Monday, February 20, 2017

TV: Free speech

You don't have to like the speech to support free speech.

In most poli sci classes covering this, they use something like a KKK rally as an example.

Their speech is vile and disgusting but is protected speech under the US Constitution.

Saturday, Ty informed us that over 50 people e-mailed to say they were looking forward to our take on REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER.



We hadn't said we were writing a word about that.

But because the program was in the news, many assumed we must be and would be watching.

Journalist Jeremy Schahill has been a regular guest on Bill's HBO series.

But early last week, Schahill announced he would not be appearing on Friday's show.

Why I will not appear this week on Real Time with Bill Maher.

Bill Maher had his own response and it included:

Liberals will continue to lose elections as long as they follow the example of people like Mr. Scahill whose views veer into fantasy and away from bedrock liberal principles like equality of women, respect for minorities, separation of religion and state, and free speech.

Who's right?  Who's wrong?

Any guest has a right to refuse to appear if they are going to be uncomfortable.

Bill Maher also has a right to do a show he wants to do.

He's chosen to do a political shout-fest.

That's his choice.

We're a little surprised that Jeremy draws the line over that guest.

We tend to agree with BLACK AGENDA REPORT's Margaret Kimberley:

  1. Jeremy Scahill boycotts Bill Maher because Yiannopoulos is a guest. Scahill should boycott Maher altogether. Maher is Muslim hating racist.

Some referred to Schahill's action as a 'stunt.'

We tend to disagree because he's got nothing to promote currently.

It didn't do him any good.

In fact, it is doubtful whether or not he'll now be invited back on the show.

That's Bill Maher's right as well.

He's the host, it's his show.

It's not a show we choose to watch.

We've weighed in before, such as in 2014's "TV: The WTFs:"

Take the never-ending yammering about what took place a week ago on the dreadful HBO program (is that redundant -- dreadful and HBO?) Real Time with Bill Maher.  Bill Maher and Sam Harris on one side and Ben Affleck, Michael Steele and Nicholas Kristof largely on the other.  Ben and company largely took a positive take on humanity while Bill and Sam saw destruction everywhere.

If you wanted to spend more than 90 words on it, and some people clearly did, you might get to the reality of the problem -- both sides were talking around the other and could have made concessions.  (The only point where Maher was correct was in noting that the left -- which includes us -- is very comfortable calling out Christian and Jewish fundamentalist zealots but goes wobbly when it comes to calling out their Muslim equivalents.)

No one seemed eager to make that point.

Nor did they seem to grasp the more pertinent issue.

Bill Maher is a pig.

Trina noted some ridiculous idiot who wrote last week that "now" Maher was attacking women.


For three decades on television Maher has attacked women non-stop.

And there was Bill Maher on his hideous program insisting that Muslims were against women and this to women and that to women and blah blah blah.

And what stood out to us as feminists, as Maher pretended to give a damn about women in order to justify his attacks on Muslims, was the panel.

Maher silences women.  He had a four guests and himself making up a panel allegedly concerned about women and not one of them was a woman.

If you don't get what a hypocrite and liar Bill Maher is, that's on you at this point.  When he's pretending to care about what happens to women while staging an all male panel, if you can't grasp it, we're really shocked by your stupidity.

And we covered Gloria Steinem's ridiculous 2016 appearance on the program in "TV: Women and Power" (ridiculous, homophobic, transphobic and sexist).

It's not a show we like.

Or one we seek out.

But if Maher wants to book someone controversial, we're not going to slam him for that.

We believe in free speech.

But supporting free speech does not mean we have to partake of programs we find offensive.

We can defend him inviting on Milo what's-his-name while refusing to waste our time watching.

Does Bill Maher have a point that arguments can be better if you know what you're against?

Yes, he does.

Does Jeremy Schahill have a point that he can't appear on a broadcast that he fears will endorse things he disagrees with?

Yes, he does.

And that's the thing about free speech, we don't have to agree with anyone to support it.

Nor are we obligated to watch it.

Back to that KKK rally that poli sci classes often use for an example.  You can support their right to assemble or march as a supporter of free speech.

But supporting free speech doesn't mean you have to join them in marching.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }