Saturday October 25th 2014

No Big Deal

I’ve never been a big fan of Bill Maher. And it’s not that I dislike him based solely on what I hear from the talking heads or read about online. I’ve seen his show quite a few times…I’ve seen him perform live…I’ve read him…blah blah blah.

I’m not a big fan. And after what I saw last week, I couldn’t loathe Maher and his show more than I do right now as I’m writing this.

On Friday’s episode of Real Time, New York Times columnist David Carr was part of Maher’s panel. During a conversation about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s comments about public/private schools, Maher got a little upset.

“I take this very personally that this is where New Jersey is going,” Maher said. “It’s okay if this shit happens in Kansas and Alabama, but don’t fuck with the smart states.” Of course, the crowd and guests laughed and laughed and laughed.

For whatever reason, Carr chimed in once the laughter died down. “Why are you always hacking on Chris Christie over and over? Is it because he’s fat or he’s Republican? Why are you so down on him? I live in New Jersey.”

“I take it very personally that I got a good public school education there and now there is a governor of that state saying things that I never imagined a governor of that state saying,” Maher explained to Carr.

Then, in a complete 180 from his initial comments that made it seem like he was coming to the Governor’s defense, Carr joins in with Maher on mocking the Midwest.

“If it’s Kansas, if it’s Missouri, no big deal. You know, that’s the dance of the low-sloping foreheads. The middle places, right,” Carr said to not much laughter. However, Maher couldn’t contain himself and started laughing and leaning over, at which point Carr says, “Did I just say that aloud?”

All cards shown, I’m a native Kansan. I was born in Kansas. Raised in Kansas. Went to school at Kansas State University. I was married in Kansas. I worked in Kansas. And to top it all off, I lived in Missouri for a couple of years.

Now? Now I live in New York City and can see the smart state that Maher calls his own from my sidewalk.

Needless to say, I’m insanely irritated by Carr and Maher’s statements. Those comments show a complete and utter lack of understanding of anything different. So often, the right side of the aisle gets accused of being narrow-minded and bigoted…And here we have two morons who prove that narrow-mindedness isn’t exclusive to any political party or way of thinking.

But this sort of narrow-mindedness is hard to stomach. You can be narrow-minded about gay marriage. You can be narrow-minded about abortion. You can be narrow-minded about the “war” on drugs. You know why? Because whatever your opinion is, you most likely have a fairly legitimate foundation for your beliefs, whether it’s right or wrong. These issues that often produce narrow-mindedness on both sides of the aisle are often tied to morality and that gets a little murky.

Whether or not Kansas, Missouri and Alabama are inhabited by neanderthals, though, is actually quite easy to address.

Maybe Maher got tired of the entire country taking shots at New Jersey for being sleazy and greasy and just generally unpleasant. After all, for awhile there it was hard not to hear a talk show host take some crack at MTV’s Jersey Shore. Apparently he was fed up and decided it was time to take the attention off of his state and shift it to the Midwest…don’t forget, the Midwest (and Pennsylvania) was attacked by President Obama while he was on the campaign trail?

You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

It’s sad that a columnist for one of the most revered news entities in the history of this country says such hateful and ignorant things about an area of the country he obviously knows nothing about. It’s sad, but not shocking, that Maher lets this go on. Maher sold out Kansas City a couple of years ago…So apparently when he’s doing his show on HBO and hiding in a television studio, he’s all for attacking that which he knows little about.

But when it comes to ticket sales, those low-sloping foreheads of Kansas and Missouri all of a sudden become a bit more important.

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5 Comments for “No Big Deal”

  • Spanky says:

    David Carr is from Minnesota

  • embarrassed for both of them says:

    David Carr should be ashamed. I thought he knew better.

    Bill Maher? well, he never new better, but he should learn. Right now.

    I’m embarrassed for them both.

    WE LIVE IN A GREAT LAND. DON’T DISPARAGE A SINGLE STATE.

  • frank says:

    You’re a fucking crybaby.

  • chuck says:

    Frank, it has nothing to do with being a crybaby. It has everything to do with a supposed intelligent debate turning into an ignorant discussion. And it also has to do with the hypocrisy of people like Maher and Carr claiming the right is narrow-minded…What happened on Real Time couldn’t be more narrow minded.


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