Bill Maher Plays to the Liberal Id


Bill Maher brought his stage act to Richmond last night. Unrestrained by whatever programming standards are left at HBO, which airs his “Real Time with Bill Maher” talk show, he let loose with a hour-and-a-half, profanity-laced tirade against Republicans, conservatives and all forms of religion, leavened by a handful of jokes about Anthony Wiener, wimpy Democrats and occasionally himself.

I have to say, I did not find Maher’s brand of humor very humorous. Perhaps some people enjoy insult comedy. I don’t. Maher spent the better part of the show calling Republicans names — stupid, moronic, ignorant, irrational, sexist, homophobic, racist, fat, brutish and various combinations and permutations thereof. The insults, the more vulgar the better, were the punchlines; they were all he needed to elicit a laugh. He cast conservatives as, to invoke a liberal rhetorical trope, “the other.” What the Jews were to Julius Streicher, what blacks were to Lester Maddox, conservatives are to Maher — sub-human.

Maher made no effort to engage with conservative ideas — after all conservatives are too retarded to have ideas. He has no patience for nuance. If former senatorial candidate Todd Akin used the phrase “legitimate rape,” he spoke for all Republicans. The intensity of Maher’s contempt left me numb.

But the scariest part wasn’t Maher who, after all, is a showman. It was the audience. People lapped it up. They laughed uproariously at the insults. They reveled in their moral superiority over the guns-gods-and-gays crowd. On “Real Time,” Maher sometimes exchanges views with conservative guests. But on the road, he appeals to the liberal id. And the liberal id on display last night was a very ugly thing.


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4 responses to “Bill Maher Plays to the Liberal Id”

  1. reed fawell III Avatar
    reed fawell III

    I agree. This is ugly scary and now all too frequent stuff.

    Whether hate and anger comes from the righteous right or intolerant left or rears its ugly head from other nether regions of the sick psyche of a human mind, this sort of behavior is toxic waste of the worst sort. Invariable it preys on peoples insecurities and their fears during hard times. We have entered such a time in the US, a sinking into national psychic depression. In such times the ground become fertile for hate, demonizing others , and demagoguery. The US 1930’s were such a time. Post WW1 Europe too.

    Thank you Jim for calling this out. Its long overdue.

  2. Breckinridge Avatar

    I love political humor, I love satire and sarcasm. I think humor is the most effective form of political persuasion (with some ridicule from time to time.) I am not impressed by hate speech and vitriol, from the right or the left. But there is little new here, just better technology and more scatological language. The 1800 election set a very low bar and our politics has risen above it on very few occasions — perhaps times of national crisis.

    I guess your point is, right now people seem willing to tolerate it and it has crawled out from under the rock — a sign of alienation on both sides. I also think there simply is not any political practitioner right now who has the desire or the ability to lift us up to higher goals and who wants to build a base by reaching across the aisle. Reagan could do that (and Bush 41 to a lesser extent.) Kennedy. Clinton on his good days. Not LBJ, not Nixon, not Bush 43, and not the current incumbent, as hard as he tries. In today’ environment, reach your had out to the middle and your arm gets cut off.

    1. reed fawell III Avatar
      reed fawell III

      I agree with everything you’ve said, including the horrible 1800 elections and would add as another example much that took place during the times leading up to the civil war. Thank God for Lincoln rising to tackle that horrible set of events, saving our nation in the process. We were lucky to have missed by a gnat’s whisker far worse than a terrible civil . So this stuff always lurks somewhere under the surface, waiting to rise. In addition to the great leaders that are so necessary to lift us out of such miasmas, we need people who will stand up and call bad behavior by its proper name, and do it in a proper productive way. Far to often today too few do. So it grows like a bad habit, getting a free ride to undermine the society.

  3. you boys obviously don’t partake of Hannity, Michelle Malkin or Rush Limbaugh, do you? And these guys are mild compared to what is in the right wing blogs these days.

    why are you whining?

    Not sure when things started this way, but I do not recall liberals being this crude before now.

    I have no truck with Maher but he no worse than the other side these days.

    In terms of incumbents.. I agree with Breckinridge except for this one who has been attacked over and over on the grounds of race from within the ranks of the GOP and the other GOP has refused to condemn it.

    Romney himself had that opportunity and refused to step up.

    I’d like folks to tell me what other POTUS got these kinds of cartoons:

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