Misogyny Ethics: Bill Maher Calls Sarah Palin a “Dumb Twat” as Progressives Cheer and Feminists Fall Silent

As long as we are on the topic of shunning and consequences (see previous post):

Is HBO comic/political commentator/arrogant jerk Bill Maher stooping to outright misogyny in his gratuitous ridicule of Sarah Palin going to have any consequences at all?

On his cable show “Real Time” this week, Maher’s usual name-calling took a sharp turn into the despicable with this:

MAHER: Oh, and did you hear this? [Laughs] Sarah Palin finally heard what happened in Japan……and she’s demanding that we invade “Tsunami.” I mean, she says, “These Tsunamians will not get away with this.”  Oh speaking of dumb twats, did you…

[Audience hilarity and applause]

MAHER: Oh, you’re right, yeah I let the cat out the bag on that one, huh folks?”

…………………………………………………………

That last line was a “pussy joke,” for those of you too genteel to appreciate Bill Maher’s “wit.”

I know this is cable, and being uncensored and able to use language that would make a sailor blush is part of its “charm.” Forget the vulgarity: what about civility, respect and fairness? Maher’s work is frequently featured on ABC News and CNN clips of comics’ current events “funnies.”  Should serious news shows—including those on CNN, which has been claiming to be devoted to a new on-air civility—be promoting a so-called pundit whose idea of a critique is to call female politicians he doesn’t like “dumb twats“? (He also told a false story about Palin without identifying it as such, but that’s peanuts for Maher.)

Are there any standards below which someone like Maher can’t dive without forfeiting willing guests like Janeane Garafolo, Sen. Claire McCaskill, Cameron Diaz, The Nation’s editor Katrina vanden Heuvel, and Arianna Huffington, among others? Or is the position of these supposed feminists that it’s all right for men to denigrate strong, assertive women as dumb twats—on national TV— as long as those women are conservatives?

I must have missed the press release condemning Maher from the National Organization of Women…have you read it or heard it? Where is it? If these and other so-called progressives possess any integrity—forget about decency—and if their January calls for civility in the public square, many of them unfairly aimed against Palin and almost all of them oddly muted since the Wisconsin pro-union demonstrators began comparing Gov. Walker to Hitler and other dictators while threatening his life, were anything but calculated and insincere political theater, I would expect to see Maher’s post-twat invitations to appear on his show rejected.

If they are not rejected, that will tell me everything I need to know. Indeed, no respectable journalist or politician or celebrity should be willing to enhance Maher’s show unless he makes a credible apology, not just to Palin ( forget about most of Maher’s audience, which appears to be as unencumbered by ethics as he is) but woman generally. If he thinks it is OK to call Sarah Palin a dumb twat, then the only thing stopping him from calling Michelle Obama, or Hillary Clinton or my sister or your mother a twat is that he likes her or doesn’t know her. This is anti-woman rhetoric, no question about it. Even bitch, which is sufficient to sustain a claim of sexual harassment in the workplace when used by a man to describe a woman, is less denigrating than twat…and Maher knows it. The question is, will the feminists let him get away with it?

And not just the feminists. Calling a woman a twat as a means of political criticism should offend Andrew Sullivan, because it is no different from calling a gay public figure a fag. Calling a woman a twat should outrage Al Sharpton, because it is the equivalent of calling a black public figure a nigger. Are these men, both previous guests on Maher’s show, going to endorse his brand of hateful, humiliating discourse because Maher endorses their politics? If the dedication of progressives to civility and their rejection of misogyny and hate are suspended for Sarah Palin, they have no integrity.

Bill Maher needs to be held accountable. Until he is, any guest, from any part of the political spectrum, who agrees to discuss politics with a man who calls women..or any women– twats on HBO is enabling hate and incivility.

From now on, I’m taking names.

56 thoughts on “Misogyny Ethics: Bill Maher Calls Sarah Palin a “Dumb Twat” as Progressives Cheer and Feminists Fall Silent

  1. Bill Maher has no right to be on the TV screens after that comment. If I owned HBO I would fire him and force him to remain on the dole to he apologies to Mrs Palin face to face, changes his attitude to ethics and then make sure he apologizes to the general

    Plus why would be talking about politics when he has no sufficient intelligence for that subject? Also he has no sophisticated humor and doesn’t have anything jolly to his character. So people are just crazy to follow him, there’s nothing sympathetic about his character and no way for the average American to empathize with him. As a writer I know that sympathy and empathy are crucial for a likeable character.

    Nevertheless this case is a terrific example of liberal slander and double standard as feminists are silent here but still call it sexism to regulate abortion.

    I’m James an aspiring writer and God bless the god natured souls which Sarah Palin indeed falls under.

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