Bill Maher's much worse than Kathy Griffin

    White Bill Maher used the n-word on a live HBO Show Friday night in what smacks of a ugly effort to bond with Republican Senator Ben Sasse  of Nebraska. Because Maher’s proffered apology came after a day of dithering, it reeks of insincerity. At this point, I'm vacillating between calling for his head for expressing an overtly racist sentiment in the worst possible way and thinking a long suspension might be sufficient.

    Last week CNN fired Kathy Griffin for staging a photograph showing her holding Trump’s bloody severed head. Given that Griffin’s primary CNN gig is co-host with Anderson Cooper of the apolitical New Year’s Eve Live, her dismissal for being crude, gruesome, and offensive to much of the nation is understandable. Nevertheless, there’s no doubt that the arty, albeit gory, photograph has real value. Griffin was depicting a fantasy that millions share - a brutal end to America’s destructive bully-in-chief.

    It’s obvious isn’t it that what Maher did was much worse. Griffin was punching up. You can’t go any higher than the U.S. President. Maher was kicking down at an identifiable group of people who were first enslaved than persecuted here for centuries. Griffin’s agitprop was political speech. Maher’s remark was merely repellant.

    Although I am far from a free speech absolutist, I tend to believe democracy works best when people with disparate, even conscience-shocking, opinions have the opportunity to express them without fear of negative repercussions. This is especially the case when those who disagree are given the time to challenge and respond in a moderated setting.  Still, particularly repellant or hateful speech by an employee can justify action by the employer as in Griffin's and certainly Maher's case.

    As one of a handful of multi-millionaire media elites who have almost unfettered creative control over their product, Maher has extraordinary power and influence. His use of the n-word therefore normalizes a word which whites have used for centuries as a weapon to dehumanize blacks.

    There really are no excuses for what Maher said. If anything, the context makes it worse. He was explaining why in his view he, unlike black field hands, is too special to work in the fields with Nebraskans.

    Although I don’t watch his show, people I respect assure me that Maher provides a valuable and relatively unique service with often humorous takes on important issues of the day from a mostly center-left perspective. For this reason alone, it might be acceptable for HBO to impose a 3-month suspension during which Maher embarks on a listening tour in African-American communities and with the understanding that any racially insensitive remark going forward will lead to termination.


    I think Bill Maher is overall a jerk, but his job is comedian, in a provocative sense. I'm not black, but as far as I'm concerned he could say "nigger nigger nigger" all day long and still be much better than those assholes keeping blacks from voting by the tens of thousands, assholes who never had to worry about losing their jobs no matter what outrageous words or actions. And yes, everyone from Malcolm X to Jesse Jackson to Cornel West to whoever has been talking about "Field Negro" vs. "House Negro" since forever - what's shocking? I mean, it's 2017 - I had "Niggas With Attitude" on the continual repeat 30 years ago. I've lived with and worked with black dudes and dudettes who dropped "nigger" about every 3rd word. And then a cop can body slam or joy ride or tase or shoot a black kid with impunity, keeping his job, invoking "#BlueLivesMatter", and we're going to get all riotous over a comedian using the "n" word? We've elected the most abhorrent president in over 100 years, maybe ever, one that hates blacks and is doing what he can to reverse any black progress, along with his hated party, and we're going to protest Bill Fucking Maher? I mean, Maher - isn't he the one who got fired for saying guys who have the steel balls to fly planes into buildings on a suicide mission aren't exactly cowards, whatever other adjectives & nouns might apply? Isn't he someone who was for decriminalizing/legalizing marijuana since forever, a move that would help black incarceration rate immensely. In other words, he's not Jeff Sessions, hateful Attorney General - he's an abrasive entertainer with overall good intentions.

    To me it seems just as hooey as firing Comey 9 months later for Hillary's sake. Whatever words Maher used, he's not a pain-in-the-ass to blacks - he's a pain-in-the-ass to those who who'd take away blacks rights. Just like Trump wasn't worried about what little Barron thought about some image, or he wouldn't be running around talking about shooting people and hitting people and grabbing girls by the pussy or calling women dogs and all Mexicans murderers and all the other hate speech he uses. 

    Eyes on the prize - Trump. Nothing else matters.They love getting liberals to self-flagellate. Don't humor them.

    I try to stick to the Chris Rock rule

    He's a young punk - Dick Gregory named his autobiography that back in 1964, so anytime someone used it, it was just promoting his book.  

    (BTW, noting the folks laughing hard at Chris Rock imitating a black guy pounding a white guy, or remembering white kids smilingly dancing along to rap lyrics talking about shooting up white guys and fucking white bitches, it's a pretty curious dynamic. Heinlein famously said, "we laugh because it hurts". Though Trump never laughs - maybe he's post-hurt).

    Trump never laughs. You're right. That's the scariest thing about him, isn' t it.

    White supremacists are at a pro-Trump rally in Portland.

    Bill Mahrer makes offensive statements repeatedly.

    Ted Nugent calls his violent comments "a metaphor"

    People can choose not to tune into "Real Time". Mahrer can have Griffin on his show.

    Edit to add:

    I agree with Al Sharpton about the negative history of the n-word.

    I find Mahrer's comments about Muslims more inflammatory. 

    The likelihood is that he will be given a time out.

    As we do the purge, can we oust the guy from the Young Turks podcast who claimed he was pushed by Maxine Waters?

    Also include his black BFF cameraman who said Maxine Waters "ain't sh*t"?


    Interesting, "Real Time" is scheduled for broadcast on Friday. Senator Franken canceled his appearance. Ice Cube and former Bernie Sanders spokesperson Simone Sanders are scheduled to appear.

    Ironic, eh? But what do *you* think, if I don't already gwt oblique references, and what's your sense of how the black community sees it if you feel you can say?

    I thought Mahrer would at least get a time out. Responses I heard are all over the map.

    I liked Wesley Morris' take on the Maher story:

    What Was Bill Maher’s Big Mistake? @ NYTimes, June 4

    Morris is Critic-at-Large for the Times, won a Pulitzer for criticism in 2012 and also happens to be Afro-American, grew up in 1997 he graduated from Yale University,[7]where he had been a film critic for student newspaper...for four years...etc.

    So it's not like he's some old fart not up with the zeitgeist and current pop culture.

    I'd likely go along with his take on it, too, if Maher hadn't been here before.

    I just a little follow these pop culture controversies so I never heard Silverman's "chink" joke or the controversy it spawned. I've taken stands for minority and gender rights on job sites when people make jokes that have cost  me but I have to say I thought the joke was hilarious and actually sent a good message at it's core. It didn't mock the Chinese it mocked the stupidity of racism and how people don't realize their racism.

    Ted Nugent uses weapon imagery as metaphor with no problem. Maher uses the n-word with no problem. Kathy Griffin gets fired and has concerts canceled. The obvious variable is gender.

    I really thought Maher would get a time out.

    Quite unlady-like of her, eh? Alas, even Lucrezia Borgia was slandered quite mercilessly.

    I'm a big proponent of pointing out the misogyny that exists in the world but I don't think that's the major cause of the different treatment. Nugent is a conservative who largely performs for fringe conservative audiences and republicans protect their own in ways that democrats don't. Maher is on a non MSM corporation that is famous for it's violence and sexual porn series like Game of Thrones and The Sopranos. It pushes the edge in many ways and Maher's show courts controversy by design and is just a little more serious version of Howard Stern. Saying outrageous things is part of Maher's and his shows shtick. Griffin is affiliated with a respectable MSM news corporation that has a reputation to protect. Nugent or Maher would likely have been fired if they had MSM gigs on something like CNN and Griffin would likely have survived if she had an off channel comedy show.

    You have a point. It s about eyeballs

    Michael Eric Dyson defends Mahrer and will replace Al Franken as a guest.

    ​Ice Cube will also be a guest



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