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Daily Reads: The Secret Weapon of the New ‘Daily Show’ Host, the Craziest ‘Going Clear’ Quotes and More

Daily Reads: The Secret Weapon of the New 'Daily Show' Host, the Craziest 'Going Clear' Quotes and More

Criticwire’s Daily Reads brings today’s essential news
stories and critical pieces to you.

1. A New “Daily Show” Host. South African comedian Trevor Noah is the new host of “The Daily Show,” and some wonder why the (really) new guy got the job. But Tim Grierson of Rolling Stone argues that his lack of a high profile might be his secret weapon:

it’s probably a good thing a lot of us don’t know too much about Trevor Noah. If we did, we’d know what to expect from him, already feel comfortable with his humor and his politics. Speaking to The New York Times this morning, the future host of “The Daily Show” said that Stewart told him, “I was where you were when I took over the show. Nobody knew me. I was just starting out, finding my voice, and that’s when I was handed this seat.” That’s not entirely true: Audiences knew Stewart from his failed earlier talk shows and a mediocre acting career he never misses an opportunity to ridicule. Stewart was around; Noah has not been. And that creates plenty of opportunity for us to learn about him…Read more.

2. The Man Who Saved “The Fast and The Furious.” Matt Singer of ScreenCrush spoke with “Fast & Furious” screenwriter Chris Morgan about how he changed the direction of the franchise.

Morgan: One of the things I love about this franchise is as big as it gets, and as fun as the set pieces are, it really comes down to those characters, and what was set up in that first movie. I love the interaction of this brotherhood and this family. It’s great to be able to expand the world in every one of our films, and to be able to say “Hey, by the way? Everyone has a favorite film! Some people like the first one, some people like the fifth movie or the sixth movie or the third movie. Whatever that is: They’re all relevant. They’re all part of our world. And by the way? You’re all right.” Read more.

3. How to Save Blu-Ray. Blu-Ray is largely losing out to streaming services, so Keith Phipps of The Dissolve looked into how the format can be made relevant again:

Blu-Rays are for collectors, cineastes and connoisseurs: treat them accordingly. DVD is an outmoded technology. It’s impossible to overstate how important it was to the evolution of home viewing. Improving on the Laserdisc and bringing its innovations to a much broader market, the format emphasized presentation, making films look and sound better than ever before, and presenting them in their proper aspect ratio. DVDs also emphasized depth. The best ones doubled as annotated editions of films, using special features to contextualize them via audio commentaries, making-of docs, and other added elements. Gone were the days when a muddy, cropped VHS tape would have to do. DVDs will live on, but their time as the best format for current televisions has passed. They look fine, but those who care about having the best possible versions of notable films know that Blu-ray is superior to DVD,and that Blu-rays’ expanded storage capacity can let them hold more special features. Read more.

4. A Dive into Celebrity “Parody” Accounts. There are a lot of Twitter accounts parodying celebrities, from Will Ferrell to Michael Haneke. Most of them are terrible. Flavorwire’s Jason Bailey dived in to find out why anyone would do that.

What kind of a personality is drawn to this kind of activity — to taking on a celebrity’s identity, and living in it? Dr. Houran stresses that this specific phenomenon hasn’t been researched, but based on studies of fandom and impersonation, “we can make some guesses, and I would say that there are probably at least two types of individuals. The first just see it as, they’re making a parody, it’s for fun. They’re not trying to mislead people or give the sense that they really are these people; it’s fun for them, it’s a joke, it’s a prank, for all practical purposes”…By Dr. Houran’s definition, that leaves one other kind of “impersonator.” “You have people [whose interest] may actually have an element of fantasy to it,” he explains. “There’s a reason why they chose a certain celebrity, and though the process of celebrity worship is systematic, the exact celebrities that people tend to admire comes from very personal, psychological motivations. It often represents a person that has something, or has achieved something, that the fan has not and wishes they could.” Read more.

5. Craziest “Going Clear” Quotes. Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief” has a lot of crazy stuff about Scientology in it, but blogger Maris Kreizman posted a number of even crazier quotes taken from Lawrence Wright’s book of the same name.

“The last time he [L. Ron Hubbard] showed Excalibur to a publisher, he said, the reader brought the manuscript into the room, set it on the publisher’s desk, then jumped out the window.” [NOTE: I have wanted to do that once or twice in my career as an editor.] Read more.

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