A conservatory of Ldotter blogs.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Maher Har Hardy-har-har. . .

. . .of all the links I've ever posted, the Bill Maher story seems to be directing more traffic my way than any other. So, there's obviously quite a bit of interest in the story, and as such, I don't see any reason not to write about it. After all, Bill had no compunction whatsoever in slurring the President as a "cokehead", back when he still had his gig at ABC, with Politically Incorrect.

Believe it or not, I was somewhat of a Maher fan, at one point in my life. Back around the time of the GOP takeover of Congress, in 1994, Maher had some sane positions. And, while I didn't always agree with him, I thought he was a reasonably thoughtful person with opinions worth being listened to, if only for their basis in fact and his antipathy for political correctness.

These days, however, what seems to drive Maher's opinions is pure contempt for whatever happens to be the prevailing opinion among people like me -- which is strange, given the fact that I once counted myself among his fans.

But, then, the world has changed since 1994. The GOP has established dominance in American politics, making it a very large target. So, as a person whose contribution to society is pretty much limited to criticism, he has no choice but to shift against the tide of American culture and politics. It's either that, or starve.

So, should it come as a surprise that Maher might be overbearing and hypercritical toward those in his personal life?

Of course, that doesn't in any way indicate that Maher is guilty of physically injuring "Coco Johnsen". I personally think that part of her allegations is probably unfounded. But, one needn't be as contemptuous of Maher as I am to entertain the notion that he might be mentally and emotionally abusive toward the people in his personal life. Did he actually threaten to crack her skull with a hammer? I don't know. But, I won't let that get in the way of calling him Skullcracker Bill.

And, it's at least a little instructive that Maher would choose "Coco" as his paramour. After all, the man apparently has a longtime friendship with Ann Coulter, a constitutional scholar, bestselling author, highly-paid speaker on the lecture circuit, one-time editor of the University of Michigan Law Review, and willowy, blonde object of desire for every slightly masochistic conservative male political junky in North America. Yet, he shacked up with a flight attendant who had been a model at one time in her life -- apparently in a trade industry calendar for Udder Balm.

He has many friends in positions of power and influence in Hollywood, right where it intersects with Washington, D.C. He counts Arianna Huffington among one of his staunchest allies. His show's guest lists always feature prominent figures, and his regular guests get that way by developing personal relationships with him -- and there's nothing wrong with that. I imagine anyone with a talk show would tend to develop friendships with guests whose appearances they particularly enjoy.

But, why such a disconnect between Maher's professional and quasi-personal friendships and his love life? Why would Maher choose to cohabitate with someone whose worldview is, by virtue of experience, so far removed from his own? Is it a matter of love's ability to bridge all social chasms? Or, is Maher a Svengali -- the Phil Spectre to "Coco's" Ronnie and the Ronnettes? I won't profess to know, and I won't attempt to plum the depths of his psyche.

But, I can't help noting how hard Bill Maher has worked over the years to cultivate the image of a jerk among those with whom he disagrees, and especially among those to whom he feels morally and intellectually superior -- which is apparently just about everyone. Whether or not he's the jerk he appears to be is no more for me to say than whether or not he's a sociopath. But, in reading the allegations being made against him by "Coco" and deciding who I'm more inclined to believe, I have to operate on what I know about the two people involved.

And, the sum total of that is:

(1) Bill Maher, publically at least, treats people whom he views with contempt like dirt.

(2) Bill Maher feels nothing but contempt for his perceived intellectual inferiors.

(3) Bill Maher holds an English degree from Cornell University.

(4) English majors perceive lots of people as their intellectual inferiors.

(5) Cornell University graduates perceive lots of people as their intellectual inferiors.

(6) "Coco" is a flight attendant who at one time made a living based on her abundance of mammary tissue.

(7) "Coco" says Bill Maher treated her like dirt.

Those are the facts as I know them.

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