How else could all those “civilized” American soldiers bear to call their supposed adversaries japs, nips, gooks, ragheads, camel jockeys, sand niggers, and hajjis, or simply scum while they were busy killing journalists, women and children and using gruesome chemical weaponry like depleted uranium and white phosphorus against civilian populations? If the troops weren’t so “civilized,” how else would they be able to rape all those women in Afghanistan, Iraq, Japan, and within their own ranks? Is it any wonder that, in our “civilized” nation, the unemployment rate for military veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan has reached 14.7% (nearly 50% higher than the national rate), on any given night well over 100,000 veterans are homeless, and the chilling reality is 18 veterans commit suicide every day.
Maher must be aware that the “civilized” United States will have a military budget of over $767 billion next year, a staggering total that, if allocated elsewhere could single-handedly eradicate world hunger for our planet’s 1.02 billion undernourished and starving population for almost four years. But that obviously won’t happen since “civilized” people believe that murdering half a million children under five, that committing “genocide,” that “destroying a entire society,” through economic sanctions is the price some have to pay for the rest of us to remain “civilized.” As one of the leaders of “civilized” America declared on behalf of the Western world, “We think the price was worth it.”
In 2006, when the first free democratic elections in the Arab world brought Hamas to power in Gaza, democracy stalwarts Israel and the United States decided that they didn’t like the results and would place heavy economic sanctions on the 1.5 million Palestinians living in the already besieged Strip to punish them for their brazen self-determination. The Israeli prime minister’s advisor reportedly joked to a team of government and military officials, “It’s like an appointment with a dietitian. The Palestinians will get a lot thinner, but won’t die.” The crowd rolled with laughter. As a result, 95% of businesses have been shuttered, unemployment is over 60%, and more than 80% of Gaza’s residents are dependent on food aid when they’re not being murdered by Israeli soldiers with American weapons in their own homes. Is this the Western civility of which Maher speaks so fondly?
Perhaps Maher forgets that Fascism, Nazism, and Zionism are all Western – not Muslim – ideologies. Or that Muslims didn’t drop two atomic bombs on innocent Japanese civilians. Nope, superior American values did that.
Yes, Bill Maher is a comedian. He makes that clear whenever he derides Catholics, Mormons, and Jews, by quickly following up his jab by saying, “I kid, I kid!” But he doesn’t ever do that with Muslims. Why? Because he’s not kidding. Unfortunately, as a comedian, Maher should have more perspective and less invective.
It seems that Bill Maher’s major problem with Muslims is not so much that “they” are more inherently dangerous and violent based on their chosen religious affiliation, but rather that he is more scared of them. As a result, rather than being the clear-headed, out-spoken realist that he’s conjured himself to be, Maher winds up being more of a holographic torchbearer of truth, a peon of moral relativism rather than a champion of moral obligation.
As such, Maher is not the “equal opportunity offender” he claims to be since he clearly discriminates against one group of people and holds other groups of people – groups he belongs to – as superior. In this way, he is no better than the zealots that so offend him. Just last Friday, in response to the bogus justification for aggressive imperialism, We’re fighting them over there, so we don’t have to fight them here, Maher made sure to remark, “There’s already millions of Muslims in America. The problem is in their head.”
American literary critic and political theorist Fredric Jameson wrote in his Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, “This whole global, yet American, postmodern culture is the internal and superstructural expression of a whole new wave of American military and economic domination throughout the world: in this sense, as throughout class history, the underside of culture is blood, torture, death and horror.”
It is with this in mind that Maher’s insistence, addressing an audience on premium cable from a Los Angeles television studio, that “our system is better” rings hollow and shameful.
John Lennon once said, “If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.” As usual, John is right. Especially if that TV is tuned into Real Time.