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Democracy

Trevor Noah shared the one question U.S. journalists should be asking themselves every day

"Ask yourself that question every day, because you have one of the most important roles in the world."

Trevor Noah shared the one question U.S. journalists should be asking themselves every day

Trevor Noah has gotten high praise for his closing remarks at the White House Correspondents' Dinner.

For the first time in six years, the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner (WHCD) was held with the president of the United States in attendance on April 30 in Washington, D.C. The WHCD has been a tradition in Washington for more than a century and for the past several decades it has taken the form of a comedic roast of both the government and the press. This year's dinner was hosted by comedian and host of "The Daily Show" Trevor Noah, who's known for his smart, witty commentary on social and political issues.

The "let's invite a comedian to publicly and viciously make fun of us for a couple of hours" idea may be a bit odd, but these events have proven quite popular over the years, with many viral moments (including President Obama's infamous GIF-worthy mic drop) coming from them.

This year's dinner opened with Noah joking about it being a superspreader event, earning some uncomfortable laughter, then the individual roasts commenced. Noah didn't hold back slamming people across the political and media spectrum—all in good fun, of course—including President Biden himself.


But it was Noah's closing remarks that earned the most attention. In his signature style, Noah managed to bring a serious and thoughtful element to a night of ribbing and laughter when he admonished the press to recognize both their freedom and their responsibility.

“If you ever begin to doubt your responsibilities, if you ever begin to doubt how meaningful it is, look no further than what’s happening in Ukraine," Noah said. "Look at what’s happening there. Journalists are risking and even losing their lives to show the world what is happening. You realize how amazing that is?

“In America, you have the right to seek the truth and speak the truth, even if it makes people in power uncomfortable. Even if it makes your viewers or readers uncomfortable. You understand how amazing that is?" he reiterated.

Noah pointed out that he had just stood there and made fun of the president of the United States and he was going to be fine. Then he contrasted that with the reality Russian journalists are living under Putin.

“Ask yourself this question," he said to the members of the media. "If Russian journalists who are losing their livelihoods … and their freedom for daring to report on what their own government is doing—If they had the freedom to write any words, to show any stories, or to ask any questions—if they had, basically, what you have—would they be using it in the same way that you do?

"Ask yourself that question every day," he said, "because you have one of the most important roles in the world."

Watch:

People had high praise for Noah's entire evening of hosting, but especially for his closing remarks. Russia's war on Ukraine has put a spotlight on many things we tend to take for granted, including the freedom of the press.

Journalists do play a vital role in society and it's one they must take seriously. To be fair, most journalists do feel the weight of their responsibility, but the corporatization of news media and a 24/7 news cycle has created a competitive landscape in which coverage is sometimes determined by what will drive traffic or viewers rather than on what's truly newsworthy or important. The demonization of news outlets by some has also created a hostile media environment, and news organizations have to resist the urge to kowtow to the loudest voices or inadvertently amplify the wrong things. Journalists often have to fight for the truth on multiple fronts, sometimes inside their own newsrooms.

Thank you, Trevor Noah, for reminding reporters that the fight is worth it and for using this opportunity to remind the press of its primary purpose with such a simple yet profound question.

Brandon Conway sounds remarkably like Michael Jackson when he sings.

When Michael Jackson died 13 years ago, the pop music world lost a legend. However markedly mysterious and controversial his personal life was, his contributions to music will go down in history as some of the most influential of all time.

Part of what made him such a beloved singer was the uniqueness of his voice. From the time he was a young child singing lead for The Jackson 5, his high-pitched vocals stood out. Hearing him sing live was impressive, his pitch-perfect performances always entertaining.

No one could ever really be compared to MJ, or so we thought. Out of the blue, a guy showed up on TikTok recently with a casual performance that sounds so much like the King of Pop it's blowing people away.

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Bobby McFerrin demonstrated the power of the pentatonic scale without saying a word.

Bobby McFerrin is best known for his hit song “Don’t Worry Be Happy,” which showcased his one-man vocal and body percussion skills (and got stuck in our heads for years). But his musicality extends far beyond the catchy pop tune that made him a household name. The things he can do with his voice are unmatched and his range of musical styles and genres is impressive.

The Kennedy Center describes him: “With a four-octave range and a vast array of vocal techniques, Bobby McFerrin is no mere singer; he is music's last true Renaissance man, a vocal explorer who has combined jazz, folk and a multitude of world music influences - choral, a cappella, and classical music - with his own ingredients.”

McFerrin is also a music educator, and one of his most memorable lessons is a simple, three-minute interactive demonstration in which he doesn’t say a single word.

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1989 video brings back strong memories for Gen Xers who came of age in the '80s.

It was the year we saw violence in Tiananmen Square and the dismantling of the Berlin Wall. The year we got Meg Ryan in "When Harry Met Sally" and Michael Keaton in Tim Burton's "Batman." The year "Seinfeld" and "The Simpsons" debuted on TV, with no clue as to how successful they would become. The year that gave us New Kids on the Block and Paula Abdul while Madonna and Janet Jackson were enjoying their heyday.

The jeans were pegged, the shoulders were padded and the hair was feathered and huge. It was 1989—the peak of Gen X youth coming of age.

A viral video of a group of high school students sitting at their desks in 1989—undoubtedly filmed by some geeky kid in the AV club who probably went on to found an internet startup—has gone viral across social media, tapping straight into Gen X's memory banks. For those of us who were in high school at the time, it's like hopping into a time machine.

The show "Stranger Things" has given young folks of today a pretty good glimpse of that era, but if you want to see exactly what the late '80s looked like for real, here it is:

Oh so many mullets. And the Skid Row soundtrack is just the icing on this nostalgia cake. (Hair band power ballads were ubiquitous, kids.)

I swear I went to high school with every person in this video. Like, I couldn't have scripted a more perfect representation of my classmates (which is funny considering that this video came from Paramus High School in New Jersey and I went to high school on the opposite side of the country).

Comments have poured in on Reddit from both Gen Xers who lived through this era and those who have questions.

First, the confirmations:

"Can confirm. I was a freshman that year, and not only did everyone look exactly like this (Metallica shirt included), I also looked like this. 😱😅"

"I graduated in ‘89, and while I didn’t go to this school, I know every person in this room."

"It's like I can virtually smell the AquaNet and WhiteRain hairspray from here...."

"I remember every time you went to the bathroom you were hit with a wall of hairspray and when the wind blew you looked like you had wings."

Then the observations about how differently we responded to cameras back then.

"Also look how uncomfortable our generation was in front of the camera! I mean I still am! To see kids now immediately pose as soon as a phone is pointed at them is insanity to me 🤣"

"Born in 84 and growing up in the late 80’s and 90’s, it’s hard to explain to younger people that video cameras weren’t everywhere and you didn’t count on seeing yourself in what was being filmed. You just smiled and went on with your life."

Which, of course, led to some inevitable "ah the good old days" laments:

"Life was better before the Internet. There, I said it."

"Not a single cell phone to be seen. Oh the freedom."

"It's so nice to be reminded what life was like before cell phones absorbed and isolated social gatherings."

But perhaps the most common response was how old those teens looked.

"Why do they all look like they're in their 30's?"

"Everyone in this video is simultaneously 17 and 49 years old."

"Now we know why they always use 30 y/o actors in high school movies."

As some people pointed out, there is an explanation for why they look old to us. It has more to do with how we interpret the fashion than how old they actually look.

Ah, what a fun little trip down memory lane for those of us who lived it. (Let's just all agree to never bring back those hairstyles, though, k?)