Bill Maher

I find this man just infuriating. I think the problem is that I like a good 85% of what he has to say – but the other 15% is just maddening. I Tivo’d one of his comedy specials and I know it’s very old news and he’s done plenty of other things to make me mad since then, but my goodness did this special infuriate me.

And it does hurt the most that I like most of the stuff he does. For this particular comedy special, he (or his team) created a series of posters that were designed to look like the government posters created around World War II, but which pertain to the current (and my God, it’s still the current war seven years after this special) war. Like a poster of a giant SUV sporting American flags with the tag line, “Empty gestures don’t win wars!” It’s part of his rant about how the government never really asked us to do anything for this war the way they did around WWII, and his rant about how driving these gas guzzlers funds terrorism more than, say, marijuana.

I mean, he’s in the middle of this perfectly agreeable rant about why on earth is lying about who gave you a blow job worse than any other lie a president could make, which is obviously very old news and was even in 2003 but with which I heartily agree, but then he has to say, “It just backs up my case that this is a feminized country, because obviously the worst thing anyone can ever do in America is get a blow job!” Excuse me?! Excuse me?! Why does this have to become about “feminized”? And, fuck you very much, major feminist organizations, like NOW, stood by Clinton during the sex scandals. They actually took heat for this from those conservative women who belong to groups that sound like they might be feminist for 30 seconds until you read what they actually believe in. Whereas most of the people screaming for Clinton’s resignation were men. Who, as it has turned out, were getting plenty of their own illicit blow jobs.

And then he gets even worse. He blames women for terrorism because women, all of them, insist on diamonds, knowing that a) terrorists use them to launder money, and b) terrible things happen surrounding the mining of diamonds in Africa. He says, and I quote, “I know women hate to hear that because women think about diamonds the way men think about sex, the way leeches think about blood.” Nice. Very nice. It is shocking to me that Bill Maher gets women to have sex with him at all. He says he told a woman friend about the atrocities committed in the name of mining diamonds, who he describes as “only about the nicest person I’ve ever met, but she is a woman.” I hope that this woman is no longer friends with him.

He starts talking about how you can say things about men that you can’t say about women, like if you go on a daytime talk show, you can say “Women are really smarter than men,” and you’ll get applause, but you can’t say “Men are smarter than women.” But he says, “I know it’s the national law here in America that women are more evolved than men, but if that’s true, then how come they’re still so impressed by shiny objects?” Can you imagine saying that about another group in America?

He claims that he realizes that not all women fit his description of feminine, but then goes on to say, “For lack of a better term, I would say that feminine values are now the values of America. Sensitivity is more important than truth. Feelings are more important than facts. Commitment is more important than individuality. Children are more important than people. Safety is more important than fun!” And I’d like to take these items one by one.

When he says “Sensitivity is more important than truth,” he’s, I believe, referring to “political correctness” and not calling a spade a spade because it’s not “polite,” and while that was a terrific point to make back in, oh, 1996, I feel that the anti-pcers – him included – have turned into assholes. They don’t want to call a spade a spade, they want to call a spade a fucking retarded n-word kyke pussy spade, and then they want to complain that anyone who’s offended is too sensitive and is also – while not at all throwing them in jail or in anyway excercising governmental power over them – destroying their freedom of speech. And yes, being sensitive is more worthy a value than being an asshole.

“Feelings are more important than facts.” When I think of 2003, and who was making feelings more important than facts, I think of the president and the president’s administration, nearly all of whom were men. And their feelings were, FOR LACK OF A BETTER TERM, BILL, I’M NOT ANTI-MAN JUST BECAUSE I’M TALKING ABOUT THEM THIS WAY, masculine feelings – revenge, violence, wanting to punch something.

“Commitment is more important than individuality”? Since when? I don’t know what the fuck he’s talking about here; I think this country could use a good dose of not being quite so obsessed with individuality.

“Children are more important than people” is quite a lot to unpack. First of all, why, in Bill Maher’s view, and in many (single, childless) men’s views, are children only women’s concern? Don’t you people have something to do with children? And if you continue to posit that children are only women’s concerns, then don’t talk to me about a father’s right not to have his baby aborted, or whatever the hell else father’s rights groups are up in arms about. Until you stop assigning “children” to “women,” STFU. Then, I guess a lot of people feel that a lot of American society is designed around children, and unfairly. Look at our movies, look at what can and can’t be shown or said on television, blah blah blah. And I believe, in this regard, he’s got a point. But when you look at other measures – like that old people can get single-payer, government sponsored health care and social security and children can’t – we’re not very child-centered at all. And I think paying for health care and keeping people out of poverty is more significant than where and when curses can be said on television.

I have nothing on “Safety is more important than fun!” I aim to be a Free Range Parent; I agree with him on that score. But I hate agreeing with him; it just makes me mad!

And he can’t make this distinction between actual women and “feminine values” when he immediately afterwards goes into a rant about wives and women and how awful it is to be a woman. He claims that, as the last unmarried man among his friends, their wives don’t want them hanging out with him because he’s “like an escaped slave. I bring news of freedom.” Like, fuck you very much, being a married MAN is exactly like being a slave. He makes fun of the notion that married men live longer, essentially saying, sure, they live long lives of quiet desperation. But married men don’t only live longer than single men, they do better in all realms of physical and mental health. Oddly enough, the same is not true for women; married women only do better than single women healthwise if they describe themselves as happily married. And a lot fewer women describe themselves as happily married than men.

Then he picks up on examples of oppressed men that I think are actually about oppressed women. Like hot, smart women in sitcoms being married to dumb schlubs. Now, I have long wondered why men are not more offended by being depicted as dumb schlubs all the time, and apparently, Bill Maher is, and fine. But what does it say about society that hot, smart women can’t do any better than dumb schlubs? Or that hot, smart women still need a marriage so badly, in order to be considered socially acceptable, that they are willing to marry dumb schlubs? Or that schlubby, fat men can work in show business with no problem, they can even get their own sitcoms, but women had better be earth-shatteringly gorgeous if they want to show their faces on any screen anywhere?

Then he has the nerve to suggest that women wouldn’t get breast implants if they stopped making men apologize for being men. That makes no sense at all. He says men don’t care about big boobs, they just care about new sex partners. He points out that Hugh Grant had Elizabeth Hurley at home but still went to a less attractive prostitute. I think he’s missing something. Women aren’t looking to be paid $50 to fuck Hugh Grant in the backseat of a car. Women – the kind of women who are likely to get breast implants, anyway – are looking to marry Hugh Grant. But the whole thing is offensive and nonsensical either way.

He makes a big joke of a couples counselor on a daytime talk show suggesting exploring “mutual fantasties.” He claims women and men have no mutual fantasies. “Yours bore us, and ours offend you.” I begin to suspect that Bill Maher a) doesn’t actually know a lot of women, and b) doesn’t have very good sex.

But the thing that really kills me is that he conflates “women getting their egos stroked on daytime tv” with “women having actual power.” Here’s how you know you have actual power – no one needs to pat your back and say you’re really the smarter one on daytime television. Sure, it might be a popular, if trite and untrue, statement to say “If women ran the world, there wouldn’t be any wars.” But if women actually ran the world, you wouldn’t need to say that. It’s only because women continue to really, really not run the world that there’s any call for saying that.

And for those of you who only give a shit when I’m writing about Zoe, I will have you know that she agrees with this entire post, although she does not feel that Bill Maher’s other 85% is funny enough to watch, when we could be watching babies dance to “Single Ladies” on You Tube instead.

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