Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Colbert Report

 Central's “The Colbert Report” is an American late night satirical news show in which Stephen Colbert portrays a caricatured version of conservative political experts. “The Colbert Report” is a spin-off from “The Daily Show” and Stephen Colbert is a former correspondent for this show. The show focuses on a fictional anchorman character called Stephen Colbert. The character is a "well-intentioned, poorly informed high-status idiot".
File:Colbert Report logo.png"The Colbert Report" appeared on the 17th October 2005 and has collected huge ratings and critical success as one of the top shows on television. The series has received a prestigious Peabody Award for Excellence in Broadcasting in 2008 and 18 Primetime Emmy nominations. In 2010, Colbert and his writing team won the show's second Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program.

Stephen Colbert is an American political satirist, writer, comedian, television host, and actor. Born and raised near Charleston. He originally studied to be an actor, and graduated from Northwestern University.

Colbert creates new words (neologisms). Besides "truthiness", Colbert has coined other terms such as "freem", which is "freedom without the do, because I do it all for you".
 Colbert also creates numerous polls to invent new names, such as “the Time 100 online poll”, a contest in which the viewers had to name an International Space Station module (which Colbert did not eventually win).
He also more anecdotally named animals, places and things such as Steagle Colbeagle the Eagle, the mascot for the minor league hockey team Saginaw Spirit; Stephen Jr., a bald eagle at the San Francisco Zoo; Air Colbert, a Virgin America jet; Americone Dream, a Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavor; and a NASA treadmill called the Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill (C.O.L.B.E.R.T.).

"The Colbert Report" deployed to Iraq in June 2009 on a USO tour entitled "Operation Iraqi Stephen: Going Commando" to perform shows in front of the troops. "The Colbert Report" is the first TV show in USO history to produce a week of shows in a combat zone.

"The Colbert Report” provides a perspective on the news that is exclusively expert-based. Its success is due to the combination of intellectual satire with ludicrous humor. Thanks to his famous “Remix competitions” in which Colbert implicitly suggests that his fans remix aspects of his show simply by telling them not to remix them, the show also became appreciated by young people.

Stephen Colbert is always at the top of the news and never hesitates to talk about delicate subjects.  He gave for example a satirical speech at the 2006 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner in which he criticized the Bush Administration and the news media.

“The Colbert report” has a big influence on the popularity of a person or thing when being invited or mentioned on the show: it is called the "Colbert Bump". For example, if a politician appears on “The Colbert Report”, he may become more popular. According to the “American Political Science Association”, contributions to Democratic politicians rose 40% for 30 days after an appearance on the show. 

Stephen Colbert comes at you with all the "naming things after Stephen Colbert"news:

   Sophie Roegiers and Hélène Sambon


With his legendary red cape, blue tights and his stylized “S” shield on his chest Superman is with no doubt the most famous superhero of all time. This American cultural icon opened us to the superhero genre.


First apparition of Superman
in a comic book

Superman was introduced to the world in 1932, in a story imagined by two fans of science fiction; the writer Jerry Siegel and the artist Joe Duster. He was originally nothing like the icon he is today, being an evil creation of a mad doctor. After this first unnoticed version of Superman, Siegel decided to revise his work. With the development of the comic book genre in the 30’s, he elevated Superman to the rank of a comic book superhero. In 1938, DC Comics finally noticed Duster and Siegel’s work and published it.  From that time onwards, Superman never stopped catching the public’s attention.
Over the years, the original story of Superman has been rewritten and rebooted many times by scenarists who tried to perpetuate the legacy. Although the common themes remain the same, details have prominently differed in each retelling to keep the readers’ interest.

A super hero

Without the creation of Superman there would be no superhero genre as we know it. He is the archetype hero who uses his powers to counter crimes and prevent villains to take over the world thanks to his strong moral code.
Superman was born on the planet Krypton and was rocketed to earth when his planet was about to be destroyed.  Rescued by Kansas farmers, the Kents, he was raised as Clark Kent. He was taught to use his powers for the good cause. He embodies the perfect hero, willing to do everything to protect the planet which welcomed him.

An icon

For almost 75 years Superman has never fallen off in popularity. He is the first cross media star, being successfully adapted to movies, cartoons, daily newspaper, radio and TV shows...
Superman is popular not only because he is the first superhero but also because people can identify and connect with him. First of all, he is an ordinary journalist who never dreamt of being special. But his strong values of morality, justice and goodness help him use his powers for the good of humanity. Then as an orphan and immigrant, he tries to fit in the world and to figure out who he is supposed to be. Finally he is the people’s hero protective of his land of refuge, defending the oppressed and fighting the never ending battle for truth and justice.

Superman has had a huge influence on people who grew up with him through comic books, cartoons and films. He is a role model, the symbol of the best part of mankind and someone we can look up to. Moreover this flying man takes us from our daily routine into a world of adventures where everything is possible. Clearly as popular now as he was 75 years ago, he has been voted the greatest sci-fi character of all time.

Angeline Derzelle and Céline Pierre

The butter tart

The butter tart

The butter tart is a typical Canadian dessert which is very popular in the province of Ontario. Its origin is rather difficult to determine but it seems to come from the region around the borderline between England and Scotland. When they immigrated to Canada, the English and the Scottish brought their border tart to Ontario, where it became the famous butter tart.  Over the years the Canadians adapted the recipe to the local tastes.  Nevertheless, some stories state that the butter tart originated from the American pecan pie.  The first reference to this speciality was found in the cookbook The Womens Auxiliary of The Royal Victoria Hospital Cookbook published in 1900.

The butter tart initially spread among the lower class and especially among farmers, who had the basic ingredients at their disposal. Little by little it became a traditional familiar dessert made up of butter, sugar, syrup, and eggs filled into a flaky pastry . The most dominant flavours of this pie are butter and raisin. However, you can still vary the taste by adding peanuts, other dried fruit, pecans, walnuts, chocolate chips and other things . It can either be served at room temperature or chilled. The pastry is not only savoured as a dessert but also as a tea time snack.

France and Scotland also have their own butter tart, namely the tarte à la frangipane and the Ecclefechan butter tart. The former differs from the Canadian recipe only by its almond filling and the latter only by its absence of syrup.

Many Canadian people are now used to eating the butter tart as a dessert on Sundays.  But it has not always been the case.  Formerly, the parents who were looking for a suitable husband for their daughter used to invite the suitor for tea time and to welcome him with a home-made butter tart.  Nowadays no particular occasion is needed to serve it. You can buy it in any good bakery as well as at the supermarket. In fact, it is now mass- produced. Yet, you can cook it yourself; as for the taste, there will just be no comparison!

No matter where it is prepared - at home or not - it is advised not to overindulge in the butter tart as it could be harmful for your health. Indeed, such a dessert is high in calories, fat and sugar. Needless to say, people suffering from cardiovascular diseases, diabetes or who are obese and on a diet should not consume it. Industrial as well as home-made butter tarts are actually both considered as junk food. However, if you cook this tart yourself, you can reduce its calorific intake by avoiding sugar or replacing it by a natural or an artificial substitute, and consequently make it fit to eat by diabetic patients.

The butter tart is so popular in the province of Ontario that some food lovers have created a blog where people can recommend the places where the best butter tarts are served. Moreover, in order to honour Canadian products, they organize each first Saturday of August  the Food Day Canada”, during which a meal has to be prepared from Canadian ingredients only.

Coralie Dubois & Elodie Keffer

James Bond

Sean Connery

His name is Bond...James Bond. His favourite drink is Martini ‘shaken, not stirred’ and he is constantly surrounded by beautiful women called the ‘Bond girls’. Since half a century James Bond has been one of the most iconic and adulated spies in the world. He works for her Majesty’s Secret Service under the code name of agent 007(double o seven). During his secret missions, he has to defeat evil villains, who represent a threat for Great Britain and the world. Despite the fact that he doesn’t always follow the orders of MI6, his superiors, he always manages to achieve his goals and save the world thanks to his unexpected whizzy gadgets but also his temerity.
The character of James Bond was brought to life in 1953 by the writer Ian Fleming, himself an ex-officer of the naval intelligence during World War II, and appeared for his first adventure in the novel “Casino Royale”.  It will be followed by thirteen other novels, many of them adapted into films.

James Bond, the perfect British icon...
James Bond is a spitting image of the perfect British gentleman: handsome, strong, educated, sophisticated and not lacking in self-confidence. No matter the situation he’s involved in, he always looks his best in his sharp suits. Even between two killings he finds the time to go to the casino and with his charm and charisma he never fails in seducing attractive ladies.
Those who played the spy also contributed to his success. Except George Lazenby and Pierce Brosnan (respectively Australian and Irish), they are all British actors. Sean Connery, the Scottish, was the first to play the role in Dr No in 1962. He was followed by George Lazenby in 1969, Roger Moore in 1973, Thimothy Dalton in 1987, Pierce Brosnan in 1995 and finally Daniel Craig in 2006.
His looks, personality but also his luxury cars are representative of the British icon. Thanks to the Bond movies, British cars have been promoted all around the world. Famous British makes such as Aston Martin, Rolls Royce, Jaguar, Bentley have seen their popularity rocketing.
Moreover, both in the movies and in the novels, numerous emblematic English places are highlighted. For example, Buckingham Palace appears in the movie Die Another Day, Edinburgh's Fettes College in the novel You Only Live Twice. Yet, it is the latest film Skyfall that is the most largely based in London with scenes shot by Big Ben, St Paul’s Cathedral and in the Tube.
The most striking elements showing how deeply James Bond is rooted in British culture are that the Queen herself is a fan and has attended three of the movie premieres. Most recently, she took part in a film for the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony in which she was escorted by Daniel Craig, the latest James Bond.
For 50 years thus, James Bond has been a great example of ‘pure Britishness’. Quotes of the movies are even now common knowledge and it will be a long time before we stop saying: ‘My name is Bond...James Bond’.
 bond is great britain

By Maureen Dekyvere and Florence Gilles

Irish stepdance

Irish stepdance is a kind of dance that has its origins in traditional Irish dance which appeared in pair with traditional Irish music. 

Irish step dancing consists in performing quick and complex feet movements while keeping ones hands and upper body rigid. These constraints can be explained by the fact that the original size of the stages used to be very small: they were made out of doors lying on the ground in order to get a hard surface to dance on.  Arm movements would have thus provoked involuntary punches between the dancers in such a confined space. Moreover, the restricted space and reduced arm movements enable people to pay more attention to the complexity of the feet steps. Sometimes movements of the arms are inserted but this is considered to be a hybrid style.

There are two ways of performing Irish stepdance:  the solo stepdance, performed by one single dancer, and the group stepdance, which is executed by two or more dancers.  Irish stepdance also falls into two categories depending on whether soft shoes or hard shoes are used: the “reels”, “slip jigs”, and ‘light and single jigs” are performed in soft shoes whereas “hornpipes” and “treble jigs” are danced with hard shoes. Hard shoe dancing also includes clicking (i.e. the striking of shoe-heels against each other), trebles (i.e. the toe of the shoe striking the floor), stamps (the entire foot striking the floor), and so on...
Every Irish stepdance choreography contains more or less the same primary steps.  However it doesn’t mean that all the choreographies are the same! They simply depend on the creation of the choreographer who will produce a different choreography each time by changing e.g.the order of steps, the tempo, the songs, etc. 
The basic equipment required for a stepdancer is obviously the traditional pair of shoes. As mentioned above, there are two types of shoes: hard and soft ones. The former are made of fibreglass tips instead of metal enabling to increase the sound of the footwork and diminishing the weight of the shoe. Hard shoes have flexible soles and have eight striking surfaces: the toe, bottom and sides of the front tap and the back, bottom, and sides of the back tap. They are worn by both genders. Similarly, there are 2 types of soft shoes: those worn by female dancers, and those worn by male dancers. The first are similar to ballet slippers having a very flexible body whereas the second are more like jazz shoes having fibreglass heels.         
In case of important events -such as competitions- dancers wear special costumes. Girls wear traditional dresses which are very precious and expensive for solo performances. They can cost up to one thousand dollars each! However the dresses used for group performances are not that expensive or sophisticated. 

Nowadays the Irish stepdance has become famous around the world. A lot of schools have been created, mainly in the United States.  Moreover it is possible to take part in different competitions and to attend great shows such as the famous "Riverdance" .

 Irish stepdance in a more modern style

                                                                                                        Sarah. S., Laurie W.

Dreamtime, or the Big Bang Theory...

As it is the case in every civilisation, men have always wondered where they come from. In Australia, the Aboriginal tribes have thought of different stories in order to explain their origins. The period of creation has different names according to the Aborigines (Tjukurpa, Alcheringa, Lalai…), the most common one being “The Dreamtime”. But where does the name come from? In those tribes, dreams are a very important part of the culture.  According to the Aborigines, their dreams can be interpreted as memories of the genesis. 

Dreamtime is thus referred to as “ the time when the first people were created” (from the OALD). All physical realities can be traced back to this period.  In other words, the different tribes think that this moment is the origin of all things (animals, plants, landmasses, stones, humans…) in the world.  The dreamtime can be divided in four parts:
-       the story of the things that have happened
-       how the universe appeared
-       how human beings were born
-       how the Creator decided upon the place of human beings in the cosmos
According to their beliefs, their ancestors’ spirits, considered as deities, are the ones who created the Earth. They do not only take human form, but can also be present as plants, animals, stones…In this way, after a person’s death, his or her soul may return in human, animal or plant form.  This is one of the reasons why the Aborigines are very respectful towards nature in all its manifestations and do not want to change or spoil it in any way.
In another version of the myth, the Great Rainbow Serpent is supposedly the one who gave birth to the first Australian Aboriginals and is therefore considered as THE “original creator”. He is the one who created the landscapes, the stones, the sun and the human beings.


The Aboriginal culture is filled with legends and stories about the foundation of the world.
Those stories are told from generation to generation in order to preserve the Aboriginal cultural heritage.  This heritage is still visible in their current society through rituals, ceremonies, songs, dances, stories… For instance, during their ceremonies (also called coroborees), they dance and sing, while being accompanied by typical Aboriginal instruments, such as didgeridoos and clap sticks.  They enable them to recall the first ages. 
The “dreamtime” phenomenon is also found in many different forms, such as media, literature, sport… There are many films that are based on this concept.  For example, “The Last Wave” tells the story of a man who has a dream connection with Aborigines who are charged of murder. The well-known singer, Kate Bush, also wrote on this subject in her song “the Dreaming”. Another sign of the impact of Dreamtime is that the name is used for one of their Rugby Teams, which has some of the best players of Australia.

In conclusion, we can say that dreamtime is an icon of Australian culture, especially for the Aboriginal tribes.  Their culture and religion rely on it, as can be seen in their rituals and ceremonies, which are still practiced today. Furthermore, the concept is spreading more and more in the current society and is not limited to the Aboriginal people of Australia any longer.

Example of coroboree
 Andrew Denis and Céline Van Gysel


Monday, December 10, 2012


KFC is a chain of fast food restaurants, especially known for its fried chicken. The initials stand for “Kentucky Fried Chicken”. It’s the second largest chain after Macdonald’s: everyday, KFC serves 8 000 000 customers in more than 14 000 restaurants worldwide. It was founded in 1952 by Colonel Harland Sanders in Kentucky (east south-central region of the USA). The origins of this gigantic chain began in his roadside restaurant only to expand really quickly. Its first slogan was “finger lickin’ good” but it has now changed into “So good” and “Nobody does chicken like KFC”.
KFC is known all around the world, particularly in the USA and China which are the 2 most important markets. In 1964, England was the first country to introduce “the American chain” in Europe. At this time, it was the first fast food restaurant. Mac Donald’s, Pizza Hut and Burger King arrived 10 years after. Nowadays there are 840 KFC restaurants in the UK and Ireland and this business employs over 8,000 people. They serve over 100 million meals a year                  .

 Original Recipe
The Original Recipe remains a trade secret. There are only 5 people who know the entire recipe: Sanders’ wife Claudia, Pete Harman and his wife, and Jack C. Massey. A copy of the recipe, signed by Sanders, is kept in a safe. The few people who have a high position in the company are not allowed to travel together on the same plane for security reasons.

As the initials indicate, KFC is very famous for its fried chicken.  However, the restaurants also serve other products like grilled chicken, chicken burgers, potato wedges, salads, desserts and breakfast-menus.  Moreover, apart from the traditional food of KFC in the USA, this chain adapts its menus to suit local tastes. For example, KFC in China offers products like fish, porridge and egg tarts.

Greenpeace accused KFC of destroying the  Amazon Rainforest. In fact, KFC Europe bought soybeans from the farm-produce company Cargill to feed their chickens. The problem is that Cargill deforests the Amazon Rainforest to grow their soybeans . Greenpeace then actually purchased this illegal export of soybeans to avoid the destruction of the Rainforest.

Several organizations for animals rights led by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), denounces KFC’s treatment of animals used for their products. They are criticized for mistreating their chickens with unacceptable practices: they beat them, don’t give them enough space to live in, throw them against walls, trim their beaks, break their wings/legs and then drop them into tanks of scalding-hot water while they are still alive. For all these accusations, KFC defends itself by saying it meets UK legal requirements.

Saturday, December 08, 2012


Oxford dictionary definition:

British informal, derogatory

"A young lower-class person typified by brash and loutish behaviour and the wearing of (real or imitation) designer clothes" 

A chav is a rude young person from a poor background, who stands out negatively in the British society, by a discourteous and disrespectful behaviour. The main characteristics are that they wear gold jewellery, branded sportswear (which are fake or not) or Burberry clothes, and of course, the cap and the jogging into the socks. Their usual attitude is to stay in groups, which they call "crew", and to try to pick a quarrel with anybody. The term chav comes from the gypsy word for "child" but it is now generally understood as an acronym for "council house and violent", and has its female correspondent, namely chavette.

Chavs are sometimes considered as a source of fracture in the British society. As in an article of the guardian from May 2011, which presents chavs as recipient for public resentment. Indeed it has become for the middle-class people a derogatory term to refer to the less well-off and to complain about their improper behaviour. A confirming evidence of this phenomenon could be the website Chavtowns.co.uk, which sarcastically lists all British towns following the "chav-rate". "Chav fighting lessons" began to appear in the UK...

They also have a proper sociolect, which mainly includes pre-made sentences or phrases like "innit" "eye yer you alright!" "hoody means respect in it" for example.

Some of the problems include alcoholism, violence, drugs (dealing as well as consuming). Some sociologists argue that in those areas, young people suffer from unemployment and abandon from the government, so that they search new way to become respected. And those ways would be to be rough and violent. One of the evidence of this desire to use bad behaviour to be noticed is the attempt to get as many ASBO as possible. These are "Anti-social behaviour order", a kind of administrative rebuke. As it has not really any big judicial value, they try to collect them.

In 2005, a study took interest in the growing chav phenomenon. It depicted the chav culture as a strange subculture which, unlike its predecessors, lacked any association with a particular musical movement or political ideals. In 2011, a book Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class considered the "chav phenomenon" as the proof of the hierarchy in the British class-system, which gave no chance to the lower classes to get out of their misery.

They are thus a group of disfavoured young people from disfavoured areas, who are recognized for their way of speaking, their way of clothing, and mainly for their behaviour. The latter is problematic, as they try to get respect from the rest of the society by being "rough", which for them means rude, violent and disrespectful of the rules. This attitude gets things worse, as they worsen the already bad opinion about them.

Clément Monhonval and Adrien Sevrin