Saturday, June 22, 2013

HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher #287 "Fed Up”

by Catherine Giordano

HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, episode 287, which aired on Friday. June 21, was an entertaining show with a variety of well-behaved guests. Everyone was laid back, except for Bill Maher who had a few moments of indignation towards targets who well-deserved it. Those moments are part of the reason I titled this post “Fed Up.”  The other part is that there was a lot of talk about food.

The food talk began in Bill’s monologue when he mentioned that the AMA had declared obesity a disease.  He said, “People are going to be calling in sick with a case of the fats.”  
 
The discussion of food continued with Michael Pollan who was the special guest on the show. Pollan has written a number of books dealing with problems with food in this country.  His latest book is Cooked. He said that Americans have outsourced cooking to corporations. Food cooked by human beings is healthier, and we all need to get back into the kitchen.  Bill mentioned the popularity of The Food Network and Pollen said that “More people are watching people cook on TV than cooking. Then they say I don’t have time to cook. Cooking has become a spectator sport.” 

Another panelist was Julia Reed. She has a long resume as a writer and commentator.  She writes for Garden and Guns magazine. That name floored me. I had to google it to make sure it really existed. It does. It focuses on Southern living and looks like a typical slick magazine of the home and gardens genre.  At least they put ‘garden” ahead of “guns.”   

Bill commented that now that obesity was a disease, you would hear your doctor say, “I got your test results back. I’m afraid you are fat.” He also said there would probably be a pill for it. Reed underscored the folly of this when she said “Remember Fen Fen. It made you die.”

And, of course, Paula Deen, famous for her TV show on The Food Network and her artery-clogging style of Southern cooking was mentioned because she is ”in a hot mess” over her use of the N-word. Deen had attempted to defend herself by saying that she sometimes uses that word in a nice way. The whole panel guffawed. But Bob Herbert, a journalist and member of the think tank, Demos, who is a black man had the best response to that. “I have never encountered that,” he deadpanned.  Bill said there had to be a line and for me that line is the N-word.  No one should use that word.”  Interesting:  Bill salts his conversation liberally with the F-word and every other obscenity, but he won’t say the N-word.  

Everyone is fed up with the Republican party, even Joshua Green who was the Republican panelist.  He writes for Bloomberg Businessweek. It was actually hard to tell he was a Republican—he was well-behaved and he agreed with most of what the other guests said.  I had to google him also—he’s apparently a moderate Republican.  He wrote an article about the demise of the moderate Republican. In my view there no longer is such a thing as a moderate Republican. If you think you are a moderate Republican, you are actually a Democrat.

The latest Republican-party gaffe is the “a male fetus can masturbate at 15 weeks from conception” statement from one of the more loony Republican congressmen, Michael Burgess.  What makes this comment not just ridiculous, but terrifying, is the fact that Burgess is an ob/gyn. In the monologue, Bill described this congressman as a member of a medical organization known as “Doctors without Clues.”

Later Bill did his mid show parody segment about a magazine named “Barely Fetal.” The faux magazine featured articles like “Turn Your Uterus into a Man Cave” and “Are You Smarter than Michelle Bachman?  If you are in the third trimester the answer may surprise you.”

Some other things that everyone is fed up with:

Darrell Issa’s shameful attempt to find a scandal in the IRS investigation.  It was a Republican IRS official who ordered the investigation of groups applying for tax exemption that had “tea party” in their name.

The Republican insistence that security at the Mexican border be increased by $30 billion, despite the fact that under Obama illegal immigration has decreased and deportations have increased. Bill pointed out that the sequester was for $42 billion, and lamented how there was always money for the military-industrial complex.

 Republicans wasting time voting repeatedly on ending ObamaCare and limiting/abolishing abortion—at total waste of time and taxpayer money. It is done for show so the freshman Republicans can go home and say they voted for these things.

Republicans voting to reduce/end food stamps and end support for programs that promote healthy eating.

Bill said, “What does it take for Republicans to say, I just can’t be part of this party anymore.”  Later he answered his own question.  He said, “There are a lot of stupid people in this country. They need some representation too.”
 
The interview was with Haifaa al Mansour, an Saudi Arabian women who made a film, Wadjda, about a young Arab girl who wants to ride a bike.  Islamic women are getting fed up with all the restrictions placed upon them, but have to proceed very carefully.  A lot of the interview consisted of al Mansour and Bill saying “I don’t want to be killed.”

Bill had praise for Exodus, a pray-away-the-gay organization that has disbanded after more than 30 years. The leader of the group apologized to all the people he hurt and shamed while pursuing this agenda to change sexual orientation. He admitted that he was wrong. This is the “better late-than-never” moment of the week. Maybe al Monsour could take heart from this disavowal of wrong-head religious beliefs.
 
Bill is clearly fed up with wrong-headed religious beliefs. In the monologue he took on the hatred of atheists. He said that religious people don’t care all that much what you believe in as long as you believe in something. The religious fanatics hate members of other religions, but they fear atheists. He described it as being like a conga line. If you are not in the line, you realize what a schmuck you look like. He reported that the fastest growing religion in America is “none of the above.”

I’m with Bill on this one. I have observed that atheism scares many religious people, making them quick to respond with anger. If the atheists are right, they have been dancing in a conga line, being a schmuck all their life.

One last fed-up reference: In New Rules Bill commented on how much weight Robert Zimmerman has gained while waiting for his trial for shooting an unarmed black teenager, Travon Martin. (The boy was carrying only a can of iced tea and a bag of Skittles.) Bill joked that Zimmerman might have killed Trayvon for his Skittles.

Bill will be fed-up all over again next Friday night. And I’ll be in front of my TV getting my weekly dose of indignation, politics, and comedy.

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Bill Maher holds parody magazine.