Almost never do I take anything that Bill Maher says seriously.
He’s a comedian who, for my taste, isn’t all that funny. He’s morphing into some sort of political commentator of late. Now he’s taking on Islam, calling it a “Mafia-like” organization.
OK. So we’ve heard from him on that.
Enter another entertainer. Ben Affleck, an actor of some acclaim, has challenged Maher’s assertion that Islam is what he says it is. I don’t usually listen to actors’ views on politics and religion, either.
In this case, Affleck makes the more salient point.
Affleck took part in a testy exchange on “Real Time” in which he tried to take down Maher’s assertion about Islam. Affleck criticized Maher’s “gross” and “racist” portrayal of Islam. He said Islam should not be judged based on the conduct of sociopathic murderers, such as the Islamic State — which has hijacked the Islamic name, for crying out loud, while committing utterly unspeakable acts of barbarism. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof sided with Affleck, contending that Maher’s description of Islam and Muslims is “incomplete.”
Maher used terms like “vast numbers of Muslims” wanting non-believers of their religion to die. Vast numbers? How many is that? And what percentage do those numbers comprise among the 1.5 billion or so practicing Muslims around the world?
I simply am not going to condemn a religion on the basis of what crazed fanatics do in that religion’s name.
Nor should a second-rate comedian such as Bill Maher.
Allow me to chime in on a growing chorus around the country that’s becoming fed up with the all-consuming nature of our fascination with pop culture.
My network of social media “friends,” professional and personal acquaintances and even some folks I barely know are chiming in with messages saying something like this:
Why should we care one damn bit whether Miley Cyrus gyrated like a porn star on national TV or that Ben Affleck has been selected to play Batman in the next movie of the same name? Why should we care when Syria is threatening to explode all over the Middle East, or that some folks in government want to shut Washington, D.C. down in order to deny money to a controversial health care plan or that the economy is continuing to produce jobs at too slow a rate?
I’ve already said my piece — on Facebook — about Miley Cyrus and I won’t type another word about her … starting right now. The next Batman? I personally don’t care who plays Gotham City’s hero, given that I haven’t seen any of other Batman flicks to come out in the past 15 years — or however long it’s been.
It does bother me greatly, though, that popular culture does gobble up so much of our time. By “our,” I mean the media, which reflects the public’s taste. The Internet Age has spawned an infinite array of websites devoted to pop culture. They have their fans who are entitled to consume whatever they wish from those sites.
If I’m reading my social media network correctly, my assorted acquaintances seem annoyed with the so-called “mainstream media” obsession with these stories that amount to so little of actual importance. If that’s their concern, I’m with them.
These stories have worn me out. I don’t mean to come off as a snob, but I prefer to save my emotional energy for issues that really matter.