Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bill Maher: Snobby, liberal, and not very funny...

I was watching the Daily Show the other night with my wife and the guest was liberal snob, Bill Maher. Maher's snobby version of liberalism was on full display, probably encouraged by the snobby brand of liberalism that the Daily Show has become. Don't get me wrong, it was always a liberal show, but Stewart used to be more even-handed in his attacks, and much of the focus of the Daily Show was at first on the mainstream media. Now the show feels rather more mainstream than it used to.

In any case, Maher said some utterly absurd things. Like, for instance, that America is divided between those of us who want a "progressive, European style country" and those of us who are "rednecks." Plain and simple. In Maher's world, like in the worlds of Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh, the world is black or the world is white. We are right or we are wrong.

Nuance is for rednecks and girly men only.

To Stewart's credit he appeared somewhat taken aback by this, and offered up a flimsy example of his own childhood. Maher responded with more blatant snobbery. It's all in the videos below.

They had him on to discuss Religulous, Maher's new documentary, which focuses on slamming religion and religious people. I'm an atheist, so I guess I should feel immune but I don't. I don't agree with militant or fundamentalist anything. I despise Sarah Palin's brand of Christianism, but I also feel that to preach a dogmatic atheism is doing the cause of atheism a disservice.

Don't get me wrong. In my mind, religion (despite its historical importance and so forth) is basically BS. There may be a God, but even so, organizing such speculation into a larger tribe seems kind of silly, or perhaps dangerous. The organization of religion should come under fire. But religious people have every right to believe what they do, just as atheists, Deists, and agnostics have every right not to (depending on how you look at it).

Essentially, I don't believe it is religion holding us back, but fundamentalism, and so when atheists start speaking dogmatically I worry that the same pitfalls await them. There is much of value in the writings of Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris and the rest of those atheist writers. Ann Althouse has a good post on "contempt" up at her blog, which goes into more detail on the subject of atheism.

She writes:
In any case, why can't a comedian or a polemicist deal in contempt?

It's not the only approach, but it's an approach. (And I don't think "contempt" is at all the right word for Dawkins, whose "God Delusion" I've read. It fits Hitchens -- and I've read "God Is Not Great." I haven't read the Harris book, but I don't think it's contemptuous.)
I suppose contempt is an acceptable form of critique. George Carlin was certainly funny in his attacks on religion. Funny is good. Funny contempt is good. Thoughtful, thought-provoking contempt is good (i.e. Hitchens). But contempt that tries to be funny and fails? That's bad.

So is this my complaint? Maher is an idiot because his liberal snobbery doesn't hit the mark--despite his trying to be funny, he just comes across as arrogant. For all his talk of progressivism he instead sounds hollow, prejudiced, and full of shit. If he were actually funny, or actually interesting maybe the rest could be forgiven.

As it stands, well, even my pretty liberal wife said she couldn't stand him.


Anonymous said...

There will always be those that seem militant no matter what side .No matter what subject we will have our radicals .

Im just watching a tv program regarding abortion .Those that say it should be allowed those that say it should not . And like militants those that are against it haunt the clinics making those that have made the decision that surely nobody in their right mind would really enjoy ,seem a even worse situation to be in and much more sadning.

And then there were these sad parents who had lost their young daughter because she could not get a abortion in their state cause it was illegal .
They the parents did not know she was pregnant and she ended up dieing because of using a back alley operation that used unclean tools .

It was sad they were in tears , their daughter died of blood poisoning .

Im not pro abortion i think its a thing thats much better avoided.But neither do i think completely banning it is something that should be seen as being moral.

People have many reasons for many things.And love should become the most important.More than anything else we could do with a lot more love in this world .

E.D. Kain said...

Very true, anon. I dislike abortion, but the thought of black market abortions is scary. That's why, no matter how much both sides would like to turn it into a black and white issue (choice, life, whatever) it simply isn't.