Walt Kelly’s cartoon character Pogo is best known for his phrase, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”
This feeling was the underlying theme of Bill Maher Real time Friday, as the comedian and his guests explored the various ways America remains divided, often with our own hands.
BJ Novak from Office was the first. His new comedy film, Revenge, has nuances of the social struggles that divide America. Maher played that angle, asking about the Red State/Blue State divide and how it’s possible to love those who don’t share your views.
What separates us, Novak said, is more about emotion than argument. He suggested we stop “picking the crust” from things we disagree on and focus on comedy, sports, art,” or sit down to dinner. That’s a start. He added, “There is no separation. We were stuck.”
Goalkeepers are too afraid of hurting the public with controversial views, Novak said. “The public can be trusted,” he later added, “people worry that others are too sensitive.”
This week’s panel discussion joined Catherine Rampell, opinion columnist at the Washington Post and political and economic commentator for CNN, and Noah Rothman, associate editor for Commentary Magazine and author of The Rise of the New Puritans: Countering the Progressives War on Fun.
Maher posited to his panel that the left seems to be hammering away the kinds of things that were once right-wing sores.
Rothman agreed, saying “it was right wing for most of our lives”. But now the left aims to “emphasize its own moral code. “
Rampell wasn’t buying it altogether, noting, “We just had a vice president who couldn’t be alone with a woman.” She said she was “more concerned with the original recipe than the progressives”.
The people who have the power to control the culture now have “no right,” Rothman countered.
Maher asserted that “it is not the government that is Big Brother. It’s social media. He later added that there is a brewing of “silent resentment”, caused by people who are afraid to speak out in a time of cancel culture.
He referred to the recent shutdown of a Shonda Rimes production because of a word in the script. “It was like a reactor leak,” Maher said.
Such actions, Rampell said, are “commonplace to show they are offended.” Maher agreed. “The only reaction allowed now is overreaction.”
Rothman added that such actions are “the way you communicate your zeal for the cause, contorting yourself most zealously for the cause. This earns you a lot of points… but deprives us of something pleasant.
In his “New Rules” op-ed, Maher suggested reducing America’s greatness to a more modest goal: “Let’s make the mall even better. »
Online shopping, Maher said, “kills us psychologically.” In the mall’s heyday, it was called “America’s Town Square.”
Not only does online shopping exacerbate loneliness and isolation, but it’s an ecological nightmare, with excessive packaging and the idea of having your pants heated all over town, wasting resources.
Only 14% of packaging is recycled, Maher said. His message to the under-30s was therefore simple. Just because an app on the phone makes it easy to order doesn’t mean it’s cool.
“It comes at a cost,” Maher said, citing child labor, wasted fuel and other inconveniences. “I hear a lot about my generation ruining the environment,” Maher said. “I don’t think it’s my generation.”
“Go out and play,” Maher said in conclusion. “Go to the mall. Our social skills are atrophying. Amazon is at its peak, but you’re not.