March 27, 2012 — Charles Murray

The Colbert Report Episode GuideEPISODE NUMBER: 8075 (March 27, 2012)
GUESTS: Charles Murray
SEGMENTS: Intro | Barack Obama-Gun Control Conspiracy | Tip/Wag – Anti-Prejudice Drug & Dick Cheney’s Heart | Thought for Food – Tacocopter
SUIT REPORT: Dark suit | White shirt | Red/Black tie
VIDEOS: Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A more riveting episode could not have been delivered via unmanned drone, even if that drone were bringing tacos. President Obama’s vast conspiracy to become a two-term president has been unveiled! Along with our country’s penchant for gun paranoia.

We also enjoyed a fantastic Tip/Wag. An anti-racism pill sounds great, particularly for people who may also suffer from the crippling gun paranoia in the first segment. That’s a two-fer.

I always love to see Thought for Food, a segment that is recurring much more frequently these days. Although the Tacocopter is a ridiculous concept, it is hilarious, ergo… it’s perfection for Thought for Food. Needless to say, I think the FAA made the right call in tacoblocking the Tacocopter.

As far as the interview with Mr. Murray, it was fireworks, but not in the way I was expecting. I feel kind of conflicted about Stephen’s approach to it. I am not sure if hammering Murray on a 17-year-old publication (The Bell Curve) and some obscure researchers association with it was necessarily the strongest angle to attack; however, there are some holes in Coming Apart’s reasoning, which David Frum has pointed out in this thorough review.

It wasn’t the questioning of ideology of the book that surprised me, but more Stephen’s approach. It is a little out of character for him, but he did pull back and the interview ended cordially. I hope Mr. Murray enjoyed himself.

Thanks for all your great comments; we really appreciate your participation.


Tonight! A new pill can cure prejudice. You can trust me: I’m white.

Then, the latest innovation in food delivery: spoiler alert, it’s Di Giorno.

And my guest, Charles Murray, has written a new book about the state of White America.
I believe that state is Utah.

The U.S. soccer team failed to make the Olympics. Now if only soccer would fail to make the Olympics.
This is The Colbert Report!

Barack Obama-Gun Control Conspiracy

The way you chant, I would love to see you march in knee-high boots.

Thank you for joining us for what might be the end of the Republic. Now I have warned you for years that President Obama would hatch a secret plot to be re-elected. And now that plot has been exposed, because of this whole election-thing we’re goin’. Well, it is causing the appropriate level of panic.

Yes! The fear of not being able to buy guns has led to buying so many guns, now we can’ buy any guns, just like we feared. Oh, it’s too simple, right?

In 2008, when people bought before Obama took office, because they knew he would pass harsh gun regulation, which he didn’t. And I will not fall for it again, Mr. President, because we are one step ahead of where you are not planning to go.

"Yes. It is a vast conspiracy, and the total lack of evidence is all the evidence I need."

Me thinks he doth too little too much. And if he gets away with this, what other things he shown no signs of doing will he do next? For instance, he hasn’t sold you into white slavery. Why not? You’re attractive. You could totally satisfy a Russian kleptocrat.

And I can’t help but notice that he has not seized all the Catholic Church’s property and given to the New Black Panther Party for them to run their reefer dens – and ergo, he will. And I don’t even know the meaning of the word “ergo.”

Yes, we need pistols to fight off the roving gangs who come to steal our precious juice! (Nice pic.) It’s the same reason I am investing in personal helicopters, dirt children, and steel gimp masks. So arm yourselves America, or before you know, we all be ruled over by a sexy black lady with crazy blond hair. Mr. President, we don’t need another hero, we don’t need to know the way home, all we want is life beyond Thunderdome. And by the way, Mr. President, you can have my boomerang knife, when you pry it from my cold dead fingers. (Footage of fingers being elegantly severed in Road Warrior.) It might be easier than I thought.

Tip/Wag – Anti-Prejudice Drug & Dick Cheney’s Heart

Nation, I don’t just want to give you my opinion. I want to force feed it down your gullet, until your liver becomes a delicious “moi grais.”

…Fox News, the official channel of white people.

Yes, an anti-racism pill. That’s why I am giving a tip of my hat to whatever Oriental genius came up with this. They are a very smart people, and I am not taking anything away from the jews.

"Until now, science has created only substances that increase racism, like my Aunt Rita's gin gimlets. I don't know what she puts in there, but whew boy! Does she have some crisp opinions about Italians. "

Now for my non-neurologist viewers, sub-conscious thoughts are lower class thoughts, from the wrong side of the brain, you know, the one that takes siestas.

Now if scientists are treating racism with medication, that makes racism a disease, and as such, it’s not your fault, and nothing to be ashamed. I know my Grandpa Leland was so humiliated by his chronic ailment, he took to covering his face (shows a klansman.) (Audience groans) Miss that good man.

(Regarding Dick Cheney’s heart transplant) Sir, I hope you’re back on feet, or maybe, somebody else’s younger, stronger feet.

..which is why tonight, I am giving a tip of my hat, to me. I am the heart donor. You can applaud.

Excuse me, I am trying to praise myself here. What?

"I am pretty sure we have two everything….which is why during the pledge of allegiance we cover them like this."

"I have made a terrible mistake. How long can you go without a heart? How long did Cheney go? Really, ok, can someone get me a list of all the interns blood types, please?"

Thought for Food – Tacocopter

I don’t like to eat and run; that is why I do all my eating on an elliptical machine. This is Thought for Food.

…I always want to be on the cutting edge of sitting still while food is being brought to my mouth.

"So I was thrilled that there was a new company proposing the delivery of tacos using unmanned drone helicopter. And no, you're not dreaming."

I can’t tell you how many times a taco stand has refused to deliver to me, just because I am halfway up K2, or on the roof of a farmhouse in a flooded valley.

Thanks to the imagineers at Tacocopter, now, wherever I am, by sending my cell phone’s GPS coordinates, I can call in a surgical flavor strike that will level my hunger with significant collateral deliciousness. I mean, forget the arms race, folks, we are winning the stomach race. Tacocopter is the first step to achieving intercontinental ballistic munchies, and it is less risky than my current method of getting takeout from Meal Team Six. (Asides to audience: they’re heroes, you know.)

Tacocopter is being blocked by the U.S. government. (Audience boos.) Very good. Barack Obama is tacoblocking me.

Laser-like Food Delivery Accuracy: Meal Team Six


"I think it's refreshing that following this book, you are writing a book that contains no white people whatsoever. "

  • Caroline

    Colbert really nailed Charles Murray to the wall tonight! His refusal to let Murray off the hook for the blatant “scientific” racism espoused and promoted in his books was exquisite to watch. I was on the edge of my seat.
    “i find just hanging out with white people a lot easier, too.”- I literally guffawed. :)

    • Caroline

      Are there two Hubsters named Caroline? I wrote comment #6, but not this one. Maybe one of us should use an initial to avoid confusion?

  • Anna S

    Oh my gosh! I just do not know what to think of that interview. Humming along and then… BANG! I actually felt quite uncomfortable. I was hoping someone else might have commented. What did you all think? It felt to me almost like an out-of-character hatchet job – but I don’t know any background and hadn’t actually heard of Dr Murray before. (That will teach me for not reading BKAG at the start of the week – I just went back to look and CN Helper, I believe you said “Prepare for fireworks”.) I think I need some time to process. To me it just seemed like an out-of-the-blue trap. Am I overreacting? Help! I actually LOVED the rest of the episode (shout out to the boomerang knife! And the tacocopter!) but now I feel a bit ick. Did he have it coming, like Jim Cramer on TDS forever ago?

    • lockhart43

      No worries, you’re not the only one who felt uncomfortable during the interview. As soon as I started to hear Murray’s reply to Stephen’s question, I felt physically uncomfortable and had to mute the TV for a second – I have that reaction to things that make me feel awkward like that. And you’re not overreacting, it’s understandable to feel that way. I will say that I appreciated that Stephen stood by his question, and referred to the exact information on his card for further proof. I also have no previous knowledge of Murray other than this week’s BKAG. His previous book aside, it does seem like Murray’s intentions with his new book are sound.

    • CN Helper

      I did say “prepare for fireworks,” but not “prepare for firefight.” I think the interview took a totally different direction, but it was engaging to watch, even if, as I said above, it seemed a touch on the harsh side.

  • juice

    Gosh, I love Stephen! Yes, Anna, Dr. Murray did indeed deserve to be nailed. It wasn’t a hatchet job at all; rather, it demonstrated just how deftly the Rev. Sir Dr. Stephen T. Mos Def Colbert, D.F.A. wields his interview scalpel. The interview was my favorite part of the episode for that reason.

  • karenatasha

    Brilliant, Simply brilliant. An expert Colbert skewering of a person who deserved to get sliced up. Wow. He pulled back after because he’d done his job and obviously didn’t want to make the remaining time too tense. Great work.

  • colbaby

    Doing that anti-racism segment prior to the interview was inspired. After that, Murray had to know what was coming. It’s always exciting to see “Stephen” take a backseat to Stephen in an interview, even if only for a moment. There was such an air of cognitive dissonance about the guy. He gets upset that Stephen would bring up the racial controversy surrounding his previous book, and yet he’s there to promote a book about white people…

  • Caroline

    Like Anna, I was taken aback by how harsh the tone of the interview got. From what other Hubsters are saying, I gather the guest deserved it. But the risk of going after someone so hard, especially when the guest was being outwardly friendly, is that people can end up feeling sorry for the guest.

    I’ll have to do more research on Charles Murray to better understand why Stephen seemed so furious with him. I know Stephen’s anger came from the heart, but when you let your emotions get into an interview too much, it can be less effective than a calm skewering.

    Also, I agree with Colbaby that there was an air of cognitive dissonance about Murray. He obviously thinks he’s done nothing wrong and doesn’t get the “fuss”.

    • Caroline

      P.S. I didn’t write the first comment. That must be another Caroline. I can be CarolineC, if you like.

      • colbaby

        Wait, this can happen? If I were a more devious person, I would post a short treatise on detailing the masterful artistry of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic under the name Mr. Arkadin. But of course I would never really consider doing such a thing.

        God give me strength…

        • Mr. Arkadin

          “Wait, this can happen? If I were a more devious person, I would post a short treatise on detailing the masterful artistry of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic under the name Mr. Arkadin. But of course I would never really consider doing such a thing.
          God give me strength…”

          No one here would believe that you evil vixen, you! Everyone here knows I’m strictly a Cabbage Patch Kids collector!

      • Caroline

        Yeah, I’m new. Hello, other Caroline. I will change my name to Caroline B. since you were here first.
        P.S. I’m only slightly evil.

        • Caroline

          Hi Caroline B. Welcome! “Slightly evil” – that sounds cool.

  • Mr. Arkadin

    I really enjoyed this episode. I especially loved all the references to the “Road Warrior” movies. Even though they seem to go over the head of the audience. *Shakes fist at young whippersnappers not knowing their 80’s post-apocalypse movie history*

    And I honestly sometimes I wish Obama was as left-wing as the lunatics of the right-wing think he is. The only “gun bill” Obama has signed makes it EASIER to carry guns into national parks! Wake up loons!

    As far as the interview goes. I was surprised by the sharp tone change too. More because I didn’t think Stephen had it in him anymore then being offended for Murray. I thought he’d been pretty soft on right-wing guests recently (ie, Robert Kagan) and wouldn’t challenge them anymore. So I loved the way Stephen would not be stopped from reading his quote about the racist research in the “Bell Curve” book. Tense? Yes. But good.

    BTW: I’m loving this Caroline and her evil twin sub-plot that the Hub has started. I think it will be a huge rating winner! But which one is the lady who helped out at OWS Albany? Tune in tomorrow! Same Hub time, same Hub channel! *Hub’s groovy theme song (Written by Nelson Riddle, no less!) plays over the credits.* This is great!

    • somuch2kno

      I had to sign in, just to give you a cookie for Nelson Riddle. But can I proffer Henry Mancini instead? For some reason I feel we’re a Pink Panther Theme crowd. Maybe that’s just me.

  • Caroline

    The evil twin idea is kind of fun. Luckily, I am not important enough to be intentionally hacked, I think.

    I have just tried add a photo to my name. Let’s see if it works. I’m the one who helps out at OWS Albany, by the way.

    • colbaby

      “I’m the one who helps out at OWS Albany, by the way.”

      That’s exactly what Evil Caroline would want us to think.

  • c.r.

    I suspect that few here have actually read “The Bell Curve”, doubt that Colbert has. The book explicitly indicates that the mix of genetic and non-genetic factors in determining intelligence is not resolved (pre-natal care, nutrition, early parenting, a number of factors come to mind). The focus on race among critics obscures the main point of the book: America needs to be a country with good jobs and respect for people who are never going to be software engineers. Murray is a libertarian, but the fundamental conclusion in the book ought to be one that the left ought to get behind. People who live in the bubble of intellectually privileged peers need to understand that there are people (lots of them) who can’t do algebra. Focusing on the funding source of a couple of minor researchers among the many, many cited was an unworthy cheap shot.

    • lockhart43

      Welcome to the site, c.r.! I’m sorry you felt that the research source was a cheap shot, but I do hope you stick around the Hub. :)

  • lockhart43

    The graphic of the gun with a wig on it is one of the best graphics they’ve ever done. And a carton of ice cream to the person who came up with the term, “tacoblocking.” I really like when Stephen interacts with the audience like he did during Thought For Food. I don’t know why, but it made me smile when he said “Very good” after the audience booed.

    Seriously, scared gun owners: your guns are fine. You don’t have to turn into a conspiracy theorist just because there is a Democrat in office. Stop it. Stephen taking that segment to the apocalyptic extreme was spot-on. I also love that the boomerang knife was a regular boomerang with aluminum foil wrapped around it. Props!

  • Susan

    I read the comments before I saw the interview, so when I watched the interview a few minutes ago, I was expecting some body-blows and tense situations. I was all tensed up, waiting for the fireworks, particularly since some commenters had categorized the interview as an uncomfortable one.

    Maybe I should watch the interview again–I didn’t see it. I think that Colbert was restrained and not really all that angry.

    In fact, I think that his broaching of the “Bell Curve” citation issue allowed the author to give a reasonable explanation as to the funding of his research.

    • lockhart43

      Hi Susan! You’ll have to forgive me, I know that it’s not the reaction that everyone has. The moment right after Stephen asked the initial question about the citations when Murray started to answer and became visibly frustrated was when I started to feel uncomfortable. It’s something that happens when I see a situation that is awkward (like two people I know arguing in front of me but not at me). Other than that speedbump, I will agree with you that I didn’t see any other problem with the interview. And I’m quite glad that you didn’t see any uncomfortableness and enjoyed the interview!

      • Susan

        Thanks for the clarification!

        I guess I thought that the whole interview (especially Murray) was maybe a bit of tense but restrained composure.

        Who knows?

  • anais0509

    I did the opposite, in that I watched the episode first and then read the episode guide (I also didn’t read the BKAG as I usually do which probably contributed to my scaled-back reaction). I sensed the tension, but thought it ended on a well-reigned-in note. It does strike me, though, to see how different people’s reactions to the interview were, whether they approved of the nail-down or were viscerally struck by Stephen’s out-of-character harshness (which, honestly, never crossed my mind, though it did seem a tad forward). Just my observation.