Whenever shameless ideologues of any stripe graciously or grudgingly take positions against his or her camp’s official cant, they should be applauded or otherwise encouraged in the faint hope that they will prompt honesty and fairness from others of similar rigidity. Thus it is that I am forced to award the relentlessly uncivil, unfair and unethical comic Bill Maher, host of a rigged public affairs/ satire panel show on HBO, this Ethics Hero award.
Maher joined the small but growing group of pundits and politicians willing to admit that the Occupy movement they had foolishly hailed as a legitimate exercise of the vox populi is an embarrassment, saying on his latest show (in his trademarked gross fashion),
“…And as I watch them on the news now I find myself almost agreeing with Newt Gingrich. Like, you know what – get a job. Only because, you know, the people who originally started, I think they went home and now it’s just these anarchist stragglers. And this is the problem when you, you know, when your movement involves sleeping over in the park. You wind up attracting the people who were sleeping over in the park anyway. And I think that’s where we are now with the Occupy movement. They did a great job bringing the issue of income and equality to the fore, but now it’s just a bunch of douchebags who think throwing a chair through the Starbucks window is going to bring on the revolution.”
Bill, being Bill, is not spot on, since, for example, the Occupy movement didn’t bring the issue of income and equality to the fore, because its explication of the issue was muddled and tended to devolve toward, “People who hang around public parks all day deserve as much money as people who work for a living.” And of course, agreeing with New Gingrich is always ethically dicey. Never mind…Bill is still ahead of others who should be eating their words, like Nancy Pelosi, Jesse Jackson, Paul Krugman and the New York Times.
Yesterday, a D.C. police officer who was doing his job, finally clearing the Occupy DC encampment that has been indulged and pampered to an absurd extent by authorities despite violating the law and becoming a public nuisance, was sent to the hospital by a brick thrown in his face by one of the protesters. Millions of dollars and months of public inconvenience later, and the Occupy movement has sunk to throwing bricks at cops.
There is no crime in being wrong, but when one is spectacularly wrong, the ethical conduct is to admit it.
Good for you, Bill.
And don’t expect me to ever say that again.