Tonight was the final straw.
I’ve been a regular viewer of Real Time with Bill Maher for almost all of the nearly 20 years it has aired, and it has often been one of my favorite shows. But after watching tonight’s episode, in which Maher turned nearly the entire show into a shoutout to the right wing “war on cancel culture”, I took a step that’s been building for a while now — I cancelled my Tivo subscription to Real Time.
Bill Maher has been someone I not only enjoyed watching, but admired in many ways. He never minced words, was highly articulate, and employed deadly wit in calling out the greed and hypocrisy of the disingenuous Right. He literally put his money where his mouth was to support the liberal cause, and knowingly stuck his neck out in telling truth to power. I will always respect him for that.
But as time passed, his sharp edge grew dull, he became more chummy with adversaries, and he increasingly embraced the “mainstream media” tactic of constructing false equivalences between missteps on the Left and atrocities on the Right.
On 11/9/2016, I entered a self-imposed blackout from all things political (for the sake of my mental health). When I resurfaced last September and watched Real Time after a nearly four year hiatus, the degree to which Maher had descended was quite striking.
While it has always been his trademark to include right wingers on the show, some of Maher’s recent guest choices (e.g. Jenna Ellis, Kellyanne Conway) plumb the depths of shamelessness. To make matters worse, Maher serves as no more than a punching bag when debating these deplorables, fecklessly stammering “well, OK” to their endless stream of lies, only coming to life to cheer “Now I agree with you there!” when a criticism of the Left strikes a chord.
Maher has adopted many of the views of his right wing friends. In tonight’s hour long sermon on how “cancel culture” is ruining the world, he as much as implied that everyone says racist things in private, and it’s a damned shame that people have to be accountable for their words and actions — it may as well have been Tucker Carlson speaking. His extreme views on nutrition/health seem to have morphed into a Trump-like perspective on COVID, including his calling the coronavirus lockdown a “reckless experiment”, encouraging millennials to “storm beaches and malls”, and saying “That’s not healthy either by the way, wearing a mask. I guess we have to do it, but breathing your stale air? Not healthy, not healthy”. He went so far as to invite conspiracy theorists Bret Weinstein and Heather Heyingon onto the show to spread COVID myths originated by Steve Bannon.
Bill has taken to using the show as a platform to voice his personal grievances and idiosyncrasies. Each week he displays a tote board counting the number of days that “Big Government” has slowed down his quest to build a solar shed. He whines about the financial ups and downs he’s endured as a part-owner of the Mets. And in cringeworthy anecdotes, he explains that he’s most comfortable partying with kids young enough to be his grandchildren, because they are the only one’s that relate to his enlightenment.
In summary. the Bill Maher I once enjoyed watching has become little more than a cynical, angry old man, awash in self-interest and cronyism, and adopting increasingly right-leaning views. Call it my own little contribution to “cancel culture“ (I know Maher would), but Real Time is now off the air as far as I’m concerned.
How do you feel about Bill Maher
How do you feel about Bill Maher
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