I am Tom Freeland, a lawyer in Oxford, Mississippi. The picture in the header is my law office. I'm on Twitter as NMissC

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Bill Maher doubles down

Last week on his HBO show, Bill Maher announced a clip filmed by Alexandra Pelosi that was purporting to show the folks who were going to vote in the Republican primary in Mississippi.   Pelosi (daughter of former speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi) had made her reputation with the documentary Journeys with George, based on 18 months of trailing along George W. Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign.

The bits of interview last week basically represented Mississippi Republicans as toothless, possibly mentally ill food stamp recipients unable to vote their self interests because of strange notions about God.

I’d heard that Maher was going to somehow follow-up on this tonight, and so, pissed as I was about last week’s effort, I tuned in.  First, he noted that “educated” Mississippians had expressed offense but that this was what Pelosi found when she went to the “poorer” areas. He then explained that the recent PPP pool proves this representative, and cited some numbers from the poll that suggest a lot of Mississippians have strange or racist beliefs about evolution, interracial mariage, and the like, without examining the question of who the other 50+ percent of us might be.*

Then, after a bit of interview with Pelosi, he said he was going to show a bit of corrective video, and showed an interview with the doorman at Pelosi’s Manhattan apartment, who made negative noises at the folks lined up across the street at what was said to be a welfare office.**  She then crossed the street and started interviewing (all black) folks in line for welfare.

To put it simply:  Pick a representation of southern rednecks– The Beverly Hillbillies, the bad guys in Deliverance, whatever.  Pick a representation of blacks– Amos and Andy, or anything from minstrelsy.  And the white Mississippians last week were as bad or worse than the first group, while the black New Yorkers this week were as bad or worse than the second group.  Maher is essentially saying, “I’m just funning with offensive stereotypes here,” right?

I don’t know what the punch line was, because I changed the channel, in hopes of seeing Xavier upset Notre Dame and take the bad taste out of my mouth.  Bigotry is bigotry, and all of this made me understand Maher’s defense of Rush Limbaugh.  I’m not sure I’d call it a boycott (with Maher or Limbaugh, either one), but I’m not willing to give Maher the opportunity to count me in his audience.  I’m done with him and his show.

I don’t want to feed Maher links, unless folks request it.


*I will say that at one point almost four years ago, I saw a figure for the number of white Mississippians who voted for the Democratic ticket and thought:  “Hey, I must know all of them personally if that’s correct.”

**By this point, I was wondering if Maher was attempting the kind of satire that is a regular feature of John Stewart’s show, but from a mean-spirited perspective  and unwilling to be honest about the lines between fact and satire.  That is, he was too much of an asshole to pull it off.

23 comments to Bill Maher doubles down

  • DeltaLawMama

    Once upon a time I enjoyed Maher, and even agreed with a lot of what he said, but neither is very true anymore. Same for Dennis Miller. Give me Chris Rock or Stephen Colbert and I’m good to go.

  • Alan

    I never enjoyed Bill Maher even when I agreed with whatever point he was making at the time. He’s a sanctimonious jackass and has been for as long as I’ve been aware of him.

  • Ben

    “Forget it, Jake … it’s Mississippi.”

    We are doomed to be the butt of all others’ attempts at humor … same as West Virginia. We’ll never shake it. Never outgrow it. Never step away from it. It’s there. It makes money for Maher and others. It feeds the egos of others and forms what they accept as a basis for their self-proclaimed superiority. Ever been to a UVA-West Virginia football game? No one anywhere thinks more highly of themselves … albeit with less basis … than Virginians, and at no time do they trumpet it more brassily than when playing WVA in sports.

    I spent most of my adult life in Virginia. I never missed a chance to remind Virginians that “you can always tell an asshole … you just can’t tell him much.”

    Hey … Maher … you can always tell an asshole ….

  • Cbalducc

    I may have seen the church with the three metal crosses in front of it, but I can’t say exactly where. It looked like the Delta, though.
    Don’t we all know or are acquainted with folks like those interviewed?

  • Cbalducc

    Considering what some posters on this site have said about fellow Mississippians, I’m surprised they weren’t thinking “Right On!” when watching that clip.

  • Anderson

    I don’t watch Maher, and have yet to view the notorious video, but I find nothing implausible in the proposition that lots of people are idiots.

  • pam

    Some of the nicest people I’ve ever met in my entire life have been in Mississippi. I always smile when I hit the border and the sign tells me I’m home. I don’t see people’s teeth (or lack thereof) or skin color or hear an accent, I feel their heart.

    Anyone who hasn’t been to Mississippi and met her people has missed out. I’m so glad I chose the path that lead to such a beautiful place with such beautiful people- with and without teeth, black and white, old and young, rich and poor. I have been blessed.

    Bill Maher has nothin’ on Mississippi.

  • Hootie Dasher

    Maher proves his narrow-mindedness when he opens his mouth. Acclaimed liberals should call them out for it but fail to do so probably due to the vitriol supporting their agendas against conservatives and southerners. They should read the definition of a true liberal.

  • P.B. Pike


    Give us an example of something a Mississippian has said on this blog about his or her fellow Mississippians in general that makes you think some of us might have enjoyed Alexandra Pelosi’s garbage. Seems we non-conservatives can’t win even when we speak out against such self-congratulatory ignorance — as many of us did as soon as that video came out last week.

  • NMC

    Maher proves his narrow-mindedness when he opens his mouth. Acclaimed liberals should call them out for it
    << I guess I’m not acclaimed, but, hey– I thought this post was a liberal calling him out for it.

  • Lee

    I like how he always surrounds himself with pseudo-celebrity yes-men who laugh obsequiously at everything he says–and the how the camera always cuts to them brown-nosing him. Of course most of the time Maher’s laughing wildly at his own stuff too. Truth be told I prefer most of the people in the ridiculous Pelosi video to Bill Maher. It’s always sobering and disturbing to see a true asshole spouting your beliefs. He’s a terrible ambassador.

  • Bill Dees

    Good for you, Tom. I’m no fan of Maher, but the Pelosi piece might actually be mildly amusing in proper context. But Maher and Pelosi commit outright fraud when they say the Mississippians interviewed were a represetative, neutrally selected, cross section of our citizens.

  • SilenceDoGood

    Remind me again how this blog post is different from the previous one (before the previous one went off the rails that is).

  • Ignatius

    The only redeeming aspect – for me – of either of the Pelosi videos was my self-reflection of my own liberal biases. I was pissed at the first video because I am a Mississippian. I was embarrassed. But racial issues mean a great deal to me so I tended to focus on the point of – “See! Forget that post-racial society bullshit!” The second video last night? Again, anger, but it was more towards the men who were openly gaming the system and referencing Obama as if he’d created it (“Obama bucks”), and less about racial stereotyping. I know. Makes no sense. Thus, the self-reflection. Shoot the messengers; I won’t defend them. But I think the conversations are worth having.

  • While we’re at it, don’t let Jerry Lewis off the hook, either!

  • Phil Woods


    Back in his network days, he was a different beast. He brought in crazies like O’Donnell, and defended her after letting her speak her mind. Then he started going to the Playboy Mansion and got hero pussy, and it hasn’t stopped, so why should he. He’s John Lennon in LA, a true working class hero. Only, LA is the devil’s backyard, so there you go. He’s really just being practical, I guess. How else could you look and treat people like he does and still bang models without working on Wall Street or in Hollywood?

    It’s a shame, because I think he’s smart and is capable of being past the bullshit he’s good at exposing. His hero, and one of mine, George Carlin, said that people, one-on-one are generally rational and eager to do good. But once you get them in a group it all dissolves and we get America (I’m paraphrasing). Seems all Bill is doing with his cable show is pitting one group against another, helping keep one side self-satified and superior, and the other angry and determined to prove him right. He was once a referee in the arena of political ideas. Now he’s a mouthpiece for Hef and friends. So it goes.

    I can’t say I entirely blame him. The pay, sex, and respect around town are better. He’s an admitted hedonist. So for him, what else is there? Any night of the week he can get most any woman he chooses, get a table at whatever restaurant he wants, and pay the bill without having to balance his checkbook.

    And it’s good TV.

  • Armyvet_Attorney

    Bill Maher spouts the same brand of self-righteous stereotyping that he ridicules in others. I quit watching when he called Sarah Palin a c**t. As much as I dislike Palin, Maher showed his ass with that comment. I’m not interested in smarmy, oily jackass pointing and laughing at my state from his cushy little Hollywood perch.

  • Lee

    Phil, yes, I think BM’s been very different ever since they took away his show following his comments about 9-11. I didn’t really like him before, either, though. I agree he’s very polarizing. He’s also very bright and witty and sometimes he makes me laugh in spite of myself. Carlin had such a different, more endearing persona.

  • Your Lies Have Lies

    I really miss George Carlin. I didn’t know until my little girl became a Thomas the Train fan that he narrated many of the episodes. I remember thing one day, now where do I know that voice from…. I can’t imagine BM doing something like that at all.

  • Ignatius

    Andrew Sullivan has covered many critics of the videos over the last week. One of the emails he published sounded a lot like the writing voice of our own P.B. Pike … Was that you, P.B.?

  • Cbalducc

    If any of you had been interviewed by Ms. Pelosi, what would you have said?

  • Cbalducc

    If any of you had been interviewed by Ms. Pelosi, what would you have said? God bless.

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