In the lastest episode of Real Time with Bill Maher, the host was interviewing Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse. I guess he called himself being “edgy” when this exchange happened:
Maher: “Halloween used to be a kid thing.”
Sasse: “It’s not anymore?” said Sen. Sasse.
Maher: “Not out here. No, adults dress up for Halloween. They don’t do that in Nebraska?”
Sasse: “It’s frowned upon. Yeah, we don’t do that quite as much.”
Maher: “I’ve gotta get to Nebraska more.”.
Sasse: “You’re welcome. We’d love to have you work in the fields with us.”
Maher: “Work in the fields? Senator, I’m a house nigger.”
First, let me be clear. I haven’t been a fan of Maher for many years, now. To me, he embodies the very stereotype conservatives have about Hollywood liberals. He acts condescending, entitled and superior, as if having a TV show imbues him with a knowledge of all things. He also acts as if sleeping with the occassional black woman somehow makes him a knower of all things black and get him an automatic pass on insulting black people and our concerns.
I say all that to say this: I am not surprised by this latest incident. Of course, when the inevitable blowback occurs, he’ll decry it as poltical correctness run amok. However, there’s something that people like Bill Maher need to recognize. When you mock historically disenfranchised people, it never sits well. Mocking a President or congressperson is more acceptable because it involves taking on powerful people. Mocking people who are not in power is simply punching down.
Bill Maher lost me a long time ago so, if he were suddenly fired by HBO, it would be no big deal to me. His latest behavior seemed like a desperate move to keep people talking about him but, it fell completely flat. I suspect that, one day soon, conversations about Bill Maher will start with, “Wasn’t he the dude that used to have that show on HBO?”