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Stephen Colbert mocks Trump's love for 19th century technology

Commentary: In an excoriation of the president's speech to Congress, the late night host realizes when the president thinks that America was truly great.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


America was great when science was great. Apparently.

The Late Show/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

On Tuesday night, Donald Trump spoke to Congress.

How odd that he thought this would be useful. The American people gave up on that idea long ago.

Still, Stephen Colbert was on hand to critique the president's speech.

In an analysis that's already tearing up the YouTube charts, Colbert wondered about almost every aspect of his speech. For example, the contrast between Democratic women wearing white to honor universal suffrage and the fact that most of Trump's support is white.

He also picked targets as diverse as Trump aide Kellyanne Conway, the president's allegedly diminutive hands and his large inheritance.

It was, however, a less noticed passage about technology that moved the comedian most. (It's at about 10:55 in "The Late Show" video below.)

"For everybody wondering the time Trump thinks America was great [manual inverted commas inserted here], he gave his answer: the 1886 World's Fair," said Colbert.

Cut to the president: "Alexander Graham Bell displayed his telephone for the first time, Remington unveiled the first typewriter, an early attempt was made at electric light, Thomas Edison showed an automatic telegraph and an electric pen. Imagine the wonders our country could know in America's 250th year."

You see, that Apple pencil is nothing. But wait, wasn't Bell a foreigner?

Some might take the president's remarks as showing a little contempt for what the tech community has achieved in these times when America hasn't been great at all. The iPhone? So dull. Facebook? Just an electric diary. Uber? A mere taxi service. How could any of that compare to the electric pen?

"When Trump says 'electric pen,'" added Colbert, "he means where he intends to keep the immigrants."

Colbert's mordant mockery of Trump has helped his show rise in the ratings. Online, too, his morning-after videos regularly trend.

Surely, though, the pressure is now on the tech world to do more than create digital scrapbooks and video-posting sites. Silicon Valley, where is your electric light?

Technically Incorrect: Bringing you a fresh and irreverent take on tech.

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