Last week, Bill Maher had the sheer balls to utter the dreaded n-word, in a conversation with a climate change denier about how young people should be forced to work in the fields, as if this were slavery.
Condemnation from Black People Twitter was as swift as it was ultimately pointless. Thousands if not millions of people who don’t get HBO anyway called for the show to be canceled. Chance the Rapper personally requested for the network to remove the show from its lineup.
HBO responded by calling the remarks inappropriate and bleeping the dreaded n-word from subsequent airings of that episode. Maher himself eventually issued a half-assed apology, announcing that he regretted using the word, which, of course he does.
Tonight, in what will likely be a ratings coup, Real Time with Bill Maher returns to the air. Everyone who claimed to be so upset by Maher’s remarks will be tuning in, if they can, just so they can complain about it, in a desperate bid for attention from other dumbasses on the Internets.
This is Don Imus all over again, with the difference being that Bill Maher isn’t even racist. Maher makes sweet, passionate love to black women on the reg, which ought to count for something. (He’s a better man than I am.) And he has black guests on his show on the reg.
Tonight’s panel will include Ice Cube, some obscure black female commentator from CNN and Michael Eric Dyson. Ice Cube and the girl from CNN had already been scheduled before the dreaded n-word controversy, and Dyson was brought in after Senator Al Franken canceled, so this wasn’t necessarily a matter of Maher trying to stack the panel with black people, to prove that many of his best friends happen to be black.
I just hope Ice Cube et al. don’t embarrass themselves. I’m team Bill Maher, at least with regard to this particular controversy, but I wouldn’t cape for even my best CAC friend in a situation like this, let alone Bill Maher. The “optics” would just be all wrong. If I had a white wife (a man can dream, right?), I wouldn’t cape for her in a situation like this.
I’m sure whatever Michael Eric Dyson says will seem brilliant, if largely incomprehensible. Ice Cube will be in a tough position, as a near A-lister in Hollywood. Anything he says other than “all lives matter” could potentially cost him $$$. The girl from CNN will provide gender balance, because representation matters.
Maher already sorta kinda apologized for the joke, which undermines anything he could possibly say about the value of free speech and the moral and intellectual inferiority of people who conduct censorship campaigns—especially people in creative fields, who should know better.
Will the events of this past week mark a shift in his stance on the issue?
It was only a few months ago that he had Milo Yiannopoulos on the show despite widespread outrage over the controversial conservative commentator’s booking. Jeremy Scahill, who was once a regular correspondent on Real Time, canceled his appearance that week, in an act of extreme courage. Sometimes the most effective activism involves not doing anything at all.
Yiannopoulos had been banned from Twitter for publishing a negative review of the new Ghostbusters movie on Breitbart, which, through magic, caused people to say mean things to Leslie Jones on Twitter. In retrospect, this could be viewed as further proof of Maher’s racial insensitivity.
Maybe a day later, Milo’s career was destroyed when someone dug up audio of him advocating for man-boy love. Society, it seems, values an eight-year-old boy’s ass over a grown black woman’s feelings. Maher, hilariously, tried to take credit for this, even though his interview of Milo mostly consisted of the two of them congratulating themselves for offending people.
In an interview that was conducted prior to last week’s show, Maher said he was working on bringing Milo back on the show. Milo’s book Dangerous, which he’s now self-publishing, drops on the Fourth of July. Currently available for pre-order, it was the top book on all of Amazon for a minute there the other day.
At the very least, it might be necessary to push Milo’s appearance back some until this dreaded n-word thing blows over, if not cancel it altogether, which is too bad for the book’s promo cycle. Bill’s got enough problems right now without Milo coming on and declaring that feminism is cancer, potentially offending cancer victims (lol).
The dreaded n-word joke notwithstanding, Maher tends to err on the side of what’s best for his quote at the Indian casinos he performs at on the weekends, regardless of his stated principles, which is why you can’t be too upset to see him in the situation he’s in now. He’s spent the past 10-plus years purposely cultivating an audience of the kind of people who wouldn’t have any use for the kind of joke he told the other day, i.e. Hillary supporters and the like.
He was more gung ho about Hillary than all but a very small handful of the most delusional women on Twitter, even before it was clear that her winning the nomination was a fait accompli. A few weeks ago, he almost got into it with Cornel West over West’s refusal to support Hillary. West, who’s always unhinged on Real Time, seemed to genuinely lose his shit, for a minute there.
If only they’d brought in West to cape for Bill tonight. I’m not as confident in Michael Eric Dyson’s ability to convince Bill of the error of his ways. But that’s a topic for another discussion.
Take it easy on yourself,