Bill Maher stuck his foot in it again. On his show last night, he apparently got confused about differentiating journalism versus terrorism, and he pressed an uncomfortable line of conversation about Islam onto Muslim journalist, Rula Jebreal. It was hardly Maher’s first time sounding off about Muslims, as religion in general is one of his favorite topics. Rula attempted to explain to him how it felt to be assumed to be a jihadist, and he responded by questioning what would happen to her if she tried to quit her religion. In addition to his charm and good looks, his critical self-awareness is flawless, especially in regards to being a creep.
These days it is pretty hard to believe, but Bill Maher actually started his career as a comedian, before he apparently developed the power to read minds. After “starring” in a few unrecognizable accidents of the 1980s, however, Maher found his calling as a pompous know-it-all in the early 1990s. While he is truly one of those inexplicable cases that has managed to latch on to the periphery of fame for decades without anyone knowing why, it has afforded him the opportunity to be close enough to cameras to make regular cameos of annoyance. The most recent one was called Real Time with Bill Maher.
Among other items on his painful resume are the comments he made defending the 9/11 hijackers from Bush administration claims that they were cowards. One wonders why the falling out, when these days Maher is a crusader to the point of forcing journalists into awkward defenses of their religion and culture on for-profit television panel shows. If it is not “Maher Versus Self,” than it is “Maher Versus Islam.” Quote Maher: “We have been the cowards.” Maher went on to explain that what took real guts, was being a suicide attacker.
Of course, as soon as people realized what he had said and began to react, Maher backtracked like a half-human, half-canine cross between Leonard Padillo and a St. Bernard. He was quick to do a publicity tour, shaking hands with babies and kissing Marines. Bill Maher has actually turned “stepping in it” into a collegiate-credit course, although probably at some online college based in Russia. Later that same year, he made an on-air comparison between his dogs and disabled children. In a gross misunderstanding of the paradigm between authority and responsibility, he eventually was awarded a prize for free speech by the Los Angeles Press Club.
In probably the most impressive feat of his life, Bill Maher managed to trick both CNN and MSNBC into letting him talk about politics on their networks, on a semi-regular basis. Deciding that politics made him feel very important, Maher then dedicated the rest of his life to convincing himself that his borderline harassment versus Muslim women was actually “gritty journalism” that asked “the tough questions.” We should probably be thankful that it stayed short of hard-hitting news, like asking Jebreal what age Muslims lost their virginity, and if they were accepting applications from 60-year-old men.
Satire by Brian Whittemore