Bill Maher, the weed-smoking, Jesus-hating comedian with a show on HBO, has rushed to the defense of Robert De Niro, Rush Limbaugh and everyone else who has offended anyone in the past year.
In case you were wondering, that includes Maher himself, though that is only implied.
Maher wrote an op-ed in the New York Times Thursday lamenting the overly sensitive, politically correct anxiety gripping our society.
“Let’s have an amnesty — from the left and the right — on every made-up, fake, totally insincere, playacted hurt, insult, slight and affront. Let’s make this Sunday the National Day of No Outrage,” Maher wrote.
This isn’t new territory for the New York-born satirist. He hosted a show titled “Politically Incorrect” and has established the "New Rules" of pop culture and politics.
But Maher seems particularly incensed, and concerned, defending a long list of those maligned for saying something inappropriate of late.
That includes De Niro, who joked at a fundraiser that the country was not “ready for a white first lady,” and Limbaugh, whose “slut” remarks about Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke Maher has already defended.
Maher also listed the likes of Kirk Cameron, Hank Williams Jr. and Cee Lo Green, all of whom have different political ideologies and have caused varying affronts.
In doing so, it appears Maher has something in common with the conservatives he has mocked for portraying Obama’s reelection as a potentially catastrophic event.
Rick Santorum has compared this election to the one from 1860 — you know, the one that preceded the Civil War.
Mitt Romney has warned that the country will continue its march towards a European socialist state, ending in the type of financial morass we know see in Europe.
Maher is not so apocalyptic, but his emergence as a political player in the past few months suggests a genuine concern. He donated $1 million to “Priorities USA Action” the super PAC backing President Obama. That makes him one of Obama’s biggest Hollywood backers outside of Jeffery Katzenberg in the new year.
In the op-ed, Maher suggests the trend portends a worrisome political future.
“I don’t want to live in a country where no one ever says anything that offends anyone. That’s why we have Canada. That’s not us. If we sand down our rough edges and drain all the color, emotion and spontaneity out of our discourse, we’ll end up with political candidates who never say anything but the safest, blandest, emptiest, most unctuous focus-grouped platitudes and cant. In other words, we’ll get Mitt Romney,” Maher wrote.
In other words, Maher continues to make Obama’s reelection a personal mission, and in so doing distances himself from the "comedian" mantle he and Jon Stewart often try to retain. In doing so, Maher seems as concerned about the nation’s political future as some of those on the right he so freely hectors and belittles.