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If you ever wanted to understand how modern America works, and you have less than 7 minutes to get it done, then the following video should do it. Pop scientist and all-around brainiac Bill Nye appeared on a recent episode of The Nightly Show to talk about NASA finding water on Mars, and after a plethora of interruptions, he soon found himself having to defend the general idea of space science and research. It’s infuriating. Check it out if you’ve got the patience.
Now, I know that not everybody can easily listen to science talk – or babble, if you want to be a douche about it – but why would any host bring a scientist on a TV show if he or she isn’t actually interested in hearing anything they have to say, and would prefer to just hamfist lower-level opinions into the process? At first it’s just Larry Wilmore himself jutting into Nye’s explanation, and the fact that so much of that was centered on him not understanding a joke just further highlights how intellectually uninvolved he was in this segment.
But then we get to the pair of Tweedles across the table from Nye, show panelists and comedians Ricky Valez and Michelle Buteau, after Wilmore blatantly asks if they give a shit about whether we’re alone in the universe, or where humanity comes from. Both of them deny interest wholeheartedly, and Valez squeals out that Donald Trump is first in the polls right now, so he doesn’t care about Mars. Considering most candidates who are leading in the polls over a year before the election aren’t actually the ones that end up in the election – coupled with the fact that Mars exploration will still be intriguing and important by the time the next election gets here – this couldn’t have been a more insipid comment.
Well, except for maybe this, from Buteau.
If it’s Caitlyn Jenner’s tears, then tell me all about that water on Mars.
I get that it’s a “funny” comment on how people are far more interested in pop culture and celebrities than things that actually affect our existence, but come on. Nothing against Caitlyn Jenner in and of herself, but that’s just an awful comparison to make. At least as far as the scientific community is concerned.
Of course, Stephen Colbert always liked to interrupt his guests, but there was something more satirically playful about his segments that wasn’t all about disrespect. As well, if anybody out there is watching The Nightly Show for science information – and that’s a long shot since the show’s ratings aren’t that strong anyway – then you’re doing it wrong.