Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Has Bill Maher's 'Real Time' Become Unwatchable? For All Practical Purposes, Yes


Before dealing with Bill Maher's latest MJ-induced brain farts from Friday night: E.g. "There's little difference between Biden and Trump, if he'd been re-elected",  "Left media are only slightly more factual than right media",  etc,  I must confess Janice has finally given up on him.   His verbal lunacy has now reached the point of becoming unbearable for her, and unwatchable - and nearly so for me.

What gives?  All I know is we're not the only ones, and this was after seeing a piece in Daily Kos by Marty Essen:

Who wrote, summing up most of 0ur objections as well:

Years ago, my wife, Deb, and I used to arrange our Friday nights around watching Real Time with Bill Maher, but when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and he performed his show from home, he became (to use his term) “a whiny little bitch.” He was so unwatchable that we made other plans for our Friday nights.

Knowing that Maher was back in front of a live audience, we gave him another shot last night. He just made us angry. First, he whined about vaccinations, saying he “took one for the team,” but doubted he’d get a booster. And that led into his nightly diatribe about how if Americans only ate better food we wouldn’t have so many health problems. Sure, many Americans would be better off if they got in-shape and lost some weight, but I can’t remember the last episode where Maher didn’t make the same point—over and over and over.

But what really pissed me off was when he and Andrew Sullivan pontificated about colleges being too woke. I have likely spoken at more colleges in the past 15 years than Bill Maher and Andrew Sullivan put together. ...

That’s okay. I’m not going to whine about it. I mention it only because people like Bill Maher and Andrew Sullivan are clueless about what life is like in the real world.

Deb and I don’t have to agree with Bill Maher on everything to enjoy his show. Even so, his recent whiny little bitch act has grown old on us, and I can think of many things the two of us can do on Friday nights that are more productive—and more fun.

Recall I had - in several earlier posts- roasted Maher for his too cute by half nonsense about the virus,  e.g.

as well as heaping scorn on the Left for misrepresentation but ignoring the Right's far more egregious transgressions, e.g

In the first, Maher actually questioned the severity of the virus by comparing it to the frequency of medical errors in our health system, as well as to the earlier Hong Kong flu in 1968. I noted I had that flu in 1968 and was ill for a good 3 weeks. But I never had to be hospitalized or put on a ventilator.   As for medical errors, that's a false comparison. The reason is that as devastating as medical errors are, they do not occur in waves - inundating hospital ICUs-  and consuming vast hospital resources.

In the case of the second post, I noted how Maher made much ado about one poll that found a majority of progressives who believed 50 percent of Covid patients were hospitalized when the actual fraction was 5%.   As I pointed out:

"The first is simply an error of magnitude in estimating ICU impacts  and is essentially innocuous.  Believing it does not make people less safe or prevent herd immunity from being reached.  "

That is unlike the Right media's belief that Covid is no more serious than the seasonal flu and vaccines don't work.  It is these false assumptions that kill, unlike the progressives' exaggerations of hospitalizaton - which do not.

In March this year, Maher had featured a known quack, David Katz, to whom he allotted nearly 12 minutes to bloviate his bullshit-  best encapsulated in this Daily Beast piece at the time: 


which noted:   

On Friday night, instead of opting for a despicably racist rant against China over the novel coronavirus or blaming the media, Bill Maher welcomed Dr. David Katz, a doctor and ex-instructor at the Yale School of Medicine, onto his show Real Time.

Dr. Katz, who consistently flaunts his Yale ties despite the fact that they were severed in 2016, has become something of a right-wing darling after penning a controversial New York Times op-ed on March 20 titled “Is Our Fight Against Coronavirus Worse Than the Disease?” In it, Katz argues against the self-isolation policies put in place by most of the U.S., instead saying the country should isolate the elderly and infirm, which would thus “allow most of society to return to life as usual and perhaps prevent vast segments of the economy from collapsing.

At least on this past Friday night, a confident guest (Max Rose) was willing to take on Maher in his "house" and  shut down his insipid anti-Vaxx rant.  According to The Hill, e.g.

WATCH: Former Dem. Rep. Max Rose Shuts Down Bill Maher's Anti-Vax Rant | HillReporter.com

"Real Time With Bill Maher is often seen as a show that leans left. That is not, however, necessarily true. The HBO host often platforms toxic right wing personalities like Ben Shapiro, Steve Bannon and Milo Yiannopoulos.  ...And during a segment on his show this week, Maher decided to go the anti-vax route. Thankfully, he was shut down by former New York Congressman Max Rose.

During a discussion about the 3rd COVID booster shot, the host noted, “I mean, I don’t want a booster. I never wanted the vaccine, I took one for the team.”    An aghast Rose jumped in, “I lost you man. That’s crazy.

Rose  went on to lecture him that beating this pernicious virus is not simply a matter of simple-minded personal responsibility - which Maher often tries to portray ("Look at how many obese people get it!") as a single litmus test-  but rather collective responsibility.  Let us also note here that collective responsibility is the hallmark of a genuine liberal - which Maher clearly is not.  The very fact the guy could remotely suggest on Friday night that if Trump were in office there'd be very little difference in governance  - certainly in terms of Afghanistan -   is proof enough of that.   The website FAIR perhaps has the best depiction of Maher:

Media almost unanimously present Maher as a “liberal” (e.g. Salon10/11/149/21/19USA Today7/8/18New York Post6/29/19) or even a “progressive” (The Hill2/2/17) comedian. Yet any inspection of his political positions dispels this illusion. To be sure, he generally supported President Barack Obama and opposes Donald Trump (although he has been known to do the opposite of both). But he also has a long history of repeatedly taking reactionary positions on many subjects, especially war

We can agree to differ on particulars, but this portrayal is basically correct.  One Daily Kos poster likely nailed Maher's political position in an earlier post -  after his April 16 show:

"Maher is just another libertarian trying to echo their nonsense, and validate it."  

I am forced to agree mostly with this take and that's why from now on I will watch mainly Maher's opening (joke) monologue and his guest interview (though even here Janice is often infuriated by how he talks over the guests).  I will pass on his panel segment, at least until such time there's evidence he's dropped some of his insufferable egotism  - or at least attained a significantly higher level of mental maturity.

See Also:

by Alex Henderson | August 25, 2021 - 7:44am | permalink


by John Stoehr | August 26, 2021 - 7:40am | permalink

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