Sunday, October 09, 2005

Little annoying things Bill Maher. I know it's because he's a PETA Nazi, but he makes me embarrassed to be a liberal sometimes. He made a joke about the recent "take your kid hunting" day, as though taking your kid hunting was something only whackos and crazy's would do. He really is that out of touch with rural America. Taking a kid hunting is one of the most important parent/child bonding traditions in America, and if he knew anything about country folk he'd know that. But Bill is opposed to all gun ownership and all hunting, so at least he's consistent. And, of course, his schtick is acting like people are stupid for engaging in any sort of conservative activity, and I like 80 percent of what he does and agree with 90 percent of what he says, so I shouldn't complain. He just touched one of my buttons.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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1:48 PM  
Anonymous JP said...

I have a saying “I don't want them on my side.” In my case it's applied to the Republican Leadership in the House (I was so mad I thought my head was going to explode after Bill Frist's “diagnosis” of Terri Schiavo), AM radio talk show hosts, and idiots like Pat Robertson who think God called them to be political leaders.

As you said in your previous post, guns are viewed very differently in the country than they are in the city. I understand why, most of the time when city folks have an encounter where guns are involved it's going to be unpleasant. I'm coming to terms with the idea that while the percentage of idiots with guns might be very small com paired to the total gun owning public, it's still a pretty big number. As little as I like the idea I have to admit that some more restrictive policies may be needed.

That being said, I think the left would have a far easier time getting some meaningful gun control enacted if they stopped treating everyone who advocates private gun ownership as deranged. I dislike being treated like a right wing nut job who's just waiting for a chance to shoot someone. The fact is that I've had more than one opportunity to pull the trigger, and have managed to deescalate those encounters every time.

Sometimes Bill Maher makes me laugh. I though that “Things aren't right. If a burglar breaks into your home and you shoot him, he can sue you. For what, restraint of trade? “ was pretty darn funny. His infamous statement about the 9/11 hijackers “We have been the cowards lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. That's cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it's not cowardly.” was about right on the mark. What I couldn't take was all his instance that he somehow had a constitutional right to a TV show. Everyone has the right to say what they like, no one has the right to have their statements subsidized by private industry. What happened to Maher and “Politically Incorrect” wasn't censorship, it was economics.

9:32 PM  
Blogger MAC said...

Here's something to ponder: if you have something to say and someone presures you to stop is it censorship? Bill Maher's 1st amendment rights were not violated by ABC because it is ABC, who hired Bill Maher, whose speech is actually protected in this case. It would only have been a first amendment violation if the government had ordered Bill Maher taken off the air, which it did not. However, it *was* censorship: he was censored in that his voice was taken away and he was kicked off the network. Most censorship is done by private groups, not by the government. This was the purpose of the Hayes office which established the Motion Picture Production Code that held sway over American film from the 1930s to the 1960s. The Hayes office was a censor (I believe it even referred to itself as such), but it was not a government entity. It was set up by the motion picture industry, a form of self censorship to head off any possible government censorship. Warnight lables on CDs and ratings one video games, TV shows and movies (which replaced the production code) are another, albeit milder, form of censorship.

Bill Maher does not have a constitutional right to a TV show from ABC. He does have a constitutional right to a TV show if he (a) wants one and (b) has the means to provide himself with one (in other words, owning the network). It could be argued, for instance, that if he were to produce a webcast--something well within his means--that he would have a constitutional right to *that* TV show. The show as a property never belonged to Bill, it belonged to ABC, and was ABC's to renew or cancell as it pleased. But ABC certainly censored him.

Now, you could also call it an extreme act of cowardice on ABC's part to kick him off the air. Or it might have been sincere outrage at what he said (it was the comments about cowardice that you mentioned that got him censored). Either way it was ABC's call all the way. But you are right--with the networks it is always about economics. It was economics that lead disney to yank its distribution of Farenheit 9/11, and that lead CBS to move The Regans to a cable network where far fewer people would see it. Digging around for some dirt on the *Corpus Christi* debacle from 1998 I found an interesting discussion on this sort of economic decision in theatrical censorship. Of course, it does come from the "World Socialist Website," so you will have to decide for yourself how trustworthy it is. I can say that, as I took part in the counter protests, I can vouch that busloads of christian conservatives were bussed in to protest the play and heaped abuse and evena few threats on the theatre and theatre goers. The article is at

10:47 PM  

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