The Daily Show put government spokespeople on a high-stakes game show last night. The U.S. government has avoided using the word "coup" to describe the events in Egypt because of the anti-coup rule that would prevent the U.S. from giving Egypt $1.6 billion in aid. "Your challenge is to describe the events in Egypt, but if you use the word coup you will lose everything," John Oliver said. "It's like the $100,000 Pyramid, except it's $1.6 billion and the pyramid is an actual pyramid."
The first contestant was State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Saki, who said, among other things, that there are millions of people in Egypt who do not think it's a coup. Oliver commended her on her verbal gymnastics: "She is going kama sutra on the English language, bending words into all kinds of exciting, exotic positions before reaching a climax of meaninglessness." Tying it all to the big story of the week, Oliver said the not-a-coup situation is as if Kate Middleton had a baby, but couldn't call it a baby. "'Yes, this tiny human emerged from my womb after nine months of gestation. But is it a baby? I don't think we should get bogged down in calling it that just yet.'"
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.