Friday, November 21, 2014

Real Time with Bill Maher #337, 11/21/14 "Tis the Season to be Stupid"

Seth Rogen
Seth Rogen
by Catherine Giordano
Tis the season, the season for stupidity and jollity on Real Time with Bill Maher, #337, which aired on November 21, 2014 on HBO.  Maher, the avowed atheist, even came out in favor of Christmas.
Obama and Immigration
In the monologue, Maher got right to the issue of the day, Obama and immigration.  “If you like your gardener, you can keep your gardener.” Maher said, Republicans are in a snit about it—it really is a Mexican stand-off.”

Michelle Bachman said the illegal immigrants will be voting. Maher said, “There is no evidence of illegals voting. Maybe they should because voting is another job that Americans won’t do.” He added that if Obama is (acting like) a king, the Boehner must be a knight—“Sir Rhosis of Liver. (Ha Ha. Boehner is widely known for liking his drink. He fact he is something of a lush.) 

During the panel discussion, Maher said that Obama just insured Hillary Clinton’s election.  Chris Mathews (host of MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Mathews and author of several books including his most recent book, Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked) agreed. “You can’t spot the other team 15% and expect to win.”
During the panel discussion, Maher said that Obama just insured Hillary Clinton’s election.  I say, “Don’t be so sure.” 

Roland Martin
Roland Martin
Roland Martin, a journalist, host of TV One News and author of Speak Brother: A Black Man’s View of America pointed out that a lot of Latino’s are not registered. I say, “Where were they in the mid-term elections?” Even the ones who were registered did not vote. And while some Latinos are crying tears of joy because they won’t have to worry about their families being deported, others are complaining Obama did not do enough.  

 Martin said the Boehner made a stupid mistake when he refused to bring the bi-partisan Senate Immigration bill to the floor. The votes were there to pass it, but Boehner did not want to pass it with Democratic votes plus a few Republican votes.  (He cited the Hastert rule that legislation must be able to pass with a majority of the votes coming from the majority-party. Denny Hastert said he never had such a rule.) If they had passed it, Republicans would have looked good. Boehner refused to bring it up for a vote—stupid.
Mathews said, “Obama did the nice stuff. Now they [Republicans] could do the hard stuff --law enforcement and illegal hiring.”(He meant that the anti-immigrant base would never go for the nice part but would vote for the harsh part.)
Maher said, “When has America ever been welcoming to immigrants. Certainly not to the Irish, the Italians …”

Christia Freeland, journalist, politician, and author of Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else is Canadian.  She said, “America’s strength is being able to absorb immigrants. Canada’s too. Europe can’t do it.  That is why Europe is fading.”
John Cleese
John Cleese

John Cleese
The interview was with John Cleese, an actor, comedian, film producer, Monty Python cast-member, and author of several books. His latest book is Say Anyway…

Maher was fawning over him as he did last week with Rand Paul. Only this time, the fawning was totally justified.  Maher said, “I swoon over you.”  Me too.

Maher said, “You lampoon the establishment because you are one of them.” (Cleese is a lawyer—I did not know that.) “Your book is so great. It explains your work.”  And, “Life of Brian” is the best movie ever made.”

Cleese said that he is a member of The Church of England.  He called it “The Conservative Party of Prayer.”
Cleese said, “I’m against stupidity, but the world wouldn’t work without it. Comedy is about people being stupid and screwing things up. Almost nobody has any idea of what they are talking about.”

Bill Cosby
The panel discussed the allegations of rape made by 16 women (so far) against Bill Cosby. Maher joked about it in the monolog.  “Vegas cancelled him.  How sleazy do you have to be to get cancelled by Vegas? Now black teenagers can tell Cosby, ‘Pull up your pants.’”

Maher said, “Celebrities are targets, but when this many women come forward with no financial incentive you have to think there might be something to it.”

Seth Rogen, an actor and comedian who starred in The Neighbors, said, “It was well-known in the community I was in.” Essentially he was saying people who were in a position to know, knew." (Read more about Seth Rogen and his new movie, The Interview at The Bumbler, The Dictator, and the Senator.)
Of course, the question is why didn’t the women say something at the time of the rape.

Christia Freeland
Christia Freeland
Freeland, the only woman on the panel, had to explain it to the men.  “There has been a cultural shift. At the time, it wasn’t OK to say anything. I hope this is a turning point. “What people don’t understand is that women blame themselves, they fell embarrassed, they are afraid of hurting their career and that no one would believe them.  Maher talked about how attitudes had changed. It used to be OK for Jackie Gleason in The Honeymooners sketches to threaten to punch his wife. (Likewise, it used to be OK for powerful men to rape women. That is just how it was and women could be ruined if they spoke about it publically.) 

Martin said, “We will never have finality. There won’t be a trial because the statute of limitations has run out and lawyers always advise their clients not to speak about it.”

Jonathan Gruber
Stupidity is in the news because of Jonathan Gruber. He is a consultant who worked on the Affordable Care Act.  Gruber said that the behind the scenes, the drafter of the act were saying that the American people are stupid.   

Maher said, “You know who else has called the American people stupid? Me” He showed clips of him saying it. He said, “42% of Americans don’t even know there are three branches of government and even more can’t even name one.” “They believe the Noah’s ark story is true, “You have to slip the pill in the ham to get the dog to swallow it.”  

I agree Americans are stupid, not because they are unintelligent and incapable of understanding, but because they prefer to be ignorant and to act on emotion and not reason. Why did they vote to put the party that caused an economic collapse that was only narrowly averted by Obama’s leadership back in power? Why do they vote by huge margins for an increase in the minimum wage and then, in the same election, vote for the people who have promised to block a minimum wage increase? Why do the ones who don’t vote say “It doesn’t matter who gets elected”? Why did Latino’s sit out the mid-term elections and let the people who want to deport them take office instead of the people who would protect them? Why do people say that because Democrats only gave them half a loaf, they’ll vote for the ones who will not only give them none, but take away the crumbs they already have? Why?  Why?  Why?

Rogen was right when he compared America to the movie Dumb and Dumber.
Chris Matthews
Chris Matthews

Politically incorrect
Maher and Cleese discussed “political correctness” and how stupid it is.  Cleese said he could do jokes about Swedes, and the French, and the Germans, but if he did a joke about Mexicans, everyone gasped.   

Maher said that it was like not doing jokes about Islam. “Islam is a religion of peace. A piece of you over there, another piece of you over here.” 

Cleese said that Jesus did not expect his words to be taken absolutely literally. He was too smart for that.    

Mid-show comedy segment.
Whenever Maher goes on hiatus (the show will be back in January), he gives a series of predictions for newspaper headlines for the period he will be off the air. They are ridiculous and funny. For example: 

  • Amazon to Offer Baby Delivery
  • Pope Francis OK with Just About Everything
  • San Francisco Bans Straight Marriage
  • U.S Tour of Liberian Monkeys Sees Low Ticket Sales
  • Bruce Jenner to Plastic Surgeon: Give me Renee Zellweger’s Old Face

Read more about headline predictions and see the video clip at Bill Maher #337 Headline Predictions Winter 2014 ( I do some predictions of my own and I invite you to do some of your own.)

New Rules: “Present Tense”
In New Rules, Maher said Christmas needs saving. He likes Christmas. “As a fable, it is cute.”  Also, “How can you not like eggnog? It’s like getting wasted on ice cream.” 

One problem with the holidays is that they start in October. There should just be one holiday: Thankshallowismas.  “The whole family gets together in costume and gives thanks for a big meal of turkey and candy and then gathers around a tree decorated with toilet paper to exchange presents and tell ghost carols.”

Another problem is that the stress of families getting together is worse than ever. “Thanks to the internet and Fox News, half your family is insane and impossible to talk to.” Then Maher gave a list of things it was OK and not OK to talk about.

Finally, there is the stress of gift-giving. “You are spending money you don’t have to buy stuff for people that they don’t want. The parking. The shopping. The returning. Sometimes I wonder how my assistant does it. “

Maher said despite being an atheist he likes the holiday season. (Me too.) It’s fun. Then Maher ended the show with an orchestral version of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” as snowflakes floated down on him and the panel.

(I bet they liked the snowflakes part in Buffalo, the ones who still had power.)

Read more about this segment and see the video clip. Bill Maher Wishes you a Merry Thankshallowismas.
Merry Whatever
Enjoy the holidays and don’t do anything stupid. Unless it is really, really fun.