Is “c*nt” okay now? Just asking.
March 30, 2011 12 Comments
Many, many moons ago, Bill Maher was funny. I remember, vaguely. He’s evidently a tad more desperate now, a shock jock, determined to save his career by becoming the lightning rod of liberal indecency.
So he calls Sarah Palin a “c*nt” (“there’s just no other word for her”). Hahahahaha.
And I shake my head. Really Bill? That’s what your best has become? Apart from lamenting the pathetic death of comedy in a particular comedian, I’m fascinated by the reaction, and non-reaction.
Yes, of course, conservatives swiftly rose up in arms. That’s to be expected. As one commenter on a blog site put it, “Bill Maher loves the fact that you’re commenting on him. He plays conservatives like a fiddle.”
Hmmm. Bill the confident fiddler, indeed. He’s so confident that he not only declines to apologize, but whips out a spectacularly self-aggrandizing and delusional riff:
“Well, you know, I’ve been through this so many times,” Maher said. “I mean there’s a lot of people in America who have, of course, nothing to do except look for something to get mad at and I’ve been a frequent target and I’m happy to provide that service. So, you know, I always say, as I’ve said many times in these kind of situations, if I hurt somebody’s feelings, I’m always sorry about that. I’m not trying to hurt somebody’s feelings, but if you want me to say, ‘I’m sorry what I said was wrong.’ No, sorry, I can’t go there.”
And as for his use of the so-called “c” word, he explained that was the community standard, at least based on a favorable review he received from a local Dallas publication.
“I know they were upset about – I was in Dallas Sunday night doing my stand-up comedy show and apparently I was so off color,” he said. “In Dallas, you know, the bastion of liberalism – here’s the headline from the review: ‘Nothing but love from Maher.’ And on the next page, ‘Maher a hit in Dallas’ is the other headline. So I go by the community standard-standard. You know, people have won cases about pornography based on this. They say, ‘Well, you know, if the community says it’s OK and apparently the community.’ And apparently the community — I mean you hear the laughter. If the audience likes it, I think that’s where the community standard is.”
Maher would of course love the conversation to become whether his, um, shtick, was “pornographic.” What a wonderful, ratings-juicing controversy for a comedian. How Lenny Bruce and George Carlin! You ridiculous man.
I don’t care whether Bill Maher ever wins or loses a lawsuit based on “pornography.” I care about whether women, even in the context of comedy, are ever appropriately referenced as “c*nts.” I care about whether liberals are capable of self-policing, of calling a ridiculous liberal man a ridiculous man.
I care about whether Bill Maher’s self-aggrandizing reference to a “community standard” — the alleged praise for his shtick in Dallas — really speaks for liberals in Dallas (having grown up in Dallas) or liberals anywhere. I care about whether Bill Maher will successfully play liberals like a fiddle.
Because please be clear: if all liberals do is look the other way, or cough a bit, when Sarah Palin is called a “c*nt,” then we have no further “hate speech” dialogue. It’s all good.
UPDATE: My friend Jeff Veazey has a bit of fun at my expense, and he’s definitely funnier than Bill Maher!