Bill Maher, host of HBO’s “Real Time,” is either a comedian masquerading as a political commentator or a commentator masquerading as a comedian. Either way, it’s not working.
Maher’s hatred for Christianity and Republicans like Sarah Palin and Vice President Dick Cheney has taken him and his show to a level unequaled elsewhere on television. Obscenity is the norm for Maher, accompanied by the usual liberal intolerance for anything that falls outside the mainstream media’s conventional wisdom. And, yes, he’s not even funny.
Yet he has a cult following, which means that apart from being fired from his previous employer — ABC — for tasteless 9/11 jokes made days after the attacks, his followers have allowed him to get away with things that would be career suicide for entertainers of a more diverse audience.
So Maher continues using “Real Time” to rant and rave, like — well — like some members of Congress. When I heard Florida Democrat Alan Grayson calling one of Ben Bernancke’s aides a “K-Street whore” I thought he’d cribbed a line from Maher.
Just weeks ago, during the season finale of “Real Time,” which aired on October 16, 2009, Maher said of the lengthy saga surrounding Michael Jackson’s death: “The world has never seen such blatant exploitation of a single tragic death.” And then, when a photograph of the Pope holding a crucifix in the background appeared on the screen, Maher added, “Okay, almost never.”
And this is by no means the first time Maher has done his best to smear the Christian faith.
In the Spring of 2006, when Maher had finally had all he could take of the President George W. Bush’s efforts to do what the Mahers of the world said were attempts to ram Christianity down our throats, he insisted Christianity had “taken over all three branches of government, country music, public schools, [and] the best sellers list.” He also suggested that Christians were “part of a dress-up cult that hates sex and worships magic.”
I know these statements make no sense, but being senseless is apparently part of Maher’s shtick.
Besides, Maher believed that Bush and other Republicans were using Christianity as a means of rallying opposition to more “open-minded” legislation. And once he convinced himself that Christianity was the culprit, he thought he’d found a catch-all on which he could blame all the world’s problems: “If you believe Jesus ever had a good word for war, or torture, or tax cuts for the rich, or raping the earth, or refusing water for dying migrants, then you might as well believe bunnies lay painted eggs.”
When Republican Sarah Palin, who is both a conservative and a confessed Christian, was chosen to run as V.P. for the Republicans in 2008, Maher went apoplectic. He derogatorily referred to Palin as a hockey mom who looked a lot like a “stewardess,” and said she was so naïve that she believed the job of the Vice President was to “start wars, enrich [her] friends, subvert the Constitution, and shoot people in the face,” thereby intimating that she would simply be Dick Cheney the second if Republicans happened to win the election.
But when it became evident that many Republicans weren’t against some more Cheney-like conservatism in the White House, Maher was driven stark raving mad.
In one of the worst cases of “Palin Distress Syndrome” (PDS) on record, an unhinged Maher let us see just how unfunny he could be by insinuating that Palin’s youngest child, Trig, was born with Down Syndrome because of an extramarital affair.
When mothers of children with Down Syndrome around the country heard these words, and knew Maher was depicting Trig as Palin’s punishment for sexual indiscretions, outrage ensued. It grew even greater when it became evident that Palin had never had such an affair to begin with.
But instead of apologizing, Maher simply redirected his vitriol. And by September 2008, he had decided Trig wasn’t even Palin’s child to begin with. Rather, he was the illegitimate son of her daughter Bristol, and Palin was simply pretending to be his mother in order to shield her daughter from scrutiny.
As despicable as these comments about Palin and her children were, that they came from Maher was no big surprise. After all, when an assassination attempt on Cheney’s life failed in late April 2007, NewsBusters.org reported that it was none other than Maher who believed “the world would [have been] a safer place if the assassination attempt succeeded.”
Maher’s exact words after the botched assassination attempt were: “I have zero doubt that if Dick Cheney was not in power, people wouldn’t be dying needlessly tomorrow.”
In addition to his boundless hatred for Christianity and Republican politicians, Maher has an ongoing problem with speaking out of both sides of his mouth. Thus, on the same October 16, 2009 show where he belittled Christianity’s “blatant exploitation” of the death of Christ, he also praised our military then attacked them.
He accomplished this by praising the sacrifices they make to keep us safe in this dangerous climate, and then accused them of being rapists. The latter he did by claiming that 30% of all females currently serving in the U.S. military “are raped” by males in the military at some point during their enlistment.
Maher simply has no shame. And while this lack of shame might be an outgrowth of the hatred he harbors for those with whom he disagrees, it could also be an indicator that this comedian-turned-commentator-turned-comedian-again is simply a lunatic.