Yesterday Bill Maher was a guest on “Nails on a Chalkboard”, otherwise known as “The View”. Right away the show’s token “conservative” Elizabeth Hasselbeck confronted Maher about a “joke” he made at her expense back in February. Now, before I move on I have to admit that I am already using a lot of quotation marks just two sentences into this post. I apologize, but its impossible to avoid when talking about this show. Fair warning- words such as comedian, funny, journalist, conversation, and respect will include quotation marks when referring to “The View” from this point on. Their honest employ of these terms is questionable at best. So now that we have that out of the way, let’s get back to Bill Maher. Back in February, during the Egyptian riots Maher made a “joke” about Lara Logan returning to the U.S. after her brutal rape and assault, and sending Elizabeth Hasselbeck to replace her. The folks over at the Slatester Youtube channel prepared this little summary of the whole incident here.
Nearly nine months later Hasselbeck took the opportunity of Maher’s appearance to confront him about his “joke” and scold him for such a distasteful display. Of course Maher met her protests with the appropriate N.O.W-approved amount of condescension and dismissal. He old Hasselbeck it was a “joke” , that he is a “comedian” and it was “funny”. Basically, get over it! Today on my local L.A. morning news entertainment reporter Sam Rubin accused Hasselbeck of being overly sensitive and ridiculed her for carrying this issue for over nine months. He suggested she was shrill and humorless for still being concerned about the comment after all this time.
Whatever one may think of the timing, Hasselbeck has a point and it should be taken seriously by women and everyone who loves women. I concur with the sentiment that comedians say offensive things and should be excluded from certain standards of decency when they are performing. However, Maher is not a comedian. Maher is a political commentator who tries to be “funny”. He cloaks himself in the mantle of comedy to avoid criticism. But let’s be honest, Bill. You are not a comedian anymore than I am a journalist. We can both claim those labels to protect ourselves to some extent, but in the end we have to admit that what we do is political opinion. You made a rape “joke”…and that’s what it was – a RAPE joke. The “funny” was in the idea that perhaps we could send Hasselback over to Egypt to be treated as Logan had, and let us not forget Logan was gang raped, raped by foreign objects, beaten and left for dead.
Maybe Hasselbeck should have been able to let that go. Maybe she would have done better to chalk it up to typical liberal double standards and move on with her life. But maybe Hasselbeck was truly offended by the comment, as a woman. Perhaps she has been waiting for an opportunity to confront Maher personally about his horrible comments and this was her first chance, nine months later. She is a young mother and wife and it does not seem unreasonable that she would take offense to a “comedian” making a “joke” about her possible rape and beating. For goodness sake, director Bret Ratner was forced to quit the Oscars for using the word “fag” in his latest movie, but a woman upset about rape jokes is just being unreasonable? I don’t accept that. I applaud Hasselback for taking the opportunity to stand up for herself, even if the timing was off. Her larger and more important point was that if you put yourself out there as a public figure in the political sphere (entertainment, government or otherwise) then you should be accountable for the things you say. This is a standard the liberal media set up long ago. They accuse Republicans and conservatives as being humorless and stuffy and yet disparage every righty “joke” and “satire” as irresponsible, disturbing and uncalled for. Its been years and fascist liberals everywhere still bring up Rush’s Barack the Magic Negro (first written by a liberal BLACK L.A. Times writer). As far as I’m concerned Hasselback was only playing by the rules Bill Maher and those of his ilk set up. Its too late to change those rules. We conservatives have taken the high road for too long now and it has cost us ownership of pop culture, and maybe even our country as we know it. However, we can play by the rules that have been set up. Hasselbeck did just that. Would I have said what she said differently? Yes, but I refuse to ridicule the woman for standing up for herself. Rape is almost the worst thing one human being can do to another. It encompasses so many forms of evil, so much hatred. Its purpose is to humiliate and de-humanize. Perhaps Maher’s “joke” would have been more acceptable in a stand up routine at a comedy club, but as political commentator (and that’s all you are Bill, so quit frontin’!) it was cruel, partisan and completely sexist. It’s no surprise that a man who dates strippers and girls that comfortably go by the name “Superhead” is a chauvinistic pig, but why should a woman who calls him out on that be labeled a whiner? I’m no fan of “The View”, or even Hasselback, but she deserves a bit more respect for jumping on the opportunity to confront sexism when she sees it. So what if its nine months later? There is no statute of limitations on ignorant fake comedians.