Saturday, June 10, 2017

Bill Maher


Well,  my last post was a bit far-fetched. I was convinced I was on to something, but there was a big hole in my argument. If Trump were really willing to kill Comey rather than allow him to testify, why then was he allowed to testify? Perhaps Comey only thought his life were imperiled, but it's just as likely that writing things down immediately when they are still fresh in one's mind is a good way to ensure accuracy. And, as my wife put it, I may have been "hearing zebras."

But I digress.

Today I want to discuss Bill Maher, and for once I'm not talking about vaccines and autism.

Bill Maher slipped up a week ago. While interviewing Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, the Senator told Bill he would "like to see you work in the fields," by which he meant he wanted Bill to come visit Nebraska sometime. Bill responded by saying "Work in the fields? Senator, I'm a house nigger." When his audience groaned, he said, "It's a joke."

Yes, it was a joke, and a bad one. The Senator was from Nebraska, not Alabama. What made Bill think of southern plantations instead of giant tractors?

I'm in the habit of watching Real Time on the Saturday morning after the show. Usually HBO GO has the episode available by then. But that weekend, they didn't. I only knew there was even an episode of Real Time because of the news stories covering Bill's faux pas. I checked again Saturday night, and again Sunday. Still nothing. Finally by Monday, it was available. I didn't get around to watching it until Tuesday. When my wife and I did, we saw the segment where Bill made his well-publicized use of the n-word. But HBO had edited out the audio for those few seconds.

Let me say that again: HBO censored it!

Bill apologized, and rightly so. But that hasn't  made it go away. He spent much of yesterday's show trying to make up for the mistake. It didn't work. Rapper Ice-T tried to school Maher by telling him, "It's our word now, you can't have it back."

And here's where I draw the line. Bullshit! It's nobody's word, Mr. T. Or should I call you Ice? Because America is all about freedom of speech, and therefore it's illegal to take any word and say "You can't say that." (Although the FCC still needs to learn this important lesson.) If nobody gave a damn about Quentin Terantino saying "dead nigger storage" in the movie Pulp Fiction, and if conservatives readily forgave Don Imus for referring to some black female college basketball players as "nappy headed ho's," then nobody has much of a case against Bill Maher, especially when he spoke off the cuff and then apologized after. No one should be calling for him to be fired, and the whole damned world needs to lighten up.

Here's the real problem: It's racial segregation of a word. And if racial segregation of people is wrong, it is equally so for language. Yes, "nigger" is a racially charged word, and rightly so, but if whites are not allowed to say it, even in jest, why do they want rebellious white teenagers to buy the rap music that uses it? It's a double standard (and bad art - an insult to the black gods of music who came before).

Frank Zappa said it best. "Any word may be used by anyone, anytime. Period." I'm paraphrasing, but he did say something very much like that. And he was right. Censorship is evil. Censorship based on racism, whether it be Afro-centric or Euro-centric, is even more evil. And such evil should not result in the firing of a man like Bill Maher.

Bill fights against conservibullies week after week, interview after interview. Even an expert swordsman can't avoid getting nicked all the time. Bill Maher is one of our best warriors, and we can't afford to lose him now, just as we couldn't afford to lose General Patton after he struck a private across the face before the invasion of Normandy. When even the Reverend Al Sharpton has to reach all the way back to Bill's days on Politically Incorrect to find another clip where Bill made a similar mistake, we have to be impressed with Bill's overall batting average.

If we don't fire sports heroes for beating up their spouses, then we can't fire Bill Maher for having one honest slip of the tongue.

There aren't many absolutes, but one of them is freedom of speech. And freedom of speech means freedom to misspeak, both accidentally, as in Bill's case, or even on purpose.


Eric

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1 comment:

Unknown said...

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/109471-there-is-no-such-thing-as-a-dirty-word-nor
... powerful, that it's going to send the listener to the lake of fire upon hearing it.
Frank Zappa