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One Class, One Day: Colbert 101 Pondering what makes The Colbert Report so damn funny

CAS lecturer Michael Rodriguez and his students smile a lot while investigating the satire of TV’s The Colbert Report. Photos by Vernon Doucette

Class by class, lecture by lecture, question asked by question answered, an education is built. This is one of a series of visits to one class, on one day, in search of those building blocks at BU.

It isn’t many courses that require regular viewing of one of cable television’s most popular shows and a trek to New York for a live taping of the program.

But that’s what’s on the syllabus this semester for the 20 BU students taking Michael Rodriguez’s seminar The Colbert Report: American Satire. Purists might decry the decline of western civilization in a class whose course work lumps required viewing of a TV show, in this case Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report, with a reading list that includes Jonathan Swift, Benjamin Franklin, Mark Twain, and the Roman poets Horace and Juvenal. Colbert’s I Am America (And So Can You!) is also mandatory. But the mirthful excursion to the Big Apple is bracketed by class discussion of such matters as whether Colbert is “parodying postmodernism and actually reifying the modern,” as Rodriguez summarizes one textbook’s argument.

The Colbert Report spoofs cable-news bloviators, represented by host Stephen Colbert’s portrayal of a knee-jerk, right-wing gasbag. He’s the kind of guy who, interviewing Democratic strategist James Carville about the BP oil spill, insists that “if this was Reagan, he would have stripped to his skivvies, put a knife in his teeth, gone down there and punched that oil well shut.”

Rodriguez, a lecturer in the College of Arts & Sciences Writing Program, holds a doctorate in English literature, and his course, open to any undergraduate, insists that Colbert ranks with history’s great literary satirists. Students have spent the semester pondering a double-barreled question: what’s the comedian really saying, and why is the way he says it so funny?

One recent class zeroed in on what Rodriguez calls the central questions for students (if not viewers): are Colbert’s interviews mere play or an attempt to get at some serious truth? Does his mocking promote civic engagement or foster cynicism and civic withdrawal? Consensus was elusive. Rodriguez said that Colbert is obviously liberal, but George Greenstreet (COM’13) suggested the comic’s target isn’t necessarily conservative politics per se.

“I’m not sure if you saw last night,’ he said, “but Harry Connick, Jr., was on. Colbert said, ‘So you do the classics? I’m going to ask you some classic interview questions.’’’ Colbert then unleashed inconsequential blather worthy of daytime talk TV.

“I think it’s geared more toward parodying interviewers themselves,” Greenstreet argued.

Rodriguez leavened the academese by screening for the class the Colbert segment “Cooking with Feminists,” where Colbert interviewed Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinem about their women’s radio network, while insisting they help him make an apple pie. (“Gloria, if you’ll grab some of those Macintosh apples, and explain to me, what is the state of American feminism?”)

The show’s refusal to be easily categorized—is it news or is it comedy?—has been a source of discussion throughout the semester for students like Marina Hunt (CAS’14). “I find the debate fascinating because so many people, especially teenagers, rely on these shows” for news. Hunt is among the many first-time-longtimes (first-time Colbert students, longtime Colbert fans) packing the course, and they’re enthralled, not bored, by academically dissecting the laughs he earns each night.

“Anyone can watch the show and see that it’s funny,” says Rebecca Sita (COM’13), “but I think we get a lot more out of our discussion of why it’s funny.” Majoring in film and television, she says she’s naturally interested in how Colbert uses rhetoric to hit a comic bull’s-eye. (Confessing, and “this is kind of embarrassing,” that a poster of Colbert adorns the wall over her bed, she says, “So yeah, I’m a big fan.”)

“I always watched the show mindlessly, taking in the jokes and laughing at them, but never considering how well-written and delivered they were,” says Jessica Gawrych (CAS’14). The class has given her “a new perspective on the show and a better understanding for how it works.”

Attending the taping, with tickets procured by a class member whose cousin works for the show, is a case of Mohammed going to the mountain, an alternative to the star coming to campus. “I am trying everything I can to get Colbert to address the class,” Rodriguez says. He’s also trying to book Stephen Prothero, a CAS religion professor who appeared on Colbert’s show last year and coincidentally again this past Tuesday. (Colbert gave up Catholicism for Lent, Prothero says, and asked the good professor to lay out his religious options.)

Rodriguez hopes to present a bound copy of the course syllabus, student essays, and assignment sheets to Colbert when he and the class attend the April 26 taping. “I think it would make a nice gift,” he says.

The man who filmed “Cooking with Feminists” ought to appreciate laughing with academics.

Rich Barlow can be reached at [email protected].

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Henry Hughes’ Day One Nominated For An Oscar In The Best Short Film Category

COM Alum Up for an Oscar Tale of war nominated for Best Short Film

Henry Hughes grew up an army brat, moving with his parents, both in the service, to different bases across the United States and Europe. He followed in the footsteps of his mother, a captain, and his father, a colonel, first enrolling in BU’s ROTC program and then shipping off to Afghanistan immediately after graduation, where he served two combat tours as a paratrooper in the 173rd Airborne.

Hughes (COM’06) drew on this combat experience in making his film, Day One. The story was influenced by his real-life interpreter in Afghanistan. Day One has not only won critical accolades, but is one of five films nominated for best short film (live action) at the 88th annual Academy Awards ceremony, being held Sunday night.

Day One focuses on Feda, a recently divorced Afghan-American woman who is ostracized by her conservative Muslim community at home in the United States. She goes to Afghanistan as an interpreter for the US Army, and on her first day on the job, helps the unit search for a local terrorist. She ends up helping deliver a local woman’s baby, being born in the breech position, since local custom forbids soldiers from entering the room.

The 25-minute film, which screened at the Cannes and Telluride Film Festivals, has already won the Narrative Gold Medal at the Student Academy Awards, two College Emmys for Best Drama and Best Directing and the BAFTA Student Award. It was also the 2023 Redstone Film Festival alumni winner last spring.

Hughes enrolled in the American Film Institute a year after returning from Afghanistan, and he wrote and directed the film for his MFA thesis project. “Transitioning out of the military is difficult, so I thought it was important to find a structured program,” he says. “I thought, why not dip my toe into education. I had been away from it for a long time—five years—and you lose a lot of the skills you learn, I suppose.”

When writing Day One, Hughes set out to tell a different kind of war story from those depicted in such recent films as American Sniper, Zero Dark Thirty, and The Hurt Locker. “A lot of the war films are about people like me: a young guy goes to war,” he says. “But I thought, we haven’t seen anything new and it would be perfect to have a story about a woman stuck between two conservative male cultures.”

He realized that he had the ideal muse in his former coworker. He describes her as irreplaceable, saying that since he didn’t speak the local language, she acted as his voice during the tour. He compares the relationship between soldier and interpreter to the scene in the film Saving Private Ryan where the medic dies: his team realizes that he had a skill that no one else possessed. But central to his film’s story, Hughes says, is the struggle and position the interpreter faces straddling two nationalities and cultures.

While Day One is fictional, two moments from real-life combat made their way into the film. The first was the soldiers’ harrowing search for IEDs along the road one day. They found several of the devices, but knew they hadn’t managed to find them all. Hughes recalls stopping to relieve himself the next morning and seeing a civilian on a motorcycle drive past. He didn’t warn the man (“a simple oversight,” he says), who accidentally drove over and detonated one of the devices and was killed. The second real-life incident: Hughes would use a dog leash to stay close to his interpreter in the field. “In one firefight, she was falling and running to catch up, and I was holding onto her, but I needed my hands to fight,” he recalls. “So I attached a dog leash to my back so she could hold onto that.”

Hughes’ path from paratrooper to filmmaker (a goal he’d aspired to since high school) caught the attention of ABC News Standing Up for Heroes, a series that helped returning vets find meaningful careers by pairing them with experienced mentors through the American Corporate Partners National Mentoring Program. Hughes was matched with legendary filmmaker George Lucas, creator of Star Wars, who worked with him for two years. Lucas gave notes on Day One, asked probing questions like how he viewed filmmaking and who he was really making the film for. He also introduced Hughes to his teams at Lucasfilm and Industrial Light & Magic, who assisted with Day One’s lighting and sound.

What does Hughes hope audiences take away from his film? He says his wish is that the film can help them in trying to make sense of the combat experience.

“I couldn’t tell you what war is and I can’t define combat, but I can share with people what it felt like in these sublime moments that take place during war, where they are horrible and beautiful at the same time. You are overcome by an event, and you don’t know how to understand it,” Hughes says. “That was my goal with this film, my hope.”

The 88th Academy Awards ceremony will be broadcast live on Sunday, February 28, at 7 p.m. ET on ABC.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Day One was Hughes’ first film; in fact, it is his third.

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Htc One M8 Vs Htc One M7: Should You Upgrade?

HTC One M8 vs HTC One M7: should you upgrade?

This week we’re taking a look at the HTC One. We’re not just looking at 2014’s HTC One (M8) model, but the M7 from 2013 as well, comparing the two hero releases to decide whether upgrading is really worth the trouble for HTC brand loyalists. The HTC One M7 was released last year without the “M7” tag up front while this year the HTC One (M8) comes with code-name attached for ease in differentiation.

The biggest differences between the two devices lie in their display and camera setups. While we would suggest that built-in software differentiates one HTC One from the other, HTC has done away the possibility with a program called “HTC Advantage.” In addition to hosting some damage-protection elements, HTC Advantage guarantees all HTC One devices from 2013 the same access to new software updates that the 2014 HTC One (M8) gets. In this program, HTC is letting users know that they won’t be abandoned by the brand, even if they don’t upgrade.

The following specifications show the HTC One M7 up against the HTC One (M8) from 2014. On the left you’ll see last year’s model, on the right you’ll see the M8.

Display: 4.7-inch LCD3 VS 5-inch LCD3Display Resolution: 1080×1920 pixels VS 1080×1920 pixelsCamera: 4-UltraPixel 1080p HD vs 4-UltraPixel/Duo Camera 1080p HDFront-facing Camera: 2.1-Megapixels 1080p HD VS 5-Megapixels 1080p HDBattery: 2,300mAh non-removable VS 2,600mAh non-removableChassis: 137.4 x 68.2 x 9.3 mm VS 146.36 x 70.6 x 9.35 mmWeight: 143g VS 160gInternal Storage: 32/64GB VS 16/32GB (w/microSD card slot for 128GB expansion)RAM: 2GB VS 2GB

While the extra 0.3-in of display space on the HTC One (M8) compared to the M7 means you’re getting a slightly less dense packing of pixels, you’ll still have more than enough for your daily deeds. The HTC One M7 works with 468 PPI (Pixels Per Inch) while the HTC One (M8) works with 441 PPI.

Both devices are available in standard editions, developer editions, and Google Play Editions. What you’re going to want to do is have a peek at our HTC One Review [2013] as well as our HTC One M8 Review [2014] and see how we judged both when they first arrived on the market.

You’ll find that we really, really enjoyed working with both devices right out of the box. The HTC One from 2013 was a revolutionary device for HTC, solidifying the idea that they were able to create a single headliner smartphone able to compete on every level with their biggest competitors. With metal up front and back, the newest in new Android software, and an exceptionally nice camera, the HTC One remains a fine mobile phone well over a year after it was first introduced.

I’ve had the HTC One in my pocket since I first had the opportunity to work with the device last year. I’ve found the HTC One M7 to be the finest smartphone on the market for the past 12 months. When I get the chance, however, I’ll be switching to the HTC One M8 – as soon as possible.

I find the ability to choose from a number of focus points with the Duo Camera setup on the back of the M8 (as you’ll see in the demo video below) to be more than just a little enticing. The ever-so-slightly larger display with the M8 inside a chassis that’s only a tiny bit bigger than the M7 also makes the change-over an obvious choice.

What do you think? Pricing on the HTC One M7 is about to get cheaper now that the M8 is coming in. At the moment they’re still the same price as one another, but we’d not be surprised by cuts in the M7 sooner than later.

If you’re a brand new customer, is the idea that you’ll be able to get last year’s hero device for cheaper than this year’s release enticing enough to go for it? The HTC One M7 is still more than powerful enough to run today’s finest apps, and the camera certainly still holds its own in the wild, but do you still need the newest in new, no matter what?

We’d recommend either device to a new user right this minute. We’ve reached a point in the smartphone market where even last year’s device is still battle-ready against this year’s, without exaggeration. It would appear that we may have reached a point where no more significant changes are happening in the smartphone hardware universe – or a point at which HTC has decided they’ve created the perfect handset.

The One Quality Setting High

After countless sessions with the highest performers across the globe, there is one absolute certainty; high performance isn’t something they “do”, it’s who they “are”.

Image source: Getty Images

Our life is massively shaped by the way we see ourselves. This is our identity. But like so many people, at some point in our lives we may recognise areas we aren’t happy with. Left to fester, this will lead to an issue of the way we see ourselves, and when this happens, it becomes an identity crisis.

So, how do we move beyond this?

Almost all of us have embarked on a change-piece journey at some point in our lives. New year’s resolutions, self-promises, public commitments. Some of us take inspiration from motivational gurus and teachers while others are inspired by past mistakes. Countless of us have tried, and countless have failed and when we dive into reasons why we fail it becomes evident that there isn’t a clear connection between the behaviours we’re trying to change and the person we’re trying to become. In other words, we haven’t connected to our desire for change to a better identity.

After countless sessions with the highest performers across the globe, there is one absolute certainty; high performance isn’t something they “do”, it’s who they “are”. There is no daily struggle of willpower for optimised behaviours because for these individuals its intrinsic. This is optimal because it would be a huge waste of energy to have to battle to engage desired behaviours daily.

The great news is that none of these individuals started with this level of intention. They developed it. And so, what looks like incredible discipline to the outside world is just part of who these individuals have worked to become, and this is something everyone can achieve.

We need to understand that our willpower aligns with what we see as good. We need to truly see the change we are trying to make as good for us, not somebody else’s version of good. A major part of this process is making the connection between this “good change” and our ideal identity.

The challenge that I come across with most people looking to change is that they aren’t clear on what this better serving identity looks like. The result is that when times get tough, as they always do, we tend to give up because the “what” has no connection with the “why”, and the why is critical because it is our identity.

Once we become clear on our ideal identity, we need to become absolutely dedicated to this vision of ourselves. This dedication will pull us through the challenging times and supporting habits will become the process that will help us get there.

Our habits will rise to serve our deepest aspirations, in particular our identity. Now that we are engaged in the habits that are moving us closer to our desired future, we will become far more resilient to the ups and downs of the journey, because we are far more interested in who we are becoming and less concerned with who we are today. As we continue down the path, keeping a clear vision of what we will look like, feel like, be like, at the end of it, we will ultimately develop the ability to see ourselves at the end. This strengthens the resolve of our mission. There will be a point in time where we realise that this new way of being isn’t something we are doing, rather, it’s become who we are. It’s our identity.

RJ Singh is a corporate and ultra-endurance athlete and the creator of Ultrahabits. Find out more at Peak Performance with RJ Singh: Ultra Habits for Ultra Performance

Fix 0X87E107Df Xbox One Error

If you want to know how to fix 0x87e107df Xbox One Error, then this post is going to help you out. A few users have reported that they have encountered error 0x87e107df  while trying to launch certain games on their Xbox One console.

There might be an outage in our online service. Try again in a few minutes, and if you get this error again, check the service status. (0x87e107df)

This post will guide you with various feasible methods to resolve error 0x87e107df on Xbox One.

Fix 0x87e107df Xbox One Error

If you see error 0x87e107df while launching a game on your Xbox One console, use these solutions to fix the issue:

Check the Xbox Live Service status.

Restart Xbox One console.

Power Cycle the console.

Switch to Offline mode.

Let us see these in detail.

1] Check the Xbox Live Service status

If Xbox is experiencing a server outage, it may affect the license validation process of the games you’ve bought digitally on Xbox One.

2] Restart Xbox One console

You can restart your Xbox console to reboot it completely and fix many errors, including error 0x87e107df. Use any of these methods to restart your console:

Method 1: Restart your console from the Power Centre

Method 2: Restart your console from the guide

Alternatively, you may restart the Xbox One console from the guide.

Now wait until the Xbox One console restarts and then try to launch the game.

3] Power Cycle the console

Next, power cycle your console and see if it works for you.  A few users have been able to successfully resolve error 0x87e107df by performing a full power cycle on their Xbox One console.

Method 1: Physically Power Cycle Xbox One

Press and hold the Xbox button in front of the console for approximately 10 seconds and allow the console to turn off completely.

Press the Xbox button again to turn on the console. You should see the green boot-up animation when the console restarts. Repeat the process if the animation doesn’t appear.

Method 2: Power Cycle Xbox One by Reconnecting the Power Cable

Another way to perform a full power cycle on your Xbox One console is by disconnecting and reconnecting your console’s power cable.

Press and hold the Xbox button for at least 10 seconds to shut down the console. When it shuts down completely, unplug the console’s power cable. Then wait for at least 10 seconds (till the power supply resets). Plug in back the power cable and press the Xbox button to turn on the console.

Note: Unplugging the power cable may affect any ongoing activity. For example, if you disconnect the power cable while saving an Xbox game, the game save may be lost.

4] Switch to Offline mode

You may also switch to the offline mode to bypass the license validation process. However, do note that if you switch to the offline mode, you may not be able to use the game’s features that require a live connection with the Xbox server.

Also Read: The item you’re using appears to be corrupt, Xbox error 0x80070570.

How do I fix the temporary network problem on my Xbox One?

Temporary network issues may be fixed automatically if you wait for some time. Check the Xbox Live Status to know if there’s a server outage that’s affecting the service. If it is taking longer than expected, you may troubleshoot by restarting or power cycling your Xbox One console. You may also switch to the Offline mode till the services are up and running again.

What is error code ox87dd000f on Xbox?

Error ox87dd000f is an Xbox One error that occurs if there’s a service outage when the user tries to sign in to Xbox Live on his Xbox One console. You may visit the Xbox Status page to view details of the affected service and sign in to get a notification when the service is live again. If you see the error code during a system update or console setup, use the online troubleshooter to resolve the issue.

Read Next: Fix Xbox Error Code 0x87e107f9 on Console and PC.

Htc One X Aokp Rom

AOKP ROM for the HTC One X is finally out, and if you’ve used AOKP on another device, you’re probably excited to try it on your One X as well. AOKP is an Ice Cream Sandwich Android 4.0 based ROM that gives you a completely stock Android experience without any custom manufacturer UI or bloatware on top, along with a huge amount of customization options. And if you think your One X was fast, wait till you try out AOKP ROM as you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how fast AOKP is.

However, the ROM is in its early stages, so there can be many bugs and issues in it. The most important issues are given below under the Known Issues section, so make sure you go through them before you try the ROM.

Read on to find out how you can install AOKP ROM on your HTC One X.


This guide is applicable only for HTC One X. DO NOT try this on any other device.


The methods and procedures discussed here are considered risky and you should not attempt anything if you don’t know completely what it is. If any damage occurs to your device, we won’t be held liable.

Developer Team → TripNRaVeR

Known Issues:

Camera doesn’t work.



 doesn’t work


Mobile data will take a lot of time to correctly connect, there’s not much you can do about it just wait untill it correctly connects. When it is connected is stable, it will not disconnect this happens only after a reboot or after initial setup.

How to Install AOKP ROM on HTC One X

Important! Don’t forget to at least make a backup of your APN settings, which you can restore later if your data connection does not work after installing the ROM. Use the backup guide to find out how.

Unlock the bootloader on your HTC One X by following the guide → here.

Install ClockWorkMod (CWM) recovery by following the guide → here.

Skip this step if you have HTC Sync/drivers installed on your computer already.

Download the latest version of the ROM from the official development page.

Copy the two zip files downloaded in step 5 and 6 to the SD card 

on the phone

, without extracting it

Extract the file boot.img from inside the ROM’s zip file that you downloaded in step 5, using Winzip or a similar software.

Extract the file to the C: drive on your computer to get a folder named Fastboot with four files inside it.

Copy the boot.img file extracted in step 8 to the Fastboot folder on C drive. You should have 5 files in the Fastboot folder now.

Switch off the phone. Enter fastboot mode. For that, boot into the bootloader mode first by holding the Volume Down button and then pressing power key. Then, select fastboot mode from there using the volume buttons to navigate and power button to select. Then connect 

your phone

 to the computer once you are in fastboot mode.

Open Command Prompt on your computer from Start » All Programs » Accessories.

Now, type the following commands in command prompt to flash the chúng tôi file, pressing Enter after each command (Check the screenshot after step 14.3 for reference).

cd c:Fastboot

fastboot devices (this is to ensure the phone gets detected. A string of numbers and letters should appear if the phone is properly detected, as shown in screenshot below. Else, make sure you have the phone drivers properly installed)

After the kernel is flashed, you’ll get a finished/OKAY message in command prompt.

Disconnect your phone from the PC.


volume buttons

 to scroll

 up and down and the power button to select options in bootloader menu and recovery.

After installation is complete, again select choose zip from sdcard, then select the file. Select Yes on next screen to confirm installation of the Google apps package.

After the installation is complete, select go back then select reboot system now to reboot the phone and boot up into AOKP ROM.

Check out CM9 ROM for the HTC One X → here, and MIUI ROM → here.

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