I'm sure that, being a political comedian, Maher is perfectly happy that he was capable of generating, alternately, anger and mirth. And good for him for making himself relevant again. I actually love comedy riffs that go to weird stream-of-consciousness places and connect things outrageously, especially when the comedian is hitting the hot buttons of people who don't have an easygoing and big sense of humor. Maher does all that. Of course, he falls way short of the ultimate comedy hero — Lenny Bruce* — because he's not challenging people in his own audience. In fact, he's stroking those people and encouraging a desire they already have: to laugh at someone they want to marginalize.
And by "someone" there, I mean Sarah Palin, not Brett Favre. No one needs much help laughing at Favre at this point. Just tell us what he did and stop and wait for the laughs. Maher's main comedy idea was to connect Favre's sext to Sarah Palin:
To me this story really isn't about sports or sex or how necessary caller ID is. It's about how pathetic and clueless white American males have become because the kind of guy who thinks there are women out there who just cold want to see your cock is the same kind of guy who thinks Sarah Palin is swell and tax cuts pay for themselves....And this is what lefties are really upset about: American history is the story of greedy white pricks who need to be cut down.
And if Brett Favre's penis could talk, what would it say? Well, other than no photos please, I think it would say, I'm not a witch. I'm you. Because for hundreds of years, white penises were America. White penises found America. They made the rules and they called the shots, in the workplace, in the home and at the ballot box. But now the unthinkable is happening. White penises are becoming the minority. 2010 was the first year in which more minority babies were born than white babies. This is what conservatives are really upset about.
That the president is black, and the Secretary of State is a woman, and every shortstop is Latino, and every daytime talk show host is a lesbian. And suddenly this country is way off track and needs some serious restoring.He's working the old meme about the Tea Party that distracted liberals in 2009. But it's 2010, the election is breathing down your neck, and tarring the Tea Party as angry racists did not work.
If penises could cry, and I believe they can...That made me laugh, even though he'd lost me with the trite evil white man stuff.
... then white penises are crying all over America. And that's where this crew comes in. The lovely MILFs of the new rank. And their little secret is that their popularity comes exclusively from white men. Look at the polling. Minorities hate them. Women hate them. Only white men like them.The only truth I'm hearing ring in that — and I haven't looked at the polling — is that liberals (quite rightly) loathe the strong, attractive women who have emerged on the right. And minorities and women have for many years tended to go for the Democrats. So those minorities and women, polled, will say they oppose Palin. But some minorities and plenty of women lean toward conservatism. If they feel repelled by conservative women like Sarah Palin, wouldn't that be evidence of sexism? By contrast, the white males who love Palin should for being open to women stepping up to political power. If these men only saw the women as sexual beings, they would tear down the political aspirations. They would scoff at and mock them... the way Bill Maher does. I think Maher was aware of that flaw in his comic rant. Here's how he tries to flip it the way he wants to go:
I'm no psychiatrist but I do own a couch.This is a concession that he thinks women exist for sexual purposes.
And my theory is that these women represent something those men miss dearly: the traditional idiot housewife.Maybe you have that theory because that's what you want in a woman. The housewife is a woman who stays home, and conceptualizing women as idiots is something men do when they want to block their aspirations outside of the home. This is what Maher is trying to do to Palin and the other conservative women. How can he pin that mindset on the men who support the women's ascension to power? No one wants an idiot to represent them in government.
Yes, we vote for idiots all the time, but it's because we project our hopes onto them and imagine them to be, in fact, brilliant:
*Here's Dustin Hoffman acting out the most striking example of Bruce challenging his own audience. Very offensive language.