There is a distinct line between comedy and commentary, and many entertainers trod it with distinction. Bill Cosby, Lucille Ball and George Carlin made it an art form. Others hone their razor sharp brilliance into lucrative guest appearances, a la Dennis Miller, or squander it and a promising sportscasting career (see Kieth Olbermann), through self-righteous sanctimony.
Bill Maher has long since surrendered his objectivity for viewers in his most prized demographic. That he can call Sarah Palin a c*nt on cable television without repercussion indicates the society that spawned and now supports him is in peril. While reasonable ratings persist, Maher has every reason to believe people are taking him seriously. We have only ourselves to blame, then, for the rubbish that comes out of his mouth. Well, today he expectorated an exemplary clod of compost.
When did police work become a profession where the risk factor to the cop must be zero? There's some risk! "Protect and serve" refers to us!
Any attempt to forgive these words as ignorant, a mere product of the idiocy through which they are delivered, is belied by the fact that Maher is an intelligent man. Whether he is referring specifically to the Brown shooting, or to the tactical weaponry that has now beset the streets of Ferguson, Maher is saying,deliberately, that the health, and thus lives of the police are less valuable than our own. I acknowledge that when an individual pursues a job in the police force they are putting their lives at risk, but that is their decision. They are sworn to protect the public, but that public, and certainly Bill Maher, does not dictate how much danger they must endure, and the manner in which they must do it.
The police are not sweeping the Ferguson streets with fire hoses. And they positively are not using the machine guns to which everyone so strongly objects. People are justly outraged that this young man was killed. How is justice and his memory served by the property that has since been destroyed? Protests are called for, but an element has infiltrated the otherwise honorable movement. It is the police, in force, that is keeping innocent, peaceful demonstrators from harm.
Returning to your homes because the police ordered you to is not a defeat, or a violation of rights. It's what has to happen when there's looting going on. Let them do their job, and when the opportunists are removed, pressured to leave and shamed into behaving, watch how quickly the Mayor embraces peaceful assembly. When no rocks are being thrown, and no windows are being smashed, the police will back off, and the press will have free reign to interview whomever they want about what a horrible job the police are doing.
In the meantime, the rest of the nation may reflect upon a time when Bill Maher was amusing and Kieth Olbermann didn't feel it necessary to communicate how much he hated us.