Friday, February 17, 2006

Gettin' Real with Bill Maher Time

Tonight on HBO, Bill Maher returns. I'm excited. I think "Real Time" is a great show and with TiVo pauses and rants it takes me and the Mrs. about 2 hours to watch a one-hour show. It also serves to scratch my counter-cultural itch to watch Bill Maher succeed on HBO after he was absolutely fucked by ABC, as they folded under the pressure of those who claim to love America but who hate the very notion of free speech.

Most importantly, though, I respect Bill Maher. But I am left to wonder why that muthafucka insists on disrespecting me. A New Millennium Nigga does not like to be disrespected and that's why I must greet the return of "Real Time with Bill Maher" with a hearty...

First of all...Fuck Bill Maher!

Do I say this because he made the news after being sued by his ex, Coco, a skanky little number who was so starved for fame that she named herself after the fucking lead character from the movie "Fame"? No. Of course not. Apparently, Bill likes them Black...and he likes 'em skanky. I give him his props though. There's no keep it on the D-L, Strom Thurmond-type creepin' in his game. No. Bill will walk down Main Street with these chicks. Now, that's keepin' it real. I am confused, though, when I consider Bill's love of realness, that he was feelin' those tits. Oh well. Life is full of contradictions.

Anyway...No. That's not my beef. My beef is that he is always insulting people who believe in God. Let me be clear. I didn't say the Christian Right. I can't stand the Christian Right...mostly because I don't think they're very fuckin' Christian. But Bill, I don't want to be associated with Pat Robertson any more than you, as a comedian, want to be associated with Carrot Top. (Seriously, how is that muthafucka funny? I don't get it.)

I don't know why Bill Maher insists on forcing his atheism on me. I don't want to force my Christianity on him. (Yes. A New Millennium Nigga is a Christian. I know that may be baffling to those of you who hold a narrow view of Christianity...and of A New Millennium Nigga.) I've heard him argue that these "fairy tales" we believe have caused wars. Well, they've also caused peace. But even beyond that, is Bill Maher really going to give up everything that causes war? That would mean giving up money, because Halliburton ain't doin' their thing in the name of Jesus. They're doing it to serve the Almighty...Dollar. So, he might as well return those HBO checks to sender. And then how popular will he be with the Black Skank population, huh? Tell me that.

And what about pussy. Pussy has caused wars. And I don't just mean pussy in the sense that Dubya is a pussy to be declaring war when he wouldn't go then and when he won't be sending anybody he knows or loves now. (I mean, the only shots his daughters ever deal with involve tequila.) No, I mean Helen of Troy-Hey Bathsheba, I'm gonna give your husband a promotion-type pussy causes war situations, where lust leads to blood being spilled and lives being lost.

And I know that Bill doesn't want to give up sex...not when he's now getting down with Superhead, the infamous "Video Vixen." I mean, let's face it. The woman didn't get her nickname because she wears big hats...or because she was the star of the Math Olympics in high school. She is nicknamed Superhead because, by all reports, the only woman to blow harder than her in the Black community was Katrina.

Here's the real. The only ones who have a rational leg to stand on are the agnostics. They take the reasonable, if painfully unexciting, stance that whether or not God exists is an unanswerable question. They say something that many of us might want to try out now and again…”I don’t know.”

But I have faith that there is a God. My faith is a belief in things unseen. It's not rational and I can't prove it. But, Bill, we've each chosen to believe something that we can't possibly know for sure. Seriously, you can't really mean to say that you can prove that there is no God. Besides, if there's no God, we're the highest beings around. And I'd rather not believe that one of the highest beings around is bedding down skanks I wouldn't fuck with Ann Coulter's dick.

Either way, we don't have to agree. We don't even have to agree to disagree. But I'd like to think we can show each other some basic respect. I don't want to have to stop watching your show. But when you disrespect me and my beliefs it makes me want to slap the Holy Ghost out of you. And...so help me God... I don't want to have to take the time to kneel down and do that.

13 Comments:

Blogger Nik said...

Did ICU co-write today's blog?

11:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wasn't there something regarding FREE SPEECH mentioned in the beginning of this blog? And isn't Bill entitled to the same?

But stop watching the show simply because of a minor technicality.

God (or not) bless...

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

*CORRECTION:

But DON'T stop watching the show simply because of a minor technicality.

11:19 AM  
Blogger New Millennium Nigga said...

I didn't say that Bill didn't have a right to be disrespectful. I just said I didn't like it. And I reserve the right to be offended when someone is being offensive. I further reserve the right not to tune in every week and be a generally supportive viewer and fan if, in fact, Bill finds it necessary to insult those of us who believe in God on a regular basis.

That said, I watched last week (not the best episode), will watch next week (hope springs eternal) and will continue to watch for as long as I can stomach the condescension. Again, I am not trying to convert anyone into being a believer. I'd just like my beliefs to be respected.

1:31 PM  
Anonymous Brian said...

Many comedians mock other people's beliefs and actions; Bill is most certainly that kind of comedian.

After all, he had a show on ABC for years called "Politically Incorrect," which had as its mandate taking aim at society's sacred cows.

Religion is most certainly one of those, uh, sacred cows.

Why should Bill feel compelled to "respect" people's religious beliefs? What does that mean, anyway? Does that mean not ridiculing those beliefs in any way? If so, should he also "respect" people's political beliefs? Should he "respect" their tastes in film? Should he "respect" their opinions about who the best NBA players of all time are?

In other words, should he give up his right as a comedian (and a human being) to ridicule that which he considers ridiculous?

If he ever stops doing that, THAT'S when I will stop watching his show.

Sometimes I feel smothered by the religiosity of this country; for me it is a breath of fresh air when I hear someone like Bill express views outside of this culture of religiosity.


And it isn't just the Religious Right that I tire of... I tire of athletes thanking Jesus for their wins. I tire of U.S. Presidents closing their States of the Union with "God Bless America." I tire of "In God We Trust" on my currency.

Oh, and I just got tired of Oprah, when on an episode of her show on my DVR told a young woman how she doesn't believe in "luck." The young woman, Oprah explained, was not lucky to have escaped physical harm due to her risky behavior, no, she was "blessed."

Well fuck you Oprah, and fuck the very idea that anyone is "blessed" (or, presumably, cursed) as they go through life.

I reject religion not just because the Christian Right tries to take women's right to control their own bodies away from them, I reject it because I find some of the central tenets that so often come along with Christianity (and some other religions) offensive.

Yes, for Oprah (or Jimmy Carter, or Dubya, or anyone else) to say that this woman is blessed OFFENDS me. Why was this woman blessed and not the half a million who perished in the tsunami? I find that idea outrageous, and I find it ridiculous, as in worthy of ridicule. (By Bill Maher and others.)

Others obviously disagree. They have the perfect right to continue to bring up their religious beliefs and not worry about offending me, and Bill Maher has the perfect right to continue to bring up his lack of religious beliefs, and to continue offending you, Orlando.

I know I'm going to continue to watch Oprah from time to time, and you can decide whether you'll continue to watch Bill Maher; either way, they'll both continue on their merry ways, I'm sure.

Oh, and I suspect what prompted your blog entry was Maher's comment on the recent church burnings. His main point, it seemed to me, was that churches are tax-exempt, and that this was wrong, a view that I wholeheartedly support.

If a church has a charity, let that charity follow the laws that govern charities and earn tax exemption that way, but I see no reason that houses of worship in and of themselves should have a special place in our society.

If there is special Constitutional protection of houses of worship, I hope we eventually remove this protection, and treat them the same way we treat department stores, bars, bowling alleys, and anywhere else where people voluntarily go and often give up some of their hard-earned money.

No doubt many other Americans disagree, but Bill, in his comic way, is presenting another view.

He has a platform to present another view, and I hope he continues to make use of this platform to speak for those of us who wish religion would wither away around the world into an intellectual curiosity from the past, and not remain a fervent source of belief. (Well, of countless and often contradictory sources of belief.)

In any event, a number of Bill's guests have religious beliefs, and I'm sure he respects quite a few of these guests, even if he finds their religious beliefs ridiculous.

To those who are offended by anything I've written, I would argue that my open declaration of my lack of faith is no more offensive than the open declaration of faith by those who have it (and God knows we hear open declarations of faith a helluva lot more often than we hear the reverse).

1:23 PM  
Blogger New Millennium Nigga said...

Brian,

If it is your goal, or the goal of Bill Maher, to simply attack anyone who believes in God, then a fine job is being done. If, in fact, the frustration expressed is with Religion (with a capital 'R', the my God is better than yours and I will prove it by having him help me triumph over you in war type religion), then the attacks on the intellect of those who are believers are counterproductive and misguided.

I assume that Bill Maher is trying to make the world a better place. How does my belief in God get in the way of that exactly?

We all hold some things sacred. We've already established that you hold the word use (or lack thereof) of the word "nigga" sacred. But, I don't see why that should lead me to insult you personally or attack you, simply because I disagree.

I never suggested that Bill Maher didn't have the right to say anything that comes into his pretty li'l head. I did suggest that when he says that I am an idiot, that my mother was an idiot, that Martin Luther King and Malcolm X and Gandhi were idiots, that I conclude that he is an idiot...and an asshole.

And for the record, here are my stances on some of the issues you raised.

1. Churches should pay taxes if they want to use public services. All of this government smiling on religion makes me uncomfortable and I think it plays into the very anger that you seem to be saying fuels your fire against me and others like me.

2. "In God We Trust" should not be on our currency. Period. For that matter, the Pledge of Allegiance is antiquated and misguided in its language. Some of us may believe that all nations are under God...others don't. Why should that be at the core of declaring oneself an American? God Bless America is a similarly problematic phrase and song. It alienates many Americans and I am against that, in principle.

3. Oprah is richer and more powerful than God. (Okay, not true...I think. But she has a loyal base who like to be told what Oprah thinks about everything from novels to read, to food to eat, to the difference between lucky and blessed.)

4. If an athlete believes in God, why not thank him? First of all, I don't know exactly how God (if God exists) works, but I have no way of knowing that he didn't bless Doug Williams on that Super Bowl Sunday to help to chip away at racial stereotypes. That's an individual saying they believe in God. Now, I would think it out of line for a player (and I've heard of this happening) telling a teammate that they are going to hell for not believing in God in the same way or at all. And by the way, that's the equivalent to what Bill Maher does and what you are supporting, not the former.


And I will repeat, I never said that Bill Maher does not have the right to say offensive things! I said that I am offended. And it makes me want to slap the Holy Ghost out of his ass! He has no way of proving or, for that matter, knowing that there is no God. And no clever quip will get him around that Truth.

So, he can choose to alienate me. And I can eventually choose to categorize him with ideologues like Pat Robertson, because that's the category he belongs in if he, like you, is dedicated to having religion wither away and die in our society. That's a stance that does not take the neutral agnostic view that there is no way of knowing whether or not there is a God. That stance is the logical conclusion of one who has decided that there is no God and that those who believe in God are simply wrong. That is no more agnosticism than taking away a woman's right to choose and dooming her to die by wire hanger is compassionate conservatism.

You can slap some chrome on some shit...that don't make it no fuckin' Cadillac. Aggressive atheism is no different than aggressive Christianity, as practiced by many missionaries and others. And I find it all to be utter and complete bullshit!

And by the way, "love your neighbor as you love yourself." In the end that's what it all boils down to in my read of Christianity. That means being a friend to the poor, the downtrodden. Do you really find that offensive? Or are you including rantings about decontextualized passages in Levitticus among the "central" tenets?

Either way, I reserve every right that Bill Maher claims. And I submit that I have shown him, and other atheists who ridicule my religious beliefs, far more respect than they have shown me. And when I am disrespected that makes me fighting mad. Luckily, my faith helps me to turn the other cheek instead of slapping the Holy Ghost out of anybody. But that doesn't mean that I don't feel like doing it sometimes.

6:55 AM  
Blogger New Millennium Nigga said...

And for the record...I wrote my piece BEFORE the church burnings joke. I wrote it the Friday morning BEFORE the season premiere.

7:04 AM  
Anonymous Brian said...

Orlando,

I'm well aware that there are a number of people who are religious who are NOT idiots, including yourself. At no point in my post did I say that all people who are religious are idiots. I think that religious belief is ridiculous, even though some very smart people embrace religious belief.

Perhaps I should have been more clear in my previoius post, and mentioned that I think that for various cultural, psychological, social, and other reasons there are some extremely bright and accomplished people who hold on to religious belief despite its absurdity... ah, but I bet I've still lost you with that statement.

I think religious belief is absurd. I think it flies in the face of logic. And I object to the notion that for me to openly state that I find religion absurd is for me to be insulting and offensive to others, at least not any more than it is insulting and offensive for "people of faith" to mention their faith, their absolute certainty that Christianity/Islam/Judaism/whatever is the word of "God."

As for athletes thanking God... what if I gave this speech after winning a championship?

"I want to thank my teammates, and my coach, and the fans for supporting us, but I don't want to thank God, because that would trivialize all the hard work that was put into this victory to attribute our success to some hypothetical entity that helps us or hurts us based on random divine whim."

Outraged phone calls would pour into the TV station showing this athletic event, we can be sure... expression of religious belief is embraced by the masses, rejection of it is scorned. I long for an America where lack of faith is not something that needs to be kept in the closet like it's something shameful.

As for agnosticism, you have a too narrow view of what it includes. Here's a good link on it.

http://www.religioustolerance.org/agnostic.htm

You can try to tell me that I'm really an atheist if you want, but I'm not. I just don't see any sensible reason to believe in this or that organized religion based on faith.

I'm NOT saying I know whether or not there is a Supreme Being who created the universe; there COULD be, although this Being might embody something beyond our comprehension. What I AM saying is that it puzzles me why so many people jump to the conclusion that they DO know exactly the answer to this question, and it is found in Christianity, or Islam, or Judaism... it doesn't make any sense to me. Why is it wrong for me to say that?

Let's say one morning I woke up and went outside to bring in the newspaper, and a 1996 Toyota Camry was on my front lawn.

"What is this 1996 Camry doing on my front lawn? (And why do I have a front lawn? Since when do I live in a house? And I don't know a damned thing about cars; why do I know this is a '96 Camry? Wait, these are side issues, back to the matter at hand.) Who could have put this car here?"

If my neighbor Joe told me that he has faith it was put there by Richard Dawson ("Let's play the Feud!"), and my neighbor Linda told me that she has faith that George Steinbrenner put it there, and my neighbor Mike told me that he has faith that Orlando... Jones put it there, I would say to each of them, "What? You're saying you believe that based on faith? Why? These are unwarranted assumptions that you're making. I don't know why this Camry is here, but I have no reason to pick one of your explanations as the truth and hold to it based on faith."

So when I say that it doesn't make sense to pick some organized religion and hold to it as truth based on faith, that doesn't make me any less of an agnostic.

Why do you have your blog? Because you believe certain things about the world, and you want to share them with others. Bill Maher probably has his show for similar reasons, to share some of what he believes, and put it on the table for debate. I don't know how feeling disrespected or slapping anyone comes into the picture, either for Bill expressing his views or for you expressing yours.

As for "aggressive atheists" being analogous to the Pat Robertsons of the world, I say that an AGNOSTIC like myself who doesn't hesitate to bring up his lack of faith when OTHER PEOPLE bring up their faith is not being aggressive, just sharing my perspective.

What is more "offensive"? My belief that embracing a specific organized religion based on faith is absurd, or the belief of countless people around the world (particularly many Christians and Muslims) that those who don't believe as they do are going to roast in hell for eternity?

Shit, I'm not claiming religious people are going to be tortured until the end of time, I just think their religious belief is absurd and leave it at that. I think I'm being much more reasonable than they are.

Anyway, your read of Christianity leaves out quite a bit of it... you accused me of not really being an agnostic, well in the same spirit I'll accuse you of not really being a Christian.

Aren't Christians supposed to believe the Bible? How can so many so-called Christians pick and choose from what's in the Bible to only include that which fits their perspectives as moral and compassionate people?

There is a lot more in the Bible besides "love your neighbor" and "be a friend to the poor."

Here is a link that humorously explores that fact. Actually, you probably shouldn't click on this link, because it IS offensive to many Christians, I have no doubt... it does go into the logical twists and turns that a person has to go through to be a believing Christian, however.

http://www.landoverbaptist.org/brotherharry/

Your boiling down of Christianity leaves out the fact that many millions of Christians, including some good friends of mine, believe that non-believers are eternally damned, regardless of how admirably they've lived their lives. There are millions of Christians who aren't connected to Pat Robertson in any way who believe this.

And why wouldn't they believe this? Presumably they have read The Bible:

St. John: Chapter 3, Verses 16-18

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."

It's as clear as day... Gandhi, Malcolm X, Gandhi, The Dalai Lama are condemned... if the Bible is to be believed, at least. I think this is a repulsive idea, and I won't hesitate to say so, regardless of whether some call me an asshole as a result.

I'd rather be an asshole than a Holy (con) Man like this guy:

http://www.theocracywatch.org/relig_inst_new_additions_prosperity_times_jan15_05.htm

7:31 AM  
Anonymous Brian said...

Oops... here's the full link:

http://www.theocracywatch.org/relig_inst_new_additions_prosperity_times_jan15_05.htm

8:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I give up... I know for a fact that I properly pasted in the full link, but for some reason it's getting cut off.

Here is the rest of the link, the letters that come after the "o."

ns_prosperity_times_jan15_05.htm

9:01 AM  
Blogger New Millennium Nigga said...

Brian,

I didn't want to take much longer to respond, but I haven't yet had a chance to look at alll the sites you referenced. I did, however, have a chance to look at the site that defines agnosticism. Given some of the intersection, it struck me that some of the lines drawn between agnosticism and atheism amount to distinction without a difference, but I am always happy to learn more...and I did.

Here are a few thoughts based on your response.

1. If a winning player gave the speech you describe, there would be protests. But you know what else, I would disagree vehemently with those protesters. As I said in the original piece, I have no need to force Bill Maher or you or anybody else to believe in God or to be a Christian. Anybody who tries to impose those beliefs is overstepping their bounds and would find themselves as much the objects of my vitriol for their tyranny as Bill Maher was for his.

2. Given your suggestion that I am not a Christian, I spoke to someone who has made Christianity his life's work. He forwarded this messsage to me. I thought you might find it interesting.


Hello Orlando,
I'm trying to clear some paper off my desk but I'm pausing to share this comment the CMA [Chicago Metropolitan Association, United Church of Christ]Moderator submitted to a local newspaper.

"If people from other faiths offer prayers to the deity in a Christian worship space, do those prayers desecrate that worship space? I believe there are many pathways to the creator of the universe. If a person from another faith tradition prays in a Christian worship space, that does not desecrate the holiness of that space. God consecrates the space, we don't I can feel connected with God no matter who else is sharing the worship space. When another person prays to the deity using a different name than I use, my worship is still authentic. We are both communicating with the deity, each in our own way. I do not know the mind of God which means that I feel it is God's province to decide whether or not anyone's prayers are valid. The underlying assumption in the letter, namely that the Christian religion is the only true religion, is, in my opinion, misguided.

In his book, "The Meaning of Other Faiths", Willard G. Oxtoby writes, "..I am uncomfortable with talk of Christianity or any religion as absolute. Religions are relative; God is absolute." Back in the early 20th century, Gandhi said, "There is good in every religion and every religion contains some flaws."

Christianity is a work in progress. It is not perfect now nor will it ever be. As the Pilgrims were departing Holland for the New Land, John Robinson told the Pilgrims, "Stay not where Luther and Calvin have left you for God has more truth and light to break forth from His holy word." In other words, God is constantly revealing the divine self in new and relevant ways."


Brian, open your mind on this. There are Christians out there -- and I am among them -- who agree with you on many of your points. And you -- and Bill Maher to return to the original point -- are attacking and possibly alienating them with rhetoric that insults, whether that is the intended result or not.

You like hypotheticals. Try this one.

BRIAN: I take exception to the use of the word "nigga."

NMN: Whatever, nigga. That's ridiculous.


I have the right to say that, to react that way. I might even believe it. But what would be accomplished?

Finally, as a Christian, I ask myself, "What would Jesus do?" I believe that Jesus would embrace people of all faiths and so I do the same. Not only are my arms too short to box with God, but my mind is too small, too limited, to fully understand God's "mind." I know not what heaven and hell hold. And I certainly have no heaven or hell to put anyone in. As a matter of fact, I try to judge not lest I be judged. You've never heard me condemn anyone to hell...unless hell for you is finding a way other than "Your beliefs are ridiculous!" to express the idea that you don't believe that any religion has cornered the market on God, on Truth. "Unsubstantiated." "Dubious." There are a number of words and terms that could be used to engage in discussion rather than summarily dismiss.

You are a man of vast vocabulary, as is Mr. Maher, and I would think you would agree that when he says that my belief in Christ is a "neurological disorder" that his words are intended to belittle, to insult. My simple question remains. "Why do you insist on insulting me when I have no quarrel with you?"

Much respect, man. I just want to be respected.

8:01 AM  
Anonymous Brian said...

Orlando,

You make an excellent point regarding my use of "ridiculous" in my prior post. That wasn't the best way to enter into dialogue.

I had misunderstood the initial thrust of the thread; I at first thought that you were objecting to Mr. Maher or anyone else openly stating that they found religious belief unsubtantiated and dubious (to use two words you suggest as less inflammatory alternatives to "ridiculous"); I thought you were objecting to the CONTENT of Maher's expression and not the STYLE with which he expressed it.

In other words, I thought you were saying, "I believe in God, and don't you dare disrespect me by saying, 'I find your belief irrational and unproductive, for the following reasons...' Just hear that I believe in God and either offer your agreement or offer nothing at all."

But you weren't saying that, I now realize.

You remembered something I already knew, but forgot in a moment of passion, that rational debate does not flower from a seedbed of insult and scorn, but from one of civility and respect.

Thank you for reminding me of this.

12:49 PM  
Blogger New Millennium Nigga said...

Brian,

I believe it was Darryl Dawkins who once said, "When it's all said and done, there's nothing left to do or say." You get what I have been saying all along and may have managed to articulate it more clearly than I ever did. God bless! (Just kidding.) But seriously, debate with you is always worth my while. I will not refer to our friendship as a blessing -- out of respect -- but as a relationship born of a fortuitous meeting and fostered by the intentional sharing of ideas. Keep logging on and posting your comments. A New Millenniumm Nigga is a big fan of new ideas and lively debate.

7:36 AM  

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