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Corporate episode 8 recap: “The Tragedy” brilliantly satirizes modern life

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Every week, we pick a new episode of the week. It could be good. It could be bad. It will always be interesting. You can read the archives here. The episode of the week for March 3 through 9 is “The Tragedy,” the eighth episode of the second season of Comedy Central’s Corporate.

Few TV shows are as savagely on-point about human beings’ inability to escape their own relentless need for affirmation as Comedy Central’s Corporate, a series about people who work at a faceless corporation they know to be mostly evil — but nevertheless want to be told, constantly, how good they are.

In its first season, the series was funny but bleak, and I didn’t blame anyone who found it too dark for their tastes. Season two has somehow been both less bleak and even bleaker simultaneously. Superficially, the characters are slightly more chipper, and the show has spent less time reminding you how bad Hampton DeVille (the corporation at the series’ center) is, because presumably you already know. It’s also spent more time with the characters at home, where they don’t need to think about work all of the time.

But season two has also revealed just how bland and boring so many of the characters’ lives are. In one episode, when they try to expense $47 worth of margaritas, the whole thing turns into something out of Hitchcock, with a nosy accountant trying to get to the bottom of an utterly mundane adventure. Another episode concludes with a musical montage about the joys of giving up, of accepting that you are eventually going to reach a point in your life where what seems most fun at night is crawling into bed instead of going out to see a concert or something.

But perhaps no episode captures this divide between the show’s inherent bleakness and its insistence that, no, it’s having a great time than “The Tragedy,” a spot-on satire of an era when bad news lurks around every corner.

“The Tragedy” walks an incredibly difficult line between specificity and non-specificity and nails it


Corporate

Matt donates so much blood the only solution is to stuff his mouth with cake to get his blood sugar up. (Nobody claimed anyone on this show was a genius.)
Comedy Central

The trick of “The Tragedy” is that Corporate can’t be seen as making light of any actual tragedies. So the episode takes place at the Hampton DeVille offices on the day of a completely unspecified tragedy that happened somewhere in the US. We never learn what it was, or even come to know much beyond the fact that people died and were injured. It was bad — but it didn’t happen anywhere near our crew.

So they, typically, make everything all about themselves and lose sight of the real tragedy in the face of their own back-patting. Many of the characters make earnest posts on social media about how important it is to love and help each other (while others make snotty posts cynically calling out their coworkers), and the Hampton DeVille owned news network BNN adds a little victim counter in the corner of the screen that makes a little “ding” every time it goes up by one.

“The Tragedy” neatly encapsulates the way that life stumbles onward, even when you’re struck by grief out of nowhere. The characters don’t want to be at work, but there’s no good reason for any of them to go home. So they sit through meetings about the company’s new fleeces, and they feel grumpy about how nobody wants to celebrate their birthday, and they compete to be the most compassionate. And all along, none of them can escape their own self-interest.

It’s that last sentence that would normally give me pause. The idea that we’re all motivated by the need to feel good about ourselves doesn’t negate the good we can do in pursuit of feeling altruistic, and believing that it does is often the domain of smug assholes who resemble Mister Gotcha, a character in a comic from Matt Bors, who has never met a good deed he couldn’t criticize because of its perceived less-than-wholesome motivations.

But “The Tragedy” understands that being Mister Gotcha involves just as much self-interest and inflated pomposity as posting something on social media that says “It’s time to fight fire with peace fire.” When Jake (series co-creator Jake Weisman) smirks about how little any of Corporate’s other characters actually care about whatever happened, he’s not wrong, but the episode doesn’t shy away from just how horrible he seems when he laughs in the faces of those who are genuinely sad and fumbling for something that might make them feel better.

Don’t get me wrong — this episode absolutely savages those who attempt to “win” at mourning, especially when it comes to the character of Paige (a dryly wonderful Anna Akana), a self-absorbed 24-year-old who sees the tragedy as an opportunity to enhance her brand as a “curator.” When she steals the post from Matt (co-creator Matt Ingebretson) about fighting fire with peace fire, it launches a competition between the two of them over who seems the most sad, one that culminates with Matt donating so much blood that he passes out, leading his coworkers to try to revive him by shoving birthday cake down his throat. (To boost his blood sugar, of course!)

Corporate is so often at its best when it indulges in these petty workplace rivalries, in the ways that coworkers get caught up in the stupidest possible conflicts while losing sight of the larger picture. And at Hampton DeVille, the larger picture is almost always monstrous.

“The Tragedy’s” darkest satire is reserved for the opportunistic cable news networks


Corporate

Andy Richter plays himself, as a man ready and willing to pretend to have narrowly escaped tragedy.
Comedy Central

The B-plot in “The Tragedy” involves attempts by Hampton DeVille’s sociopathic CEO Christian DeVille (Lance Reddick, in a role that will hopefully lead to more comedic work for the Wire alum) to take BNN from third place in the ratings to first. The tragedy, then, becomes something he can exploit for his own self-interest, which is to say the company’s corporate coffers.

He’s matched in gleeful amorality by none other than special guest star Andy Richter, who arrives on the scene after Christian and the other BNN folks realize that when TV shows are struggling in the ratings, they’ll often bring in a celebrity guest. Richter, who’s also nowhere near “The Tragedy” affected by the tragedy (though nobody knows this), has a movie to promote, so the BNN team hatches a scheme to hype up his presumed death as a result of the tragedy, then have him appear later, alive and smeared in blood, to talk about how lucky he is to be alive and then say a few words in support of his new movie.

The whole thing is so brazenly cynical that you might expect BNN to be exposed, but no. The Richter gambit pays off. First, it allows the network to add one more victim to its tragedy tally (a needless onscreen doohickey that’s accompanied by both a countdown and count-up clock, even though neither is counting to or from anything). And then, when he shows up alive and well, ratings go through the roof. Christian and BNN anchor Karen James (Toni Trucks) kiss after a season-long flirtation, because it’s only natural for the two most amoral people in Corporate’s universe to have a romance built entirely atop their lack of caring about anybody else.

This whole plot is, I think, key to why Corporate ultimately avoids feeling too cynical to live. It is, on some level, a series about how whenever profit margins are introduced into any business, protecting and boosting those profit margins will take priority over the people they’re supposed to benefit in the concerns of the managers who oversee those people. If all Hampton DeVille cares about is how much money it can make, and if it can convince its beleaguered employees that their well-being is directly tied to that of Hampton DeVille, then the employees’ feelings, their desires, their personal lives just become functions of a larger corporate state.

But that doesn’t mean their feelings, desires, and personal lives no longer exist. Jake and Matt might take different approaches to feeling better about themselves after the tragedy, but they’re both still trying to find some state of equilibrium. The same is true of poor Grace (Aparna Nancherla), who wishes her birthday didn’t have to overlap with a dark day for the nation. It’s only people like Christian, who look at something horrible like the tragedy and see opportunity, who keep dragging the system closer and closer to their own sociopathy. But if you live and work in the system, what are you gonna do?

Corporate understands that we’re all motivated by self-interest and that when capitalism convinces people that their personal self-interest is the same as its own self-interest, disastrous things can happen. But it’s also a show that ends most episodes with tiny moments of people coming together, to sing about giving up or shove birthday cake in each other’s mouths in misguided life-saving attempts. We understand intuitively that a better life is built together, not separately, but all the while, so many forces are conspiring to convince us otherwise.

Corporate airs Tuesdays on Comedy Central. On Tuesday, March 12, the network will air the final two episodes of season two as a one-hour finale, beginning at 10 pm Eastern. The first two seasons are available on the network’s website, or for digital purchase.

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20 Awkward Cats Who Fall Asleep in Crazy Ways

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Cats have mastered the art of sleeping, which is not surprising since they spend most of their day asleep. The thing that surprises us is the law of physics-defying positions they fall asleep in. They often leave us amazed or even a little freaked out, but they’re comfortable so we shouldn’t complain. They make for some of the funniest pictures after all!

Bright Side wants to show you 20 pictures of some furry knots that truly amazed us. Also, we have a little puzzle for you in the last picture!

20. When you don’t have a blanket, so you need to cover yourself with your own legs

19. In the newest cat bed, you can roll around while sleeping.

18. Pocket kitten taking a little nap

17. Who needs cat beds anyway?

16. When you’re so tired that you can’t even make it to bed:

15. As if we needed more proof that cats defy the laws of physics…

14. Not sure if the cat is dreaming of sunbathing or flying.

13. This cat read about a sleeping position called “the snail”.

12. Someone had an exhausting day at work.

11. A cat’s mission is to find every spot suitable for sleeping.

10. We can tell that this cat is very comfortable.

9. A fur spiral

8. Another cat that doesn’t need a blanket to cover itself!

7. Enjoying the sunshine

6. When your nap is so good, you start melting:

5. Always be camouflaged, even when you’re sleeping.

4. When you don’t exactly fit, but it doesn’t stop you from taking a nap:

3. We think this cat is dreaming of flying like Superman.

2. Bones are overrated anyway.

1. Here’s your puzzle! How long did it take you to find its head?

Cats are adorable when they sleep and they never fail to amaze us with their quirkiness! Have your cats fallen asleep in strange positions? We need to see them! So please, make our day and everyone else’s by showing us!

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Bernie Sanders’s reparations comments could hurt DSA 2020 endorsement

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Sen. Bernie Sanders’s refusal to give a full-throated endorsement of reparations is throwing a wrench into his long-expected endorsement from the Democratic Socialists of America.

The DSA’s AfroSocialist and Socialists of Color Caucus, a section within the organization focused on race and people of color, is asking the DSA’s national political committee to withhold its endorsement of Sanders’s presidential campaign over his stance on reparations. The independent Vermont senator has declined to back reparations for the descendants of slaves in the United States, arguing that broader anti-poverty programs will help address inequality and that it’s not clear what the term means.

DSA’s members already voted 76 percent to 24 percent to endorse Sanders in a poll conducted by the organization’s leadership earlier this month. The 16-member national political committee is set to vote on the endorsement on Thursday evening. The AfroSocialist and Socialists of Color Caucus is pushing for them to withhold that endorsement.

The caucus laid out its reasoning in an open letter to the political committee and explained that while they believe Sanders has advanced in his stance on race, “there is still a disconnect in his approach to economic issues often failing to comprehend how race and class are intertwined.”

“Should the organization move forward with an endorsement of the Sanders campaign, despite his failure to adopt specific policy stances to address matters of persisting racial injustice and despite his unwillingness to champion reparations to specifically address the experience of the descendants of African slaves, it will risk alienating not just members of color within the organization, but people of color in the communities in which the DSA works,” the letter reads. “We ask that the DSA withholds endorsement of the Bernie Sanders campaign for the presidency until Sanders finally acknowledges the validity of black demands for reparations in America.”

Democratic Socialists of America, which claims to be the largest socialist organization in the US and has gained significantly in prominence in recent years. (Jeff Stein laid out for Vox in 2017 what DSA is all about.) It has more than 50,000 members nationwide.

The letter has caused some internal consternation within DSA, which has been criticized for being a heavily white and male organization.

“There is a lot of really frustrated white comrades right now and comrades of color, to be quite honest, about how this is a stupid strategy, and what’s going on, but I think their hearts are in the right place,” Bianca Cunningham, co-chair of New York City’s DSA chapter, told me. “Sometimes, having these discussions is uncomfortable, and it means you even have to challenge comrades who you see as allies.”

What Sanders has said about reparations

Reparations has become a topic of conversation in the 2020 Democratic primary, and multiple candidates — including Sanders — have been asked to weigh in.

It’s worth noting that reparations polls poorly among the general public, but is more popular with younger voters and voters of color — prime parts of the Democratic base. It has thus gained credence among those on the left as the Democratic Party becomes more aware of and responsive to issues like the racial wealth gap. Black voters make up about 25 percent of Democratic primary voters, a constituency Sanders struggled with somewhat in 2016 but one with which he has been gaining support more recently.

At a CNN town hall event with journalist Wolf Blitzer in February, Sanders was asked about reparations. He said that there are “massive disparities that must be addressed” but did not come out in favor of reparations. Sanders pointed to legislation he likes, including Rep. Jim Clyburn’s (D-SC) 10/20/30 anti-poverty program, which he has endorsed. It calls for more federal resources to be sent to communities with high, sustained levels of poverty.

Sanders said we have to do “everything that we can do end institutional racism in this country” and “put resources into distressed communities and improve lives for those people who have been hurt from the legacy of slavery.” But he wouldn’t come out in favor of reparations, and he said it’s not clear what the term even means.

“But what does they mean? What do they mean?” he said. “I’m not sure that anyone’s very clear. What I’ve just said is that I think we must do everything that we can to address the massive level of disparity that exists in this country.”

The DSA caucus calling for the organization to withhold its endorsement cited Sanders’s comments at the CNN town hall. They said he appeared “defensive” and “the dismissive nature of the response effectively shut down the opportunity for meaningful conversation on this issue.”

Sanders was also asked about reparations in a subsequent appearance on the talk show The View and again declined to back them. “I think that right now, our job is to address the crises facing the American people and our communities, and I think there are better ways to do that than just writing out a check,” he said.

That Sanders is not supportive of reparations is not a surprise — he did not support them in 2016 either, claiming they were “divisive” and nearly impossible to get through Congress. (President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton did not support reparations, either.) More broadly, Sanders has struggled with his messaging on race. In 2015, Black Lives Matter activists disrupted one of his speeches.

A Sanders spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment on the DSA’s reparations debate.

Reparations have become an important issue in the 2020 primary

The issue of reparations has become a notable topic of conversation among 2020 Democrats.

Vox’s P.R. Lockhart recently delved into the debate and what candidates have said about it. Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), for example, have expressed some level of support for reparations, and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) is running on a proposed “baby bonds” program that would help close the racial wealth gap.

But as Lockhart notes, the issue — and the discussion around it — isn’t clear-cut:

Some candidates have also noted that reparations — the process of apologizing and providing restitution to those harmed by slavery and its legacy — would serve as payment for a debt America has yet to truly acknowledge 150 years after emancipation.

But they’ve stopped short of actually calling for reparations programs. Instead, experts say that some candidates have muddied the waters by framing universal programs that would help black communities as a form of reparations — which they aren’t.

The discussion has touched on a longstanding debate about what the United States owes to the descendants of enslaved men and women — a population that has been systematically denied wealth and opportunity in a country built with the stolen labor of their ancestors.

Sanders’s approach to racial issues has historically been centered on economic inequality and the idea that communities of color would benefit most from his proposals such as Medicare-for-all and free education. Nelini Stamp, who heads strategy and partnerships for the Working Families Party and supports reparations, in a recent interview told me that’s not enough.

“Similar to having capitalism be a bad word, we need reparations to be a good word,” she said.

Stamp added that people who back Sanders should pressure him on the issue as well. “There should be actual outrage from Bernie’s strongest supporters about his reparations comments,” she said.

Sanders will probably still get the DSA’s endorsement

It’s not clear what, if any, effect the DSA AfroSocialist and Socialists of Color Caucus’s letter will have on the organization’s decision on backing Sanders. Its membership appears to overwhelmingly support the move, though there has been some debate about whether it’s the right move.

The national political committee is set to debate and vote on the endorsement on Thursday at 9 pm.

Beyond this vote, the discussion about reparations and, more broadly, race, isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, in the context of the Sanders campaign or among democratic socialists more broadly.

“I don’t think the problem is that they’re pushing for this, I think the problem is the way that people receive it,” Cunningham, from New York’s DSA, said of the AfroSocialist and Socialists of Color Caucus’s letter. “And so, we hear some people saying, ‘This is going to tear apart the organization.’ Well, it doesn’t have to. You can receive this in good faith and really engage in this in a good faith way.”


The news moves fast. Catch up at the end of the day: Subscribe to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily news podcast, or sign up for our evening email newsletter, Vox Sentences.

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#MBCTrending – بمناسبة افتتاح الاولمبياد في أبو ظبي.. نجوم العرب والعالم بأوبريت غنائي

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بمناسبة افتتاح الاولمبياد في أبو ظبي.. نجوم العرب والعالم بأوبريت غنائي
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؟ لأن الازدحام ليس فقط في الشوارع، إنما في كل ما تتلقاه في “السوشيال ميديا” عبر هاتفك الذي لا يفارق يدك . زحام في المعلومات، الصور، الفيديوهات، الملابس، المطاعم، الأفكار، السيارات والمشاهير الذين لا تنتهي يومياتهم بكل ما هو مثير.
نحن نختصر كل ذلك في برنامج واحد يقوم بتلخيص كل ما هو جديد، وإيصاله إليك بدون ازدحام . ابق أمام شاشة MBC4 وانتظر الساخن في تمام الساعة 8 مساء بتوقيت السعودية .

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