Seeing the good guys win [an argument] on camera
August 9, 2020 3:12 AM   Subscribe

At least once a week, I see a YouTube recommendation where a good person supposedly CRASHES/annihilates/stuns/silences a bad-faith opponent. In reality, either the actual clip is more ambiguous, or the jerk actually has the upper hand, at least in terms of the outcome. And I would so much like to see the good guys actually win, even if just for a moment.

Do you have favorite clips that are just satisfying in this way? Great, satisfying comebacks, with the jerk actually silenced for once, or better still, with the audience laughing at the bad guy?
I need those to lift myself up, so I am NOT looking for speeches on climate change or other issues where the speaker makes a great point but you come away feeling hopeless about humanity.

I sometimes watch old clips of "Obama comebacks" for this reason. AOC has great lines but often does not really "win" because the other side responds with silence or platitudes. I need some real "gotcha" moments that make you laugh out loud.

Do you have anything for me? Could be a clip, could be a full-on documentary but it has to make you feel GOOD. I just need some hope this weekend.
posted by M. to Media & Arts (16 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: This exchange in 2017 between Jake Tapper and a spokesperson for former judge Roy Moore, who argues that non-Christians cannot serve in US Congress, is the ne plus ultra of stunned silence. I’d hesitate to call Jake Tapper unequivocally one of the ‘good guys’ but I think it fits in this case.
posted by theory at 5:24 AM on August 9, 2020 [9 favorites]

There's always the famous clip of Fred Rogers testifying in front of Senator Pastore and the Senate Subcommittee that controlled children's television funding. Pastore, who was considering slashing this funding, is abrasive and condescending initially. And after five or six minutes of Fred Rogers being Fred Rogers, announces, "I think it's wonderful. It's wonderful. Looks like you just earned the twenty million dollars."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:44 AM on August 9, 2020 [8 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you!
I realize this is a hard question but I very much care about the "jerk getting kicked in the nuts" part, not just the "good guy gets his way" part.
posted by M. at 6:54 AM on August 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Oh - saw this recently. Jon Oliver speaking about gun control in the US. Especially good from around 4 minutes into the clip.
posted by multivalent at 6:55 AM on August 9, 2020 [4 favorites]

Not a debate per se, but the Dick Cavett Show episode where Gore Vidal and Norman Mailer engage in some of their public feud is classic for this genre. The best bits are between 9:15 and 15:00, and they're not just from Vidal, Janet Flanner and Cavett get a couple of amazing zingers too. Mailer was acting like a half-drunk dickhead the whole time and the audience cheers uproariously with every dunk, it's just... *chef's kiss* bellissimo.
posted by Ornate Rocksnail at 9:13 AM on August 9, 2020 [3 favorites]

Former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard’s 2012 'misogyny speech.' Fifteen minutes. The bad guy is sitting right there. At first he's all smirks and eye-rolling, but not when she's done.
posted by bricoleur at 9:18 AM on August 9, 2020 [5 favorites]

On phone, so can't link, but Richard Spencer getting punched in the face remains one of my favorite internet moments.

Reporter: What's your lapel pin stand for?

Nazi fuckwit: This is Pepe the Frog, he's a symbol of

posted by basalganglia at 10:40 AM on August 9, 2020 [9 favorites]

The documentary about Gore Vidal/William F. Buckley debates might fit. Best of Enemies.

And there’s a fantastic clip of James Baldwin with a Yale professor complaining that Baldwin thinks too much about race. It’s in another great documentary, I Am Not Your Negro. Link.
posted by Xalf at 11:51 AM on August 9, 2020

susan sontag to norman mailer in town bloody hall
posted by brujita at 11:55 AM on August 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Jon Stewart taking to task the hosts of the show Crossfire might fit the bill. The audience seems to side with Stewart, the ratings of that episode are high, and the show, which had run for over 20 years, was cancelled shortly after. It all seems quaint now though....sigh.
posted by tula at 12:07 PM on August 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Canadian Dr. Danielle Martin presenting Republican Sen. Burr with facts about Canadian healthcare is satisfying.
posted by fso at 1:19 PM on August 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

I really enjoyed Ben Shapiro being shown to be a bratty pipsqueak on the BBC (I have no idea if the interviewer is a "good guy" but it was fun to watch).
posted by lunasol at 11:07 PM on August 9, 2020

Rep Katie Porter got the Wells Fargo CEO to resign by showing he was saying one thing and his lawyers were arguing the opposite.

Senator Mark Kirk does it to himself in a debate with future senator Tammy Duckworth.

Guy tries to explain the causes of the civil war.
posted by cali59 at 5:46 AM on August 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The political garbage talk show Crossfire was filmed on the campus of the university where I went to grad school. One term, I had a class in the same building. Leaving that class one day, on a whim, I popped in to watch a taping. It was the infamous episode with Jon Stewart as a guest who so thoroughly dismantled the show's premise and history that the thing was cancelled a few months later. Watching little weasel Tucker Carlson squirm and fidget uncomfortably as a sheen of sweat formed on his face was without a doubt an incredibly satisfying experience. I haven't watched this in a long time, but I think I will tonight. At one point, as the camera pans over the audience, you can see little 23 year old me in the back of the frame with an open-mouthed smile of joy and amazement.

Edited to say that I should read other peoples' comments before posting.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 11:20 AM on August 10, 2020 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! Some of the examples were vicious!

I just realized a recent Tooning Out The News segment is so satisfying I watch it a few times a day and could fit my own question. It's just a few minutes but it's delightful.

If you haven't seen it yet it's here.
posted by M. at 11:04 PM on August 14, 2020

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