In the wake of Friday’s series of brutal attacks on Paris, a coordinated assault against Western culture—music, sports, and fine dining—carried out by a group of ISIS-affiliated gunmen and suicide bombers that left at least 127 people dead and scores more injured, people reacted in different ways.
Some, like emotionally stunted trolls Ann Coulter, Newt Gingrich, and GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump, exploited the tragic event in service of their own political goals. Hollywood filmmaker Guillermo del Toro chose to share his own harrowing tale of his father’s kidnapping, preaching against violence begetting more violence. The Late Show’s Stephen Colbert delivered a heartfelt message that had the funnyman on the verge of tears. And, on the late-night program Real Time with Bill Maher, the political satirist Bill Maher placed part of the blame for the attacks on the West, claiming that Western coalition forces bombing ISIS overseas is what caused the Paris massacre.
On Sunday night, Maher’s HBO colleague John Oliver—of Last Week Tonight fame—laid into the terrorists in a passionate, expletive-laden rant.
“Sadly, we must begin with a few words about France which, on Friday, suffered the deadliest attack on its soil since World War II,” said Oliver at the start of his program. “Look, it’s hardly been 48 hours and much is still unknown, but there are a few things we can say for certain. And this is when it actually helps to be on HBO, where those things can be said without restraint, because after the many necessary and appropriate moments of silence, I’d like to offer you a moment of premium cable profanity.”
Then Oliver let rip.“So here is where things stand: First, as of now, we know this attack was carried out by gigantic fucking assholes—unconscionable flaming assholes—possibly working with other fucking assholes, definitely working in service of an ideology of pure assholery,” Oliver said. “Second, and this goes almost without saying, FUCK THESE ASSHOLES! Fuck ’em, if I may say, sideways.”“And third,” he continued, “it is important to remember nothing about what these assholes are trying to do is going to work. France is going to endure. And I’ll tell you why: If you’re in a war of culture and lifestyle with France, good fucking luck! Because go ahead, bring your bankrupt ideology; they’ll bring Jean-Paul Sartre, Edith Piaf, fine wine, Gauloises cigarettes, Camus, Camembert, madeleines, macarons, Marcel Proust, and the fucking croque-en-bouche. The croque-en-bouche! You’ve just brought a philosophy of rigorous self-abnegation to a pastry fight, my friends! You are fucked! That [croque-en-bouche] is a French freedom tower!”
“So, to the people of France, our thoughts are truly with you and I do not doubt that there will be more to say about this as events unspool, but for now, we are going to continue with the rest of our show…”