By Alex Henderson / AlterNet June 27, 2017, 1:11 PM GMT
With his snarky, irreverent style, liberal comedian Bill Maher has a way of getting under conservatives' skin. To many, the host of HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher” epitomizes the coastal elite who mock them mercilessly and belittle their values at every turn. Whether he is lambasting climate change deniers, attacking the war on drugs and the prison/industrial complex, or expounding on Western Europe's superiority to the United States, Maher’s ability to infuriate the right with facts, facts and more facts can be downright refreshing.
But Maher is also a contrarian who isn’t shy about getting into a shouting match with Cornel West over the merits of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, or asking Gloria Steinem why the treatment of women in Muslim countries isn’t more of a feminist cause (she replied, “Of course it is”).
In recent months, Maher’s contrarianism has taken the form of softball interviews and ill-fated media projects with some of the country's most poisonous reactionaries, from rocker Ted Nugent to Breitbart.com ally Milo Yiannopoulos. It’s one thing for Maher to have passionate debates with mainstream media figures like Kathleen Parker, S.E. Cupp and CNN’s Michael Smerconish. But Nugent et al. are not just conservatives; they’re dangerous extremists. Any effort to legitimize their political views can have the effect of normalizing the lunatic fringe.
Here are five wingnuts with whom Maher has found common ground.
[Given Maher's coziness with right-wingers and his constant harassment of Muslims for all terrorism, I'm beginning to think Bill has begun to move to the right. I have watched his HBO show since its inception, but I am very close to bailing on him. The yelling, the belittling of people because of their looks, or what they eat (he's a vegan), or the chastising of his audience because of a tasteless joke that draws groans, he's getting on my nerves. I saw him in person about a year ago and there was a sound problem in the theater. A couple of audience members who'd paid a decent sum of money to see him yelled out that they couldn't hear him clearly. He told us it wasn't his fault and that there was nothing he could do about it - instead of directing his attention to someone back stage and asking for some help.
I'm afraid he has become a bitter man who's not just politically incorrect, but a real asshole.