I watched the segment of Real Time with Bill Maher featuring Milo Yiannopoulos (I usually avoid the show; I am confirmed once again in my revulsion). I think the New York Times accurately summed it up:
Despite a brief flare-up of controversy that preceded it, a conversation between Milo Yiannopoulos, the incendiary right-wing author and lecturer, and Bill Maher, the comedian and host of HBO’s “Real Time,” on that program Friday night was a largely docile, chummy affair. There was little conflict or cross-examination, as both men chided the political left for avoiding or drowning out Mr. Yiannopoulos’s views rather than engaging with them.
Maher revealed his own bigotry when Yiannopoulos vaulted on to his high horse to attack transgender men and women and said that he
makes no apologies for protecting women and children from men who are confused about their sexual identity in their bathrooms. I immediately call bullshit. Yiannopoulos is not on a crusade to defend women and children, he’s just a Nazi-wannabe troll. Maher apparently has a broken bullshit detector, though, because he just mutters,
That’s not unreasonable.
And then he turns to another guest, Jack Kingston, and says,
Jack, where do you stand on weirdos peeing?
Fuck you too, Bill Maher. Let’s promote the stereotype that the reason transgender people go into the bathroom is to rape people, rather than to urinate, on top of giving a hateful narcissist another platform on which to giggle out lies. I must point out that the current crisis in American politics is in part due to journalists giving air time to bigots to air their sensationalist views, and then failing to call them on it. There’s Bill Maher, doing the same thing with another hate-monger. You can’t simultaneously call giving shrieking racists, sexists, and transphobes a platform a free speech issue, and then fail to be skeptical and critical of their views.
There were two heroes on this show, though: Jeremy Scahill for refusing to show up and legitimize Yiannopoulos, and Larry Wilmore for refusing to accept Yiannopoulos’s shit. He was having none of it.
I just think it’s sad because it’s the same argument used against gay people, treating them like aliens who just wanted to fuck everything that moved and that’s why we should avoid them at all costs. There’s a difference without a distinction … It’s like when people tried to compare gays and blacks. They’re not the same thing. We share an invisibility. People didn’t see us in society and gay people hid out from society. But there were a lot of the same issues that you have to deal with when you’re marginalized.
Yiannopoulos’s response was to call being transgender a
psychiatric disorder (an extraordinarily ironic argument, coming from a loudly gay man — he is aware that the same dismissal by definition has been and is being applied to gay people, right?), and assert that
they (transgender people) are disproportionately involved in those sorts of sex crimes. As victims, maybe.
I’ll let Yiannopoulos have the last quote.
No, but you always invite such awful people on your show. You need to start inviting higher IQ guests.
For once, he’s right. Never invite Yiannopoulos again, for starters. Then get rid of Bill Maher. And finally, turn over the program to Larry Wilmore, who was brilliant.