Saturday, June 10, 2017

Don't Say the Word -- It's That Simple

I don't know about you, but most Friday nights by 10:00 I am drifting off to dreamland in my chair. It just happened that the past two Friday nights I was lucid enough to watch Bill Maher on HBO.

I don't like the guy, even though his politics are similar to my own. I find him pompous, never more so than when he has a Republican guest for an interview. If I treated bored deities the way he treats Republican guests, I'd be smote into oblivion.

So it was that, during an interview with a Republican senator, Maher dropped the "n" word. Hours later, he was issuing apologies and mea culpas. And this Friday, he had three guests of color on the show, probably to prove that he's a cool white dude who loves African Americans and feels their pain.

His Black guests basically took him to the woodshed.

It was typical Maher hubris to invite Ice Cube on the show in the first place. Here's a rapper who has made a lavish living mining his people's pain and injustice, and he wasn't going to give Maher a pass. You go, Mr. Cube. His best remark was, "That's our word. It belongs to us." And it does.

The "n" word should never escape the lips of a white person. Never. Pagan readers, don't you hate it when the word "witch" is used in a pejorative, or even joking, way? Now multiply that by 1,000.

As a teacher in a school that is 99 percent minority, I hear that word all day long. Students call each other "n," in an affectionate way. It's their word. If I'm teaching a passage of literature that has the word in it, I don't utter the word out loud.

Bill Maher had a million excuses for letting the "n" word slip. He blamed the Republican interviewee, for one thing (bad form). He blamed the nature of live comedy (flimsy). He said he shouldn't be judged by one offhand tasteless remark (slightly less flimsy but still flimsy). You know what he didn't do? He didn't say, "I won't use that word again. Ever."

It's tough work being a comedian, especially in live situations. Improv comedy requires a mental acuity that's daunting to say the least. But it's not that hard to expunge your vocabulary of an offensive word and -- this is overlooked -- the racist way it was dropped in reference to a type of slavery. I've never heard Bill Maher call anyone a "cunt." If he can bypass that word, he can remove the "n" word from his oral vocabulary.

I'm sure he will from this day forward, so would it have hurt to promise? Humble people work to change their ways.

Sitting at the top of a mountain of righteousness today I am,

Your most humble and obedient servant,

Anne Johnson


Harry Hamid said...

I'm with you on the pompus thing. I have a tough time watching Maher. I always wonder why a Republican would appear on the show - especially socially conservative Republicans who put themselves in a position where they have to sit half an inch off camera while he does his segments during the second half wherein he tells vaguely vulgar jokes while I sit at home wondering what sort of expression the conservative must have on his face while he does so.

Jon Stewart once talked about how there is a big difference between doing comedy that is political (humor which will make the audience laugh) and doing material that is simply partisan attacks (material that will make the audience go "Oooooh!"). Maher consistently goes for the latter, which I don't really consider comedy.

It's not my thing.

And this time, well, he has been doing this long enough to know better than this.

He knows.

There's never a risk that I would use that word in public because I don't use it in private. I don't feel as though my speech is curbed because of it, either.

I don't feel sorry for him in the least.

anne marie in philly said...

never liked him. no sympathy from me for him. THAT WORD is NEVER to be used in polite society; white make bastard ought to know that.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

The Mountain of Righteousness? Is that like Superman's Fortress of Solitude?

Debi said...

Hey Debra She Who Seeks, right you are! Icecube took us all to school on his Perffect statement. Mesmerized it so I can finally speak with my grandsons about the question, why can they say that word and not me! Som words actually CUT like a knife. If anyone needs a refresher course of UN watered down history, Birth of a Nation on Netflix . 🙋👍🌈❤️🇨🇦

Bob Slatten said...

I agree that word should never leave a person's lips; I don't care when Black people use it, though I understand it's a way of taking the word back.
I often use the words queer and fag for the same reason, but if a hetero person used those words? Nope; not your word.

I like Maher, and yes, he is pompous, but that word left his lips far too easily in my opinion.

Still, he quickly apologized and didn't got eh route of a Kathy Griffin Poor Me I've Been Ostracized tour. Say you're sorry and say no more.


I didn't watch him say it but I watched Ice Cube smack him around..personally? I don't think it should be used by matter their's an ugly word..should be put out to pasture..

Davoh said...

Um, 'polite correctness'?
There was a time in Australia when the word? 'Abo' was freely used to refer to the 'original' Australians. Mostly derogatory.
However; have always argued that they should be proud to consider themselves as such.
"aboriginal" comes from the Latin "ab" meaning man or person; and "origin" means first (persons).

Which leaves me with a conundrum regarding "indigenous".
Which, from Latin, means - the place where one was born.

Which is why it sort of fascinates me about why people add 'qualifiers'. i.e.
"Latin-American", "African-American", "Lebanese Australian". If people are born in a Nation-State - enjoy and/or operate their lives within the laws and social mores of where they were born and live - why can't they simply call themselves "American", or "Canadian", "Australian" et al??

e said...

I don't watch Bill Maher, but I'm glad Mr Cube took it to him.

Like Bob Slatten, I use a lot of the reclaimed words for homosexuals. But, there is a huge difference between calling myself a dyke and having, 'Fucking dyke' shouted at me.

Janie Junebug said...

My son likes Maher so we sometimes watch his show together. He shocked the hell out of me. It's most certainly not the only time that he's made an "inappropriate" comment.