We hear a lot about conservative pundits and how their rhetoric often crosses the lines of decency and civility. I made an example of Ann Coulter a couple days ago to illustrate the point. But there are also plenty of bomb throwers on the left who paint large segments of the population with the same big brush they use to attack individuals who may deserve it. Take Bill Maher, for example.
Maher is a comedian and political commentator. His stock-in-trade has always been to bait people with over-the-top insults. That’s what Politically Incorrect was all about. As Coulter does against liberals, Maher makes a lot of valid observations about conservative stupidity but ruins it by resorting to hate talk and rhetoric that borders on racist.
Mychal Denzel Smith, a writer, social commentator and mental health advocate, offers an example in an NPR article, “The Root: Bill Maher’s Off-Color Jokes Go Too Far“:
Lately he has come to depend on this style of joke to bring home laughs in a way that distracts from the insightful sociopolitical commentary he has to offer. Moreover, he has forgotten the first rule of comedy: Be funny. It simply wasn’t funny when Maher suggested that he wanted President Obama to act like a “real black president” in his handling of the BP oil spill last summer by flashing a gun in the face of its CEO and asking, “We got a motherf -- - -- ing problem here?!”
Maher is no racist. But, as I wrote in another post a few months ago, the language you use still says something about the kind of person you are.
That aside, what really burns me up about Maher these days is his attack on religion. I’ve written plenty about the crazies who attach themselves to religion and distort reality for their own gain, usually burying the truthful, illuminating aspects of faith beneath the rubble of hooey dumped on us by a minority of nuts like evangelists Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, both of whom suggested 9/11 was God’s punishment upon society for homosexuality, feminism, paganism and groups like the ACLU.
With comments like that and their constant penchant for blaming everything bad in this world on homosexuals, liberals and judges who don’t share their worldview, Robertson, Falwell and other like-minded souls are legitimate targets for someone like Maher. But it’s not enough for Maher to go after the individuals who give conservatism a bad name. He denounces all religion and everyone who believes in it. In his book, if you have faith, you’re delusional. He made a whole movie on the subject, Religulous.
As someone who practices Catholicism, I find that insulting.
I’m the first to admit there are a lot of buffoons in the Catholic Church, as evidenced by “Screw You, Cardinal Egan” and “A Rebellious Catholic’s Analysis of Rick Santorum.” But as I’ve said many times before, I believe in Jesus Christ and the Sacriments of the Catholic Church. People often lose their faith because they spend too much time getting angry with church officials and not enough time on the main point of their faith. I also reject the idea that God will send you to Hell because you’re gay, liberal or a devotee of some other religion.
Maher’s worldview is that if you have faith, you’re a racist, conservative, homophobic sheep.
I’ve heard that despite their political and religious differences, Maher and Coulter are actually good friends. Given their tactics, I’m not surprised.