I don’t think there’d be any possible way for me to exaggerate about how much I hate Bill Maher. In fact, people I know often ask my opinion about him, pretending not to know, just in order to see me get all flustered and angry. For some reason I’ve of late received a few queries on what Bill Maher’s problem is, and on what the fuck is wrong with liberal dudes in general (can you believe someone had to ask my opinion on something?), so I figure the time has come for me to explain myself on this matter.
I’ll be the first person to bemoan the lack of liberal messages in media of all kinds, and I’ve had a few well-meaning (har har) associates point out a seeming contradiction between my complaining on that subject and my complaining about Maher and his ilk. They tell me I ought to lay off of liberal comedians and liberal talk show hosts because we have so few of them, and that it’s people like me that destroy the unity of the party.
As if I give a fuck about that. First, I’m not a Democrat. Democrats are namby-pamby pansy-wansy centrists these days, and I’m fairly radical in my political and social views. That doesn’t mean I’m for armed revolution or anything, just that my gradualism looks different from their gradualism, which has been moving to the right since about the late 1960s. Second, liberalism doesn’t allow for anything like the kind of “party unity” we see on the right. Liberalism’s foundation is the free exchange of competing ideas, not “party unity.” Know who was all about “party unity”? Hitler, Mussolini, Chiang Kai-shek, and Stalin. Party unity is the road to a dictatorship, and that’s why a liberal party won’t ever display the kind of unity you see in a conformist, jingoistic, right-wing outfit that simplifies every issue under the sun, no matter what its complexities, into a contest between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. If the Democrats get any more unified they’ll become Republicans. No thanks. Third, how liberal is Maher? I mean, yeah, he’s opposed to the Bush administration and its policies and spends half his show every week verbally licking Bill Clinton’s ass, but what does that mean other than that he agrees with, like, 80% of Americans and is impressed with a dude who is better at convincing women to get naked than he is? Finally, Bill Maher isn’t a comedian. He’s just some talentless asshole who gets paid to act like a smarmy tool on television. I’m not required to pretend that someone who is still telling Lewinsky jokes in 2008 is funny just because we both realize that starting a war in Iraq wasn’t a good idea.
My beef with Bill Maher isn’t limited to his shockingly stupid and derivative material. I’m also nauseated by his general attitude toward himself and toward other people. He’s clearly vainglorious to a degree that would make any rapper blush, and it couldn’t possibly be less warranted. He’s a short, unfunny half-wit who looks like Spuds Mackenzie with Dan Cortese’s hair. There aren’t a lot of grounds for arrogance there. (I mean, Spuds Mackenzie and Dan Cortese are cool, but Maher somehow finds a way to combine elements of two cool things to make something astoundingly uncool. Think of it like mixing BL Lime and Pinkberry.) I suppose he can be boastful about the fact that he’s got a show on HBO (whatever) and a large collection of sports coats, but Bob Costas can say the same thing and he’s not nearly as arrogant as Maher is.
His demeanor is so repulsive that I can hardly bear to watch his show at all, but when he starts interacting with other people it really comes out, especially if those other people happen to have vaginas. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen Maher look straight through a female guest and dismiss what she’s had to say despite the fact that it was more insightful, informed, and interesting than anything he himself could have come up with. He makes no attempt whatsoever, when discussing women in the news, to disguise his utter disdain for women and their humanity, and he routinely dehumanizes women in his stand-up routines and on his show. He’s constantly harping on and on about the “pussification” of American men, which is what he calls the “trend” toward men treating women like human beings and taking their partners’ feelings into account (if only). And when he’s not complaining that men aren’t all out hanging out at the Playboy mansion while their wives are at home cooking pot roasts and hanging around in Frederick’s of Hollywood gear for their men to come home so they can suck their dicks, he’s making obvious, unclever, derivative, and adolescent “jokes” about sex and the “differences” between men and women.
So Bill Maher’s an asshole with no talent who gets paid a thousand times more than what he deserves to spread sexism all over our faces. Who cares, right? I care because he’s the world’s number one Liberal Dude and because he’s a perfect example of what’s wrong with the world of comedy.
Let’s talk about comedy for a minute. I know it doesn’t matter as much as feminism in the grand scheme of things, but my life basically revolves around finding things to laugh about, and the world seems to be conspiring as of late to keep that from happening. It’s now become virtually impossible for me to be entertained in the sense that anyone intended. I suppose that makes me some kind of asshole, but it’s true. I mean, is there on this planet a single comedian that doesn’t spend half his time talking about shitting, his balls, his disgusting attitudes toward sex, and “what’s wrong with women”? It may be a problem with the audience, but it seems pretty clear that there’s no such thing as a comedian/comedy writer who won’t stoop to that shit in order to get laughs out of the kinds of people who think ranch dressing improves any dish.
I don’t even care as much that those topics are gross or offensive as much as I do that they’re fucking stupid and not funny. Dave Chappelle, who every white dude in the world loves for all the wrong reasons, might be the perfect example of what I’m talking about. He’s a fairly intelligent and liberal dude who has some interesting perspectives on the world, but even he resorts to ball jokes and overt misogyny for half his material. Have you ever seen his special For What It’s Worth? It sucks. He makes about three semi-insightful and quasi-funny comments in a half hour, then spends 30 minutes telling ball jokes that are about as entertaining as getting Rick-rolled. He, David Cross, and Greg Giraldo (both of whom are also gynophobic douchebags) might be the only three semi-funny liberal stand-up comedians alive, and all three of them are guilty of it. There’s no hope.
That could be called a digression, but liberal dudism isn’t a problem that’s limited to the world of comedy.
Liberal Dudes abound. Who are they? Liberal Dudes are guys who will jump up and down to tell you that they’re all about equality and prosperity for everyone, but then tell you about the strip club they were at the night before or about the awesome anal porn site they last jerked off to. Liberal Dudes are ready to welcome us into the boardroom, provided we’re still willing to dance on the conference table at the employee party. Liberal Dudes love “sex-positive” “feminists” because Liberal Dudes support women’s freedom and “rights,” up to and including our “right” to strip and to suck dicks for money. Liberal Dudes love to see women embracing pornorific behavior like pole dancing, pube waxing, porn watching, thong wearing, chick kissing, and boob flashing as a means to “empowerment,” because that’s exactly the kind of power they want us to have: the power to give them boners. Liberal Dudes like to compare themselves favorably to conservatives because conservatives are anti-abortion and want to restrict women’s “freedom” to fuck random Liberal Dudes willy-nilly style. Liberal Dudes, on the other hand, support women’s freedom of sexual expression (as long as our sexual expression looks like a reasonable facsimile of their porn fantasies) and are pro-choice, because being pro-choice means they can pressure women into having abortions when they don’t want to take responsibility for impregnating them.
Liberal Dudes, in short, are willing to give us equal pay, let us have abortions, and let us have half the government jobs, provided that we’re fuckable, we don’t try to make them treat us like we possess the same measure of humanity that they do, and we don’t try to impose any limits on their “right” to use our bodies in person or via video. Sweet deal for us, I know.
Liberal Dudes like to make a big show of what egalitarians they are by blathering about their support for women’s “rights” and “equality,” but you’ll see just how sincere their concern for women’s issues is when someone brings up date rape (dude, chicks these days are scandalous and get fucked up a lot), when someone points out the pervasiveness of sexual harassment in the workplace (dude, why can’t chicks take a compliment?), when someone mentions any aspect of the systemic sexism in our culture and social structures (dude, why can’t chicks take a joke?). The gendered insults start flying when anyone suggests to a Liberal Dude that women don’t deserve to get groped, ogled, verbally harassed, date raped, or treated like idiots just because we have vaginas.
Liberal Dudes think they’ve done us a favor by being willing to tolerate our presence in public life. When we ask for any more than that, they think we’re a bunch of ungrateful bitches and start telling us we don’t know how lucky we are, that we’re hysterical, we’re crybabies, we’re weak, blah fucking blah. My personal favorite Liberal Dude line is “You women want equality but then you can’t handle it.” (Maher brought that one up constantly with regard to Hillary Clinton. He claimed she got her chance to run with the big boys and then acted like a pussy when things didn’t go her way. You know, because she faced absolutely no obstacles being the first viable female presidential candidate we’ve ever had.) Is there anything more offensive and obscenely entitled than the attitude these dudes take toward women wanting to be treated like human beings? They basically come right out and say, “We’ve given you a few of the rights and some of the status we have, so shut the fuck up. You’re lucky you even got that. Just think, you could be wearing a burqa.”
I think I’ll have more to say about that last bit shortly, but for now I’m going to go listen to some Scandal and drink a Zima Gold.