After last week’s foot-in-mouth disease where talk show host Bill Maher used the “N” word live on the air, it is a wonder he has any following left at all. Maher was responding last Friday to his guest, conservative Senator Ben Sasse, who asked Bill if he would “like to come and work in the field with us“.
Maher responded in jest, saying that he was a “house “n“. The moment the word left his lips, he no doubt realized the widespread negative impact it would have. But Maher is known for his brash and shocking responses and commentary, as he tries to compete with others who perform in a similar manner, like Stephen Colbert (who has, to his credit, never used the “n” word on the air).
Ben Sasse was obviously taken aback and appeared quite uncomfortable with the remark, which didn’t seemed to be aimed at anyone in particular, except perhaps grassroots volunteers. Sasse stated that he wished he would have said, “Hold up, why would you think it’s OK to use that word? The history of the n-word is an attack on universal human dignity. It’s therefore an attack on the American Creed. Don’t use it.”
Maher did apologize on his show to Don Lemon, a CNN journalist who is black, saying that, “it’s all on me.”
Maher also is Islamophobic and slams transgenderism, proving he is no fan of either the right or the left, but a man of his own fears. He is supposed to be a liberal; a leader of those who love both Muslims and transgender people, (which is a rather bipolar concept since those groups have no love lost for each other).
Will the left continue to brush the loose lips of an aging shock-effect Maher under the carpet; a man who is no longer very funny, but is more like Kathy Griffin, attention seeking and grasping for ratings? Maher doesn’t have Griffin’s plummeting loss of popularity – yet. But the black community is not easily forgiving of such a deeply cutting word. It is not a word that the white community is free to banter about. Mark Fuhrman found that out the hard way during the O.J. Simpson trial. That very word turned the trial from a homicide case to a racism on trial. And racism lost, as O.J. walked free, at least for a while.
Maybe it’s time for Bill Maher to quit while he still has a modicum of respect. Knowing when to quit is how one leaves a legacy, both in comedy and politics. And often, the line between the two is not discernable.
Janice Barlow is a true crime author. Her books are on Amazon in soft cover and Kindle.