angry “cousin” – you.

Am I too young for one of the most healing shows out there?

Yes, I said healing, even though you are also crude and aggressive – er, passionate. Healing. You are healing. When Colbert “left” (yes, I know he’s got a show), I tried to fill the hole with Stewart, which worked pretty well, considering Colbert is pretty much Stewart’s spawn. Not that Colbert could ever be replaced – it was more like I was holding on to what I had left for dear life. I thought “C’mon, Stewart’s gotta stay for at least a few more years, especially after that.” And Stewart left, not too long after The Colbert Report ended, and…I was watching the last episode, and I never cried at sad movies, ever, but I was crying then, not even weeping but I could feel the tears on my face; but I was also smiling, and it felt…right, because whatever is right for him is right for me. And then…there was…you.

Thank you.

Your show is relatively new, so I know you are staying for a long, long time. And of course there is a difference in the way the two shows are written, so even though you hosted for some time while Jon was away, you are refreshing. (Not that Stewart isn’t refreshing.) Also – my family finally had an excuse to pay for HBO, giving us access to the other great shows out there.

Currently, you are taking your annual break and you come back February 12th. I’ve missed you. You make me feel safe, and joyful, and driven. And you’re kinda attractive, in the adorkable, they’re-an-artist-and-you-can-see-it-in-their-face way. (Like Lin-Manuel Miranda.) You really are the perfect man. (Do not read into that.) You are needed. And I’m not asking you to come back early, I’m asking you to believe me: The John Oliver Effect is real, and a viable way to make the world a better place. Please, I’m not trying to embarrass you or put you on the spot, I’m really not. But I require that you sit your a** down and listen to me compliment you, and everyone who works on the show with you, and you know what, maybe these aren’t even compliments…maybe they’re not aimed directly at you, maybe they’re just true.

I care a lot about you, because you do good work for the planet and the organisms who live on it.

I know you don’t think about the aftereffects of each episode, I know you’re just thinking about how to do the next one. I know all this (from an article I read), but I also know that there’s such a thing as object permanence. Or even concept permanence. You cannot come up to me and say to my face that you are not influential. The John Oliver effect isn’t up to you. I don’t really care what you think of it, I mean I never want to actively upset you, but the J.O.E is a thing whether or not you like it. Just ask any one of these news sources (click on the names, they’re links, and they’ll take you to articles written about the J.O.E by each of them): Make Use Of, TIME, Fortune, UPROXX, Bustle, and Bustle again. I literally just looked “john oliver effect” up on Google and took the first six results, I bet there’s way more. Point is, majority wins, the J.O.E is a thing.

For example, Last Week Tonight did a special on net neutrality and because of the flood of comments from your viewers, the FCC servers crashed and the FCC itself agreed to adopt net neutrality regulations.

I’ve missed your accent, your specific voice, your mind, your big, warm heart. I’ve missed you because Donald Drumpf is President-elect, and Jon Stewart isn’t hosting The Daily Show anymore, and the more you learn about history the more you realize white people f*cked up big, and global warming is a thing and a very bad one, and did I mention Drumpf is President-elect?

We need The John Oliver Effect, now more than ever. I mean, I’m a writer and I sure do try hard, but I suppose that even though I never ever want to be famous, I will always want to be known, if only so I can know my trying hard affects something. Yours does. I don’t care who does the hard trying, rather I just want things to be done. And you do things.

I love you.

Yeah, it’s love. You’re a father figure for me and I doubt I would be the person I am today, the eloquent writer, dreamer, and fighter, without you.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

ZMKF

Edit (January 23rd, 2018!): This is Round Two. Johnnie, if you’re reading this, please read this one too! Round Two!