- Eric Webb American-Statesman Staff
Alex Jones has Stephen Colbert’s heart feeling like a volcano.
We know the president of the United States pays attention to Austin’s most famous conspiracy theorist. Now we know he’s on the radar of late night TV, too. Inspired by Jones, “Late Show” host Colbert has dipped his toes back into the familiar waters of right-wing caricature.
If the Infowars host’s on-air persona is “performance art,” an argument his attorneys made in a Travis County child custody case first reported on by the American-Statesman, then Colbert has more in common with Jones than you might think. After all, Colbert played a parody of conservative pundits like Bill O’Reilly for nine years on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report.”
Except that’s not exactly where Colbert took things the same week the custody trial began. In a parody segment called “Brain Fight with Tuck Buckford,” which you can watch on YouTube, the comedian debuted an impression of Jones that’s good enough to make you feel like “a skeleton wrapped in angry meat.”
“The liberals want to tattoo Obama logos onto the skin of Christian babies, OK?” Colbert-as-Buckford proclaims. We’ll let you decide if that’s just as outlandish as some of Jones’ claims, like the supposed planned federal takeover of Texas through the Jade Helm 15 military training exercise in Bastrop. In more inflammatory moments, Jones has spread false reports that the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre was a hoax and that a child sex trafficking ring was being run through a real Washington, D.C., pizza restaurant.
Buckford has already become a recurring character on “Late Show.” Last week, Jones was sued by Greek yogurt maker Chobani, which accused the conspiracy theorist of publishing false information about the company. An Infowars report from April 11 claimed the company “brought crime and tuberculosis,” as well as “migrant rapists” to Twin Falls, Idaho. Colbert —in character, screaming his throat raw and smearing his face in yogurt — tackled the suit in a new parody segment right away.
The character even has his own Twitter account, which tweets out Tuck quotes. A few examples: “I’M NOT GONNA ROLL OVER FOR BIG YOGURT, THE ILLUMI-CHOBANI, WORKING TO UNDERMINE THE LIBERTY OF THE AMERICAN MANSCAPE!” “I’M NOT MAKING THIS STUFF UP! I’M IMAGINING IT.”
Colbert follows @TuckBuckford from his own Twitter account, @StephenAtHome, and he’s retweeted Tuck. It’s probably safe to assume he has something to do with the character’s social media presence. Unless … it’s all part of a greater conspiracy.
Heard about this?
Amber Heard and I were both born in Austin. Last weekend, the “Magic Mike XXL” actress went ziplining in Australia with a space-bound automotive innovator worth $15 billion. I, on the other hand, cleaned my bathroom and listened to podcasts.
Surely you can relate. You might relate a little less to Heard, who according to multiple reports is officially dating Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk. The actress and mogul both posted photos to their respective Instagram accounts that point to a little lipstick-heavy PDA.
According to TMZ, the pair also met up for a zipline adventure at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary on the Gold Coast, joined by two of Musk’s five sons. Heard is currently filming “Aquaman” down under, reprising her upcoming “Justice League” role as the underwater superhero’s queen, Mera.
TMZ pegs the Heard/Musk pairing at a year old, and according to People, romantic rumors began to circulate around that time. Last summer, Hollywood Reporter got the scoop that Musk had emailed Austin director Robert Rodriguez in 2013 asking to meet Heard, who co-starred in “Machete Kills.”
Heard’s Lone Star pedigree is strong. She first turned heads in 2004’s “Friday Night Lights,” and she received the Texas Film Hall of Fame’s Rising Star award in 2014. She divorced actor Johnny Depp last year.
As S.E. Hinton warned us, nothing gold can stay. The MoPac Boulevard palm tree, that most adorable and scrappy of all roadside flora, appears to have been somehow uprooted.
An adorable and improbable member of the Arecaceae botanical family had been growing on the highway’s left-hand southbound lane, between Westover and Windsor roads. It earned a modicum of viral fame, being adorable and all. But according to a redditor over at r/Austin, the little fronds that could are no more, apparently for around a month. A picture of a chopped-down stub in a pavement crack accompanied the original post.
“Of course TxDOT isn’t gonna let a freaking tree grow next to the mainlands of a controlled access highway,” redditor u/tviolet commented. “It’d be unsafe if anyone ever had the rare opportunity to drive faster than 20 mph. If you post it here, it’s gonna get removed.”
Redditor u/Cellbeep thought hope yet lives: “However, Son of MoPalm lives on the other side of the barricade at an undisclosed location, as does MoPlant growing out of one of the metal traffic signal poles.”
God, guns, grass
According to a recent study by Addictions.com, country music mentions drugs more than any other musical genre, with the most referenced drug being marijuana.
Those results might come as a shock to some listeners who assumed that rap or hip-hop music reference drugs more, but an average 1.6 percent of all country music surveyed by Addictions.com’s Song Meanings Application Programming Interface referenced drugs, compared to less than 1.3 percent on average in hip-hop music.
Jazz came in second place, although the study does not disclose the average percentage.
But what constitutes a drug reference? And what counts as “country” music for this study? For starters, alcoholic beverages are not classified as drugs here (or else country music would win by a landslide). According to the methodology of the study, Addictions.com “scraped song lyrics from Song Meanings API and analyzed drug mentions, what drugs were involved, and how it changed over time, and grouped drug slang words together in their respected drug categories.”
After going over the data from songs from country, rock, jazz, rap/hip-hop, pop, folk and electronic genres from 1933 until now, the drug references were grouped into seven categories: pills, heroin, marijuana, LSD, cocaine, Ecstasy and meth.
After all that, country music came out on top. According to the study, the top three drugs referenced in Nashville’s favorite genre were marijuana (hi, Willie), cocaine and methamphetamine.
It should be noted that many country songs decry dug consumption (with the exception of alcohol and, more recently, marijuana). No country artists were mentioned in the study, but artists like Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Old Crow Medicine Show, Jamey Johnson, John Prine and many others have referenced marijuana, pills, cocaine or heroin in their songs as hazardous and not recreational.
— Jake Harris, American-Statesman staff