Monthly Archives: September 2015

Why I no longer watch Bill Maher

Bigotry – Intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself.

Last night I was in a debate with my friends regarding my decision to no longer watch the Bill Maher show because of his bigotry toward religion in general and Islam specifically.  It seems clear to me that when it comes to Maher there can be no denying that his comments regarding Islam are at best the stereotypical misrepresentations of a group of people who number over 1.5 billion worldwide by an ill informed individual and at worst the crazy ranting of a bigot.  But is Bill Maher really a bigot? Hmmm let’s save that one for a little later. Getting back to my friends, a rather liberal group as am I, they could not fathom my decision.  After all Maher is:

A liberal like us – Yes he “appears” to be on most issues

He has used his platform on HBO to point out many of the wrongs and outright hypocrisy of those on the right – Yes he does, no doubt about that

He an atheist he detest all religion not just Islam – True, not relevant but true

Many of his guests don’t agree with him on this issue – Also true

But does any of that matter when it comes to my decision to no longer watch his show – No not really

Why? Glad you asked

Let’s take a look at the case of Kim Davis, the county clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky who defied a federal court order requiring that she issue marriage licenses, on the grounds that it was against her religious beliefs.  Liberals as a whole were outraged by her actions.  But other than her bigotry toward the gay and lesbian community, and let’s be clear it is outright bigotry, what do most people know about Kim Davis.  What are her views on civil rights, abortion, stem cell research, unions, income inequality, gun control? Heck what is her favorite NFL team? We really don’t know, yes we can infer from her stand on same sex marriage what her stance may be on other issues but at the end of the day we really don’t know for sure.  Now what if we found out that she was on the same side of each of those issues as we were? What if the only issue that Kim Davis and us disagreed on was same sex marriage? Would we watch a television show hosted by her or would we be so morally repulsed by her stance on that one issue that we would tune her out.  What if Kim Davis went on the air each week and passionately defended the issues that we hold dear to our heart and had on great guest who do the same would we be willing to look past her bigotry as it relates to the gay and lesbian community?  What if 95% of her show was dedicated to defending those issues but during the other 5% she threw in her belief that same sex marriage was a sin against god would we tune in? I would venture to guess the answer is probably not.

Now there are those who would say the difference is that Bill Maher is simply expressing his freedom of speech while Kim Davis is actively discriminating against a group of individuals and if I am to be fair that is true.  But I would argue that while Maher is not actively discriminating against anyone with his rants against Islam his celebrity and his weekly HBO platform causes just as much or more damage than Kim Davis could ever have hoped to cause. Let’s take one of Maher’s more recent comments about Islam

“What we’ve said all along, and have been called bigots for it, is when there’s this many bad apples, there’s something wrong with the orchard.”

Leaving aside the obvious, that those words could have easily been uttered by Bull Conner as he blocked the entry of young African American children into a school house, those words in and of themselves are damaging because they are words that undoubtedly will be used by others to discriminate against and commit violence toward worshippers of Islam. As liberals we constantly call out those on the right for their use of inflammatory rhetoric we cannot simultaneously expect a pass when we engage in similar tactics. Words are very powerful and when spoken by someone with the celebrity of a Bill Maher that power is multiplied tenfold. Simply articulated all forms of bigotry, are ultimately self-defeating on a number of levels. Talented people who have much to contribute to our society are not given a chance because of irrational considerations.  In America studies have shown over and over that when African Americans and Latinos are defined as lazy, incompetent, unintelligent, culturally deficient and lacking leadership skills, they will be relegated to a secondary status in society and not given the opportunity to advance, resulting in consequences which are real thereby justifying the original definition of their situation. The loss resulting from this unused potential is not just what could have been created or invented but also sows the seeds of discontent, social instability and unrest.  The use of bigoted rhetoric to paint an entire group of individuals as terrorist because of their religious beliefs has made it far easier for politicians in America to justify waging a war in the Middle East with little to no regard for the collateral damage it has caused. According to an academic study published in 2013 nearly half a million people have died from war-related causes in Iraq since the US-led invasion in 2003.  Ask yourself would we still be fighting this war if that was a half a million Christians? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/15/iraq-death-toll_n_4102855.html

So back to my original question is Bill Maher a bigot? Undoubtedly yes when it comes to this topic.

Does he stand for much of what I believe in? Without question he does.

Will I continue to watch his show? No because it is my belief that bigotry large and small and those that preach it must be ignored.  After all there plenty of places to go for this kind of entertainment/news/satire- Trevor Noah keep the Daily Show great.

They’re still trying to change the narrative

Today I saw an article in The Daily Caller which stated that:

According to several Be On Look Out (BOLO) alerts sent from several law enforcement agencies and exclusively obtained by The Daily Caller, some members of the “#blacklivesmatter and #fyf911 are calling for the murder of more police officers.

It is important to note that while this report was not an editorial and I have no reason not to believe the authenticity of the BOLO alerts The Daily Caller was founded by Tucker Carlson, a libertarian conservative. Now with all due respect to Tucker Carlson and some other conservative individuals and organizations there can be no denying that there has been an ongoing attempt from some on the right to discredit the Black Lives Matter movement. Which to be honest is not a centralized movement with any one voice to call it lead but more of a battle cry for people of all colors to stand up against the discrimination and brutality directed toward people of color. The intent of those who link it to groups or individuals who are not concerned with justice but preach violence is clear, discredit the movement as a whole and marginalize those who support it.

When Sarah Palin calls supporters of the movement dogs President Obama won’t call off. When Donald Trump says supporters of the movement are looking for trouble. When radical groups who preach violence are lumped in with the entire movement as if to indicate they are the movement it is reminiscent of what some tried to do to civil rights leaders in the 60s. Which was an attempt to shut down a movement and to avoid a meaningful discussion about race relations in this country.

What is true is that the overwhelming majority of the Black Lives Matter movement has never been about violence and has never been about hatred toward police but rather has always been about equality and justice. We cannot let those who would not see us all live together as brother and sister, those who profit from division rather than unity, those who rather move backward than forward in time define the narrative. The narrative can only be defined by the actions of the majority, people of all races and religions, who stand for equality and justice for all.

So on this 9/11 let us stand as one and remember and honor those we lost 14 years ago. Let us pray as one that the few who preach violence are unsuccessful in their attempts to rally the nut jobs because even one life lost is one life too many. Let our voices be heard as one that we know longer tolerate racism and hate. On this 9/11 let us show the world that we are one.