America’s most highly regarded newsman Stephen Colbert is no stranger to impressive, headline grabbing stunts. But this week he’s pulled off his biggest one yet, traveling back in time to 1997 with this report for Good Morning America at the 9th Annual National Rube Goldberg Machine Contest at Purdue University to remind us all that TV news has always been just as dumb as it is today. (via)
“Rube Goldberg was a cartoonist who made his career satirizing modern technology with drawings of incredibly complicated machines that did simple household tasks,” he explains in the report, laying out a theme that sounds remarkably like his approach to explaining politics for us today. The machines, which he watches go through the motions of a largely pointless and overly convoluted process that doesn’t amount to any real world value, much like the conservatives he routinely satirizes, for example, were meant to load a CD into a CD player in no fewer than 20 steps.
He leaves us with a poignant thought when the machines succeed, one which couldn’t be more Stephen Colbertian if he had tried:
“Once again science triumphs, and are we better for it? Perhaps we should ask those migrants workers who load CDs whose jobs are now in danger.”