A NYT interview with Bill Maher

September 30, 2019 • 12:30 pm

This Sunday’s New York Times Magazine has a long interview with Bill Maher (click on screenshot below)—complete with footnotes, something I haven’t seen in the NYT.

I’ve always been a big fan of Maher: there are in fact few things he’s said on his show that I don’t agree with. I suppose it’s because both he and I criticize both the Right and the Left, and Maher, one among many, has suffered for doing that. The Left wants to be immune from criticism by others who profess to be Left, but Maher is not only a Leftist, but an incisive social critic.  And now I learn that he’s a huge Beatles fan as well. What’s not to like? And so, to celebrate International Blasphemy Day, treat yourself to a read. I’ll put a few excerpts below.

By the way, in the interview Maher defines political correctness as “the elevation of sensitivity over truth.”

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/09/30/magazine/bill-maher-interview.html?action=click&module=Editors%20Picks&pgtype=Homepage

On criticizing both sides:

Most late-night hosts don’t criticize both the right and the left as much as you do. Why do you think that is? It’s hard to answer that question without sounding self-serving. I will say this: Our studio audience is not representative of liberals across the country. Your paper and The Atlantic had long articles in the last year saying that 80 percent of Americans think this politically correct BS has gone too far. But the people on Twitter are the people who control the media a lot. They’re the millennials who probably grew up with helicopter parents who afforded them a sense of entitlement. They are certainly more fragile than previous generations. Trigger warnings. Safe spaces. Crying rooms. Microaggressions. That crowd feels like anything that upsets their tender sensibilities is completely out of line.

Isn’t it important to distinguish between the fundamental arguments being made in favor of those sensibilities and the people being loudest on social media about them? Yes. The most important thing that the Democrats can do to win the next election is to broom this element out of their party and stand up to the Twitter mob and the ultrawoke. And I don’t like the term “woke,” because it implies I am asleep. I was woke before some of these people were born. I grew up in a household with two liberal parents who were

But we do see color, and no one is arguing that people shouldn’t be judged by their character. So what problem is being caused by the shift you just described? If someone walks in the room, after a minute, I should not be thinking about color. And I am not. That’s how I have always been. I have actual black friends. I don’t think they want me to be always thinking: Black person. Black person. I’m talking to a black person. Look, I tried to drive a stake through political correctness in the ’90s. I obviously failed dismally. It’s worse than ever.

On “Islamophobia”:

Well, so my next question is related to the 9/11 controversy. You’ve always been critical of all religions, but is there something distinct about your criticism of Islam? Fairly or not, you’ve been called an Islamophobe a few times over the years. It’s ridiculous to label criticism of a religion as a phobia of a religion. I’m going to criticize any person or group that violates liberal principles, and so should you. Almost all religions, by their nature, are intolerant and supremacist. At any time in history one religion will be the most fundamentalist. At this moment I think it’s pretty evident that religion is Islam. Of course, intolerance exists everywhere, but the places where, let’s say, human rights workers have their work cut out for them the most are probably traditional Islamic societies. To conflate thinking that with Islamophobia is a facile and unconvincing trick.

On the death of “impure” comedy:

It has this lovingly detailed evocation of a very particular time in the comedy world, back when the boom was starting to happen in the late ’70s, and how that was a real moment of change for comedians and their work. Have you seen any similar sea changes since? I’m probably not the best one to ask, because it has been a long time since I was in the comedy clubs. I do hear a lot of complaints that comedians are frustrated that they can’t freely try out new bits. When I was coming up, the great thing about the comedy clubs was that they were laboratories for our experimentation. That was the deal. They didn’t pay us, and we didn’t have to be good — and weren’t — but that’s how we honed our craft. Now people are afraid, and comedy does not function well in that atmosphere of fear. We want to be saying whatever, especially if it’s funny, and it hurts us that the audience won’t trust us. Do you really think I’m on the side of the bad people? Chris Rock, Larry the Cable Guy and Jerry Seinfeld a few years ago all were talking about the fact that they don’t work campuses anymore. Jerry Seinfeld is too out there? His act is so clean it whitens teeth. Comedy is about saying those true things that everyone else isn’t saying. That’s where the fun is.

On today’s college students:

And you don’t see any idealism in the identity politics of younger people? I don’t know how that’s connected to idealism. What I’m complaining about is fragility. What I’m complaining about is people who were overindulged as children and somehow believe that they should not have to endure even the slightest measure of discomfort.

I’m sure I’m overly Pollyanna-ish about all this, and obviously not everyone is arguing these issues in good faith, but isn’t the root of what you’re identifying just people’s attempt to figure out how to get through life with more dignity and less pain? But there are negative repercussions. People get disappeared. When I was a young person the conservatives were the ones who — I don’t know what you’d call it.

Drew hard lines about what was or wasn’t culturally acceptable? Thank you, yes. Now it’s reversed, and I feel like that’s backwards. Young people should be the free ones pushing the boundaries and not the ones inhibiting us. “Well, I’m not a woman, so I could not possibly know that experience.” “I’m not a person of color, so I can’t speak about that.” Professors are afraid to speak, because what they say, even if it’s science, might go against the politically correct notion. This is pernicious. I’m sorry, but I have to lay that at the doorstep of the far left and the younger generation. It’s not the worst thing in the world to hear something you find somewhat offensive. You can turn the channel. Look at something else. Go to a puppet show; you’ll never be offended.

And on The Beatles:

Let me ask you a nonpolitics, noncomedy question. I know that you’re a big Beatles fan. In one of your books you said you could probably do a better job interviewing them than anybody has yet. I definitely could.

So if you could snap your fingers and have Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr on your show, what would you ask them? I would love to present my theory as to why the Beatles really broke up. Which is that John Lennon could not keep up in the battle for A-sides. Imagine writing a song as great as “Revolution” and it loses out to “Hey Jude.” That’s, I think, why John Lennon didn’t want to continue going with the Beatles. I don’t think he liked losing. Paul McCartney would never admit that, by the way.

Well, I like both of those songs, but don’t think either is great—not in the way that “A Day in the Life” or “Eleanor Rigby” are great (the former is mostly Lennon; the latter mostly McCartney). But we’ll never hear the answer to Maher’s speculations, as Lennon is dead and Macca partly blames Yoko (see video below, and listen to the other clips of Howard Stern interviewing McCartney).

If you’re one of the many who don’t like Maher, by all means tell us why below. (Or, if you like him, join the chorus.)

127 thoughts on “A NYT interview with Bill Maher

  1. It’s unlikely that any two humans beings could ever agree on everything, but Maher is as sharp as a tack and I think his opinions are almost always spot on.

  2. Maher occasionally goes over the line for what I personally think is rude, dirty, unfair, or uncalled for – I’d like not to mention instances, because it would need a context – but he never fails to make a strong point, or to shine some light on things. And these instances I suggest can usually be given a pass.

    1. I find that too with him on occasion. But he summed up the whole thing once in such a brilliant way, I think it’s the last word on it. He said the aim is to use humour to take people over a line that they don’t want to go over, and then have them realise that it was in fact good to cross it. And you can only know it afterwards, obviously.

      I remember when he playfully called Elizabeth Warren Pocahontas when he was interviewing her. She was furious, and at first I thought it was him trying to be chummy and it misfired, but then I realised he’d set it up carefully, as way of trying to get her to lighten up about it. If you let rednecks know how “hurt” you’ll be if say a certain word, they’ll keep saying it, and you’ll just have to keep on getting hurter and hurter.

    1. He has been criticized for anti-vax views in the past as well. However, on this topic his views are not anti-science; they are in fact supported by some of the articles you cite in your rebuttal.

      For example, in the study which you linked to to support your claim that in many cases obesity has a genetic component (btw no one, including Maher disputes this) has this in their conclusion; “For most of the genetic causes of obesity, management of nutrition and physical activity remains the first line of therapy.”

      Shorter Maher; “Eat less and exercise”.

      1. Saying “eat less and exercise” isn’t helpful because it’s more complicated than that. If an obese person just cuts down the quantity they are consuming, that may not do anything at all. Some of us are more sensitive to carbs, and sugar in particular. Another factor is how often a person is eating. It is very common these days to see people eating continuously throughout the day. That is not healthy. And, exercise doesn’t have much effect on weight loss, it’s just a good thing to do for health reasons. We don’t know everything there is to know about why some people get fat, and what they need to do to lose weight AND keep the weight off. If it were an easy thing to do, we wouldn’t have an obesity epidemic. I do agree with Maher that pretending you can be healthy at any weight is a big lie.

        1. Exercise has a great deal to do with weight loss. I see it every year. We just finished our fall harvest, literally yesterday. All of our regular hands show up every September, and most of us, including myself, are at our highest weight of the year.
          We spend the late summer tossing around 80 to 100 pound hay bales, by the thousands, for ten hours each day. Like everyone else, I eat much more at every meal than I do the rest of the year. And it is cowboy food. lots of gravy and meat. Pie and ice cream for desert
          But every year, we lose weight. Every one of us. I measured tonight, and I weigh 12 pounds less than I did two months ago.

          I don’t think it is possible to expend more calories than you take in and not lose weight.

          1. I agree but it needs to be aerobic exercise that raises your heart rate significantly. I suspect that the people that claim it doesn’t work are saying that it increases their appetite proportionately. I found that if you do enough exercise, you tend not to want to eat huge meals because it makes the exercise less pleasant.

            1. Maybe we should market a rancher’s diet. You get three meals of good food every day, second helpings if you want them. between meals, you stack 100 pound bales into neat stacks 10 feet high, Walk (inspect) miles of fencelines through heavy brush and steep inclines covered with snakes, and move herds of stupid cows from one pasture to a pasture many miles away across mountains and deserts.
              But as long as you do the work, you can eat as much as you want, and you will still lose weight.

    2. I wouldn’t call Maher anti-science or anti-vaxx. In fact I’d say he’s pro both but he is somewhat ignorant when it comes to science and how it works. I’ve cringed a few times at things he’s said on science topics but he certainly doesn’t adhere to any dogma against science or vaccination and I think if educated on these things would have a perfectly scientific opinion on both.

        1. He just doesn’t want the flu shot. He’s actually said he does not advocate for people not getting regular vaccines against all the other illnesses we get them for. This whole anti-vaxx thing came out of the flu shot.

          1. Flu shots aren’t vaccines? Flu isn’t a disease? You’re just trying to draw limits to his anti-vaxxery.

            He wacky ideas on the subject go earlier than 2009.

            A few quotes:

            “I don’t believe in vaccinaiton either. That’s a… well, that’s a… what? That’s another theory that I think is flawed, that we go by the Louis Pasteur theory, even though Louis Pasteur renounced it on his own deathbed and said that Beauchamp(s) was right: it’s not the invading germs, it’s the terrain. It’s not the mosquitoes, it’s the swamp that they are breeding in.”

            Speaking to a doctor: “You’re in denial, about I think is a key fact, which is it is the at… people get sick because of an aggregate toxicity, because their body has so much poison in it, from the air, the water… Yes, much of it is not our fault and we can’t control it. But a lot of it we can and even the food people think is good for them, is bad, and I’m not presenting myself as a paradigm. I do cruddy things to my body too and I enjoy them. But when I do them, I’m not in denial. I’m not eating fat free cheese and saying: “You know what, I’m healthy for eating this.” I’m saying: “Oh yeah, this is chemical goop and this is killing me.”

            In 2008, speaking with Larry King: “MAHER: Well, I hate to tell you, Larry, but if you have a flu shot for more than five years in a row, there’s ten times the likelihood that you’ll get Alzheimer’s disease. I would stop getting your…

            KING: What did you say?

            MAHER: That went better in rehearsal but it was still good. Absolutely, no the defense against disease is to have a strong immune system. A flu shot just compromises your immune system.

            KING: So you don’t take any western medicine, don’t take an aspirin?

            MAHER: Never, an aspirin no. Thousands of people die from aspirin every year.”

            Google will supply you with all manner of examples.

            1. No I didn’t say that. I was trying to point out that he was specific about the vaccine that he didn’t agree with. He’s said, on numerous occasions, that he knows how vaccines work, he isn’t against them, he just didn’t believe in the flu vaccine. Yes, it’s stupid. Yes, he’s wrong. Yes, he’s ignorant about flu vaccines, but he wasn’t against all vaccines and isn’t at all anti-vax in that he thinks people shouldn’t be vaccinated. I saw that whole interview with the doctor. He was wrong in it. The doctor did a lousy job of explaining and it made me yell at the TV but he doesn’t agree with not getting vaccinations. And I didn’t get a flu vaccine for years either – am I now anti-vax too?

              1. Re flu vaccine. I think that a publicly financed flu vaccine in financially constrained circumstances should be limited to high risk groups, such as COLD patients, the elderly and pregnant women.
                A flu vaccine gives only protection against the strains around that particular year. Nearly all other vaccines give much longer protection.
                I ‘d rather use the funds to eg. vaccinate our children against HPV (human papilloma virus), preventing cervical cancer (and genital warts), a cancer vying with breast cancer of being the most common deadly cancer in women.

              2. You can do all that. In Canada, it used to be that the flu vaccine was paid for only for at risk groups like you describe. You could still get it and I remember getting it as a teen when I used to get flu and colds all the time and I don’t remember how I paid for it.

                Then Ontario made it available for everyone paid by the government health care. There is also an HPV vaccine available paid by the government as well and all children can have it.

              1. I have to say it is wonderful you made the choice not to get a flu shot, but not so wonderful for newborns, elderly or those with compromised immune systems. So glad you live around no one that could be at risk.

              2. Thank you for your sanctimony and empathy. You know nothing about me. At the time whenever I got the flu shot (oooo I got the flu shot. A mean bitch like me who wants others to die according to your little quip) I got very ill. This happened both times I got the shot. I was off work for 2 weeks and bed ridden each time and almost had to be hospitalized. That was in my 30s. My doctor didn’t know why I reacted that way so he suggested I don’t get the vaccination. It may have been because my immune system at the time was on hyperdrive. I was being harassed badly at the company I worked at and I remember I hurt all over all the time. I developed chronic, daily migraines shortly after.

                I now do get the flu shot (awww the bitch has a heart now) and guess what miss know it all? I skipped it when I was going through cancer treatment because I couldn’t risk side effects with the others. But if I had died from the cancer they would be my just desserts right?

                Jesus Christ I hate self righteousness.

    3. I think he’s not so much anti-science as simply ignorant of it. Like many people, this makes him vulnerable to unscientific conspiracy theories. After all, it is not too hard to believe big pharma is not 100% honest. I think he has changed his mind on the anti-vax front but he still shows his scientific ignorance once in a while.

      1. He is expected to and does seem to have an opinion on pretty much every subject in the news. That seems to include subjects of which he has little real knowledge.

        I have always found him pretty entertaining, and I am not bothered if some of his opinions are opposite of mine. He seems to be trying to call out those who he feel deserve it, no matter the affiliation. That is about as much as I could ask for these days.

  3. Bill is a very good comedian. He also likes to talk politics and that is what his shows have always been about. Sometimes his take or opinion is off the mark but often it is on. Network TV was too restricted for him but HBO has worked out much better. New Rules is the best of the show. For comedy to be really good it has to be unrestricted and just let it fly. The kiddies of the far left have taken the comedy out of life.

  4. I’ve always been puzzled by how Maher could be sensible on everything but vaccinations and other health-related matters. If he was a woman he’d probably have a collection of Goop’s jade eggs.

    1. I don’t think he’s like that at all (jade eggs). He thinks stuff like that is bullshit but I think, as I said before, he’s simply ignorant about science and how it works.

    1. For what it’s worth, here is what he said about this;

      “I’ve never argued that vaccines don’t work. I just don’t think you need them. There are so many maladies now that used to be rare and now are much more prevalent—things like allergies, ADD, asthma, migraines, autoimmune disorders, chronic fatigue, colitis, more colds. I’m not saying vaccines cause any of them, but the modern immune system might be less robust than it used to be because it doesn’t get its full workout going through a disease like the measles. I’m glad vaccines exist, just like I’m glad antibiotics exist, but we’ve abused the hell out of them. Bugs that no antibiotic works on anymore? I worry about that a lot more.”

      Seems weaselly to me and not a little ignorant. But then, I don’t go to Maher for advice on vaccines.

      1. It is ‘half ignorant’. Antibiotics have been, and still are, abused.
        He correctly names a few ailments that have become more common, and correctly says he does not imply vaccines (indeed there is no evidence for that at all), although he disingeniously endorses the possibility.
        Where he goes wring is that he says that people would have a more robust immune systems without vaccines. That is codswallop. On the contrary, vaccines stimulate the immune system and makes it more ‘robust’, not less, and it kind of hones the immune system to relevant threats.

  5. “They’re constantly moving the goalposts so they can go, ‘Gotcha!’ ”

    I think Maher really hit the nail on the head there — as he does so often. It seems that no matter how politically correct you try to be, someone to the left of you will try to outflank you. And of course, twenty years from now, the views of the ultra-woke will be deemed hopelessly reactionary. (If we’re all still around in twenty years!)

    1. The ‘Woke’ views are already reactionary now: they are dogmatic, intolerant, sectarian and reminiscent of the Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution.

  6. I watch Real Time every week, but I’m not sure why. I agree with him most of the time but the premise of the show is to try to get the panel into heated political arguments, which is not exactly my idea of entertainment. And in the process right wingers sometimes get to slip in patently wrong claims that go unchallenged.

    1. I love the panel. It gives me the opportunity to yell at the TV to practice for when I retire and become a full time hermit.

      Some of my yelling includes “Shut up Bill and let them talk!”, “No, you’re wrong – get on him, don’t let him get away with that”.

      I admire people who can really get their words in – only two people I’ve seen able to do that without distraction – Steven Pinker & Bari Weiss.

      1. “Some of my yelling includes “Shut up Bill and let them talk!”, “No, you’re wrong – get on him, don’t let him get away with that”.”

        I do that all the time; at the TV, at the radio, just randomly when I read something online. My neighbours must think I’m deranged.

        1. Yeah, me too, when I’m not doing the universal jerking-off semaphore, or tossing the occasional solo cup, at the big screen.

          Hadda cut back on tv time, since I was scaring the dog and developing carpal tunnel. 🙂

          1. Good Heavens, Mr. Kukec, you take your libations in Solo cups?!? How uncouth!

            I thought much better of you and your breeding. Excuse me while I go to my fainting couch.

            1. Of course not, my good man. I simply keep a sleeve of empty solo cups next to my telly chair for tossing purposes.

              What manner of vulgarian do you take me for?

              1. What are solo cups? I’m envisioning those Star Wars dixie cups form the 70s that had Han Solo on some of them.

              2. I was trying to suggest “full of booze” but couldn’t figure out how to spell it. Probably should have been “boozy”. And I lingered on the “e” not even the “s”.

              3. Ah, I thought it was some British-ism and was disappointed in myself for not knowing it!

                You assaulted my feelings and I’m reporting this to HR.

      2. Shut up and let them talk, is my main problem too. I’ve seen him spend what seems like the majority of an interview giving his own opinion. The guest often looks antsy because they can’t get out what they came to say. Otherwise, he’s very good.

        1. I’m reminded of Christopher Hitchen’s subtle “hitch slap” at Laura Ingraham, after her protracted critique of him (as opposed to asking her quest questions): “You should have me on more often so that you can give your opinions.”

  7. The comment by Maher about John wanting more A sides as the reason the Beatles broke up is hog wash. If anything, it was more about Paul wanting more control. It is so obvious when you watch Let It Be.

  8. The comment by Maher about John wanting more A sides as the reason the Beatles broke up is hog wash. If anything, it was more about Paul wanting more control. It is so obvious when you watch Let It Be.

    1. Harrison was itching to get away from under the two of them, so no resistance from him, iirc, Macca took over to keep them together (or so he thought) but it went down wrong.
      I’m a fan of the White Album and from an interview, so is Ringo, he enjoyed working on it… more drumming parts than Sgt. Peppers for starters.
      For Lennon TWA was a ‘get back’ to less orchestration and more rock n roll.
      Abbey Rd would be one I would take on a tripsto Mars, according to Ringo by this time they knew it was over and wound down any animosity to get it done. What a great album it is for it.

      1. My fav is the white album. It is a double album and it has some truly fantastic music on it. JL’s songs are all top notch. Abbey road is a classic no doubt.

  9. If you pay close attention, Maher’s comments on vaccines are more skeptical of corporate controlled governments and media than the science. I’ve never heard him be skeptical of the actual science on vaccines. I’m pretty sure if he had children he would vaccinate them. Pretty sure.

    1. Yes I agree. I also love Bill’s remarks about children which is totally against society. They’d be even more delicious if he were a woman.

  10. I like him a lot, but he’s a comedian, and he’s very confident, and he’s been doing this a long time. Which means his opinions are not particularly nuanced, at least as he expresses them in his show.

    And particularly when he’s on about political correctness; it’s very easy to talk about political correctness as some kind of monolithic, censorious beast that wants to mute anything offensive and ban people from campus for believing the wrong dogma.

    But the truth is that those instances represent the extremes of political correctness.

    Normal, mundane, everyday political correctness is when we don’t talk about ‘darkies’ and we don’t use the word ‘Paki'(which I used to hear all the time in London as a kid). It’s just a recognition that language is important, and it’s crucial.

    So to start talking about political correctness as something that needs to be beaten back, without also recognising and acknowledging how important PC is in allowing a pluralistic society to function and get along together…that’s just a clunky argument. It doesn’t really help.
    Because it encourages an over-correction, so that people who complain about the inflammatory language used by, say, Boris Johnson or Trump, are told they’re scolds or pecksniffs. And that over-correction is rife online. People want to use the anti-PC argument as a cover for some dark stuff.

    This is a far more subtle area than Maher often acknowledges. It’s important not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    Add to that his constant, ridiculously reductive griping about ‘millennials’, all while simultaneously complaining about the sin of ageism…it’s fair to say he has his blind-spots. Yet I still really like him. You just know when someone’s on the right side.

    1. I think he has drawn a distinction between PC and what we’re seeing now and he even had discussion about how being polite and considerate is very different from cancel culture and purity tests. He is pretty nuanced in his discussions and I think in general comedians tend to be because they are working things out through comedy and taking ideas apart. God I love comedy!

      1. He is an intelligent guy. Like I said I like him. I’m kinda making a wider point about how easy it is to overcorrect for political correctness.

        Seeing Boris Johnson laugh off a female MP who was talking about the death threats she gets every day because of his extreme language, and hearing people on the ‘anti-PC’ right dismiss her as a ‘snowflake'(what a lovely word) and a ‘drama queen’ just reminds me how delicate the social contract surrounding language is.

    2. “It’s just a recognition that language is important, and it’s crucial.”

      I think that’s a fair point, and I don’t disagree in principal. I often feel, though, that we’re on a kind of euphemism treadmill: for instance, first people were “crippled,” then they became “handicapped,” then “physically challenged,” then “differently abled,” and so on. It’s a recurring pattern: someone tries to raise the status of a particular group by inventing a new term for it, but soon the new term becomes abused and develops into an insult. For instance, “retarded” was once a neutral clinical term (devised to replace harsh-sounding terms like “idiot” or “moron”), but then it degenerated into a put-down (e.g. “That guy is such a retard,” etc.).

      Ultimately, I don’t see how all the terminology changes really do much to help the groups in question. Political Correctness seems to require a never-ending reinvention of language. That, as I read it, is part of Maher’s complaint about PC culture.

      1. Yes, I sort of agree about the euphemism conveyor belt.

        I have discovered, interestingly, that it is almost facilely easy to come up with euphemisms for ‘vagina'(eg. ‘uncanny valley’, ‘batcave’, ‘Airstrip One’, etc.) but impossible to make any of them stick.

        There really isn’t a good euphemism that everyone agrees on in spite of decades of inventive substitutions.

  11. Between Hey Jude and Revolution, Hey Jude made a mark on me that lasts to this day. As a teen, sitting in the back seat of the family car, my mother driving, going home after a lengthy hospital stay. The doctors had said that I’d never play soccer, or any sports again and that there was a high probability that my right foot would develop clubfoot or reverse-clubfoot. During my time in the hospital my roommate, who I became brief friends with and was about my same age, died the day before I was released. I was feeling very sorry for myself, maudlin even. Hey Jude played on the radio as we made our way home and the music combined with my frame of mind just somehow crystallized into one of those moments that seem to mark you or shape you and remain a strong memory for the rest of your life.

    Good song. Revolution’s not bad either. I think my favorites are I Am The Walrus and Come Together. There have been some good covers of Come Together, but none can touch the original.

    1. That’s an intense story.

      I love the white album, love it for much the same reasons you do, in that it hit me at the exact right time in my life, the right age. My dad sent me the 30th anniversary ltd edition CD for my birthday when I was fourteen or fifteen or something.

      It’s the one with all the ‘dead weight’ as people say. But the truth is that all those songs like Honey Pie are the amuse-bouches that surround the truly great songs(of which there are more by far than any other Beatles album). They’ve never dragged the quality of the album down because I never took them seriously.

      And all four of them were at their absolute peak on the white album imo. I love it more than I can say.

    2. …I remember getting that album and playing it, and my little sister, who must’ve been about five at that point, was sat by me(it was Xmas).

      Halfway though ‘Why Don’t We Do It In The Road’, as the refrain is sung for the umpteenth time, she shook her head in irritation and said in her most fusty, exasperated voice “do WHAT in the road?”.

  12. Never miss his show. Sometimes it’s an echo chamber, but he usually does have guests on the right. But when he has people on like Ann Coulter or Kellyanne Conway, I sometimes have to fast forward because I just can’t handle the bullshit…Roger Stone was hard to watch as well. Either way, I respect the fact that he is willing to talk to just about anyone no matter their political bent.

  13. No, I’m here to tell you I also love Maher. This interview only cements that. Like PCC, I rarely disagree with him. Beyond his sensibilities, his show is a masterclass in bringing in diverse participants (even if they rarely get sufficient screen/talk time). And he’s truly funny. I seriously would love to see a government run by a committee of Maher, Dave Chappelle, Stephen Colbert, Sarah Silverman, Al Franken, and Conan O’Brien. Not just compared to Trump – they have real wisdom, have an average IQ in the stratosphere, and would surround themselves with the best advisors. Wouldn’t the world be a better place, and a lot more fun?

    1. I fully agree with KD33. I find Bill Maher not only very funny but agree with most of his opinions. He has a clever brain!!

  14. What I like about Maher is the way he role-models (if that’s a real verb) how to talk to people we disagree with. He often gets odious right wingers on his show, has a bit of a chat, throws them a few lines to let them get a laugh from the audience, and then says, ok, here’s what we disagree about… And really challenges them, but still keeps it civil. I think that’s a real skill, and few have it and even fewer even bother to try.

    And he always has at least one woman as a guest, and at least one conservative, usually a reasonably articulate one (i.e. not a Trump supporter — I’ve never ever heard any Trump supporter say anything but lies and stupid stuff. Never.)

    I also think he’s maintained an extraordinarily high standard of humour over the years.

    1. Yes. It doesn’t always work – the Steve Bannon interview might not have been brilliantly handled – but that’s the nature of getting on odious people you disagree with. It doesn’t always go perfectly to plan.

      And I think Milo’s appearance on the show was a perfect example of why it’s useful to talk to fuckwits like him rather than censor them: because in the company of adults who weren’t outraged by his schtick he simply ended up looking insubstantial and slightly pathetic.
      Maher fixed him with a stare of bored contempt and effectively asked him if he had anything serious to say…and in response he completely crumbled and made a fool of himself.

      That was one of the nails in his coffin as far as him ever gaining genuine respectability.

      1. I also thought he was waaaaay too soft on Marianne Williamson. She did have some good replies but he just let her say some shit that I think he should have called her on. I think she threw him off with her ability to argue her points.

    2. And I’ve liked that he has said things like, “I dunno that sounds like bullshit to me but we’ll check it and get back to you”.

    1. To leave it at that is just too glib though. It’s much more complicated. After all, political correctness is the reason why we no longer use racist epithets. That’s what PC is in its most basic form, a kind of tacit agreement about decency, and it’s an agreement without which pluralistic societies can’t really function.

      To reduce it to only its most extreme, absurd manifestations is far too simplistic. I think Maher would acknowledge this himself if it were put to him.

    1. And Dr. Deborah Soh and Quillette are described like this in a footnote:

      “A former sex researcher and current writer for the intellectual dark-web bastion Quillette, as well as other publications, Soh has drawn attention for her cautioning against parents allowing their children to transition at an early age.”

  15. I like how Maher doesn’t give a shit what people think of him or his choices. He won’t bend to getting married, he has no kids and he even complains about children (a cultural taboo). I also like that he takes no shit from his audience and if they boo he tells them to fuck off.

    1. Indeed we never have to wonder what Bill really thinks. Wasn’t he one of the original “cancelled” individuals? I mean he was literally cancelled by ABC for being non-pandering.

      1. Yeah he was so pissed off at the guy mouthing off and disrupting the show that he said if security wasn’t going to throw him out he would do it himself.

  16. From last week’s show dealing with white progressive’s and their self-hatred for being white. (It is filled with four-letter words.)

  17. Le Marquis de Sade once quipped that to know virtue, one should be acquainted with vice – well one could see that as an exhortation to push your boundaries, to grow, or at the very least test your own cherished beliefs to see if they withstand scrutiny. I see that a lot in Maher, his critique, and his choice in guests.

  18. Maher’s always been alright in my book, and always made me laugh, goin’ back to his first show on Comedy Central in the early ’90s.

    And “Revolution” is an absolutely freakin’ great tune — if we’re talkin’ about “Revolution 1,” the slowed-down, bluesy track that kicks off side two of the second vinyl disk in the “White Album,” rather than the version on the flip-side of the 45 with “Hey, Jude.”

    1. Yeh– I put up a link to that here too a while ago. Amazing groove and some experimental fooling around with the vocals of a kind that no one seems to try these days.

  19. I’m always pleased to see a proud atheist on tv every week. His criticisms of religion are something no one else is doing and we need more of that. He makes me laugh and I hope he stays on air for a lot longer.

  20. Maher’s Beatles breakup theory sounds plausible. An alternate one is that John was moving in a more political direction with his song writing. Paul doesn’t seem to have much interest in bringing politics into his music.

    By the way, McCartney was interviewed on David Letterman’s show last week. It was interesting to hear him call himself a genius. It sounded like he was only half joking.

    1. I read somewhere that the breakup was at least partially caused by a disagreement over management. After Brian Epstein died, the Beatles hired Allen Klein, the manager of the Rolling Stones. McCartney opposed the move, but John, Ringo, and George outvoted him and hired Klein against his wishes. As I recall, Klein was a bit of a shyster and he bilked the Stones out of a lot of money (all legally), so McCartney has some justification for being suspicious of him. In any case, McCartney’s resentment of the situation led him to leave the band and dissolve their partnership. There’s probably more to the story than that, but the financial end of it sometimes gets overlooked.

  21. I thoroughly enjoy Maher.

    To be picky-picky, I s’pose:

    He doesn’t like sweater vests, and doesn’t miss an opportunity to point out any audience member (invariably a male) wearing one, in front of all the other students. “Really?,” he’ll say. (I contemplate the effect on him of an audience full of sweater vests.)

    He similarly draws attention to anyone who uses AOL for email. Pray tell, Bill, what does it possibly matter? Does he, of all people, consider it politically incorrect or not “cool”?

    1. I also thought his constant fat jokes about Chris Christie were infantile and mean. He’s fat. We get it. You think it’s a moral failing. We heard you. Now attack him for his character, his behaviour, etc. There is plenty to go after there.

      1. I agree. It seems that, like Colbert, Maher has gotten more mean-spirited over time. Too bad, since in both cases it’s completely unnecessary and unworthy of them. Still two of the sharpest minds around, however.

  22. “Maher defines political correctness as ‘the elevation of sensitivity over truth.'”

    Not bad, but perhaps over-generous. I might have defined it as claiming the moral high ground without having earned it.

  23. Maher’s comments on ‘Islamophobia’ echoed something I saw recently on YouTube from a YouTuber whose other major targets are Christianity & MLMs.

  24. I love Bill and have watched his show for years. I am a liberal and grew up on in 60-70’s. Great music in those years! My parents taught me to behave appropriately and have good judgement. They were way to busy to be helicopter parents. I was also allowed to have an oppinion. My childhood heroes were RFK and Mohammed Ali. Yes for non conformity!

    1. Yes. What happened to parents being too busy to be helicopters? My parents were too busy trying to earn enough to pay for food on the table, a roof over our heads and clothes on our backs. They left the fun stuff like learning to us.

  25. I’m sure he does make many valid and well presented points and I don’t have to agree with every aspect of someone’s views or beliefs to admire them, but I can’t get past his Anti-GMO and Anti-Vax positions

    “I’m not into western medicine. That to me is a complete scare tactic. The flu shot is the worst thing you can do [because] it’s got mercury… If you have a flu shot for more than five years in a row, there’s ten times the likelihood that you’ll get Alzheimer’s disease”

    And his “documentary” Religulous, is awful. Talk about going after the low hanging fruit

    Not my thing

    1. I’m sure a well informed person, well informed not only about the science, but the batshit conspiracies, would quite easily convince him to leave the piffle out.
      Explain how new cultivars were made before the elegant gene transfers: massively irradiate the lot and select some promising mutants.
      Show that there is no evidence whatsoever flu shots (which do not contain mercury for decades now) cause Alzheimer’s.
      And yes,give him some instruction about immunology.
      I think he would be open to that.
      Bill, come to SA and I’ll do it for free!

  26. I like to watch Bill’s show live, even though I could DVR it. I have seen
    Bill live (can’t DVR that, I don think). There is some shtick, there is some social commentary, and there is humor. What makes it worth
    Tuning in is that it’s all honest. I don’t always agree with Bill, but wether I do or don’t, I usually laugh. Keep it coming!

  27. Bill Maher has probably one of the most actually woke comedians in comedy today. I don’t agree with everything he says, but most of it, yes absolutely. I’ve been a fan and watching him since the days of Politically Incorrect. No one is ever is on the nose and spot on about what’s going on culturally and currently in America today, then Bill Maher. You don’t have to like him. But you can’t deny his brilliance and astuteness in covering current events.
    Not to mention the fact that he is regularly a hilarious AF! When you’re pissing off both sides, you’re probably dead on the money.

  28. I generally love Maher’s show. The only quibble I have is that occasionally he lets out a semi-anti-vax comment. It is a testament to how incisive and spot on he is on all other issues, that I’m prepared to let this slide while advocating a death penalty for the rest of the anti-vaxxers out there. … or at least I would if I wasn’t also totally opposed to the death penalty 🙂

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