Premium cable TV--HBO, Showtime, Starz, etc. is my guilty pleasure. I watch too much. Now, I'll be watching even more as I give my reviews of various episodic shows. A list of the most popular reviews appears on the right side of page--check them out. If you'd like to follow by email, write your email address in the box below and click on submit.
Saturday, July 27, 2013
HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher #291 “Tell it Like It Is”
by Catherine Giordano Tell It Like It Is
“Real Time with Bill Maher” delivered a great hour of conversation and comedy during
episode 291 which aired on July 26, 2013.
It was as if all the guests had decided to tell it like it is.
monologue began with Bill telling it like it is about Anthony Weiner and his
sexting scandal. He parodied his user name, “Carlos Danger,” and said it should
have been “Carlos Jack-Off.” He said
Weiner was at the Apple store and the clerk told him, “You know, you can also
make calls with this.”
there he segued to the 70-year old mayor of San Diego, Bob Filner, another
politician with a sex scandal—extreme sexual harassment. Bill said he is in two
weeks of intensive treatment on how to keep his hands to himself.
didn’t joke about Eliot Spitzer
and his sex scandal, perhaps because Spitzer was on the panel. I have to feel
sorry for Spitzer. He’s running for Comptroller of New York and these two sex
scandals can’t help but remind everyone about his own sex scandal a few years
back that forced him to resign the governorship of New York. At least his sex
scandal was a grown up scandal—he was having sex with prostitutes—Weiner and
Filner are acting like teenagers.
put Spitzer on the spot asking him if Weiner should drop out of the race for
mayor of New York. Spitzer wisely evaded the question saying, “It is up to the
voters.” Bill doesn’t think Weiner
should drop out over personal issues. I
think he’s wrong about this. (By the way, so do the voters—Weiner is no longer
in the lead in the polls.) For me it is a matter of character, judgment, and
maturity. When the scandal first broke, I gave Weiner the benefit of the doubt—perhaps
he thought it was only harmless flirting. But now I have to tell it like it is--Weiner
continuing with the sexting after he was forced to resign shows that he learned
nothing and he puts his gratification ahead of his family and his desire to
serve his country. I don’t think New York needs a mayor who will have a scandal
interview was with Sarah Slamen. She was the young woman who we all saw on TV
during the Texas special session, the one called so Republicans could pass a law
to close down almost all of Texas’ abortion clinics. The Republicans were
forced by Texas law to allow public testimony. Slamen shouted out to a Republican legislator, Jane Wilson, who had interrupted
Slamen’s testimony, “I will judge you,
M'am.” She was perfectly within her rights to do so, but it got her dragged from
the room. She’s an intelligent woman who is passionate about the issues and who
tells it like it is—I think she can be successful in politics if she chooses to
were three men on the panel this week—each with a new book to plug. Eliot
Spitzer, the former governor of New York who is currently running for comptroller
of New York and has a new book out—Protecting Capitalism Case by Case.
The other two were Reza Aslan, a religion scholar, author of Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, and Bob Ney, former Republican Congressman from Ohio who went to
prison for crimes connected to the Jack Abramoff scandal and author of Sideswiped: Lessons Learned Courtesy of the Hit Men on Capitol Hill. (The
title made me think the book would be about him defending his actions and
blaming others for his downfall, but I read some reviews and he apparently freely
admits his mistakes while also revealing high level people in the Bush administration
who played a major role in the Abramoff crimes.)
brought up a comment Boehner made this week. “We measure this Congress not by
what we pass, but by what we repeal.” Aslan quickly pointed out that they had
repealed nothing implying that Boehner’s own words show that his leadership is
a failure. This is “the-hoist-on-his-own petard” moment of the week.
also did a good joke about John Boehner in the monologue. He compared John Boehner
to the Lincoln Memorial which just sits there and does nothing—“If the Lincoln
Memorial could cry and chain smoke, it would be just like John Boehner.”
said that Boehner wants to hold a gun to the head of the country. Boehner put
out a list of demands that he said must be met or else no debt-ceiling action—it
was a menu of things that America has just said they don’t want. Spitzer said, “They
are living like the last 15 years didn’t happen.” Ney said, “It is a total
smokescreen because they can’t do anything. They don’t have any ideas.” Boehner
only wants to count the votes for speaker; he doesn’t want to do what is good
for the country.” (Ever notice how smart
Republicans get when their political careers are over. I saw Olympia Snowe, former
senator (R-ME), on TV recently advocating for the things she just voted against
now that she has retired from the Senate.)
special guest was the Reverend Jim Wallis, the author of On God's Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn't Learned about Serving the Common Good. Bill described him as “one of the good ones—a evangelical
who cares about social justice.” Unfortunately, the air of collegial discussion
that had pervaded the show was ended by Bill. He kept interrupting Wallis to confront
him about the “nonsense and viciousness” in the Bible. Like Bill, I am an
atheist, but I liked Wallis and I wanted to hear what he had to say.
Jim Wallis was telling it like it is, “Too
many people like to thump the Bible and do not read it. Jesus talks about the
poor. Faith without works is bad.” Spitzer
said, “We have to embrace voices in the religious world who find progressive
causes in the Bible. (Maybe he was
trying to get Bill to shut up and let the man talk. There is a time to debunk
religion and there is a time to let a man tells us how his religion teaches him
to do good works.)
Aslan, the religion scholar made an
excellent point about the Bible (and perhaps by extension all religious texts,
including his own—the Koran.) “What you don’t like [in the Bible] is figurative.
What you do like is literal. The reason the Bible matters is not because it is
true or false, but because it can mean whatever you want it to mean. Slavers
and abolitionists both quoted the Bible, often the same verses to support their
very different views.” I agree with Aslan, but I don’t think he is making a
very strong case for religion and holy texts. What good is the Bible if it can
mean whatever you want it to mean? (Secular humanism, on the other hand,
plainly lays out consistent moral guidelines.)
The mid-show comedy bit was all about the
royal baby. Bill gave us some cards that famous people might have sent. Here
are some of them.
George W: Bush: Your head is softer than mine.
Cast of Honey Boo Boo: Congratulations
from one family of useless inbreds to another
Demi Moore: You’re so cute. Do you want to
grab dinner some time?
Donald Trump: Born rich, whining, and
famous for nothing.
Anthony Weiner: Hand the phone to your
The final New Rules segment dealt with the
quote from Benjamin Franklin “They who would give up essential liberty to
purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty or safety.” This
quote was apparently tweeted twice by Sarah Palin, thereby (according to Bill) cancelling
out whatever wisdom it once had.
called the social contract,” he said. “It’s stoplights, and airport security
lines….The founding fathers were not fortune tellers. When they wrote the
fourth amendment, they did not foresee email. When they wrote the second
amendment, they did not foresee Ted Nugent.
Ben Franklin’s time, the worse things were muskets and cannons. In our time, there
is a portable atom bomb that weighs 51 pounds There are people who know how to
build it. Do I want the NSA spying on them? You bet I do.
are now ten bills to modify or repeal the Patriot Act in Congress. At least we
are talking about it. I’ve got to give the credit to Ed Snowden…Before, the NSA
was just another government agency that no one paid attention to, like
that is telling it like it is.
share by tweeting, "liking" on facebook, and "+1 ing" on
""follow" so you don't miss any of my reviews.