John Ostrander: When He’s Wrong…
I’m a dyed in the wool pinko commie leftie and these Trump days are not great for me. So I find watching the various commentators like Samantha Bee, John Oliver, Seth Meyers, Trevor Noah and especially Stephen Colbert to be therapeutic.
Into this mix, I can usually add Bill Maher on his weekly HBO show, Real Time. Maher is very attack orientated and each week he winds up his hour with a rant on a given topic., Usually, I find him really funny and incisive but Maher does have his blind spots. He is anti-religion – Islam in particular. He thinks the majority of American voters to be morons and says so, which I find to be a broad generalization, counter-productive and not true.
His past two shows featured rants that gored a pair of my oxen. One was on space exploration, such as terraforming and colonizing Mars, and the other was a screed against super-hero movies.
Maher argued (ranted) that we should not be exploring space or even think of colonizing Mars so long as we have so many problems here at home. Neal DeGrasse Tyson rebutted Bill the following week when he pointed out that any technology that could terraform Mars could also terraform the Earth and restore what has been ravaged. I would add that a lot of our technological advances are a result of space exploration. That computer you carry in your pocket? That’s a result of the need to reduce the size of computers while making them faster and stronger to be of use to astronauts in space. Sorry, Bill, you didn’t think this through.
Then on his most recent show, Maher was quite disdainful about superhero movies in general.
He said there were too many superhero shows on TV and too many superhero movies at the cineplex and blamed the genre for the rise of Donald Trump. He said they “promote the mindset that we are not masters of our own destiny and the best we can do is sit back and wait for Star-Lord and a f*cking raccoon to sweep in and save our sorry asses. Forget hard work, government institutions, diplomacy, investments – we just need a hero to rise, so we put out the Bat Signal for one man who can step in and solve all of our problems.”
Really? Super-hero movies and TV are directly responsible for the presidency of Donald Trump? Right – and they also promote juvenile delinquency, Batman and Robin are really gay (not that that’s a bad thing) and Wonder Woman is a lesbian (not that that’s a bad thing). Wait, no. That was Dr. Frederic Wertham in his book Seduction of the Innocent back in the 1950s. He was every bit as full of shit back then as you are today, Bill.
And, besides, everybody these days knows that Wonder Woman is bisexual.
I have no idea where Maher pulled this notion of superheroes and Trump from. Maybe his ass. I doubt that he’s seen many if any of the films or TV shows that he’s knocking. He’s taken an attitude and applied his standard disdain, snark, and superior attitude to it. Just not much thought.
Why does this bother me? It’s unlikely that Maher’s words will cause the opening weekend grosses for Wonder Woman to drop. However, this is a topic I know something about and if Maher can get that so wrong, can I trust him on topics that I don’t know much about?
Maybe I’ve outgrown him.
Think I’ll go watch a good superhero movie and let it rot my brain. It’s been a long day.
Maher is also an antivaxxer and germ theory of disease denier. He deserves zero respect or attention.
“However, this is a topic I know something about and if Maher can get that so wrong, can I trust him on topics that I don’t know much about?”
This reminded me of when I used to watch Tom Snyder’s Tomorrow show. I thought he was so well-informed because no matter who his guest was, he could interview them with such assurance and confidence. Then one night he had Julius Schwartz and Stan Lee on. He was an idiot. The show was about half way over before he figured out which man represented which super-heroes.
The episode when Maher disparaged colonizing Mars had at least one very funny joke to me since I am from the St. Louis area. He said that Anheuser-Busch was working brewing quality beer on Mars, “something they can’t even do here!”
It is long been my opinion that the super-hero archetype is inherently conservative. Super-heroes are generally characters that work outside of society’s strictures. They are vigilantes, not waiting for the government to solve some problem. So when Maher says, “Forget hard work, government institutions, …” he essentially acknowledges this.
I think this article from Cracked (!) really illustrates the conservative view that Trump capitalized on and why large cities are liberal and rural areas are conservative. Trump won most of the rural counties in the country. This article was written before the election. If you decide not to read it, (a mistake IMO), this is a critical quote: “It was a source of shame to be dependent on anyone — especially the government.”
I suggest that you no longer trust Samantha Bee, John Oliver, Seth Meyers, Trevor Noah and Stephen Colbert either. Especially Stephen Colbert who claims to be a practicing Catholic yet supports Planned Parenthood and Democrats who insist on a Pro-Choice plank in their platform. Catholicism and pro-abortion cannot be reconciled.
“Catholicism and pro-abortion cannot be reconciled.” And this is why I’m an Episcopalian.
George, Colbert said he was a “practicing” Catholic. Practicing.
I know a hell of a lot of Catholics who are pro-abortion, and/or pro Planned Parenthood, and/or Democrats, and/or use birth control, and/or do not think the sun revolves around the Earth. This is why organized religions (emphasis on the first word) confuse me. It certainly ain’t organized. But, in these United States, we get to follow the words of the late broadcaster Don McNeil: “Each in his own words, each in his own way.”
By the way. As I recall, John went to Jesuit school. Perhaps you can help him get his money back?
Mike, I am not sure but I think you may have confused “practicing Catholic” with “cafeteria Catholic”.
A Practicing Catholic is someone who adheres to ALL the rules of Catholicism. If Colbert calls himself a practicing Catholic he is saying he follows the teachings of the Catholic Church without exception. That is clearly not true since he supports Planned Parenthood.
Cafeteria Catholics, as the name implies, pick and choose which rules they like and which they don’t. This is not to say cafeteria Catholics are not Catholic. Their objections may be about less critical matters than something as immoral as abortion, but advocating and supporting abortion is, as the link below says, “gravely immoral.”
Therefore, Colbert, the politicians I mentioned and the Catholics you referenced have excommunicated themselves. That is to say, they are not in communion with the Church and are no way practicing Catholics regardless of what they say or would like to believe.
“Those Catholics who promote abortion are automatically excommunicated for two reasons. First, they have fallen into the sin of heresy by believing that abortion is not always gravely immoral (canons 751 and 1364). Second, these Catholics are providing substantial assistance for women to obtain abortions by influencing public policy to make abortions legal, and to keep abortions legal, and to broaden access to abortion. Those who provide such substantial assistance commit a mortal sin and incur a sentence of automatic excommunication (canon 1398).”
“But, in these United States, we get to follow the words of the late broadcaster Don McNeil: ‘Each in his own words, each in his own way.’ ”
Fine, but the Catholic Church is not a United States institution. It is a world-wide organization with rules and laws. If you want to belong, there are laws you cannot disregard. You cannot claim to be a vegetarian because the only meat you eat is chicken.
‘Each in his own words, each in his own way.’” I have never met two people of the exact same faith who follow the same exact set of rules. Call it free will, call it human nature or everybody can get in a circle and fight it out for philosophical dominance (which, I believe, would make you Jewish). Interpretation is a matter for the interpreter.
It’s not my fight and I don’t pass judgment — in my book, that’s what freedom of religion is all about.
“It’s not my fight and I don’t pass judgment — in my book, that’s what freedom of religion is all about.”
Well sure, people are free to define and subscribe to any religion they want. But organized religions have a say in whether you subscribe to theirs. Saying you’re in the club doesn’t make it so.
Catholics, though a minority of the population, are the single largest denomination when all the Protestant faiths are not taken as one. And Catholics vote… heh, religiously, more than other demographic.
I vote for every possible thing: school boards, ambulance and fire districts, local, county, state, bond issues, primaries and general elections. It has been advantageous for politicians to profess their Catholicism because of that voter turn out. But politicians who profess to be Catholic yet support abortion are hypocrites, and they can no longer expect to get the Catholic vote.
Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, John Kerry and Tim Kaine should be Episcopalian too, but they are not that honest.
“‘Each in his own words, each in his own way.’”