Why I Don’t Like Bill Maher
Posted by Roobs on September 28, 2011
My roommate loves Bill Maher. He gets tickets to the live recordings here in LA and lines up hours before the show just so he can be one of the voices in the background. He occasionally asks me if I want to join him and I usually say no. I don’t like Bill Maher. But how can that be? I am a staunch Democrat, young , Latino and gay, no less. I should be a far left liberal (or progressive) cheering Bill Maher’s politics – a man who no matter what he says is a left wing activist. But that is also not true. I am a self-described left-leaning moderate Democrat. With that alone, some of you may stop reading right here thinking that my politics are different than Maher’s. But that is not the case either. I generally agree with Bill Maher’s political ends, such as universal healthcare, the legalization of same-sex marriage and decriminalizing pot use. But I still don’t like Bill Maher.
I don’t like Bill Maher because, to me, he is the “liberal elite” that Republicans use in talking points. While the term itself is over-generalized to condemn the whole left wing of the Democratic Party, it is not without some truth. If you’ve ever engaged in heated debates with an average left wing activist (those who don’t know when they shouldn’t say something) you will eventually get that smug, “well, you just don’t know what you’re talking about” response. And I get that from Bill Maher often.
Take Maher’s most famous on-air gaff in 2002 after he agreed with a guest that the 9/11 terrorists had not engaged in a cowardly attack. He has gone on further to describe how America essentially had the terrorist attack coming because of our imperial-like behavior around the world. Ignoring the fact that I completely disagree with both of Maher’s assertions, when he has been confronted with the fallout Maher does not apologize for those statements like most people would. Instead, Maher goes on to defend himself with child-like stubbornness who refuses to apologize if he thinks he did nothing wrong.
Bill Maher’s movie, Religulous, was another example of Bill Maher’s arrogance. Now I have no love of organized religion and consider myself agnostic, but I find Maher’s tactics incredibly offensive. Maher is highly critical of religion in general with the essential argument that it is not worth any investment of resources or thought. He goes on to point out all of its flaws and, in essence, insult those who follow a religion. Who is Bill Maher to lay judgment on those who chose to follow a faith? I don’t care that Bill Maher doesn’t like religion. I do care that he goes out of his way to point this out and essentially mow down those who do. It is arrogant and it is insulting to those who follow a religion, for whatever reason.
Further, Bill Maher is very aggressive in his politics. He sees a political or societal wrong and demands change, which is fine. But his solutions seem painfully simple for very complicated problems. He frequently surrounds himself with guests that tend to agree with him, like his friend Michael Moore – who I am also not a huge fan of. To his credit, Bill Maher speaks with passion about subjects he cares about but, to his detriment, he seems to have no patience for working on the hard and complicated tasks of actually legislating or governing. No patience to work with another side, convince another side, or out maneuver another side with pure Machiavellian grit. Instead, I feel Bill Maher pushes his sole agenda as some objectionable truth that we all must eventually reach. If we don’t, then it’s we who have failed, not he who is wrong.
I feel as if Bill Maher could run for office if he represented a far-left leaning congressional district. But he couldn’t win a statewide election because I do not believe he is willing to work with opposing sides. If your goal is to govern then you cannot fight intransigence with intransigence. Yes, the current Republican Party is a joke and doesn’t want to govern at all as we enter the 2012 election cycle. And going down the party line is an acceptable truth to try and win so we may gain another four years to try and improve the lives of all Americans. But I feel Bill Maher would have his viewers believe that his way is the way and if you don’t agree, then you must not be as intelligent as he.
I don’t like Bill Maher, not because I don’t agree with his political preferences, but because I believe his arrogant attitude gives liberal and moderate Democrats who are actually trying to work to improve the lives of Americans a bad name. He gives fodder for an increasingly intransigent and polarized Republican Party. It benefits no one and helps improve nothing.