Bill Maher is angry — really, really angry — because people seem to care more these days about hurting someone’s sensibilities way more than free speech, so he has developed a lecture to drive home his point — Explaining Jokes to Idiots!
The “Real Time” host used a blackboard and a pointer to demonstrate how free speech is not just on the chopping block — it’s already been chopped, as evidenced by the reaction and debate over Chris Rock‘s joke that triggered the slap.
Bill has made his position clear … the joke at its core was about Jada Pinkett Smith looking like another beautiful woman — Demi Moore, and NOT about alopecia. As BM put it, “It wasn’t an alopecia joke any more than the chicken crossing the road is about bird flu.”
He points out Will Smith‘s initial, genuine reaction to the joke — laughter, but then he realized he had to “conform” to what someone else was feeling, and he did a 180 to blind rage.
Now the broader point … “Comedians have been under attack for some time. So I must defend my tribe. This war on jokes must end.”
As Bill explained to the humor-challenged community — which is ever larger — many jokes — arguably the funniest — have an offensive element. We used to laugh at that, but now the comedians who dare to tell these jokes are derailed and canceled.
He points to a Vice study that certain colleges now screen prospective comedians they might bring on campus to make sure they aren’t telling offensive jokes. As Bill put it, colleges used to be a place to lose your virginity. Now it’s a place to lose your sense of humor.
Bill is making a bigger point … the walls are closing in on free speech, the essence of which requires you to allow people to make comments that you find offensive or even abhorrent.
It’s sad … we are watching Ukrainians fight and die for freedom including freedom of speech, and Americans are squandering that precious, cornerstone of democracy.