Sunday, February 24, 2008

Blogging Bill Maher

The thing that strikes me about this first segment is how seriously unfunny Bill Maher is. I didn't laugh at one of his "jokes" if you can even call them that. One of my best friends is a comedian, and he's funny, even in casual conversation, but Bill Maher? Hardly. Also, there's this: He bags on Mitt Romney, because Romney bagged on France, and then he makes the observation that Romney lived in France (as I did) yet he doesn't consider that a good reason to listen to Romney when he says we don't want our country to go in the same direction as theirs. Which is just putting-my-fingers-in-my-ears stupid. My conclusion about the first segment: Bill Maher is weak - and not funny - and, yea (being a punk) I'd wear his Bush t-shirt just to piss people off.

On this segment, Maher starts off by naming his guests - mostly Republicans - but then he casually disses the Republican gathering Amy Holmes is reporting on, CPAC. Which, for me, raises the question: If Republicans are such bad people, or so stupid, then why has he invited a bunch of them on this segment? The conversation about McCain goes well, giving some pros and cons about the man, at least from the Republican perspective. The panel discussion starts off as a bust, without much said that was worth the time.

This segment becomes revealing when Matthew Dowd stops Maher's conspiracy theory about terror alerts and gets booed for doing it. It says a lot about Maher's audience that the truth isn't something they want to hear. Much better (I guess) to hate the president, by stoking their anger on their own ass-backward beliefs, than for anything Bush actually did. What losers. Hurting all of us - our standing with each other and in the world - just because they want to believe nonsense. Such people are dangerous. Overall, the cynicism on this program is galling. Here's my message to Maher fans: Being cynical doesn't equal "edgy" but just equals "dark" - like you're viewing each day as though you can't pay your rent - and who needs that? (I certainly don't, so, damn it, donate to this site.)

O.K., here, Bill Maher's nuttiness just gets the better of him and he even admits it ("You're all looking at me as though I'm crazy") as he starts going off on an anti-medicine rant. It's obvious the man is filled with silly conspiracy theories but, incredibly, this nut job is actually taken seriously, by the Left, as a thinker. That's the most hilarious thing about the show. (I like how Jonah Goldberg just sits with his head down most of the time.) Next Maher starts defending Sexy Sadie by refering to him as a spiritual leader - which forces P.J. O'Rourke to add, "Or so he said." - throwing Bill Maher's so-called atheism into high relief. (He's such a NewAger: Everything about these segments say the guy's a fucking flake if ever there was one.) Goldberg's perspective on the waterboarding discussion is kind of informative and, considering the crowd, probably needs to be said. Goldberg's certainly the smartest guy up there, being the only one willing to freely use the words "idiots" and "whackjobs".

"I love liberals, but they are so sensitive" Bill Maher says, completely missing that no one minded the fat joke just before the crack that prompted his reaction. ("The line should be "I love liberals, but they are such selectively PC hypocrites".) The talk about Obama had good stuff in it. And, of course, that was naturally followed by more talk about Bush being simple minded, which is really just too simple minded for comment. Actually, I'm glad that brings the program to a close: It's not nearly as smart as I'd been lead to believe, by a long shot.


  1. "
    Goldberg's certainly the smartest guy up there, being the only one willing to freely use the words "idiots" and "whackjobs".

    Goldberg?! Jonah Goldberg?!

    The funniest thing about this thoroughly laughable assertion? You're obviously a conservative, yet you claim Goldberg is a smarter guy than P.J. O'Rourke! Pfft. By the way, Bob Costas' intellect dwarfs that of the Doughy Pantload as well.

    In other news:
    ...incredibly, this nut job is actually taken seriously, by the Left, as a thinker.

    What an incredibly asinine thing to say. Maher is a putative capital-L Libertarian - who's actually nothing more than a contrarian hedonist.

    Meanwhile, in the real world, the capital-L Left has been entirely marginalized out of contemporaneous mainstream America, relegated to a bogeyman-invocation-as-political-stratagem (see: besmirching of centrist Hillary Clinton's universal health care), just as capital-L Liberal has been reduced to a scornful epithet (as you, unsurprisingly, demonstrate in this very post). In other words, these are both the very epitome of Orwellian newspeak: divorced of any actual meaning.

    Actually, to be frank, this blog entry of yours doesn't even really warrant a response; and yet, I came here from Orac's blog (which I respect), and the name of your blog struck me as hilarious deadpan, so here we are.

    I guess the lesson is: the blog-title relationship is analogous to the book-cover relationship.

    "...putting-my-fingers-in-my-ears stupid."

    Oh, you mean like using Bill Maher, of all people, to tar the "Left"? Quite literally: ridiculous.

    ...ass-backward beliefs, than for anything Bush actually did. What losers. Hurting all of us - our standing with each other and in the world - just because they want to believe nonsense.

    Forget complete sentences, two words are more than sufficient:
    supreme irony.

    Meh, at least your take on Maher's cynicism and willful ignorance of germ theory was on point. Something about broken clocks.....

  2. Well, you sound like a smart enough guy, though "sound" doesn't mean you necessarily demonstrate it. I'll admit, you beat the pants off the usual, when it comes to those that write in, but I still think you can use a primer on how to talk to a black guy (That was a book title, wasn't it?):

    O.K., so you nailed me - I'm a conservative - and I prefer Goldberg's intellect to Costas. Why? At least, from this example, Costas strikes me as a middle-of-the-road thinker who's, undeniably, good with words. Nothing he says is particularly "fresh" or insightful though - maybe you think different (and that would say something right there). As a matter of fact, Costas was the one that got me to write my comments on cynicism, which I loathe. That dear-in-the-headlights look, as others are talking, isn't particularly inspiring either but I quibble.

    P.J. O'Rourke. Who doesn't like P.J. O'Rourke? I've read a few of his books, and think he's fine, but, IMHO, he can miss the mark from time-to-time - just as you did, when I said Maher is respected by the Left, and you decided to insist that can't be right because he's "a putative capital-L Libertarian - who's actually nothing more than a contrarian hedonist". What? Did I call him something other than a Libertarian? Libertarians can't be respected by those on the Left? Did I actually call Maher a Liberal? I don't think so. How'd that connection get made - and by who? Isn't that a baseless assumption? Please, Tonto, pull the arrow out of my back!

    Your little rant about newspeak is creepy. Most rants about newspeak are creepy. Put down the Orwell, Arren, it's just me and you, dude. "Liberal" and "Libertarian" are, still, real words with real meanings. (I'll get back to you when that changes, when the dictionary stops listing them.) Did you jump down David Neiwert's throat when he wrote of Goldberg's book, "Of all the things we know about fascism and the traits that comprise it, one of the few things that historians will readily agree upon is its overwhelming anti-liberalism."? On the other hand, since Neiwert wrote that sentence on his way to a point about newspeak,...oh, never mind.

    And, BTW, Goldberg is right (and I know this from having lived there, not just from WWII movies) the "Left" in Europe is what we call the "Right" here, so Hitler's charges against the Left are - again - Oh, never mind.

    I'm going to read some more of that Orcinus stuff - you must think it's a hellova take down to put it out there like that. I might do a post on it if I see anything worthwhile but, considering the Liberal boilerplate you've thrown at me so far ("Doughy Pantload"? How often have I read that?) I have a feeling I won't. There's a certain style that some Liberals have - that they seem to think is brilliant - that just leaves me cold. It smacks of being "too smart for your own good" when it's clear (to those of us on the conservative side) you miss the point entirely, as Neiwert seems to. That's why "folks" like me (just good ol' fashioned guys and gals using common sense) don't think some book smart people are worth spit. From what I hear, President Bush came to that same conclusion a long time ago, and it's one of the reasons I like him:

    He ain't tryin' to look smart - he just "is" - and he beats the pants off anyone that challenges it.

    But, if there's one thing that's been proven over and over again, a little thing like losing repeatedly has rarely ever got Liberals to re-think their position on anything - especially their own intelligence.

    And, finally, I see that you decided to toot your own horn at my expense (which is fine) but, damn man, do you really think you did that well - without even waiting for a reply? Declaring yourself the winner before the battle has even been engaged? Wow. That's pretty bold. And silly. So silly, it calls for nothing less than my best Bugs Bunny imitation:

    What a maroon!

  3. as Neiwert seems to. That's why "folks" like me (just good ol' fashioned guys and gals using common sense) don't think some book smart people are worth spit.

    Fascism is inherently anti-intellectual. It is against the 'chattering classes' (to coin a phrase). Conversely it applauds those with the will to act.

  4. I did say "some book smart people" (there's a qualifier in there) because not all are necessarily trying to defend Liberalism or Conservatism but just trying to advance ideas. One thing I like about Goldberg, for instance, is when he's clearly proven wrong he admits it. I'm not so sold on my own thinking (that it's above me) either, but - from what I can see as a former member of the group - too many Dems/Libs are so sold on their own sense of ownership of the moral high ground to ever admit they're wrong about something and, from where I sit today, that's definitely a major failing.

    And, in our feminized culture, I do agree, I don't see anything wrong with "the will to act" when action is what's called for - and I'm glad that, considering that tendency, I hate fascism. It's what I'm more than willing to act against. (We've all, I hope, had that moment when we asked ourselves what we would've done, if we had lived in Germany during the Third Reich, right? Would I have sat on my hands, and watched it unfold, or took matters, however slight, into my own hands? I know I would've done something, just as I'm doing something, today, when I see such tendencies appearing in various feminized forms.) The fact that so many, just like before, are willing to dismiss ideas they don't like, because they appear against the group they identify with, is what I find shocking. Like Maher's audience booing Matthew Dowd in favor of their conspiracy theory or Maher dissing Romney, about France, when Romney (and I) know more about the place than Maher. It makes no sense.

    To me, it's not a question of "those who don't study history are doomed to repeat it" but more like those who don't take history seriously, because they're for peace, will allow these things to bite us on the ass once more: We know fascist tendencies are out there - our generation ain't special and the mind-numbing NewAge/spiritual/paganistic cult worship, especially, is a reality of our age, just as it was in the Third Reich - so do we call it or don't we?

    I say, emphatically, "yes".