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Real Time
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Hm. I just finished watching an episode of Bill Maher's new show on HBO, called Real Time. Overall I'd give it a thumb sideways. For one, they have that big, sprawling stage that makes you feel like they're broadcasting from a hangar.

I liked the Politically Incorrect set because it felt more like an argument over the dinner table, which was pretty much what it was like.

Anyway, as a friend pointed out, Maher still tends to get the extremes on the show, from the right and left, making the show less, and not more, entertaining. I actually kind of like Maher's personal political views because he's a bit of an iconoclast. He doesn't fit neatly into the right or the left (or even the Libertarian position he claims to take). He's at least able to play Devil's Advocate, which is more than you can say for his guests on the show.

He asked, for example, "Why the hell can't those who opposed the war at least celebrate, even for a very short time, the very genuine happiness of many Iraqis, liberated from Saddam's disgusting, three-decade rule?"

Arianna Huffington's response? "We can't give an inch. That'll just make the warmongers feel like they're justified." (Or something very close to this...I wish they had transcripts on-line the way Politically Incorrect used to.)

Anyway, the point is, Huffington can't even look at some of the images on her TV and feel even a small bit of happiness for the people of Iraq.

Personally, I think that's fucking sick.

Look, the liberation is a mixed bag. Many innocent Iraqis died. We have seen a state of lawlessness, the looting of hospitals and museums, though hopefully something close to order will be restored reasonably soon.

But if you're so entrenched in partisan bullshit that you can't, even a little bit, cheer when a political prisoner is released from an Iraqi cell or an old Shi'ite woman is finally allowed to express what she really thinks by beating on Saddam's face with her shoe...well, you're lost.

But guest Michael Eric Dyson damn nearly topped Arianna Huffington's idiocy. He said (and I think this quote is near dead-on), "Democracy imposed is still tyranny."

Think about that for a few seconds, then get back to me. Empowering people to govern themselves, giving them political autonomy, is tyranny.

But then again, maybe Maher knows what he's doing. Maybe if he had moderate, sensible, intelligent guests on his show, nobody would watch.

Though I would.

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