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Three score and ten or more

Tuesday, October 18, 2005



I am at a partial loss to really say what I want to say. I was surfing the blogosphere yesterday and came across a post which talked about Bill Maher and the success he was having in punching holes in hypocrisy, with some supporting posts supporting Jon Stewart and his work on the air. I am only at a loss because, after cruising through the sites where I thought I had read this material, I have been unable to locate it. That leaves me in the position of generalizing from memory. (a notoriously dangerous process for one who is three score and ten plus some years old, and has already written about his own memory failures.)

Now I don’t have any argument against anyone listening to an entertainer or commentator and being pleased with/or irritated with the results. I occasionally listen to Jon Stewart myself. He is an equal opportunity attack dog who will go for the jugular of anyone in power. Bill Maher, on the other hand is a mean, petty little bigot. Bigot??? Bigot?? How can Bill Maher be called a bigot? A bigot is anyone who considers someone unlike him or herself inferior or dangerous. This certainly is a clear description of Bill Maher. Of course the description doesn’t only fit him, or those with his political or social viewpoint. It certainly fits Ann Coulter, Michael Savage of the Savage Nation, and the vapid creator of such literary gems as Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot.

I find it unremarkable that such people have successfully attained fame and fortune through the expression of pure bigotry. It has been a source of power throughout time. The use of bigoted thought has been the basis of pogroms against the Jews, Crusades against Muslims, the rise of Nazism during the past century, the riders of the Klan, the enslavement lynching of black people, particularly during the early part of this century , and is the basis of the hatred radical Muslims feel for our society.

The bigotry of Bill Maher and that of the participants (on both sides, I am afraid) in the recent riots in Toledo varies only in the degree of hatred and disdain shown for the “others”. Maher made a living for quite awhile hosting a program called Politically Incorrect in which politically correct thought was promulgated and the only really “politically incorrect” element was the manner in which Maher gave himself permission to be rude to and viciously attack anyone who was one of the ”other”, or who was not in the larger sense “like him”

My biggest complaint is that bigotry begets bigotry, and until we can begin to accept the possibility that those who disagree with us can be intelligent and honorable and have as much right to disagree with us as we with them, and until we begin to listen to the content of opposing argument and argue against it with evidence and logic rather than sarcasm and loaded language, we are going to continue down a road of social disaster.

For instance, Abortion and the right to have it or stop it is one of the greatest dividers in our society. There is a part of me that believes that if our nation ever really splits, it will be in collision with the rock of abortion. The reason for this is that, no matter how the advocates on each side rant about it, there are very good and powerful and legitimate arguments for both sides. What abortion rights advocates tell about the evils of the days of coat hanger abortions for the poor and hidden abortions for the rich are true. Depending on one’s perceptual set and the feelings about “my body” have validity. On the other hand if one has the perception (and it has as much validity as the ”my body” concept) that life begins with conception, an embryo is a living person, the repugnant thought of child murder is also valid. There is so little room for negotiation or even minimal appreciation of the argument from each side that I consider the issue to be the most dangerous in our society.

There are great issues, however, in which men and women of goodwill can, and should reach for compromise, for win/win solutions, or at least should try to listen objectively to each other, but until we reach past the rhetoric of bigotry, we have little hope.


At 9:52 AM, Blogger Super Hip GMa said...

You certainly said a lot for someone who was at a partial loss for what to say. Bigotry is so pervasive today that I wonder if people of goodwill are strong enough to fight the good fight against it. It appears to me that people like Bill Maher are begining to look as ugly as the words they speak. I guess it is unremarkable that they have acheived fame and fortune. People will pay good money to hear so-called comedians stand up and spew out four letter words over and over again & people will just roar with laughter as if it were hilarious. So why not enjoy listening to all the hatred we can.
Isn't it our right to hear garbage on a regular basis.

Your perception of abortion is one of the finest I have ever read. I am so glad you have the ability to put into words what so many of us think, but are unable to articulate.

At 11:26 AM, Blogger exMI said...

Bravo. Well said!


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