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  • Stewart, the Oscars and a phrase I don't understand

    Hi everyone,

    I just read an article about how Jon Stewart prepares for the Oscars now the writers ended the strike and he was quoted with a phrase I don't understand. Can some native speaker please explain?

    He was already expending enormous energy keeping ôThe Daily Showö running without writers, an experience he described as disorienting. ôYou really did feel,ö he said, ôyou were playing one of those moral dilemma games at a really crummy party: æIf you had to choose between your writers and your staff ...Æ Except it was real.ö

    But he said the act of pulling together a show every day instilled a sense of pride in the nonwriting staff. ôI didnÆt want the writers walking back into Dresden,ö Mr. Stewart said, ôand weÆd burnt the place to the ground.ö
    If he's referring to my home town, the German city of Dresden that was destroyed 63 years ago ... well, I am familiar with the history, of course, but I still don't get the analogy.

    Thanks everyone.

    *Starstuff*
    It's easy to find something worth dying for. Do you have something worth living for?
    Rule TwentyNine (Blog about B5, politics, environment and much more)

  • #2
    I would have thought he was simply saying that they didn't want the writers coming back to the show only to discover that it had been wrecked in their absence.

    Kind of like being away from Dresden during the bombings and coming back to find it "burnt to the ground".

    It isn't an analogy I have heard used before, but then I am not American and can't comment on its use or otherwise on that side of the Atlantic.
    The Optimist: The glass is half full
    The Pessimist: The glass is half empty
    The Engineer: The glass is twice as big as it needs to be

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    • #3
      You're both right, that wouldn't be a simile that's used here; I think Stewart was trying to be clever. The only think I might add is the use of Dresden would also invoke images of how beautiful the city was before it had been bombed, therefore his writers could theoretically have left a wonderful place to work, only to find it destroyed upon their return. That's how I'd see it anyway.

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      • #4
        Thanks, to both of you. I thought it was a common phrase in the US and I just didn't hear about it before - which I somehow doubted since I spent a year there and my friends new I was from Dresden, they'd have surely mentioned it.

        *Starstuff*

        And just to show that Dresden has regained most of its former beauty here's a picture I took last week during the commemoration service held to remember the 63rd anniversary of the bombing (Feb 13, 1945). The candle was the picture of real burning candle; it was projected on the Church and it did really flicker. Very nice idea. (Just in case someone doesn't know: That the Church of Our Lady which stood through two days of bombardment and then collapsed. During the separation of Germany the ruins were left in place as a reminder of the war; after the re-unification the Church was rebuild with donations from around the world, most from the UK and the US. Truly a symbol for forgiveness - on both sides - and international friendship. She's just beautiful.)

        Last edited by *Starstuff*; 02-20-2008, 07:58 AM.
        It's easy to find something worth dying for. Do you have something worth living for?
        Rule TwentyNine (Blog about B5, politics, environment and much more)

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        • #5
          Since no American has replied yet, I'll just add that it is certainly not a "common phrase" over here and most U. S. citizens under 50 or so probably would not understand the reference. But, John Stewart's point was just what you all said, he didn't want his writers returning to a show that had been destroyed in their absence.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by NotSoWize View Post
            Since no American has replied yet, I'll just add that it is certainly not a "common phrase" over here and most U. S. citizens under 50 or so probably would not understand the reference. But, John Stewart's point was just what you all said, he didn't want his writers returning to a show that had been destroyed in their absence.
            in the 60's and 70's it was fairly common to refer to dresden in a similar fashion in lit. you'll see references in heinlein, clarke, and a number of other works, not a common phrase or even a common thought process these days at all. but it does give a fairly good job of getting his point across

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Lunan View Post
              in the 60's and 70's it was fairly common to refer to dresden in a similar fashion in lit. you'll see references in heinlein, clarke, and a number of other works, not a common phrase or even a common thought process these days at all. but it does give a fairly good job of getting his point across
              Maybe Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse 5 -- both book and movie had something to do with it?
              no boom today . . .

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              • #8
                Thanks guys!

                It's fascinating to see how certain historical events can become ... landmarks, in some way. That you can refer to them and everybody knows that you "want to bring across", as Lunan put it.

                I just wish we'd have more happy events of that sort not so many sad ones.
                It's easy to find something worth dying for. Do you have something worth living for?
                Rule TwentyNine (Blog about B5, politics, environment and much more)

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                • #9
                  Luv, I was thinking the same thing; As I recalls, I first found out about the bombing of Dresden from reading Slaughterhouse 5 (the book) and I believe part of the subsequent film was shot there, so anybody exposed to either version would be likely to remember- including Jon Stewart, one would now think. He's certainly be the right age to be exposed to Vonnegut

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                  • #10
                    I just checked Slaughterhouse on Wikipedia and it even says that the bombing of Dresden was the starting point.

                    Link to wikipedia.

                    I think, as soon as I get all the stuff done here for college I will check the novel out.

                    EDIT... Sorry, Joe pointed it out first, didn't notice.
                    It's easy to find something worth dying for. Do you have something worth living for?
                    Rule TwentyNine (Blog about B5, politics, environment and much more)

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                    • #11
                      I would also recommend watching the movie if you can track it down. I watched it with my wife recently, who had never seen it and it holds up really well. A nicely low-key lead performance, well directed and edited, and a very sexy Valerie Perrine, which is never a bad thing.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Joe Nazzaro View Post
                        I would also recommend watching the movie if you can track it down. I watched it with my wife recently, who had never seen it and it holds up really well. A nicely low-key lead performance, well directed and edited, and a very sexy Valerie Perrine, which is never a bad thing.
                        I'll try, but I hope there's a sexy male actor in it too?
                        It's easy to find something worth dying for. Do you have something worth living for?
                        Rule TwentyNine (Blog about B5, politics, environment and much more)

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                        • #13
                          Meh, I think most people not well-read enough to get the Dresden reference need to be sent to Coventry.



                          Okay, I deserve to be torched for that one.
                          "It's hard being an evil genius when everybody else is so stupid." -- Quantum Crook, Casey and Andy Webcomic

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Doom Shepherd View Post
                            Meh, I think most people not well-read enough to get the Dresden reference need to be sent to Coventry.
                            No torching yet
                            Do you refer to the book mentioned above or to the quote in the first post?
                            It's easy to find something worth dying for. Do you have something worth living for?
                            Rule TwentyNine (Blog about B5, politics, environment and much more)

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                            • #15
                              A question for the non-Americans here-

                              Jon Stewart is pretty well known here in the States as the host of The Daily Show news satire. I know that some form of the show gets syndicated around the world, but does he have such a name recognition outside the States? Or is his hosting the Oscars leading to a lot of folks asking, "Who?" (Similar to if some like Jonathan Ross, famous in England but barely known here, was hosting something with a big profile here in the States?)
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