Tired of being a casualty in a war his side started, left-wing comedian/commentator Bill Maher cries uncle in today’s New York Times:
Let’s have an amnesty — from the left and the right — on every made-up, fake, totally insincere, playacted hurt, insult, slight and affront. Let’s make this Sunday the National Day of No Outrage. One day a year when you will not find some tiny thing someone did or said and pretend you can barely continue functioning until they apologize.
If that doesn’t work, what about this: If you see or hear something you don’t like in the media, just go on with your life. Turn the page or flip the dial or pick up your roll of quarters and leave the booth.
The answer to whenever another human being annoys you is not “make them go away forever.” We need to learn to coexist, and it’s actually pretty easy to do. For example, I find Rush Limbaugh obnoxious, but I’ve been able to coexist comfortably with him for 20 years by using this simple method: I never listen to his program. The only time I hear him is when I’m at a stoplight next to a pickup truck.
In other news, Media Matters escalates their jihad against Rush Limbaugh:
Rush Limbaugh’s opponents are starting a radio campaign against him Thursday, seizing upon the radio star’s attack of a Georgetown law student as a “slut” to make a long-term effort aimed at weakening his business.
The liberal Media Matters for America is using a past campaign against Glenn Beck as a template. In Limbaugh, however, they’re going after bigger game. He’s already fighting back and the group’s stance has provoked concerns that an effort to silence someone for objectionable talk is in itself objectionable.
Media Matters is spending at least $100,000 for two advertisements that will run in eight cities.
On principle, Bill Maher is absolutely correct. From the beginning I’ve said how much I hate this war, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to allow our side to die on the field of battle at the hands of our own lofty ideals. What Maher doesn’t appear to understand, though, is that the Left is attacking political speech while those of us on the Right are attacking the Left’s hypocrisy.
It’s unfortunate for Maher that he’s a prime example of the Left’s hypocrisy, but in his attempts to defend himself, he’s tried to have it both ways and acquitted himself poorly.
If Maher wants to help put an end to this war, I’d like to suggest he do something a little more daring than fly 30,000 feet above it with a lofty New York Times op-ed.
Call your side out by name, Maher. Take a public stand and shame the ones who started this: Media Matters, MSNBC, and the White House. Oh, and don’t forget Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.
Stop quibbling and rationalizing and creating distinctions without a difference. Fight for free speech and against those, regardless of party, who seek to snuff it out.
Mock Rush all you want, but once upon a time, when it wasn’t very popular to do so among his own, Rush stood up for you.
Until you do that, you are nothing but a casualty of your own hypocrisy and cowardice.
This next point is a little off-topic, but worth mentioning. Quite hilariously, Maher tosses into the mix the Derrick Bell video, as though vetting the not-so-distant past of a sitting President of the United States is somehow in the same league as reminding people Maher once referred to Sarah Palin as a “c*nt.”
This is another reason why Maher’s op-ed comes off as disingenuous. First off, anyone in any position of power needs to be thoroughly vetted. Secondly, you will never see Maher complain about the vetting of a Republican.
This always surprises people, but normally I don’t have a lot of issues with Bill Maher. In fact, I’ve defended him more than once on Big Hollywood. Some of what he says disgusts me, but for the most part I appreciate the fact that (unlike Colbert and Stewart) Maher is open about his political agenda and doesn’t dishonestly disguise himself as “America’s satirist.” He’s also one of the few people on the Left who’s legitimately appalled by radical Islam and if you watch his HBO “Real Time” panel, unlike many network shows, he always makes sure his conservative guests get their say.
But Maher can’t split the baby of moral equivalence on this one. His side started a war they can’t win precisely because of those on their side like Maher who have said things that make “slut” sound like a Bible verse. If Maher wants this war to end, he needs to be principled enough to do what Limbaugh once did on Maher’s behalf.