After taking the stage to loud applause, Bill Maher offered his audience both good and bad news. California’s wildfire season could end in rain, he said, but “because it’s California” is likely to cause more disasters, including flooding and landslides. Continuing in this same fashion, Maher went on to quote Hawaii once again opening up to vaccinated travelers.
“Finally, a governor who asks the right questions about COVID – like, how will my policies affect Bill Maher’s plans for New Years Eve? He said – and mentioned that his concert scheduled for New Years Eve was back. It wasn’t the only party he invoked in his opening monologue; Halloween is also here. “This is the time of year when you’re really excited about your costume, but it hasn’t canceled you yet,” Maher said.
Unsurprisingly, Maher had some thoughts on Donald Trump’s recently announced social network. “This is called social truth; apparently Shit My Dad Says was caught, ”Maher said. He then quickly touched on Facebook’s recent announcement of a name change and the controversy surrounding Dave Chappelle. The closest – and promised more discussion on the latter topic later in the episode.
The first guest tonight was Saru Jayaraman, author of A Fair Wage: Ending the Below Minimum Wage in America. Jayaraman made several appearances on the show, and Maher linked the “big resignation” to Jayaraman’s work on workers’ rights. She noted that the bulk of those who left their jobs are restaurant workers, many of whom face less than minimum wages and whose existing concerns have been exacerbated by the pandemic.
Jayaraman then debunked the idea that people are quitting their jobs because of pandemic relief funds, noting that a significant number of those who left lower-paying jobs have not necessarily received relief funds. – they have just reached a breaking point.
The two clashed on a few topics, but overall were in agreement – and when Jayaraman pointed out that restaurant chains charge the same in states with minimum wages for restaurant workers as they do in the states. with a lower salary, Maher cited him as an example of de facto corporate welfare. All in all, this was one of the most informative one-on-one interviews Maher has had this season – Jayaraman challenged him on a few points, but the areas in which they found common cause were also revealing.
The episode’s panel featured a pair of returning guests, Andrew Yang and John McWhorter. Both have new books: Forward: Notes on the Future of Our Democracy and Racism Awakened: How a New Religion Betrayed Black America. Maher kicked off by addressing the topic of supply chain issues and the state of the economy, with Yang saying that different ways of measuring the economy have different impacts on daily life – in d In other words, relying on the stock market to see how good things are is inherently flawed.
The debate turned to a variety of topics from there, including David Shor’s take on the Democratic Party and New York City’s handling of the gifted and talented programs. From there, Maher briefly touched on the idea of ”The Horror Awakened” – which featured a poster for The invisible mansplainer.
In the second half of the discussion, the topic turned to Dave Chappelle The closest and the controversy that surrounds it. That said, the debate had an impact on the road from the start, as McWhorter referred to Immanual Kant who effectively interrupted the conversation for a while. Maher argued that the word “transphobic” was frequently used incorrectly – and that in the case of the debate over The closest, that it is used in a situation where no hate is involved.
This led to one of the show’s most surreal moments, when Maher cited Rotten Tomatoes’ audience critical ratings for The closest and McWhorter moved on from there to a critique of the rhetoric of “funding the police”. (Or it’s possible that the audience ratings for Chappelle’s latest special are weighted in favor of existing fans of Chappelle’s work – making it and the critical ratings a case of apples and oranges.)
Maher admitted there had been an increase in violence against trans people – but said he didn’t think Chappelle’s latest special was the reason. Much of the discussion in this half of the panel revealed that Maher and McWhorter were arguing back and forth, with Yang making an occasional interjection – although Maher closed the segment by asking Yang about launching a third, by the way. of which Maher was skeptical. Maher cited his own skepticism of Ralph Nader’s Green Party candidacy – including showing a photo of him begging Nader not to run in 2004.
Maher reflected on the Delta + variant in New Rules, Chipotle’s foray into cosmetics, and Kanye West’s face mask. “The whole point of a disguise is to make less people look at you,” Maher joked of West. “You don’t look like Joe Nobody – you look like Trump before he did his hair and makeup.”
Most of the segment focused on whether or not the country was heading for a ‘national divorce’. This was taken from a Tweet posted earlier this week by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. And while he was skeptical of the source – Maher described Greene as “the house you tell your kids to avoid on Halloween” – he noted that this has been a topic many thinkers have explored these days. time.
His argument? Less hatred on all sides in contemporary American political discourse. Maher made a good point – that social media can encourage very virulent language on the drop of a hat, which then normalizes it. He then recounted an anecdote about a taxi driver of Bosnian descent who told him that the situation in the United States reminded him of pre-Civil War Bosnia. He argued for de-escalation rhetoric, reminding the public of the happy time not so long ago, when Facebook was down for several hours. It was an unlikely note of peace to end the episode.
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