When I first heard that Bill Maher was interviewing a controversial editor from Breitbart (a “news” outlet which is pretty much conspiracy theory meets alternative facts), I straight-up wasn’t interested in watching it. Then, my sister told me yesterday that I needed to. So, I did.
But I wanted to do it right. I’d heard vaguely about Milo Yiannopoulos, but I didn’t know anything much about him other than he worked for Breitbart and was a spokesperson for the Alt-Right. So, I read a few short biographies about him and a few articles, then I sat down and struggled through one of the most painful interviews I’ve ever witnessed.
Let me just sum up Milo Yiannopoulos as briefly as possible, then I plan to never speak of him again. He’s gay. I say this because he admits it practically every ten seconds–he’s so campy that he all but swishes while he talks. It’s obviously exaggerated on his part, as he spouts homophobic comments as often as he mentions he’s gay. I’m gay, too, but I do have other things I like to talk about. Clearly, though, he likes to talk about it to shock people, as well as all the other discriminatory rhetoric that leaks out of his mouth like meaningless platitudes out of a Hallmark card. I figured him out almost instantly: he’s a self-loather. He feels very uncomfortable being gay. Rather than accepting that part of himself, he reacts to the world around him. And he wants to you to react to whatever outrageous bullshit he just declared. It doesn’t matter what sort of attention he receives, be it negative or positive (although being a self-loather, he seems to prefer the negative variety). He just wants an audience. Well, I’ve decided that I’m going to remove myself from that audience. I have no interest in anything he has to say, and I don’t want to encourage it any further. He’s a college dropout turned professional troll who is about to lose his job. It’s becoming quite a common story.
Who I’m truly upset with is Bill Maher. Don’t get me wrong–I’ve never been a fan. I remember watching his documentary on religion years ago, and I disagreed with it then. I don’t think we can solve all the world’s problems by getting rid of religion. Our various faiths or the lack thereof is what makes us human. We long for there to be something more, for there to be meaning in our existence. Religion can be destructive. We’ve seen that firsthand all through history, and we see that today. I’m not denying that. But religion is an important aspect of every culture for a reason. Rejecting someone’s religion is almost like dismissing someone’s culture. It’s a callous attitude, and I do not approve.
My response to all that is to simply not watch the show, though. I would never tell Maher he had to change his attitude on religion; faith really is a personal journey. I also find him smug without having any significant traits to feel smug about, but that’s another story. Even so, I had no intention of watching this interview simply because I knew what it was. It was a ratings gimmick; nothing more. This wasn’t a liberal inviting a conservative on his show to find common ground. That would imply he had invited a reasonable conservative, of which there are many. This was the act of a man wishing for more viewers. Well, Bill Maher. You got what you wanted. We all watched it, and you were a horrible example of humanity. Congrats.
Throughout the initial interview with Yiannopoulos, Maher conducted significant ego stroking on the little turd. They bitched about the violations of free speech (when?) while simultaneously complaining about female celebrities talking politics. I’m confused. Are you guys for free speech or aren’t you? Meanwhile, Maher added to the prejudiced language of his guest by calling him a “fag” and transsexuals “weirdos.” Maher, it’s bad enough that you listened to Yiannopoulos criticize women, transsexuals, homosexuals, and liberals without saying a word. It’s an entirely different level of disgusting when you sink to his level.
Now, we reach the part of this episode that truly pisses me off. There was a panel of various speakers, and they included retired United States Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer Malcolm Nance and political satirist Larry Wilmore. Wilmore and Nance could only tolerate Yiannopoulos for a short time before they told him off. Their points were clear, concise, and well-reasoned. I was highly impressed with both individuals. So much so, in fact, that I bought a copy of Nance’s book. I recommend that you all do the same.
And this is what pisses me off. We had two incredibly thoughtful men who could have discussed national security and current policies on Maher’s show for the entire episode. I would have loved seeing that. Instead, Maher committed a complete disservice to these two guests by forcing them to sit at a table with a white supremacist. A dumb white supremacist. It shouldn’t have been their job to tell him off.
So, Bill Maher, let me tell you something. Fuck off.
Picture from the Chicago Tribune