Why Millennials Should All Tune into 'Last Week Tonight With John Oliver'

Why Millennials Should All Tune into 'Last Week Tonight With John Oliver'

Whether Democrat or Republican, John Oliver's show is directed and designed for us


For the time being, I'm setting aside my ongoing debate over whether late 90's babies like me are considered Millennials or members of the rising Gen Z and arguing that those born up until 1999 are technically Millennials. We were some of the youngest citizens to vote in the 2016 Presidential Election, the rising era of voices and opinions, and the main market audience of new goods and services, from technology to (streaming) television.

One show targeted almost solely to the Millennial generation is 'Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" which has run on HBO since 2014. While both Oliver and the show tend to lean towards left-wing political beliefs, he has often been critical of injustice and ignorance regardless of political party. The majority of his episodes are focused on non-partisan topics nuclear waste, online harassment, and credit reports; topics that, although not necessarily the most interesting, are shockingly relevant to our generation.

Take, for example, the episode on Standardized Testing, something that nearly every child in America encounters at least 300 times in their academic career. Oliver breaks down the presence of standardized tests in the US, including its start with President Bush's No Child Left Behind program and the areas where the standardized testing fails the students it's designed to help. While the episode is hysterical and sprinkled with jokes about Gwyneth Paltrow and a dancing monkey mascot brought in to excite students about taking tests, Oliver directs our attention to a critical analysis on why our education system places a more significant emphasis on tests that don't always adequately reflect intelligence than on the information absorbed and incorporated by students.

The result is a show that makes us simultaneously laugh and think, leaving us remembering the episode and the information it shares long after the show ends.

While the episodes regarding topics like guardianship and dialysis are not necessarily political aligned, the episodes on Alex Jones, abortion laws, and every single episode about Trump are unavoidably partisan. When the show does address politics, it does so much in the same way The Daily Show did, understandably so since appearing on the show turned out to be Oliver's big break. For Republican Millennials, the show's left-leaning tone may be a deterrent in this highly volatile political environment. While this isn't unreasonable, it's worth negating this argument and instead highlighting some of the ways 'Last Week Tonight' tries to at least partially bridge the political gap, even while taking on highly politicized topics.

Oliver often makes jokes about the way his viewers with different political beliefs will perceive segments by playing off the stereotypes of both sides. In the episode Trump vs. Truth, Oliver states, "'Donald Trump lies' is clearly not a fresh observation. Liberals are probably thinking, 'Wow, hot take Johnny. Next, you're gonna tell me "Obama is aloof, Dick Cheney is evil, and Paul Ryan doesn't climax until he's checked his FitBit to see how many calories he's burned from f***ing." And you know what? If you're on the other side, if you're on the right, you're probably thinking, "Oh great. Another blizzard of snowflakes from 'Last Cuck Tonight with Johnny Trigger-Warning.'"'"

He also does not blanket accept all Democratic leaders and their beliefs as they stand. In his extensive episode on Torture (in which Helen Mirren actually reads the audiobook version of the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture, which is also a book that I now own), he is critical of how Obama addressed the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee's report, as well as in his even more extensive episode on Guantánamo Bay which focuses on how Gitmo stands as one of Obama's biggest failures.

But some topics, while arguably political, are necessary for sparking conversation in this day and age. The emphasis is on the word conversation because, while Oliver himself tends to pick a side to argue in each episode, he does so only after playing devil's advocate and providing evidence to support the other opinion. Millennials need to capitalize on Oliver's discussion style because if there is anything supporters of both political parties can take away from the 2016 Presidential Election and the subsequent presidency of Donald Trump, it is that progress is not made from trying to prove your side is right. Progress is made when there are compromise and conversation. The conversational tone of the show, however you receive its content, is critically influential to rising Millennial voices. We need to continue having debates, but there needs to be a return to healthy back and forth collaborations, not the aggression that results when two rival opinions want to be heard the loudest and over the other side.

The content the show sets forth is important, too. We as a nation have begun to pick and choose certain hot-button topics and focus our arguments on those (i.e. gun control, immigration, terrorism, the economy, civil rights, and so on). However, regardless of your stance on the issues discussed, the thing every Millennial should take away from 'Last Week Tonight' is that there are so many facets of American life that are not necessarily hot-button, that are often not easy to discuss, that do not always influence us personally, but can be influencing our neighbors, our peers, our families. We need to talk about multilevel marketing, crisis pregnancy centers, and opioids because these are issues prevalent in our society, whether we know it or not.

We Millennials need more shows like 'Last Week Tonight' whose humor elicits our attention, whose tone is aspirational for our own interactions, and whose content is necessary to be a functioning human being in the world, regardless of who is President.

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9 Reasons Crocs Are The Only Shoes You Need

Crocs have holes so your swag can breathe.

Do you have fond childhood objects that make you nostalgic just thinking about your favorite Barbie or sequenced purse? Well for me, its my navy Crocs. Those shoes put me through elementary school. I eventually wore them out so much that I had to say goodbye. I tried Airwalks and sandals, but nothing compared. Then on my senior trip in New York City, a four story Crocs store gleamed at me from across the street and I bought another pair of Navy Blue Crocs. The rest is history. I wear them every morning to the lake for practice and then throughout the day to help air out my soaking feet. I love my Crocs so much, that I was in shock when it became apparent to me that people don't feel the same. Here are nine reasons why you should just throw out all of your other shoes and settle on Crocs.

1. They are waterproof.

These bad boys can take on the wettest of water. Nobody is sure what they are made of, though. The debate is still out there on foam vs. rubber. You can wear these bad boys any place water may or may not be: to the lake for practice or to the club where all the thirsty boys are. But honestly who cares because they're buoyant and water proof. Raise the roof.

2. Your most reliable support system

There is a reason nurses and swimming instructors alike swear by Crocs. Comfort. Croc's clogs will make you feel like your are walking on a cloud of Laffy Taffy. They are wide enough that your toes are not squished, and the rubbery material forms perfectly around your foot. Added bonus: The holes let in a nice breeze while riding around on your Razor Scooter.

3. Insane durability

Have you ever been so angry you could throw a Croc 'cause same? Have you ever had a Croc bitten while wrestling a great white shark? Me too. Have you ever had your entire foot rolled like a fruit roll up but had your Crocs still intact? Also me. All I know is that Seal Team 6 may or may not have worn these shoes to find and kill Osama Bin Laden. Just sayin'.

4. Bling, bling, bling

Jibbitz, am I right?! These are basically they're own money in the industry of comfortable footwear. From Spongebob to Christmas to your favorite fossil, Jibbitz has it all. There's nothing more swag-tastic than pimped out crocs. Lady. Killer.

5. So many options

From the classic clog to fashionable sneakers, Crocs offer so many options that are just too good to pass up on. They have fur lined boots, wedges, sandals, loafers, Maryjane's, glow in the dark, Minion themed, and best of all, CAMO! Where did your feet go?!

6. Affordable

Crocs: $30

Feeling like a boss: Priceless

7. Two words: Adventure Straps

Because you know that when you move the strap from casual mode chillin' in the front to behind the heal, it's like using a shell on Mario Cart.

8. Crocs cares

Okay, but for real, Crocs is a great company because they have donated over 3 million pairs of crocs to people in need around the world. Move over Toms, the Croc is in the house.

9. Stylish AF

The boys will be coming for you like Steve Irwin.

Who cares what the haters say, right? Wear with pride, and go forth in style.

Cover Image Credit: Chicago Tribune

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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