Monday, August 25, 2014

Masters of Sex #207 "Asterion"

Masters of Sex Bill and Virginia
Can Bill and Virginia move on?

Moving On

by Catherine Giordano

Everyone is moving on—literally moving on since the plot makes a few time jumps in episode 207 of Showtime’s Masters of Sex which aired on Sunday August 24, 2014.  The show has advanced about two years. 

Episode 207 is titled “Asterion.” The showrunners love to tease us with obscure titles.  "Asterion" is a name of a king of ancient Crete and is also the name of the mythical Minotaur—a monster that was half man and half bull. It is probably a reference to Bill Masters who has at times reminds us of a king, a monster, and a bull as he strives to live up to his own definition of what it means to be a man.  

The episode begins about a year after the previous episode left off. Bill has his own clinic in a building in a not-so-nice-part of town because it is all he can afford. The other tenants of the building are a bit low-life, but Bill’s offices are spacious and even, gracious.  

Virginia is still working with him as his assistant/partner and their bad break-up is evident as they strain to maintain a cordial working relationship. Virginia has had a string of relationships with men all ending in a break-up when the men realize that Virginia welcomes them into her bed, but will not welcome them into her heart. 

There are a few old faces on Bill’s staff. Lester, the videographer, is back from L.A. without Jane who currently resides in “Bitchtown” according to Lester. (It sounds like a bad-breakup.)  Betty, apparently divorced from Gene, is Bill’s secretary. (No word about Helen—I guess that was a bad breakup also.) 

Caitlin Fitzgerald
Caitlin Fitzgerald plays Libby
Libby and Bill continue with their sexless marriage. Libby coolly tells Bill that she wants a family and that means children. Plural.. By the end of the episode and a two year time jump, Libby has had two more children. Bill has a low sperm count so all three of Libby’s children were conceived through artificial insemination. This is fortunate for Libby because she and her husband no longer have sexual relations.  

Bill is so obsessed with his emotional agony that he visits the bar at the hotel where he and Virginia had their trysts. He has a drink there and runs into Eliot, the hotel employee that he and Virginia used to chat with. Still pretending to be Dr. Holden, he tells Eliot about his separation from Mrs. Holden.
We see how torn-up Bill is about Virginia’s betrayal of him, or I should say, what he perceives to be Virginia’s betrayal of him. Virginia tries to explain to Bill how unfair it was for him to demand sexual exclusivity from her. He went home to a wife, but she was expect to remain alone? Her reasoning  gets nowhere with Bill--he can’t get passed his anger and jealousy.  We feel his emotional anguish as he talks to Eliot at the bar. Bill tells Eliot  “…the betrayal of that kind of wife who just comes in and opens you up and just leaves. That is a wife who cannot be forgiven.” 

Bill has become impotent. There’s no sex with his wife and no sex with Virginia. Bill can’t even climax when he has prostitutes perform oral sex upon him. Finally, Virginia has a talk with Bill. She feels that their work is suffering and they should resume their “work“ at the hotel. At their reunion, Bill describes to Virginia the various ways he will bring her to climax. Virginia may not know it but Bill needs to reclaim his manhood by dominating Virginia sexually. The question remains: Can he penetrate her sexually or will he continue to be impotent.

Virginia is concerned that since the medical practice is struggling financially, the hotel may be too expensive. Bill goes to the front desk of the hotel and speaks to Eliot who is now the night manager. He offers to be the hotel’s on-call doctor in exchange for the room. Eliot says the hotel needs a general practitioner for that job, or maybe an obstetrician like the one who delivered his sister’s baby, Dr. Masters. A radiologist like Dr. Holden (the assumed identity Bill uses at the hotel) would not be appropriate. It seems Eliot has been on to them all along.  
Essie, Bill’s mother, is back also. Bill had banned her from his home, and his life, forever. He’s still hurting over events from his childhood.  In this episode, he learns that his wife has been secretly meeting with his mother on a regular basis. .Another blow to Bill’s manhood—his wife and mother disobeying him.

Bill is financially struggling and Libby is very worried that she and Bill could lose their house. Essie offers to help financially. Libby is concerned about Bill’s ability to “keep a roof over their heads” without this help. Bill is livid. “I provide the roof,” he yells over and over when Libby demands that he accept the money from his mother. Bill refuses. A man provides for his family. A man does not take money from his mother.

Bill may insist on being “the man,” but the women in his life conspire against him for his own good. Betty tells him that revenue is up 20% due to new patients and an increase in fees, but it is his mother’s money that has saved his business.  

Betsy Brandt
Betsy Brandt plays Barbara
Barbara, played by Betsy Brandt, who was Bill’s secretary when he was at Memorial Hospital, is back also. She wants to volunteer to be a subject, but she is deemed ineligible once she reveals that she has a congenital deformity—no vaginal opening.  She cannot have vaginal intercourse. Virginia is surprised because Barbara was known to be having an affair with Dr Greathouse, Bill’s boss at Memorial Hospital. Remember when Greathouse was urging Bill to explore “other areas”--Greathouse was undoubtedly a rear-door man.

Dr. Austin Landsman was back on the show too. His wife divorced him because of his cheating. He’s been a swinging bachelor for a while, but he wants to return to the comforts of marriage. He implores his wife to take him back. Being as kind as she can be under the circumstances, she tells Austin that she has “moved on.”  

Everyone has moved on. The years have moved on—close to three years elapsed between the end of episode 206 and the end of episode 207. Betty has become an independent businesswoman. Libby is resigned to her loveless marriage. Bill has agreed to forgive Essie, just a little, enough to allow her to be part of his family. And Bill and Virginia are going to kiss and makeup. I predict that it will not be easy for them to get their relationship on an even keel again. Sometimes it is not so easy to move on.
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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Masters of Sex #206 “Blackbird”

Masters of Sex Bill and Virginia
Bill and Virginia share a tender moment.
Sex, Lies, and Friendship

by Catherine Giordano

There were so many shockers on Masters of Sex #206, “Blackbird” which aired on Showtime on Sunday, August 17, 2014 that I must post a Spoiler Alert. If you haven’t seen the episode yet, but plan to watch it, maybe you shouldn’t read this review and recap until after you watch the episode.


Let’s start with friendship. The friendship between Lillian and Virginia is real despite the fact that neither of them makes friends very easily. The episode opens with Virginia and Bill in their hotel room and Virginia is so upset about the fact that Lillian will most likely die from her cancer very soon that she starts to cry.  

Virginia has been taking the time to take Lillian to each of her radiation treatments. She continues to fight for Lillian and to urge Lillian to fight. Lillian is very fatigued from her treatments, and Virginia feels a morning appointment would better. She tries to arrange it with the staff and is told that there are no morning appointments available.  Virginia won’t give up and she finally succeeds. She won’t let Lillian give up either. Lillian has had a frank discussion with her doctor and she knows that she is sliding to a painful end. Virginia insists that if there is even a 1% chance of recovery, Lillian must not give up. 
Masters of Sex Virginia with Lillian
Virginia and Lillian share a tender moment
before Lillian's "final exit."
Virginia meets Lillian at her home later that night. Lillian has written a letter to her family telling them she wants to donate her body to a medical school. She asks Virginia to give it to her family. They drink wine, listen to music, and talk about love and life just as good friends do. Virginia helps Lillian go to bed. She treats her very tenderly like a child.  

Virginia leaves Lillian, but returns a little latter because she has forgotten to take the envelope. She discovers that Virginia has taken an overdose of sleeping pills. She starts to call for an ambulance (no 911 in those days), but thinks better of it and hangs up. Earlier Lillian had told Virginia. ”You never take no for an answer, do you?”  Now Virginia is taking “no” for an answer. She is letting Lillian die the way she wants to die. Virginia lies down in the bed next to Lillian and holds her in an embrace until Lillian stops breathing.   

The doctor had told Lillian that her likely prognosis was to become weaker and weaker; she would eventually have no ability to function at all, not even to think. The doctor kept stressing, “Your loved ones will make you as comfortable as possible.” Lillian knows she has no loved ones! 
Masters of Sex Coral
The tender moments between
Coral and Robert are revealed to be lies
There is no friendship between Libby and her maid, Coral. Libby is determined to separate Coral from her young man, Robert. She tells Coral that she had a friend on the police force check his record and he has been arrested several times. She tells Coral that she cannot have Robert come to pick her up after work anymore because he is a criminal and it is not safe for her and her baby to have him around. Coral says her auntie will pick her up. When Coral leaves, Libby follows her and sees that Robert has been waiting for her around the corner. Libby takes the baby and follows them with her car.   

When she leaves the car, it is dark, she is carrying the bulky baby carrier, and she cuts her leg on the bumper of another car. She goes into the vestibule of their apartment building, and is looking through some mail to try to figure out which apartment Coral lives in. Just then Robert enters the vestibule. He is shocked to learn that Libby thinks that he and Coral are lovers—he is her brother. (He has a different name because they had different fathers.)  Robert notices that Libby’s leg is bleeding, and he tries to staunch the blood with his handkerchief.  Libby is feeling totally humiliated as she comes to understand why Coral has been lying about her relationship with Robert—Coral was taunting Libby about the lack of passion in her marriage. Libby grabs some money from her purse, thrusts it towards Robert, and tells him that Coral is fired.  

Libby has discovered Coral’s lie, but more lies are still left to be exposed .Betty and Helen have resumed their sexual relationship. Betty wants to get an apartment for Betty so they can continue to meet for afternoon delight. Helen balks at being a “mistress.”  She proposes to Al, the friend of Betty’s husband, Gene, and Al is happy to accept. Helen has been dating Al as a way to get close to Helen. Now Helen wants what Betty has—a wealthy husband and respectability. This will make her Betty’s equal and not regulate her to the status of a kept woman. 
Masters of Sex Gene and Betty
There will be no more
tender moments for Gene and Betty
When Al and Helen visit Gene and Betty in their home and announce the engagement, Helen seals the deal by kissing Al. Betty calls is “a shocking display.” She says she doesn’t want to socialize with the couple anymore because she has always disliked Al. Gene ells Al that Betty is mad at Helen and so they can’t socialize as a foursome anymore. Al is perplexed. He saw Betty and Helen kiss at the restaurant during one of their double dates. Al didn’t make the lesbian connection, but Gene does. Gene confronts Betty with the truth and tells her their marriage is over—he forgave her for being a prostitute, he forgave her for lying about her inability to have children, but he won’t forgive this. He won’t “self himself so cheaply.”   

Why was Betty so infuriated when Helen announced she was going to marry Al and then kissed him. Helen as only doing what Betty herself had done. Betty’s reaction was more than mere jealousy. Helen’s actions were showing Betty up for what she was—a woman who was living a lie. Betty was trying to fool herself into believing she really was a loving wife in a happy marriage. Betty protests to Gene, “I care for you,” but Gene wants more. He wants love.  

Bill Masters is prepared to do some lying of his own. Bill’s boss at Buell Green, the black hospital where he now works, has forbidden Bill to use black subjects for the sex research. He cites the horrible ways that blacks were experimented upon in the past and the misconceptions about blacks being oversexed. Hoping to get some good publicity for the research, Bill agrees to be interviewed for an article by a black female journalist who writes for a Negro publication.   

To Bill’s horror, the journalist wants to write about his childhood and the recent incidents related to his leaving his two previous employers. Bill wants to kill the story so he goes to the journalist’s publisher. He threatens to publish a report confirming the prejudices about Negro sexuality-- Negro men have larger penises and more testosterone than white men. Bill is lying and the publisher knows it, and soon Hendricks knows it also. Hendricks tells him that he can no longer work at the hospital. Bill realizes he can only do his work if he goes out on his own.  

The final lie of the evening is revealed at the conclusion of the episode. Bill has softened a little concerning his feelings for Virginia.  When they did “the work,” they had a no- kissing rule. But when Virginia started to cry as she told Bill that she was going to lose Lillian, her only friend, Bill tenderly kissed her. Was he just soothing a friend or was he admitting to love?  “I care for you,” was the most he could say. 

After Bill is fired from the hospital, he rushes to Virginia’s house to tell her the news. Is it because she is his partner in the research or because when one has made a momentous change in one’s life, one naturally wants to share that news with the person who is most important in one’s life.   

When Bill arrives at Virginia’s house, the door is opened by a man. The man introduces himself as Virginia’s “beau.” (Virginia is not home because she is with Lillian, holding her friend as she dies.) The man mentions that he and Virginia met, the night of the boxing match (see episode 203).. When Bill hears that Virginia not only has a lover he knew another about, but also she met this man right after what was the most intimate session Bill and Virginia had ever had, he is shattered.

Masters of Sex dvd
Sex, lies, and friendship deliver one shocker after another as the show continues to reveal how these three, and love too, are all interconnected.
So many shockers--it feels like a season finale, but it is only mid-season.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Masters of Sex #205 “Giants”

Masters of Sex Libby and Coral
Masters of Sex Libby and Coral

by Catherine Giordano

Relations--racial relations, sexual relations, conjugal relations, employer-employee relations – are strained on Showtime’s Masters of Sex, episode 205, titled “Giants” which aired on Sunday, August 10, 2014. Here’s the review and recap of the episode.

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Let’s start with racial relations. The plot arc began in the previous episode as Dr. Bill Masters took a job at the “Negro” hospital, Buell Green, and when Libby Masters, who feels powerless in her relationship with her husband, stated to humiliate and dominate her young black nanny/housekeeper, Coral, played by Keke Palmer.

At the end of episode 204, Bill Masters is seen accepting a new position at a hospital.  Then the camera pans back and we see that he is sitting at a conference table, and every other of the half dozen or so faces at that table is black. As an indication of how times have changed, I didn’t even notice the lack of white faces until the preview of the next episode alerted me to the fact that he doctor was moving to a “Negro” hospital.  The director of Buell Green wants to have an integrated hospital and hiring Bill is supposed to advance that plan.

This is not working out so well. Yes, Bill now has permission and space (albeit quite meager space), to conduct his sex research and Virginia Johnson has been hired as is assistant, but resentments are building up. Bill’s patients are leaving him--they don’t want to go to the “Negro” hospital and/or don’t want to go to the “bad neighborhood” in which it is located. The director of the hospital is not happy with the fact that Bill is losing patients and the hospital is not becoming integrated. So the director is secretly sabotaging the sex study. The waiting room has been segregated, not by race, but by putting  Dr. Masters patients and patients of other doctors on separate sides of the room—de factor racial segregation—because a fight broke out when the white and black patients shared the same space. Even Virginia is concerned that they may have only “colored” subjects for their study. She thinks this will alter the results.

Libby is frustrated in her marriage and is taking it out on Coral. She humiliates her and dominates her in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. She criticizes Coral’s pronunciation of ‘ask”. Libby wears nothing but her foundation garments in front of Coral as she decides what dress to wear for a get-together with the wives of the other doctors. And, when one of Libby’s guests asks Coral how she learned how to be so good with a baby, Libby tells Coral, right in front of the guests, that her reply should have been very brief no one was really interested.

When Libby’s infant son, John, is discovered with head lice, everyone in the house has to use the medicated shampoo. Coral says that her brother checked her hair and she does not have lice, and Dr. Masters says that Negro’s seldom have lice because their hair is not a suitable habitat for them. Libby gets angry at Coral for appealing to Dr. Masters (as she always refers to her husband in front of Coral). She wants it to be clear that she, Libby, is her boss.

Keke Palmer
Keke Palmer
The next day Libby tells Coral that since she would not use the medicated shampoo on her own, she, Libby, will wash her hair herself.  Coral needs her job and is forced to submit.  It is a odd scene—washing someone’s hair is an intimate act and the roles are reversed—it’s the “boss” washing the “servant’s” hair and not vice versa. Then because Coral protested that she could not afford to have her hair done twice in one week, Libby hands her the money for her hair treatment. Coral takes the money and this adds to her humiliation. 

Coral may be only 18, but she knows how to retaliate. When Libby interferes in Coral’s personal life telling her she should drop her boyfriend, Coral sees her chance for revenge. Coral tells Libby that she is right. Coral says that she knows she should drop her boyfriend, but she then says she just can’t do it because he is such a sweet and tender lover. Coral can see that her employer is not getting ‘sweet loving” from her husband.  

Libby was indeed stung by Coral’s description of her attentive lover. She ever so sweetly asks Bill to join her in her bed –they have twin beds—to enhance their marriage. Bill obliges, but we, and Libby, know that his heart is not in it. She tells Bill that she has had an orgasm, a quiet one so as not to wake the baby, just to get him to end it. When the Masters and Johnson research is complete se won’t be able to lie about orgasm—he will know the physical signs of orgasm that cannot be faked.   
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Virginia and Bill are having some stress in their employer-employee relations as well as in their sexual relations. Virginia suggests that their having-sex-with-each-other “work” should stop. Bill tells her it is a condition of her employment. The next time they meet at the hotel, Virginia becomes dominant. She refuses to undress and sits in a chair with her pen and clipboard. She insists that Bill stand naked before her and “touch himself.”  (Role-reversal from a previous session, except Virginia was masturbating of her own volition.)  Bill then acts in a very subservient way, kneeling naked before the clothed Virginia to pleasure her orally.   

Betty has some work to do to repair her own conjugal relationship. Her husband Gene was okay with her lying about her past as a prostitute, but he can’t forgive her lying about her inability to bear children. Betty is doing everything she can think of to cajole Gene off the couch (where he now sleeps) and back into the martial bed. I think she has come to love Gene; he has become more to her than just a ticket to “the good life.”  Gene eventually relents, and their marriage is once again a happy one.

But not for long. When Betty was “in the life," she had a lesbian lover, Helen. It was true love for both of them. Betty broke it off with Helen when she married, but now Helen, played by Sarah Silverman, is back and she wants Betty back. Helen wins over Gene, who thinks Helen is nothing more than a psychic palm reader whom Betty used to consult. Gene decides that he should introduce his friend Jim to Helen and they should all go on a double date. Betty does everything she can to disrupt this plan telling Gene that Helen is a drunk, an obsessive gambler, and a gold-digger. It turns out Jim likes drunks and obsessive gamblers and is unfazed by gold-digging.  At the restaurant, Helen and Jim hit it off. 

Masters of Sex Betty and Helen Kiss
Helen and Betty Kiss
Helen’s charms are also proving to be irresistible for Betty. When Betty tries to escape to the ladies room, Helen follows her. Betty begs her to leave, but instead Helen kisses her.  

It looks like Helen and Betty will resume their affair. Will they be able to get away with it?
Relations, like relationships, are complicated.
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Monday, August 4, 2014

Masters of Sex #204 "Dirty Jobs"

Masters of Sex AnnaLeigh Ashford as Betty
AnnaLeigh Ashford as Betty
on "Masters of Sex"

by Catherine Giordano

Secrets is the theme of Showtime’s Masters of Sex, episode 204, which aired on Sunday August 3, 2014. Here's the review and recap.

Dr. Bill Masters and his former research assistant, Virginia Johnson, are trying to keep their relationship secret, even from themselves. After Dr. Austin Langham sees them together at the hotel, he sidles up to Virginia in the hospital lunchroom to ask what is going on. Virginia quickly makes up a cover story about it; she tells him they are meeting to compile a report on their research. She even smoothly makes up a story saying that she quit as Bill’s assistant over a disagreement on when he should present his findings, but is now working with Bill again because he apologized after he was fired from the hospital.   

Austin pretends to buy it, but later we discover he didn’t believe a word of it. He strikes up a conversation with Dr. Lillian DePaul, Virginia’s boss one night when she is working late at the hospital. He says, “You knew all along, didn’t you.” Lillian thinks he is talking about something else so she says she did.  Austin then elaborates and Lillian hides her shock at the news. 

Lillian wants Virginia to share this secret with her, perhaps to cement their sisterly solidarity. As they wait together for Lillian’s radiation treatment, she tells Virginia that she cheated on a calculus exam in college. It’s a secret she has never told anyone before. Then she asks Virginia to share a secret in return. Virginia claims she has no secrets. (Virginia was such a smooth liar before, why didn’t she just say she cheated on her husband years ago or something like that.) 

Lillian is offended that Virginia won’t share the secret of the affair with her. By refusing to share, Virginia has indicated that she is not really a friend. Lillian decides to hand off her Pap smear study to Dr. Papanicolaou, doctor who invented the Pap smear. By doing so, she renounces all claims to her work--no credit, no money. Virginia is aghast when she hears this news; she has been working hard to get funding for the project. It appears that this move, done in secret, was Lillian’s revenge against Virginia for not proving her friendship by confiding in Lillian about the affair.   

Austin is so pleased with his discovery of the affair that he goes to Bill’s house to speak to Bill about it. Austin says that he has always felt so guilty about his philandering, but now he realizes that since Bill is also having an affair, maybe this is just something that all men do. Bill won’t admit anything to Austin, but we can see that Bill is being forced to start to admit it to himself. 

This is turning out to be very bad day for Bill. He's fired from his new job. It seems his new boss and some of the other male doctors at the hospital think that Bill’s research is a peep show. They invade his lab one evening when a subject is behind the one-way mirror and guffaw as they enjoy their voyeurism. Bill loses it, and the boxing training that he talked about in an earlier episode stands him in good stead as he starts throwing punches. Of course, Bill is fired.  

Bill’s wife, Libby, finds out that her husband was fired when she gets a phone call from the wife of one of the doctors. She is furious when she confronts Bill. She feels that he is keeping secrets from her. “Why do I have to hear everything third-hand,” she screams at him. She’s angry that this sex study has cost him his job again. She is even angrier that the sex study apparently takes precedence over the “wife and child who depend on you.”
AnnaLeigh Ashford
AnnaLeigh Ashford
But the biggest secret of the episode concerns Betty, the former prostitute who once helped with Bill’s study, and her new rich husband, Gene. She has been keeping a secret from her husband about her former life as a prostitute, pretending to be “a good Christian girl.”  She has also been keeping her inability to conceive a secret. (Prior to her marriage, Bill had to perform a hysterectomy on her due to excessive inflammation of her internal reproductive organs.)     

Betty wanted Bill to tell her husband that his “little swimmers” were the reason he and Betty could not have a baby. Bill refused to hurt Gene in this way. (It’s the manhood thing again—not having “manly” sperm is the worst thing a man could hear. Bill knows this, because his low sperm count was the reason his own wife could not conceive without out the help of the secret fertility treatments she received from Dr. Hass.)

Betty gets Bill to say that the final test that he performed on her showed that she was infertile. After they leave Bill’s office, Gene decides that he has to go pay the hospital for the treatments right away. Another opportunity for a consummate liar to tell a lie that would save the day, but she can’t come up with one. She might have said that Bill was not charging them because Gene was funding Bill’s sex research.)

Over dinner that night, Betty tries to explain why she didn’t tell her future husband that she knew she could not have children. “You wouldn’t have married me,” she cries out. And then Gene reveals the biggest shocker, the biggest secret of all. He knew all about her past. He had once gone to a brothel because he was too shy to date girls. Betty had been so kind to him that he had fallen in love with her on that occasion. All along, Betty thought they had met for the first time at church. All along, Gene knew all about her past and it didn’t matter to him.  

All kinds of secrets unraveled in this episode.  Secrets with far-reaching consequences.
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Friday, August 1, 2014

Real Time with Bill Maher #327 August 1, 2014 Frat Party

Ralph Nader Time Magazine 1969
This magazine cover is from 1969,
but seems perfectly relevant today.
by Catherine Giordano

You know the last day of school or the last day at work just before a big four-day weekend. Everyone is there physically, but there is a giddy feeling in the air and, mentally, everyone is already on vacation. That was the feeling on Real Time with Bill Maher, episode 327, which aired on August 1, 2014.  

The “vacation” feeling, together with the fact that there were only men on the show, is why I named this review and recap of the show “Frat Party.” (Representative Barbara Lee (D, CA), author of Renegade for Peace and Justice: A Memoir of Political and Personal Courage, was supposed to be on the show, but the House of Representatives had to delay their own five-week vacation in order to take some votes that they should have taken earlier in the week, so Ms. Lee had to cancel her appearance.)

Douglas Brinkley, professor of history at Rice University, fellow at the non-partisan think tank, The James Baker Institute for Public Policy,  and author of several books including his latest book The Nixon Tapes: 1971-1972 was also supposed to be on the show.  I can't find out why he wasn't on the show--maybe he went on vacation.)


New Rules: Slack Like Me

Even the Final New Rules segment was about vacation.  Maher began by reporting that the United States scores 17th on the world happiness index. “Why?” Maher asks. Because we work too much and too hard. Or, as Maher put it, “Our balance of working to living is off.”
For example, “Half the country is fighting to keep a job working in a coal mine, a job so bad that when we want to describe a job that is bad we say, "It is like working in a coal mine.’”
[I know working in a coal mine and dying from black lung disease or a cave-in is a tradition for some families in some parts of the country, but give it up already. I like those commercials for Siemans on TV that show these happy people in Iowa working to make wind turbines. They look so happy and so proud…and so clean. Those are the jobs of the future. Coal miners, listen up: The sooner the coal industry is gone, the better it will be for you.] 
He blamed our workaholic ways on religion. "The Catholic Church says God loves poverty. That is why he made so much of it. Then the Protestants came along and said God wants everyone to be rich …or die trying.”
Next Maher went on a rant about the Cadillac commercial from a couple of years ago where a man berates the people of other countries for taking it easy, but here in America we work hard, so we can buy Cadillacs. Bill said that Americans are working hard so they can die from a heart attack at 50, while Europeans take a siesta in the afternoon. You know what that means. They are having sex in the afternoon and we are not.
Maher berated lottery winners who collect their winnings and then say they are going back to their job. "What a waste of good luck”, he said. He said that Aussies are always the life of the party—why—because they don’t have jobs.
Fodor's Florida Travel Guide
Then Maher triumphantly announced that he was taking August off.  And part of September too. He won’t be back until September 12. I felt like this whole new rule was just about Maher feeling guilty about going on vacation. (Fess up, Bill, if you won the lottery you'd still do this show and your personal appearances, too.)
Here I am on Saturday morning, typing away at my computer instead of enjoying the beautiful Florida sunshine.  But I like writing, and if I went outside, I’d probably be weeding the yard. So staying inside and writing is a vacation. By the way, Florida is a wonderful place for a vacation. Pick up a travel guide, and come on down. 
Chris Hardwick, mid-show guest
Spend an hour with the mid show guest, Chris Hardwick, a comedian, actor, screenwriter, musician, podcaster, television host for @Midnight on Comedy Central (and Talking Bad and Taking Dead), author of The Nerdist Way: How to Reach the Next Level (In Real Life) and you might feel like you need a vacation. He has a lot of manic energy, but he’s so funny, so delightful, so affable, that you won’t want to leave.
Maher said that Chris was the head of the nerd empire. Hardwick instantly refused the title. “Nerd power will take me down. Nerds understand something down to the molecular level, and then they use that information against people. I am just a servant of the nerd army.” Talented, good-looking, and modest too. If Hardwick is a nerd, he will change the image of nerds everywhere.
Hardwick spoke about social media. “You are interfacing with a machine, with text; you are not looking in people’s eyes. The problem with social media is, one, you can be anonymous and therefore not have to take responsibility and, two, it is an emotion in the moment. A minute later, you don’t feel that way anymore and you don’t even know why you said it.”
Chris Hardwick The Nerdist Way
Maher brought up “FakeBook” and “OK Stupid” who were doing Dr.Mengele-like experiments. Facebook decided to put only negative posts into the news feed of some people and OK Cupid sent people random matches. Why? Evidently, just because they could. Gee, if you can’t trust social media, who can you trust?
Hardwick explained that the internet is used as a ‘vessel of anger.”  He warned that since you can’t read emotion, you should try to understand before you respond with anger. Maybe that innocent-sounding remark actually is actually just an innocent remark and not meant to be sarcastic. So Chris Hardwick is a nice guy too.
He’d be a great asset at a frat party.
Ralph Nader, interview guest
You probably won’t find Ralph Nader, political activist, former candidate (and spoiler) in the presidential election of 2000, and author of several books including his latest book (with Luke Nichter) Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State. Maher began the interview by mentioning the time on is show that Maher, along with Michael Moore, were down on their knees, begging Nader to get out of the 2000 race. 
Nader didn’t get out and he still refuses to take responsibility for having inflicted George W. Bush upon the nation. He still maintains that it doesn’t make any difference who is elected because Republicans and Democrats are the same. My response is: Yes, they are the same, in the same way that an ant and a tiger are the same. They will both bite you, but would you rather be bitten by an ant or a tiger? Democrats are far from perfect-they are pawns of Wall Street too, but they avoid the worse excesses and they do some good.
Bill Maher made the point too. “What if we had Mitt-McCain for president, a president who thinks he will inherit his own planet with Lindsey Graham?”  Maher went on, “We’d have Ted Nugent on the Supreme Court, we’d be at war with nine countries, the auto industry would have been allowed to die, and tax rates for the rich would be 3%.”
Maher and Nader spoke about President Obama calling out “corporate deserters”—companies that take everything that America offers (subsidies, research, protection) to succeed and then want to take the money and run. They buy a small company in another country where taxes are low, and then claim that their major business here in the United States is a subsidiary of the small company in order to avoid paying taxes in the United States. A Republican president would be trying to make it easier for corporations to do this, unlike President Obama, who wants to stop this practice.
And that, Mr. Nader, is the difference between Democrats and Republicans.  And that, Mr. Nader, is why I will never forgive you for your ego-trip/publicity stunt in 2000. (I keep typing “nadir” instead of “Nader.” A Freudian slip?)
The panel
The three men on the panel were:
Andrew Ross Sorkin, journalist, financial columnist for The New York Times, co-anchor of CNBC's Squawk Box, and author of Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System--and Themselves
Reza Aslan: scholar of religion, associate professor of creative writing at the University of California, and author of several books including Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth 
Doug Heye, Eric Cantor’s deputy chief of staff for communications. (Since Eric Cantor lost his primary and announced that he was quitting instead of serving his full term, maybe Doug Heye considers his appearance on the show to be a job interview. He doesn’t have a book to promote.)
Everyone got along well and pretty much agreed on the issues. (That’s the frat party aspect again—they sounded like guys sitting around the frat house discussing things over a few beers.)  

Conservative Doug Heye had to admit that we have seen some good job growth, and then added,  “But it is not good enough.” We have all heard that ‘but” so many times, so Maher’s replied “Blah Blah Blah.” (Later Maher told Heye he was just looking for a reason to hate Obama. Heye denied this and then denied his denial by saying, "I don't have to look far." I need to think that part about everyone getting along well. Maybe they didn't get along all that well.)
The panel was pretty much in agreement that maybe the United States should stop giving money to other counties (including Israel) so that they can use that money to buy weapons from the United States. They did disagree though about blaming Israel for the fighting with Hamas.
Aslan thought that since Israel is a democracy, it must be held to a higher standard.  But he also noted that even Arab states headed by tyrants and dictators don’t like Hamas. Maher pointed out that when Arab countries get to vote for their leaders, we get the Muslim Brotherhood and not democracy. 
Marijuana leaf
Marijuana, Drugs, Redeem Act
They were all back in agreement when the topic turned to drug laws and incarceration rates—they agreed that they were stupid. Sorkin said that it was ridiculous that marijuana was a “schedule A” drug with heroin, while meth and coke were “schedule B.”  Maher talked about Senators Cory Booker (D, NJ) and Rand Paul (R, KY) teaming up for the “Redeem Act”—an act that, if passed, would give young people convicted of drug offenses a chance to wipe their record clean.
In Florida, where I live, we will be voting on medical marijuana in November.  Some polls show 90% approval. So perhaps, the Redeem Act stands a chance of becoming law.
Mid-show Comedy Segment

For the last show before the August vacation, it’s traditional to do a segment about the headlines we might see while the show is on hiatus. Here are a few.
Maylasian Airlines Lands One 
Supreme Court Rules Female Orgasm Unconstitutional
GM Recalls Three Remaining Cars
See the details and a video clip at Headline Predictions.


Maher did a New Rules segment about Sharknado 2. He said that will have to try harder to be stupid because, "Have you ever seen Heaven is for Real?"
I’ll do a full recap of this bit later on my other blog, Bill Maher Rules (for real)   
Real Time on Hiatus
This is the last new ‘Real Time” until September 12.
What will I do with my Saturday mornings without a new review to write? What will I do with my Friday nights? Does anyone know of a frat party I could go to?  Maybe I should just watch the movie.

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Read what Bill Maher said about the border crisis: Border Crossings

 Bill Maher’s Guests #327 August 1, 2014

Ralph Nader: political activist, former candidate (and spoiler) in the presidential election of 2000, author of several books including his latest book (with Luke Nichter) Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State 

Reza Aslan: scholar of religion, associate professor of creative writing at the University of California, author of several books including Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth

Andrew Ross Sorkin: journalist, financial columnist for The New York Times, co-anchor of CNBC's Squawk Box, author of Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System--and Themselves
Doug Heye: Eric Cantor’s deputy chief of staff for communications

Chris Hardwick: Comedian, actor, screenwriter, musician, podcaster, television host for @Midnight on Comedy Central, author of The Nerdist Way: How to Reach the Next Level (In Real Life)