"There is difference and there is power. And who holds the power decides the meaning of the difference." --June Jordan

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Bill Maher hates you. Along with all women everywhere. And he hates your babies, too.

Cara at The Curvature often blogs about the "Offensive Remark of the Week", but I think this one wins the award for the most Offensive Three-Minute Monologue of the Year.

I've never watched him consistently, and he's never been one of my favorite people, but I could always get behind some of Bill Maher's political (anti-war, anti-Bush) views. Apparently, his "progressive"-ness does not extend to his attutudes about women. I have defended him before, because I sometimes sympathize when people are criticized or censored for saying controversial things. Except, of course, when the things they say are hateful, ignorant, objectifying, and totally idiotic.

Watch the video of Bill Maher's commentary on recent breast-feeding activism. Start watching at seven minutes in for the idiocy:

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, but I'm appalled that something this hateful and blatantly degrading was allowed on the air.

The transcript:
"And finally, new rule - and I never thought I'd be the one to say this - but DON'T show me your tits! (laughter) Last week the world's first nurse-in was held to protest the case of a woman who was breastfeeding in public and asked by an Applebee's manager not to leave but just to cover up a little bit. Because the wait staff got tired of hearing, 'I'll have what that kid's having!' (laughter) I'm not trying to be insensitive, here. I know your baby needs to eat, but so do I and this is Applebee's, so I'm already nautious. (laughter) Breastfeeding a baby is an intimate act, and I don't want to watch strangers performing intimate acts. At least not for free. (laughter) It cheapens it. But breastfeeding activists - yes, breastfeeding activists, called Lactivists (laughter) - say this is a human right and appropriate everywhere, because it's natural. Well, so is masturbating, but I generally don't do that at Applebee's. (laughter and applause) Not in the main dining area, anyway. I mean next thing, women will be wanting to give birth in the waterfall at the mall! (laughter) Look, there's no principle at work here, other than being too lazy to either plan ahead or cover up. It's not fighting for a right, it's fighting for the spotlight, which you surely will get when you go all Janet Jackson on everyone (makes flashing motion of opening shirt) (laughter) and get to drink in the oohs and ahhs from the other customers because you made a baby! (laughter) Something a dog can do. (laughter and applause) Only in America do women think they deserve a medal for having a kid. In China women give birth on their lunch hour and that afternoon they're back on line painting lead onto Barbie dolls. (laughter and applause) But this isn't really about women taking their breasts out in public - as much as I'd like them to. It's about how petty and parochial our causes have become, and how activism has become narcissism. It's why Al Gore can't get people to focus on global warming unless there's a rock concert. Melting icebergs, brought to you by Smashing Pumpkins. It's why there will be no end to this dumb war until there is a draft, because at the end of the day, Iraq is somebody else's problem. And by the way, there is a place where breasts and food do go together. It's called Hooters! (laughter and applause)"

(via Feminist Law Professors - with great links to 2 other posts)


Anonymous said...

holeee shit. so basically, it's ok for women to show their breasts when it's for the purposes of male titillation (pun definitely intended), a purpose that has been completely invented by society, but not for their acutal biological purpose of feeding their children?!? I'm not usually one to put biological arguments together for any reason, but in this case, for gods sake, breasts are for feeding babies! not for making penises hard! jesus!

Anonymous said...

Wow, I did know that Bill Maher, for all of his other progressive views, is a massive misogynist. But this really does take the cake. I want to punch him in the face. Like, now. This could, without a doubt be the Offensive Remark, and it just might be.

Anonymous said...

I just watched the 3/27/08 Bill Mayers show and was stunned by his blatant sexism. How does this get ignored by the mainstream media? Ironically the program addressed the the tendency of the mainstream media to ignore racism of conservative pundits.

Sighing in San Diego

Tracey said...

Anonymous: Yeah, I know. Maher is just one in a long line of "progressive" men who seem to care about all sorts of social justice causes while simultaneously completely embracing sexism in every way.

Ryan said...

How is he wrong?

Setting aside the jokes... you are aware that it is a comedy show and he is more or less required to make wisecracks right?

He is pointing out that there is nothing special about having a baby. There are nearly 7 billion people in the world. Adding to the count doesn't make you a hero.

In fact many of us, myself included, don't like kids at all. You want them? Fine, keep them to yourself and that includes breastfeeding. We don't want to see you doing that, why should we have to pretend to?

I have created a full reply on my site here: http://ryanmurphysbrain.com/546/what-i-happen-to-be-up-to-when-i-posted-this/a-reply-to-unapologetically-female

Anonymous said...

Ryan - You don't have to pretend to, idiot. The fact of the matter is that a woman shouldn't be ashamed to perform a biologically manditory action (aka breastfeeding) in public when necessary. Where are you and Maher going that you are constantly assaulted with the sight of a mother tending to her infant? Trust another guy to stick up for a bigoted misogynist...

Melissa said...

I don't find this very offensive. He says women should plan ahead to cover up. It's illegal to be topless in public places in most states. I would breastfeed anywhere in public, but I would cover up.

I don't think politely asking someone who is breastfeeding compeltely exposed is discrimination.

I'll need something else as evidence that Maher is a misogynist.

kiwigirl said...

I actually agree with him. I feel narcissism is rife, and these women need to realise that we all don't have to see their breasts. No Bill Maher doesn't hate you. Grow up. He just shares an option that doesn't fit into how you see the world.

Unknown said...

So what happens when the baby won't eat with a cover on? Btw-I've never seen a breastfeeding mother expose her self. Once the baby is latched, the most you'll see is side boob. Why are you looking so hard any way? Maybe you should look at the waitresses cleavage, cuz your gonna see more boob there then you will from breastfeeding.

burritolikethesun said...

Hah. When the bombs fall, and you spent all your time and energy being angry about what someone else's opinion about a perhipheral issue like it was freedom of speech itself, then you'll wish you had spent more time worrying about the people building and planning our destruction using your money.

burritolikethesun said...

Hah. When the bombs fall, and you spent all your time and energy being angry about what someone else's opinion about a perhipheral issue like it was freedom of speech itself, then you'll wish you had spent more time worrying about the people building and planning our destruction using your money.