Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
I guess I really have turned a corner. As of last Friday evening, I’ve decided I won’t be watching Real Time with Bill Maher anymore.
Bill has jumped the shark. He’s done it with his remarks on covid, you see, and has joined the ranks of those who’d rather spread disinformation than face reality.
Not only did Bill, in his season premier on Friday, dabble in bad covid and vaccine advice, he let one of his guests, Bari Weiss, declare unchallenged that covid restrictions are a “catastrophic moral crime.” Returning to normal life, whatever that might mean in her reactionary mind, is the be all and end all, even if it results in tens of thousands of excess deaths, not to mention the damage to the health care system and its exhausted workers.
Failing to apply empathy and common sense during a historic pandemic is the moral crime, if you ask me. Maher and Weiss are saying that their comfort and convenience are more important than the safety and well-being of anyone else.
If all of us had cooperated with CDC guidelines at the outset, if more than 63% of us were fully vaccinated, we probably could have avoided all of this and returned to normal a lot sooner. But in today’s America, a toxic, suicidal obsession with “liberty” (as defined by the right wing) has steered us closer to that “every man for himself” mode that will either divide the country into ideological Bantustans or usher in the radical right’s wet dream of minority authoritarian rule. This pandemic will prove to have been the grease that freed up the fascist gears.
Maher and Weiss don’t seem to realize that they’re becoming stooges in a bigger story. It’s a story being written by people who know that self-interest overcomes almost all other motives and blinds us to the wider view. Maher mocks Dr. Fauci, but I’ll put my faith in Fauci every time because he knows what he’s talking about. (We used to respect people who knew what they were talking about.) When it comes to covid and public health and bona fide science, Maher, a comedian, has become one of those MAGA-adjacent types who “does his own research” and concludes that the government is either overreacting or working on some evil covert plan. The paranoid style in American politics redux.
By the way, the Real Time premier didn’t touch at all on the most important stories of the last few weeks, especially January 6 developments, all because Maher and Weiss are “done with covid.” This suits the bad guys just fine. Distraction is essential. Bill wants to go back to his regular gigs, and Bari has this bogus University of Austin thing to cheat gullible young people out of a lot of money, tearing a page from Donald Trump’s playbook. Like I said, self-interest.
So I can’t do it anymore. I’ve given Maher the benefit of the doubt for a few years now, but there’s enough bad info flying around out there that I don’t need to expose myself to more of it voluntarily.
At least I’ve still got John Oliver.