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← The Joke's on Him: Bill Maher could use a lesson in civility from Michael Moore

The Joke's on Him: Bill Maher could use a lesson in civility from Michael Moore - Comments

ImagineAZ's Avatar Comment 1 by ImagineAZ

Ya know, I hear this argument after every single theist/atheist debate or conversation, and I'm hearing it now with this movie.

The believers always shriek "Well, THAT representative of my faith is a moron; everybody knows that! Why didn't the atheist debate/converse with THIS OTHER believer?" Or they shriek "Why are you atheists only picking on the idiots?"

Well, apparently only idiots are willing to speak up in favor of their faith.

I mean, Maher interviewed a Vatican priest and a senator. If there is some greater advocate of Christian faith, bring him/her forward. Have the brilliant believers confront the Bill Mahers of the world. From what I've seen and heard so far, I can only conclude one of two things: either the intelligent, level-headed believers refuse to debate/converse on what they believe, or the intelligent, level-headed believer is a myth.

Thu, 16 Oct 2008 14:16:00 UTC | #251837

Godfree Gordon's Avatar Comment 2 by Godfree Gordon

"Making fun of religious kitsch (people) is the easiest thing on earth"

"because that kitsch (those people) is an uglification of something beautiful (are a beautification of something ugly)"

Thu, 16 Oct 2008 14:16:00 UTC | #251838

InfuriatedSciTeacher's Avatar Comment 3 by InfuriatedSciTeacher

Wait, laughing at someone's beliefs when they're completely absurd is rude? You mean to say we should show respect when someone says they believe in talking snakes or flying horses? Wow, it seems I'm unintentionally rude rather often. I think I shall just continue on with it now...

Thu, 16 Oct 2008 14:25:00 UTC | #251841

brian thomson's Avatar Comment 4 by brian thomson

"This is the creed of Bill Maher"...

Ding! By line 2, this article fails the "using religious terminology to describe atheists" test for lazy journalism. Two more transgressions in the first paragraph. In the currently fashionable vernacular, I believe this may be termed "Epic Fail".

Thu, 16 Oct 2008 14:27:00 UTC | #251842

j.mills's Avatar Comment 5 by j.mills

faith--the most powerful and meaningful force in the history of human existence

Uh-huh. I see.

Yet another theist defence that avoids entirely the question of whether gods exist.

Thu, 16 Oct 2008 14:28:00 UTC | #251843

Steven Mading's Avatar Comment 6 by Steven Mading

There's plenty of reasons to accuse Bill Maher of acting like an ass about this movie, especially its use of the ambmush-interview tactic and the bait-and-switch fake working title tactic (ala Expelled). But this review is nothing more than the standard rehashed "If a fact is embarassing to religion, then either claim it's an exception case, or claim that the person who brought it up is an idiot for not following the trend of bending over backward to re-interpret religulous bullshit as metaphorical after it turned out to be incorrect."

And exposing the inherent ugliness in something that people have tricked themselves into thinking is beautiful is not the same thing as uglifying something that actually is beautiful.

It's not Bill Maher's fault that these ugly aspects of religion exist. It's our culture's fault that we've built a taboo against exposing them.

Thu, 16 Oct 2008 14:31:00 UTC | #251844

polestar's Avatar Comment 7 by polestar

" most powerful and meaningful force in the history of human existence..."

Alas, this may be largely true (if you rule out all forms of practical learning, from fire to fission) - but the argument ad antiquitam (I apologise for not having figured out how to use italics here) does not justify faith nor does the argument ad hominem make (the admittedly boorish) Maher wrong. Podhoretz is revealing the weakness (or absence) of his argument by resorting to these low blows.

Thu, 16 Oct 2008 14:32:00 UTC | #251845

FreeThink25's Avatar Comment 8 by FreeThink25

Can a guy who called Bush the "first great leader of the 21st century" really call Maher second rate?

Thu, 16 Oct 2008 14:33:00 UTC | #251846

reedbraden's Avatar Comment 9 by reedbraden

Wow... that was shrill, sarcastic, hamhanded and incredibly retarded. Is there a reason it was reposted on RD.NET?

Thu, 16 Oct 2008 14:40:00 UTC | #251849

root2squared's Avatar Comment 10 by root2squared

Short summary of article:

I don't get humor *whine* and I don't like maher because he is mean *whine* and he hurt my feelings *whine*.

Thu, 16 Oct 2008 14:46:00 UTC | #251851

MrPickwick's Avatar Comment 11 by MrPickwick

I love how this guy tries to hide his gnashing of teeth!

Thu, 16 Oct 2008 14:50:00 UTC | #251853

knutsondc's Avatar Comment 12 by knutsondc

Now, 15 years later, his chat show is on HBO, and he still scowls should anyone else dare to say anything funny that wasn't scribbled down for him by his ghostwriting team.
I watch nearly every episode of Real Time With Bill Maher and it's simply not true the Maher "scowls" when someone else gets a laugh -- Bill almost always joins in the laughter. In this, as in so many other things, Podhoretz is simply lying to try to discredit the messenger bringing a message he doesn't like.

Thu, 16 Oct 2008 14:56:00 UTC | #251856

RevolvingImages's Avatar Comment 13 by RevolvingImages

"Maher insults the obese worshippers at a church inside a trailer parked at a truck stop, then finds a former Jew for Jesus--obese, naturally--to insult--inside the man's ludicrous religious trinket store."

Uhh... I saw the movie, and I can't recall one instance of Maher pointing out the fact that some of the people he interviewed were fat. Talk about straw-man... sheesh!

Thu, 16 Oct 2008 15:00:00 UTC | #251859

Big City's Avatar Comment 14 by Big City

I actually agree with a lot of what this article says. Maher did come off like an ass throughout the movie. The whole thing reminded me of Expelled; it used a lot of the same techniques. I didn't like that he only interviewed silly people and didn't talk to more common churchgoers. It was more of a novelty than the real documentary I would have preferred, with an argument or debate. Maybe a mainstream movie of that kind will be released soon.

Thu, 16 Oct 2008 15:10:00 UTC | #251865

Peter_on_Sax's Avatar Comment 15 by Peter_on_Sax

I know Maher - he's very clever and funny.

But who or what is Podhoretz?

Thu, 16 Oct 2008 15:18:00 UTC | #251866

Fuller's Avatar Comment 16 by Fuller

"Making fun of religious kitsch is the easiest thing on earth, because that kitsch is an uglification of something beautiful, a literalization of something abstract."


How can specific religious claims about the nature of existence be abstract? Either they are true, or they aren't. This guys beliefs may be abstract, but he can't get away with asserting that his version is the proper one. It's the 'thats not my God' argument, and it's not even framed very well.


Thu, 16 Oct 2008 15:20:00 UTC | #251867

Chris Roberts's Avatar Comment 17 by Chris Roberts

Just makes me wanna watch it all the more.....

Thu, 16 Oct 2008 15:29:00 UTC | #251868

NewEnglandBob's Avatar Comment 18 by NewEnglandBob

So this reviewer loved the film, I see and he is a groupie for Maher.

Thu, 16 Oct 2008 15:44:00 UTC | #251871

defaithed's Avatar Comment 19 by defaithed

Did I miss something? It seems this "reviewer" whined only about *how* Maher says things, and completely ignored the truth or falsity of *what* Maher says.

Thu, 16 Oct 2008 16:01:00 UTC | #251872

ljirving's Avatar Comment 20 by ljirving

I think the website needs to be renamed "The Weakly Standard" based upon the rather poor quality of the review presented here.

Thu, 16 Oct 2008 16:02:00 UTC | #251873

sidelined's Avatar Comment 21 by sidelined

Big City writes

"I actually agree with a lot of what this article says. Maher did come off like an ass throughout the movie."

Perhaps you might give an example to express in what way Maher appeared this way to you?

Thu, 16 Oct 2008 16:04:00 UTC | #251874

8teist's Avatar Comment 22 by 8teist

It appears that mr Podhoretz has his panties in a knot because Maher did not treat his "faith " with the respect he believes it is due .Oh dear ,nevermind , god will make it all better on sunday when he goes to kiss his fantasy friends arse.
What a load of snivelling shite that article is.

Thu, 16 Oct 2008 16:18:00 UTC | #251875


"neurological disorder"

Well, religion is a mental illness.

In any other context:

1) Talking to someone who isn't there...

2) Hearing or believing you hear someone who isn't there...

3) unusual thoughts or perceptions, including hallucinations, delusions, thought disorder, and disorders of movement (god moving the universe with you in mind, basically)


Thu, 16 Oct 2008 16:41:00 UTC | #251878

Wosret's Avatar Comment 24 by Wosret

I have yet to see the movie, but this summarizes what I expect. Mahers will just spend the movie mocking people. Despite spending a lot of time doing that myself, I seem to have far less tolerance of this trait in others. Call it a double standard.

I didn't expect the preaching part the movie sounds more like a south park episode. Though almost certainly not as vulgar.

Thu, 16 Oct 2008 16:44:00 UTC | #251879


BTW - no one is entitled to respect for anything; not required or desired

They are, however, entitled to Freedom of Speech

If you don't like the speech, too bad.

Walk away, turn it off, change the channel, don't buy the ticket.

Caution those that seek to be offended for they really seek to silence you

Thu, 16 Oct 2008 16:45:00 UTC | #251880


I personally and subjectively found the movie very funny.

It's interesting to observe that Maher hard hit McCain and Bush but never once played any of the rantings of Rev. Wright and Obama talking religion.

This observation brings into question his credibility; what else is he NOT showing us for his personal self-interest?

Thu, 16 Oct 2008 16:48:00 UTC | #251881

Wosret's Avatar Comment 27 by Wosret

19. Comment #265421 by defaithed

Saying that Mahers "uglified" something beautiful, and calling all of his critizems "caricatures" I actually do think addressed that. It was merely dismissed.

Thu, 16 Oct 2008 16:49:00 UTC | #251882

mikecbraun's Avatar Comment 28 by mikecbraun

I would say that ejaculation is "the most powerful and meaningful force in the history of human existence," and not faith, but that's just me.

Thu, 16 Oct 2008 16:50:00 UTC | #251883

mikecbraun's Avatar Comment 29 by mikecbraun

And his name is MAHER, not MAHERS. I don't know why some feel the need to add an S.

Thu, 16 Oct 2008 16:52:00 UTC | #251884

Hellene's Avatar Comment 30 by Hellene

I don't think I've ever seen someone conduct himself as rudely--either on film or in real life--as Maher does here.

He has obviously never been to this website.

Thu, 16 Oct 2008 17:04:00 UTC | #251888