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The arrogance and ignorance of Bill Maher

Yesterday, while at the gym doing my cardio, I looked up at one of the TV monitors to see the smug mug of Bill Maher on Eliot Spitzer’s solo CNN show, In the Arena.  My first thought was why a program ostensibly offering commentary on the news would turn to such an ill-informed partisan self-styled comic as a kind of expert.  He seemed the latest in the string of left-wingers on the former Democratic politician’s show.  My second thought was, well, CNN does have the freedom to bring on whatever guests it wishes and to have ratings roughly one-quarter of those of FoxNews’s program in the same time slot.

In the interview, Maher demonstrated both his arrogance and his ignorance.  He claimed to understand better the economic interests of Tea Party protesters than they do themselves:

The Tea Party is a party named after a tax revolt that does not know very much about taxes. It’s very hard to get effective policy in place if the people are voting against their own economic interests. . . . I mean, if your agenda is the same as a billionaire, you’re not really a populist movement, and if they’re supposed to be all about taxes and deficits and debt, most of the money, most of the deficit money, the debt money, was from under Bush. These are facts that they don’t care about.

Yeah, Bill, they have the same salary as you do, so they can easily bear the burdens of high taxes — and the increased cost of commodities (due, in large part to government regulation).

So, according to Mr. Maher, any movements backed by George Soros by definition cannot be populist.  And then the unfunny comic goes on to argue that most of the deficit was under Bush.  Um, Bill, have you read the constitution?  It gives the power of the purse to Congress, controlled by Democrats since from 2007 until this January.  And it was the budget passed the Democratic Congress elected in 2006, that saw deficits, declining before their eleciton, began to grow — as the rate of increase of federal spending accelerated.

He then faulted the president for failing to blame Republicans: “He never blames the Republicans for anything. He’s their best friend. He always helps them with their narrative.”  This statement so shocked our reader Sonicfrog that he wonders if he had a memory lapse: (more…)

Is monogamy really a challenge?

Commenting my post yesterday on civility and monogamySonicfrog offers an interesting and insightful rejoinder to my acknowledgment of the challenges of monogamy:

Living monogamous isn’t that difficult. It comes down to making a relationship a priority over getting your rocks off with a stranger. Granted, the latter can be fun, but the former is, to me anyway, more gratifying.

His comment corresponds with anecdotal evidence I have accumulated from successfully partnered and married acquaintances, friends and family members.  Almost all report how easy it is to remain faithful to their partner.  Some may acknowledge that attractive individuals continue to turn their heads, while others just say that it’s “wrong” to cheat (as one of my straight female friends did in a rather emphatic tone when I asked her why she had never had an affair*).

It does seem that for some, particularly those who were promiscuous in their youth, that monogamy develops naturally out of the relationship. Many realize that a “roll in the hay” (as it were) might offer a moment’s pleasure, but fails to provide the level of connection and intimacy as does their relationship.

Now, I do have some friends in open relationships and they do seem quite balanced individuals, so that arrangement may work out well for them.  But, I also encounter a number of gay men who entered a relationship without either partner expecting to refrain from hookups only to find that, after a time, they stopped seeking outside sources of sexual ‘recreation.”  Monogamy just evolved without either seeking it.

* (more…)

In Memoriam Elizabeth Taylor

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:18 pm - March 23, 2011.
Filed under: Divas,Movies/Film & TV,Strong Women

This past weekend, I watched Father’s Little Dividend, the sequel to the original Father of the Bride.  While the story was weak, the cast was strong, particularly Spencer Tracy as the father the expectant Elizabeth Taylor.  And she was always exquisite.  Even when she seemed to phone in her roles, as it the celebrated shipwreck, Cleopatra, she looked exquisite on screen.

She was truly a movie star.  And she leaves with us a number of brilliant performances as well, particularly in films from the 1950s, including Suddenly, Last Summer and A Place in the Sun.  That great lady died earlier “today at Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai Hospital. She was 79“:

“She was surrounded by her children: Michael Wilding, Christopher Wilding, Liza Todd, and Maria Burton,” Taylor’s publicist, Sally Morrison, said in a statement.

In the same statement, Michael Howard Wilding, 58, memorialized his mother:

“My Mother was an extraordinary woman who lived life to the fullest, with great passion, humor, and love,” he said. “Though her loss is devastating to those of us who held her so close and so dear, we will always be inspired by her enduring contribution to our world. Her remarkable body of work in film, her ongoing success as a businesswoman, and her brave and relentless advocacy in the fight against HIV/AIDS, all make us all incredibly proud of what she accomplished. We know, quite simply, that the world is a better place for Mom having lived in it. Her legacy will never fade, her spirit will always be with us, and her love will live forever in our hearts.

The New York Times reports:

In a world of flickering images, Elizabeth Taylor was a constant star. First appearing onscreen at age 9, she grew up there, never passing through an awkward age. It was one quick leap from “National Velvet” to “A Place in the Sun” and from there to “Cleopatra” as she was indelibly transformed from a vulnerable child actress into a voluptuous film queen.

In a career of more than 70 years and more than 50 films, she won two Academy Awards as best actress, for her performances as a call girl in “Butterfield 8” (in 1960) and as the acid-tongued Martha in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” (in 1966). Mike Nichols, who directed her in “Virginia Woolf,” said he considered her “one of the greatest cinema actresses.”

She will be missed, but she leaves behind an incredible, incredible body of work.