Sunday, March 18, 2012

Friday night's Bill Maher

There were a couple of interesting things about Bill Maher's Real Time. First, Maher talked just a little bit about how Republicans/Conservatives have latched onto Maher for his remarks about Sarah Palin apparently a year ago (apparently called Palin a stupid cunt, I believe I have heard). Maher has carved out his niche as a troublemaker, but one who has conservatives guests as well as liberals on his discussion panel at the same time. Just as Jon Stewart tries to be scrupulously fair to his guests even if they are as conservative as Jim DeMint, Bill Maher allows conservatives to talk as much as the liberals. Maher does sometimes insist on facts (he sometimes blames the increase in the debt on increases in payments for unemployment and food stamps, because of the bad economy on Bush's watch).

So now conservatives commenters make a token complaint about Limbaugh, and then demand any liberal in reach throw Maher under any available bus. But surely there are some important differences between Maher and Limbaugh. Maher stated that Palin had suggest Maher is the de facto leader of the Democratic party. Maybe Maher was referring to something David Axelrod said, but it is a good point that liberals only laugh at Bill Maher, where conservatives take Limbaugh fairly seriously.

Just think about that for a minute, roll it around in you mouth. Bill Maher as the de facto leader of the Democratic party. Compare that to how the Republicans see Limbaugh.

The other interesting thing on Maher was Alexandra Pelosi. Last week she showed a video of white men from Mississippi, who had nothing good to say about Obama or government programs. I will say at least one of the interviewees are taking that aid, which brings to mind a New York Times article that might have inspired her (that article described how Tea Party types are still taking the Earned Income Credit and other government aid).

So on the latest Maher Pelosi showed a video of what she called "welfare queens" standing outside the welfare office across from where she lives. I gotta say I find the term "welfare queen" (not least because they were all guys), but then I should (and rather secretly do) find the term "redneck" offensive. Actually, I find tea bagger offensive as well, and I at least try to avoid that one (and wince when other people use it).

She talked to the welfare recipients about what they were there for, whether they had a job, would look for a job, etc. Their responses were not surprising; a combination of mugging for the camera and some relatively wise remarks. One guy said he wasn't looking for a job, he was waiting for a career. If you spent a few days preparing taxes for the working poor, the ones that took the plunge and took the low wage jobs they could get, you might have more sympathy for that remark. That's not counting another remark - that is that it is a little tough to get a job when you have been in jail.

I'm sorry, there is a difference between even uneducated white poor people and unemployed African Americans (especially those who saw no point in playing enough of the game to finish high school). Not that poor white people are not deserving of help, but helping them generally does not require a systemic response.

The final thing I will say is that Pelosi predicted that liberals would attack her for making that video. Personally I have no trouble with her making the video, although the "welfare queens" remark (and in fairness what she said about white Mississippi) was pretty ignorant. But it turns out, she was not wrong about liberals.

No comments: