First Click: a 3-minute dick joke made privacy matter again

April 7th, 2015


I can’t read another 1,000-word Glenn Greenwald exposé detailing the ______ agency’s secret ______ program targeting law-abiding citizens. I'm exhausted, resigned to the complexity and scale of government surveillance globally. I have neither the time nor the energy to maintain my anger over section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, for example.

But I still have time to laugh at a dick joke.

That’s the brilliance of John Oliver. Unlike Colbert’s and Stewart’s hit-and-run approach to satire, Oliver tackles issues with unrelenting vigor in segments often lasting 15 minutes or longer. His latest episode of Last Week Tonight is 33 minutes long, culminating in a 3-minute dick joke that contextualizes the myriad of government surveillance programs better than anything before it. It's now been viewed almost 3 million times.

It’s reminiscent of his piece on Net Neutrality that helped tap into our collective rage and release us from the constraints of apathy. Hopefully Oliver’s latest can spark the same kind of discussion about the so-called "Patriot Act" set to expire on June 1st.

Five stories to start your day

  1. is a surprisingly informative website about the NSA

    Created by Olivier Lacan in appreciation of the interview, Can They See My Dick lays out how programs like Section 702 ("one-end foreign dick"), Executive Order 12333 ("dick smuggling"), and Section 215 ("dick metadata") actually work with respect to... yeah, you guessed it.

  2. LG pulls 0.1 ahead of Samsung in eternal war of numbers

    The upcoming G4, which is three weeks away from its official launch, will feature a lens with an f/1.8 aperture, making it that little bit wider than the f/1.9 lens on Samsung's impressive Galaxy S6.

  3. All six Star Wars movies are coming to iTunes, Google Play, and other video services

    All six movies — yes, even The Phantom Menace, unfortunately — will be launched on digital video services such as iTunes, Google Play, and Xbox Video around the world on April 10th, Disney and Lucasarts announced today. The launch will allow fans to buy Digital HD versions of the movies individually, or get them all at once as part of the Star Wars Digital Movie Collection.

  4. Philips’ Hue Go promises a portable bowl of light, and it delivers

    You can then take the cord out and use the Hue Go wirelessly around your house. Range doesn’t seem to be too much of an issue, and I’ve managed to control the lamp from an iOS or Android phone in all of the rooms in my apartment. It’s particularly useful to light a corner of a room, and while it won’t fully light up an entire room it does provide a pretty glow that will extend across any reasonably sized room.

  5. Google accused of using 'unfair and deceptive' ads on YouTube Kids

    The complaint alleges that Google has broken a number of broadcasting rules, including mixing "commercial and other content in ways that are deceptive and unfair to children" and hosting videos from individuals with undisclosed links to products they are endorsing.

Fact of the day

verge translation

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