Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Maher Plays Hardball

I've been a big fan of Bill Maher since before he got thrown off of ABC for agreeing with a guest that the 9/11 hijackers were not cowards because they were brave enough to fly planes into certain death, even though he was obviously pointing out the differences between physical and moral courage (a lesson many of our pro-war leaders could use). He and I come down on the same side of most issues in many different areas. In fact, his sociopolitical philosophy has been described by friends as Libertarian-Socialist (see the subtitle of this blog).

He has a show on HBO now but he occasionally drops by the cable news shows to give his opinion on what's happening at the time. One of the things I like about the guy is that he has no problem speaking the truth on shows like Hardball where the vast majority of guests merely spout the agreed upon talking points of whatever side they're supposed to be serving. You can even see him shaking his head at times about the reactions the hosts and other guests have to his musings, as he hears them trying to parse language and not make or commit to any comments that are too controversial.

The interview below is a perfect example of this. I agree with everything he says about the lack of actual substantial dialogue about race and between races in this country, the phenomenon of people consistently voting against their own self-interests and how our presence in Iraq is only fueling the terrorist's cause against us. Pay close attention at the very end and you'll see that slightly incredulous look he gives when Matthews calls him a brave man for saying things that are absolutely true yet seem to be categorized as too high-minded and big-picture to be discussed in any substantive way on a daily basis because they don't fit into the horse race narrative of most mainstream media's news and election coverage.

When it comes down to comedians having to do the job of candidly dissecting the news for you, you're officially part of the problem. It's the refreshing honesty of entertainers like Maher, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert speaking truth to those in power that should make political pundits like Chris Matthews feel ashamed of the dog and pony shows they put on every day:


Anonymous said...

boy, they do always run to grandma, don't they. ;)

I'd be lying if I said I had any previous exposure to Chris Matthews outside of the SNL skit where he destroys Paul Begala. Man, that guy seems like a total tool. What's his bit? Liberal talking head?

JBW said...

Nah, he used to work for Tip O'Neil back in the day but now he claims to be an independent, just as practically every cable news host does no matter how obvious their political leanings. He seems to know a decent amount about politics but he's the farthest thing from intellectually honest.