Bill Maher said what?

Discussion in 'Art & Culture' started by zgmc, Jun 4, 2017.

  1. zgmc Registered Senior Member

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    I'm not going to get into exactly what he said live last night, but I didn't really think too much of it.. It was surprising, but everyone just moved on.. It was a joke. A poor one, but it was a joke. I know a few comedians, one is a pretty big name, and that word can get used from time to time, and not in an insulting way. Its more in a way that can take the power from the the word and highlight the stupidity of using it in a derogatory manner... I'm wondering if anyone here took offense and is going to boycot HBO..
     
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  3. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    So, you aren't black.
     
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  5. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    Bill Maher takes his risks. Boycotting HBO is like boycotting Kathy Griffin is like boycotting Chik-Fil-A: It would mean a lot more if I actually had HBO in the first place, actually recalled Kathy Griffin as anything other than a Family Guy punch line that actually just got funnier, or actually ate at Chik-Fil-A.

    He will either suffer for his poor judgment or not; life goes on for the living, and it is simply not my place to ask people of color to make yet another cynical political calculation in order to give him a pass. I can postulate all manner of reasonable calculation from my tower of privilege, but that is not my life he's talking about. The market consideration says either this won't cost him much or else marketplace dimensions are more strongly revised than I had previously understood.
     
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  7. Bells Staff Member

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    A few things about his comments from someone of colour..

    The "work in the fields!? Senator, I'm a house nigger!".. Frankly, it wasn't his use of the word "nigger" that I found offensive as the "work in the fields" that I found offensive when used with the word. Context..

    The comment was in response to Sasse's invitation to him to "work in the fields" with them in regards to maturity..

    It sets the tone, this harking back.. Context in how that word was used, is the problem for me.. How does this come up in a discussion about adult maturity? How could he come up with that response at that particular time? Sasse's response, the look of shock on his face and attempts to move right on, looking uncomfortable.. To give him credit, he did address it immediately and stated on twitter that he should not have remained silent. That is to his credit. Maher though, the flippant "it was a joke", wasn't addressing it.

    It wasn't the word nigger that made my eyebrows raise. It was the context in which that word was used.. Historically, black slaves were made to work the fields, were not given their freedoms or their fundamental human rights because there was this pervasive belief that this is what black people should be doing, that it was all they were capable of doing, that they would not be capable or mature enough to be free. Which is why the context of Maher's comment matters more to me than his use of the word "nigger".

    Everyone is getting caught up on the word, but not understanding the context in which it was used, which is, to me at least, even more offensive.
     
  8. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    You appear to be missing the key context of Maher's "joke" - his reference was to the slaves who were not made to work in the fields, who were considered more "capable" and lived in nicer circumstances. That status difference, often internalized by house slaves, is a familiar reference of black essayists and intellectuals in the US.
     
    zgmc likes this.
  9. Bowser Life is Fatal. Valued Senior Member

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    They use to serve "Plantation Brownies" in the vending machine at work. To me it was just a tasty treat that I could buy for fifty cents. To the black guy at work it was offensive. Apparently the word "nigger" can be endearing or insulting, depending on the color of the skin of the person using it. I think the more use it gets the less power it has.

    http://www.guysgab.com/on-the-hunt-for-plantation-brownies/
     
  10. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    I'm uncertain how this ... does anything better than eddy and swirl and go nowhere.

    More directly, I think you might be omitting or overlooking the context by which that makes things worse.

    • • •​

    Yeah, but that's because you don't actually give a fuck about people.

    We get that the word "nigger" doesn't offend white supremacists. We get that demeaning people of color is a tasty treat for white supremacists.

    Your logical processes keep reviving tropes that died a long, long time ago. This manner of sociohistorical retardation is a reminder of why so many on the far right lament of feeling left behind: It's true, your prejudice no longer enjoys the presupposition of legitimacy.

    What do you think the last twenty years of supremacist bluster have been about?

    Oh, that's right: You don't know; you never know.
     
  11. Bowser Life is Fatal. Valued Senior Member

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    I don't give a fuck about petty grievances. If a word can hurt you so deeply, then you are bound to find offense wherever you turn. The word "nigger" is not a burning cross, evil men in bed sheets, black people swinging from ropes, or even slavery. It's a word, nothing more. Bill Maher used it in jest. Get over it.
     
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  12. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Words represent contempt, just like the contempt I now have for you for dismissing a hateful racist label in your ignorant privileged and racist whiteness.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2017
  13. zgmc Registered Senior Member

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    759
    Well, I'm pretty sure Bill Maher isn't a racist. He was not using the word in a hateful way... So is there ever a time that a white person could use that word and not be accused of being racist?
     
  14. Bowser Life is Fatal. Valued Senior Member

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    Yes. But maybe you should ask Tiassa when he's done working on his dictionary. I suspect his answer will be black and white.
     
  15. Bowser Life is Fatal. Valued Senior Member

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    Words are words, SG. My overall view is that we're all plantation brownies, in my world. Time comes when you realize that color and race doesn't really mater, except for the few who still cling to the concept--Racists and Leftists
     
  16. Bowser Life is Fatal. Valued Senior Member

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    I suppose this would be a good time to inject some humor into the conversation...
     
  17. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    I don't think the word should be used and yet I think we should "get over it" as well and place it in it's proper context.

    There are a lot of words that are disparaging of minority groups. If someone uses one of those words they are usually looked down upon but not fired (for instance). Spic or wop aren't nice words. I'd put the "N" word in that category.

    I understand that those other groups weren't slaves but using the "N" isn't enslaving anyone either. It's just an inappropriate word for a racial group. It shouldn't be used but it shouldn't be given more power than it deserves either by making it worse that using one of those other words.
     
  18. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    It's Complicated ....

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!


    Click to be Tommy or Philbert, or something.

    I'll say yes, with the proviso that, like the definition of art, you not ask me to be more specific.

    In my opinion, society doesn't get to weasel out of its obligations just because they are unpleasant. We can have these words back when we have enough separation from them, and we don't have any separation at a time when the answer that white people get to decide what the word means to the people it was intended to hurt and black people just need to get over it is anywhere within a realm of potential viability. Bottom line is that if medical technology allows me to live two hundred years, I might see certain words find their place in decent society, and I'll probably need a whole lot more than that.

    I can think of a thousand reasons why Bill Maher gets off with a lecture that goes, approximately, "Damn it, man! Don't fucking do that! Don't pull that out unless you know goddamn good and well what the fuck you're fucking doing!"

    But I'm not black, and not a single one of those reasons means a thing in my hands.

    If Bill Maher doesn't get a pass this time—you know, for being well-intentioned and generally on people of color's side, and, you know, not the worst of assholes among the privileged—it's his own damn fault.

    Think of it this way, though: There are times at which it is necessary to recall Lee Atwater, and circumstantially speaking, while I cannot claim divine right to the word according to principles of justice, I am willing to argue that we abide a disservice, and abet injustice, if we censor him—it is important that people know what he said.

    And, you know, if we get our self-righteous privilege on, I'm not above invoking Lester Cowens in order to make certain points. If we intend to discuss the Southern Strategy and its American toll, we must be prepared to face the word responsibly, including our utterance of its name; you have to be able to say it three times in a row. The Cowens recitation must be treated as hypersensitive, explosive, and radioactive; to speak it is a devastating accusation, an American Godwin threshold.

    By the way, they finally fired the cop who killed Tamir Rice. Not for killing Tamir Rice, mind you. But, rather, they finally got around to their due diligence, figured out he never should have been on their force in the first place, and fired him for irregularities in his paperwork. That is to say, they didn't fire him for shooting the black kid, but for how he got the job by which he shot the black kid.

    In the meantime, though, at least he ....

    I don't know, am I willing to say it? I mean, he doesn't actually have to openly and consciously hate black people in order to be a trigger-happy bully moron incapable of controlling either his emotional response to violence or his reaction to skin color.

    Still, though, he was just so fucking anxious. He was itching to shoot someone.

    But is this the occasion to break out that word, and that line?

    No, probably not today. Can't promise you either way, but I'm not black, so ... that ain't my life we're talking about, and whoever the fuck is throwing down nooses in D.C. ain't talkin' to me.

    We're not out of this yet. To the one, the word should be handled with extraordinary caution. To the other, handling the word at all really ought to be a fairly low priority for someone like me, who gets, "Good evening, sir, may I see your license and registration, please?" even when I'm about to be arrested instead of bright lights and orders to place my hands on my head while the car is literally on fire. And we happen to live in a time when cops make shit up in order to coddle their inner Lester. No, really: Ferguson effect, my ass. Unequivocal support, my ass. An unarmed black man walking away is more of a threat to life and limb than a white guy with a rifle saying he's going to kill you. Welcome to America; we're not out of this mess, yet.

    Something like that.
     
    river likes this.
  19. river

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    Oh bill you fucked up big time .

    Don't know what he said , but he got the err , of many people .
     
  20. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

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    I don't really like him, but standup is funny.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2017
  21. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    This is a form of racism called color blind racism. Where white people refuse to acknowledge that racism and racist language still exist. I think it's even more offensive than outright prejudice.
     
  22. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

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    OK. I live in Canada so I feel exempt from the sight of the Confederate flag -- because I just don't see it around.

    But was that stuff hung around government buildings in some states. If I was black that would offend me. So, yeah.
     
  23. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    And you pay no attention to whether other people think they are petty, those grievances.

    So you end up not giving a fuck about genuine, serious harms of your causing. Which is why other people have to act in self defense, whether you find them justified or not - you aren't paying attention.

    Too soon for white guys to use "house nigger" as a metaphor? Way too soon? Ok. Too bad, but it is what it is.
    But at some point on the slope, however slippery it may or may not be, I want to be able to use "tar baby". And I want to tell anyone who objects on the racial grounds that were never even close to the core meaning (and even conflicting with the deep racial stuff that is there - the rabbit is hiding behind the thing) to shove it. It's too useful, too big a sacrifice.
     

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