For Freedom and Dickpics


Comedian John Oliver used his successful HBO show ‘Last Week Tonight’ to tackle and demystify another complicated topic, by surprising viewers with an interview with Edward Snowden held in Russia.

Oliver’s reign has been notable since his takedown of Net Neutrality, which caused the FCC’s website to crash after being bombarded with thousands of comments.

John Oliver’s bold humour made it clear from the start this would not be the usual Snowden interview, when he asked if he misses hot pockets and the entire state of Florida. However this light note was quickly flipped, as Oliver pressed Snowden on how many of the documents he leaked he had actually read, before showing him footage of Americans “not knowing who the **** he is”, with people misremembering him as “The Wikileaks Guy”.

The interview showed us Snowden in a different light, as he was exposed to questions far harder and more aggressive than he may have expected from an ‘entertainer’, and at times during the programme he looks visibly uncomfortable and shocked. It’s been suggested that Snowden’s handlers are “losing their touch”, by exposing ‘the real Snowden’ to an interviewer who may not be sympathetic to his cause.

Oliver’s success is in his ability to simplify complex topics with humour and engaging metaphors, and raising awareness of difficult but important issues. He’s made millions reconsider the issue of surveillance through his dickpic anaology… which you can watch in a tiny box here if you are worried about who can see your ‘junk’.

Though Oliver’s footage showed that many Americans may not know who Snowden is, his image is still revered in many circles. Most recently in a park in Brooklyn where a statue in his image was illegally erected this week, only to be taken down after three hours by the police. It was installed by four artists, who similar to Oliver, wish to get people talking about surveillance and freedom again, and fight against apathy.

This list originally appeared in Moving World Wednesday 20150408

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