Nuggets of Wisdom

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Maher Gets Something Right: Women Better Treated In America Than Islam

As you can probably tell from reading my blog, I’m no fan of leftist comedian Bill Maher. He claims that the left-wing doesn’t use violent rhetoric when they obviously do. He claims to be a rationalist, even though he holds irrational positions like opposing vaccination and praising terrorist attacks. He, like Michael Moore, thinks that Americans are stupid for opposing socialism.

But as the old saying goes, “a broken clock can still tell the correct time twice a day.”

Unlike other moonbats, Maher rejects the false belief of cultural relativism, or multiculturalism, which claims that all cultures are equal—more specifically, that Islam is no worse than any other religion or culture. Maher has been unafraid to praise the superiority of Western values over the archaic, draconian values of radical Islam—something that would classify him as a bigot or racist or white supremacist if he were a conservative.

Last Friday, on his show Real Time with Bill Maher, he argued with his guests (which included PBS’s Tavis Smiley,  CNBC’s Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, and filmmaker Kevin Smith) on whether women are treated just as poorly in America as they are in Islamic countries. His opinion (which is the most obvious): they aren’t!

Maher: I think it’s fair to say Muslim men have a bad attitude about women in general. And I would just like to say to them that you’re never going to have this revolution happen unless there is also a sexual revolution that goes with it. [Notices Smiley shaking his head] Really, Tavis? You have a—Muslim men don’t have a problem with women?

Smiley: No, I’m not going to argue that. Let me say—let me say up front, I agree with you.

Maher: I was going to cut your head off.

Smiley: Uh, better my head than what Kevin…

Maher: All right! All right!

Smiley: Um, I was going to say that, first of all, obviously what happened to Lara Logan is reprehensible, uh, horrific, we can’t find a language to describe what—what happened to her. But having said that, if our democracy, Bill, um, if, if, if our, if our—if our, readiness for democracy in this country is based upon, determined by, demonstrated by our respect for women, then we ain’t ready for democracy, and this…

Maher: That is a false equivalence.

Smiley: No, no, no, no, no. Absolutely not!

Maher: Are you serious? You think this country, the men in this country have an attitude that even comes close to…

Smiley: I’m suggesting to you if you think that the way we treat women in this country—with patriarchy still alive and well, sexism still alive and well—is determinative or demonstrative of how well our democracy runs, I think you don’t understand how maltreated women are still then in this society. That’s all I’m saying.

Maher: What I’m saying is you have no perspective. You have no perspective.

Smiley: I’m saying you have no perspective.

Maher: No. Well—[to Cabrera] go ahead.

Cabrera: I was just, if you look at the history of the United States, I would say that actually democracy leads to better attitudes toward women because when the United States was founded, of course, women couldn’t vote, African-Americans couldn’t vote, and we got there eventually. So, I think you’ve got it reversed.

Maher: No I don’t. 19 of 22 Arab countries, women cannot vote. In Egypt, uh, women, if you want to divorce your husband, you have to go to court. If a man wants to divorce his wife, he just has to say that, what they call the triple [undistinguishable] or something. “I divorce thee, I divorce thee, I divorce thee.” That must happen like on the first fight. It must be so…

Smith: I’ve been trying that twelve years of marriage. It don’t work, man. It don’t work.

Maher: In Saudi Arabia, women cannot drive a car, sail a boat, fly a plane, which is why their tampon ads are just horseback riding.

Cabrera: But, don’t you think, in the end, people have a right—eh, to self-determination, or are you saying that they shouldn’t—how does—a continuation of strong-man rule lead to better attitudes towards women?

Maher: I’m just saying civilization begins with civilizing the men. The women are sort of already there. It’s, you, you have to bring along the men, and I know this is anecdotal, but, you know, talk to women who’ve ever dated an Arab man: the reviews are not good. They have a sense of entitlement.  They will say, yes, we put women on a pedestal—as long as they’re obedient, they’re on the pedestal.

Cabrera: Every man I’ve ever dated has a sense of entitlement. I don’t know…

Maher: Have you ever dated a Middle Eastern man?

Smiley: All I’m saying respectfully is, and I don’t, I don’t disagree with the fact that they got a long way to go. What I’m trying to suggest to you is that when we have these conversations about how they treat women, as if somehow we treat women better in this country…

Maher: We do!

Smiley: …it demonizes Muslims, it demonizes Muslims.

Maher: No! It’s not demonizing. That’s saying that I’m prejudiced. I’m saying I’m not prejudiced. That’s pre-judging. I’m not pre-judging—I’m judging. I’m judging. They’re worse. What’s wrong with just saying that? You’re a cultural relativist. It’s not relative. Yes, it is relative…

Smiley: I don’t think there’s a worser version of sexism. It’s either right or it’s wrong.

Maher: Really?

Smiley: It’s either acceptable or it’s unacceptable. You’re trying to shade this thing.

Maher: Let me give you two examples of how it might be worse. We talked about this a couple of years ago, but it was in the paper last week. A man in Buffalo, very successful man, a Muslim man named [undistinguishable], he ran a TV network in Buffalo aimed mostly at countering Muslim stereotypes. Um, he cut his wife’s head off. Got mad at her and cut his wife’s head off. He was convicted just last week, got 15 years to life. Boy, 15 years for cutting your wife’s head off. That’s a pretty good deal.

Cabrera: All these things were horrible, but are you saying they shouldn't be able to have democracy?

Maher: No I’m not—oh I’m not! I want them to have democracy. I’m just saying it’s not going to happen unless you get right with your attitudes about women. That has to come with this or it’s never going to happen.

Smiley: I think that it might surprise us, um, to go into our papers in this country every day, and to see stories just like this of how women are maltreated in this country every single day.

Maher: It’s such bull****!...I mean, in this country, we treat women badly because…

Smiley: We’re sexist, and we’re patriarchal!

Maher: …they don’t get equal pay, or someone calls you sugar tits, or something like that. In that, in those countries…

Smiley: You think that’s okay? You think that’s okay, man?

Maher: I don’t, but I don’t think it’s comparable to cutting their heads off, not letting them drive, not letting them work. I mean…

Smiley: And all, and all, and all I’m saying is we miss the point, if what you want to do is to compare, you win that argument. But my point is that it’s not about comparing, it’s about either right or wrong, how we treat people, and I think it’s wrong there, and it’s wrong here.

Maher: It’s more wrong there. Degree matters. Degree matters. Yes.

Smiley: Malcolm X said if you put, if you put a knife in my back—9 inches, and you put about 6, you call that progress. I still got a knife in my back. I don’t, I don’t necessarily believe degree always matters, Bill.

Maher: Really?

Smiley: Yeah!

Maher: Well, what would you rather do: make 80 cents on the dollar, or have your head cut off?

Smiley: I would rather have us stop acting like that we know the answers to everything, that we’re always right, that our way is always better, that we don’t make mistakes. That' we’re…

Maher: We don’t know the answers to everything, but I do know we treat women better.

Cabrera: I would have to agree with that.

Maher: You know what? When you tolerate intolerance, you’re not really being a liberal.