I referred to Bill Maher as the “Gollum of American politics” Monday night on Sean Hannity’s Great American Panel, and that generated some interesting reactions.
Of course not everyone knows the story of Gollum or how he came to be the shriveled, desiccated horror that he was throughout Lord of the Rings, and how the desire for power had consumed him from within.
Bill Maher’s desire is to be noticed, and especially to be taken seriously as a political and social commentator. In this sad exchange with Jake Tapper, Maher is retreating to the “I’m just a comedian” defense of his misogyny and bile, a surrender of any claim to be anything like a voice of influence. All those books, movies and speeches? Never mind. Just a stand-up comic making a living.
The most telling part of the Q-and-A? When Maher tells Tapper that “[a]nd through it all, I have defended Rush’s right to stay on the air!” As though that matters. As though anyone cares what Bill Maher has to say about whether Rush stays on the air. But the self-importance displayed in that closing line smashes Maher’s “comedian” defense if it had any substance for anyone to begin with. Simple comedians don’t take to the ramparts to defend anything. They tell jokes.
In this case, Maher has himself become the joke, and though he may yet have many seasons to run on HBO and will play Vegas until he meets his maker, no one has any real doubt about his real views or his real contribution. Yes, he has become toxic for a time, but the left will resurrect his career a few months down the road when the obviousness of the double standard fades. But he will still be a hater of women, of those who believe in God, and of many, many groups and individuals.