For years we've chalked up HBO comedian Bill Maher's uncouth comments and defamatory remarks toward conservatives as a "politically incorrect" comedy routine. I personally never found his petty wit and incredible immaturity to be particularly laugh-inducing, but to each his own. I can't help but think, however, that the line between comedy and cruelty has been crossed a few times too many.
Consider the latest episode of Maher's contemptible roundtable during which "comedic" guests made some incredibly revolting comments.
Maher and his guests have successfully brought American intelligent discourse to a new historical low -- all in the name of "comedy." Meanwhile, if I were an actual comedian, I would weep for plummeting standards of my own profession.
But Maher insists on straddling the line between political activist & commentator and comedian, with frequent guest spots on networks like MSNBC to discuss actual serious issues. In fact, my alma mater -- George Washington University -- is hosting the HBO hooligan to perform at its annual Parents Weekend celebration this fall. (Do they really wonder why they won't see a penny in donations from this alum?)
So if we're debating serious issues, when did sexual fantasies about political candidates EVER enter the realm of respectable criticism? And what is so hilariously entertaining about it?
I feel the all-to-familiar urge to point out that Maher & co. wouldn't find it so funny if the tables were turned and conservatives were making such crude remarks about liberal politicians and their spouses. But I don't think it's respectable to even make that point because that would suggest "two wrongs" made "a right" and I don't think such grotesque "comedy" has any place in a civilized debate.
I suppose this is the bottom line -- We can have a civilized debate, or we can giggle like childish morons with Bill Maher who has repeatedly made clear he's not interested in any such civility.
Which will it be, America?