The Colbert Report

Season 4 Episode 81

Junot Diaz

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Aired Weekdays 11:30 PM Jun 18, 2008 on Comedy Central
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Junot Diaz
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Tonight Stephen welcomes the author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz. Also, Stephen talks with the president of the Hindu Temple Socity of North America Ameriica, Dr. Uma Mysorekar about Barack Obama becoming a Hindu.

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      • Stephen: Luckily John McCain has found a way to put distance between himself and the President, and it's tonight's Word: Lexicon Artist. Folks, language is very important in politics, particularly when it comes to war. (Weapons of mass description) For years the Bush administration used the phrase "War on Terror" which was replaced with the phrase "global war on terror." (Bush loves nicknames) Then it was the "global struggle against extremism" then briefly it was "the long war" before the settled on the new name "Hey, maybe we should bomb Iran." (The "maybe" proves they're diplomats) To prove that he is his own man, John McCain has his own word to describe America's ongoing conflicts. See if you can spot it.

        [Video clips: John McCain: We face a transcendental challenge of radical Islamic extremism…We're facing a transcendental challenge…transcendental challenge…transcendental threat…transcendental challenge….a transcendental threat to everything we stand for and believe in…]

        Stephen: That's right, the war is now transcendental. (Transcends voter approval) No surprise, after all, Toby Keith's anti-terrorist lyric "We'll put a boot up your ass, it's the American way," originally appeared in Henry David Thoreau's Walden. Now there is some question about McCain's new buzzword, it's not entirely clear what he's trying to say. (Another way he's like Bush) Now does he mean transcendent? Which according to Webster's means: "exceeding usual limits." Because the war has certainly exceeded the time limit. (And the Constitution) Or is he intentionally using the word transcendental, which is defined by Webster's as: "of or relating to experience as determined by the mind's makeup." In which case he's saying the war on terror is all in our heads. (Along with Cheney's buckshot) Now maybe he didn't mean to describe a transcendental challenge at all, maybe we misheard him because he was having trouble with his dentures. (Fixodental challenge)

        Clearly transcendental has too many interpretations, John McCain has to come up with a new word. ("Retirement?") You know what, Shakespeare invented words all the time. He invented ovor 1200 words including, and this is true, accused, torture and zany. (From play "Much Ado About Ghraib") Now, everybody knows I've coined a few words myself: truthiness, wikiality, f**ktern, which I cannot define due to a pending lawsuit. So Senator, let me help you. From now on, keeping our troops in the Middle East just necessary to win the war, it's down right Iraq-rosanct. (Iraq-rosanct) Holding people indefinitely in Guantanamo Bay is divine inter-detention. (Divine inter-detention) And secretly sending prisoners to other countries where torture it legal is no longer extraordinary rendition, it's called offshore drilling. (Offshore drilling) Now I hope those help because using language to turn failed policies into ideals that transcend debate is the best way to get people to think of you as transcend-Presidential) (Transcen-presidential!)

        And that's the Word.

      • Stephen: Tonight, how can John McCain distinguish himself from President Bush? Here's one way. Don't get elected president!

    • NOTES (0)

    • ALLUSIONS (1)

      • Colbert: You're the first guest to make a Triffids reference.
        This is a reference to both the 1962 British movie The Day of the Triffids and the 1981 British TV series The Day of the Triffids.

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