I am not a fan of Bill Maher. I watched his show once about ten or twelve years ago, found him snide, snarky, holier-than-thou, and not very funny. He had the shallow cleverness that too often passes for intelligence among the liberal left, the kind of cleverness that relies on specious and shallow reasoning and follows the flawed syllogistic argument, ‘I am a good person, so if you disagree with me you must, ipso facto, be a bad person.’ I never watched him again. But in the spirit of giving credit where credit is due, I would like to give him a quick pat on the back. (This is something that I am sure will make all the difference to his life and trajectory of success, something he must have been pinning and weeping for until this happy moment.)
A headline caught my eye, and following the path to various news sources, the bottom line is that Bill Maher is standing by his guns in having a gentleman named Milo Yiannopoulos on his show, even though doing so has caused another gentleman named Jeremy Scahill to cancel his appearance on the same show.
The astute reader, scanning the above paragraph, will doubtless be able to tell I haven’t clue who either of these gentlemen are, nor do I care. I had heard of Yiannopoulos and was vaguely aware that he has something to do with Breitbart News, but since I am only vaguely aware of Breitbart News’ existence, and not inclined to know it any better, I can honestly say I knew nothing about either of them. I have since looked them up on the internet and found that one appears to be a sort of obnoxious far-right gadfly who delights in tweaking the public’s outrage and (presumably) profiting by it. The other appears to be a painfully progressive journalist with an underdeveloped sense of humor who takes himself much too seriously.
So far, there is nothing about this incident that doesn’t bore me to tears, but I was intrigued by Bill Maher’s standing by his choice of a far-right rabble-rouser and particularly by his statement, which reads, in part: “Liberals will continue to lose elections as long as they follow the example of people like Mr. Scahill, whose views veer into fantasy and away from bedrock liberal principles like [sic] equality of women, respect for minorities, separation of religion and state, and free speech.”
Kudos, Mr. Maher! I couldn’t agree with you more! Those are, I might add, the bedrock principles of conservatives too.
I haven’t the foggiest idea what Mr. Scahill’s views are on any of those issues, or what his views on Mr. Yiannopoulos’ views might be, nor do I wish to know. But if Mr. Scahill is such a delicate cupcake that he can’t even abide the thought of appearing on a show with someone who holds different views and different beliefs, I can’t help wondering what his life will be like when radical Muslims move in next door and begin imposing sharia law in his neighborhood. Or—just to prove I’m an equal opportunity offender, happy to be rude to one and all—when extremist Christians such as Evangelicals or Catholics with dangerous views and agendas move in on the other side and start imposing canon law. (I am a Catholic, so I get to poke all the fun I want at them and besides, Catholics were briefly listed by the Army as a dangerous terrorist group a few years ago. Go figure.) Poor Mr. Scahill will have to find a Safe Place. I would suggest he try Canada, but many wild-eyed liberals who swore to emigrate to Canada if the Trumpster were elected have found Canada somewhat harder to get into than less enlightened countries. Such as America, for example.