While Salman Rushdie fights for his life after being stabbed, an angry bill mahero Condemned the treatment of his good friend (and frequent guest) by a man whose name the host was guessing “is not Amish.”
Sal, as Maher called him, was planning to talk about how America is a safe haven for controversial viewpoints. “Given speeches are unthinkable in most Muslim countries,” Maher warned, “don’t come to me with Islamaphobia.” When you say ‘phobic,’ it’s a way to close the debate.”
Guest Piers Morgan, who has his own experience with controversial speech, praised it when he said, “The defense of free speech starts with something you can’t stand.” You can hate opinion, Morgan said. “But you have to be able to tolerate their right to have a different opinion.”
Morgan pointed to the rise of anti-free speech sentiment in the US and UK with a call to “trigger warnings” and, in one instance, rescinded a professor who had lectured on offensive speech. “It’s crazy,” Morgan said, when you see America moving like that. “It’s a very thin line between him and Salman Rushdie.” The precursor to that happened this year with Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock cracking jokes. “When you indulge in violence, it happens to Salman.”
New York Post columnist Rikki Schlott, age 22, claimed that her generation was “never taught the principles of free speech.” She surprised Maher by revealing her former NYU student ID, which had a “bias hotline” phone number for reporting things that made you uncomfortable. He said such antics lead to Rushdie-like situations. “The logical conclusion for those who treat words as violence,” she said, “you fight with words that hurt with violence.” ,
Prior to this, Maher’s guest was Ross Douthat, a new York Times columnist and author The Deep Places: A Memoir of Illness and Discovery. He revealed his struggle with Lyme disease, which had not been diagnosed for some time.
Maher explains his belief that doctors don’t know as much as they pretend, preferring an omniscient approach to diagnosis that often struggles when faced with the unknown.
Douthat was initially diagnosed with stress, but then went through nightmares of pain, heart attacks, and losing 50 pounds of weight. He likened his struggle to the early days of the pandemic, when an unknown disease was reported by officials who gave advice that later proved to be poor.
His book states that there is a laboratory relapse hypothesis for Lyme disease. But you have to buy the book to know the details.
Finally, Maher’s “New Rules” segment takes on the recent uproar about actors who must match the ethnic and racial profiles and sexual preferences of the characters they portray.
“The casting directors have to choose the best actor for the role,” Maher said. “That’s what acting is, and why are acting called “roles”.
Of course, there are problems with Ryan Gosling as Frederick Douglass or Shia LeBeouf as Shaft.
But Tom Hanks said he wouldn’t play the lead role in “Philadelphia” if Maher was turned down when it was staged today. “Is Forrest Gump thrown under the bus because Tom isn’t mentally handicapped?”
“It’s not progress,” Maher said. “It’s regression.”