Atanu Dey On India's Development

Sunday Silliness: Bill Maher

I miss Bill Maher’s “Politically Incorrect” show on TV. Thankfully I can catch bits and pieces of his TV shows on YouTube. Here’s one I especially liked. There’s of course the fearless outspoken Ayaan Hirsi Ali. But it is the last minute of the clip that I find hilarious. Thanks for the laughs, Bill.

  • Anuj

    Atanu, Maher has a show – Real Time – on HBO, where his scathing wit, freed of FCC regulations [ since it is cable], has only become sharper.

    p.s., Ms.Ali, in my opinion, is one of the bravest public intellectual of our time.

  • Anuj

    Atanu, Is the picture on the top of this blog somewhere in India?
    If yes, where?

  • http://neverfollow.blogspot.com/ Devang

    Here’s an article on Ayaan Hirsi Ali which seems to get to the root of why Ali is so controversial in Europe and not as much in America.

    Maher’s show on HBO is a must watch after The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.

  • Guru Gulab Khatri

    I wouldnt say BM is the bravest.
    He’s not that bright, But because
    he is on TV he on occasion gets brave and bright guests like ms Ayan Hirsi Ali.
    He’s a washed up comic who got a second career as a raconteur.
    Just cause he disagrees that islam is a religion of peace, he cant claim any bravery. that is common sense.
    He for the most part is illiterate as you can see through his blog.
    Thankfully we(US) have real intellectuals Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens
    Even later in that show when a Jewish writer David Mamet was making assinine statements regarding jewish life in america he let him get away with it.
    I dont know if that was bravery or stupidity.
    He let Biden get away by spinning iraq partition issue.
    BM sadly is a result of popular culture masking itself as serious inquiry.
    He’s playing the Lefts version of Bill O Reilly, Limbaugh etc.
    These folks dont have any genuine insights or knowledge.

  • http://neverfollow.blogspot.com Devang

    I like applying the 85 percentile rule to things just to keep it simple. 15% of almost all shows are filled with some sort of stupidity, and we are talking about a show hosted by a comic here which is meant to be entertaining. The TV format isn’t too conducive to a serious debate either. Maher’s panel format on Realtime is better than a 5min. interview but it isn’t perfect. Politically Incorrect had great guests on, so does Realtime. I’d bet that you cannot find a better debate show on TV. Anywhere. Even if it’s asinine 15% of the time.

    Speaking of Hitchens, the man has lost it. I will never see him as a apologist for anyone, and I’ve read his last 3 books, but his columns on slate.com of late have been out of sheer desperation. It isn’t too hard to disagree with Hitchens’ point of view on how to fight radicalism. But if it is, just read some Reza Aslan.

  • Guru Gulab Khatri

    Devang Come on dude, Its at best only 5% of BM’s show has any one making a serious point.
    Charlie Rose Probably comes to getting it proper by keeping it focused to your level.
    Even though Charlie doesn’t take any positions and gets the other guys position.
    I disagree with Rose’s questions quite often, but clearly he has the most engaging when compared
    to any of these clowns.

    Since I will assume you watched the this show you can simply see that ayans bit was the only
    serious bit, and thats the only valid thing this season….

    Regarding hitchens, i think you are DEAD wrong.
    He and quite a lot of others realised that the US and the values of liberty, Free Speech and
    others are under attack from the islam.
    The war is long term.
    an interesting read is this {link} article

    Islam is unlike other religion including those with which it has consanguinity.
    It tries to force its values on others.
    These are reasons why liberals and libertarians should be weary of Islam.
    And no one is being brave by pointing these out.
    Regarding hitchen’s stance on war on iraq, it is the correct stance for many reason.
    one that is rarely mentioned is Saudi Arabia.
    If US was to pressure Saudi Arabia with Iraq next door its difficult.
    Now there is one less military threat to deal with if there is to be a show down with Saudi Arabia.
    This is not a 5 year conflict, but going to be near 100 year series of conflict.

  • anuj

    guru gulab – couldn’t agree with you more vigorously. hitchen’s is amongst the few who gets it.

  • Guru Gulab Khatri

    We are in strong agreement here Anuj
    although starting the tangent on the thread was my poor reading of your comment.
    Initially I had misread your comment thinking you thought BM was brave along with Ms Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

    Regarding Reza Aslan. He is a man who made a good mileage from his hyphenated ethnicity (iranian-american) and did his best to show the other face. But he backs of on every issue and makes FALSE claim. Bin Laden has no axe to grind with India by his Aslan’s assinine logic but he did engage in consorting with the likes of Khalid Shaikh Mohammad.

    Here’s {link} an interesting bit on youtube watching Harris debate Aslan.
    The topic is not islam but religion.
    (which itself i have problem with cause its an umbrella term.)
    But this will give a clue why a significant bunch in the conservative/right side don’t want to debate religion, because to be intellectually honest they would have to dig see the negative effect christianity had in european history.
    And who is Reza pandering to when he titles his book “no god but god”.

  • http://neverfollow.blogspot.com/ Devang

    You’re trying to convince me of Hitchens’ point of view by pointing to his article on Mark Steyn!?! Who by all counts is an even worse journalist, if not a total ideologue and a hate-and-fear-monger (A combination of the two)… I’m afraid we are beyond being able to agree on this. There is only a small amount of radicalism, on all sides. Radicalism, which WE are now supporting (Only if you call parts of Saudi Arabia un-radical before this point in time). It always has to be ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ in international politics doesn’t it? Being Indian may give us more insights into the Muslim world, but being more right-wing than the right-wing in America isn’t helping. The right-wing in America is delusional, unable to see the facts much less come up with a solution, and Hitchens and Steyn are the ideologues leading the blind, dumb and the deaf (No offense to the real blind and deaf).

    PBS is beyond normal TV just like HBO, but again, we are talking about entertaining and comedic shows here… and Maher delivers on more levels than one. If you saw the whole Harris-Aslan debate, you know that Aslan more than tore Harris’ theses apart. His view is made more sense and is more apt in todays world.

  • Anuj

    Devang –
    I seriously doubt you know why, up until 9/12 the darling of the left – Hitchens- switched to the “right” side. If you can call supporting gay marriage, abortion rights, stem sell research, tenuous support for Israel and rabid hatred of kissinger and all forms of organized religion right wing?

    He was turned off, quite frankly, because of people like yourself, who resort to name calling and smear tactics, if anybody dares break ranks with the jaundiced left

    btw, the much maligned maxim – enemy of my enemy is my friend – does not only exist in international politics, it exists in everyday life. but you know that already, dont you?

  • Guru Gulab Khatri

    Devang
    I am not a right wing or left wing idealogue,
    But in the current stage the left is all about making howling noise and coming up with no solutions, So i am more or less on the right with this issue.
    And How did aslan tore harris apart?
    It was interesting to see that you began by suggesting if I saw the whole debate, interesting way to discredit me by suggesting i am posting links to media i dont my self see.
    Lets get back to your point. How did Aslan tore Harris Apart?
    Give an example?
    Steyn is not a great journalist and hitchens article was nuanced on that.
    Hitchens broke of with most of the american left because of likes of Bill Clinton so the break was coming but it also has to do with just what the left has become.
    Reza Aslans assertions (in the youtube debate i posted) that terrorism was not motivated by religion but economics and politics. Then why was india dragged into it, why indonesia?
    Aslan is feeding to the left more nonesense that its not about islam(and is pandering to american christians (mostly in center and right)).
    That is what left has become, there are no reasons but banal assertions.
    Only to the blind and dumb would see Hitchens as leading any thing.
    He is not respected amongst the right.
    b/c of his support of gay rights(some thing i do) as well as universal health care in america(something i dont).
    For the most part he is disliked vehimently by the left.

  • Guru Gulab Khatri

    Hitch’s latest on slate is up on Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s coverage on media.
    http://www.slate.com/id/2161171/fr/flyout
    Very Interesting arguement and tangentially related on the linguistic gymnastics ‘non-radicals’ play.

  • amar

    Atanu,

    A review of Infidel at middlestage, a blog I read. Thought you may be interested.

  • http://www.lifeandsomething.blogspot.com Gaurav

    Gentleman,

    There is no such thing as “war of civilizations”.

    Islam, even Jihad is not a threat to any civilization.

  • Guru Gulab Khatri

    Gaurav
    I will simply ask you the same question that i have asked others here, please prove that Islam including Jihad is not threat to ANY civilization.

  • http://www.lifeandsomething.blogspot.com Gaurav

    Guru,

    I think it is incumbent upon someone who makes assertion to prove it.
    The assertion is “Islam is threat to west” I am merely contradicting it.

  • Guru Gulab Khatri

    Gaurav
    to contradict something you need to show logical fallacies or conraindicating evidence.

  • http://www.lifeandsomething.blogspot.com Gaurav

    I can not contradict what has not been defined.
    See it is simple it is either you do thw work or I do the work. I am not really in mood to do hard work.

  • Guru Gulab Khatri

    Gaurav
    I did the work, its you who never gave any facts but only banal assertions.
    Enjoy trolling dude I dont mind feeding them

  • http://www.lifeandsomething.blogspot.com Gaurav

    Guru,

    Where did you mention civilization….

  • Guru Gulab Khatri

    Gaurav
    When i specificaly mentioned 2 cases india and indonesia its only for the dumbasses to not note them as civilization.

  • http://www.lifeandsomething.blogspot.com Gaurav

    Guru

    For a conflict between civilizations to happen there should be more than one civilization in the first place, now where is the second civilization .

  • Guru Gulab Khatri

    Geez nitwit wasnt it you wrote an ‘original’ assertion saying “X is not a threat”

  • http://neverfollow.blogspot.com/ Devang

    Anuj, I already said I’ve read 3 of Hitchens’ books and don’t consider him an apologist for anyone, the right or the left. But, he has let Orwell go to his head if I may borrow from his book on Orwell. Let me step back a bit, the oldest US ally in the middle-east isn’t Israel, it’s Saudi Arabia. The biggest fundamentalist threats arising today are from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, what ever remains of Al Qaeda and the Taliban have all been nurtured, developed, helped, and taken advantage of by the US at one point in time or another. The emanating fundamentalism isn’t a reply to American oppression, it was actively fostered by American oppression. Hitchens utterly fails to recognize the significance of this bit of history. The Saudi’s have run a kleptocracy with the help of the US, and until that changes, Iraq was always going to be a horrible mistake. It was a mistake, it remains a mistake, and will continue to be a mistake. I have a terrific disdain for those who continue to justify the Iraq war by writing columns about one-off meetings claiming false things about Niger’s yellow cake.

    Amarty Sen’s Identity and Violence makes quick work of the whole “war of/between civilizations” thing too. It just isn’t the case, and it’s clear enough to see. Really, it is.

    Guru, If you read Robert Baer’s Sleeping with the Devil, on page 11 in the first paragraph he says:

    “In 2000 two Saudi security officers hijacked a Saudi commercial jet bound for London and forced it to land in Baghdad. “We are just ordinary people, and we are calling for the rights of the Saudi people, such as decent education, decent health, and other services,” one of the hijackers told officials when the plane put down in Iraq.”

    What Aslan said was more correct than what Harris said. The reality in the world makes it so. Harris may have had some good points to make, but he was clueless about the fundamentals of the mid-east. A guest on The Daily Show made Aslan’s point too about socio-economic equity and development too.

  • http://neverfollow.blogspot.com/ Devang

    Here is a conversation with Amartya Sen about why there isn’t a clash between civilizations, and even if there is in a limited sense, how it can be dealt with by not viewing it as such.

  • http://neverfollow.blogspot.com/ Devang

    I forgot to mention Iran, two comments above. Iran is actually where American oppression played a role in developing completely independent fundamentalism. Whereas Saudi Arabia and ilk are cases of fundamentalism actively helped and taken advantage of by the US. The US was masochistic I tell you.

  • Guru Gulab Khatri

    Devang
    I’ll take you on your points first
    You are evading specifics by saying that harris was clueless about middle east.
    Aslan said that it was not motivated by religion But politics and economics and is a liar or a dumbass for making that statement.
    Now thats pure nonesense it is more about Islam than anything else.

    I and several others have mentioned that one big motivator for going into iraq was neighboring saudi arabia.
    Saudi Arabia is easier to pressure now that a neigboring anti american state that can be used as an ally is gone.
    There is no way the US can attack saudi arabia without angering the rest of muslims. This is why the perepheris will be cleaned first.

    Regarding Niger
    The country is a big supplier for yellow cake. India too has dealt with niger for uranium swapping uranium ore for other products. There is no doubt in my mind that iraq would have tried it(hell any one will when you have a country with no infrastructure, no record keeping and uranium that is poor. you can start trading that for whole sale supply house hold items (which is what is suspected indians gave to a politicaly connected retailer there).

    You are engaging in Bill Mahresque demogaugery on US role in overthrowing Mosegdehs government.
    Yes my dear it was dirty But Mosagdeh did plenty of dirty stuff too. He did kick out the entire parliament and was a dictator in all but moniker.

    And you are implying that the responsibility for saudi arabian terrorism rests with US and hitchens does not see it.
    You have read his works and you are ignoring that he has called for a hardline all accross the board with Saudi Arabia.
    Something I am all for But I think its a 100 year war so we will have enough time to bitch slap the sauds (and perhaps rock the kabah)
    PS it was under US pressure(and latin american critique) that saudi arabia abolished slavery (in 1962).

  • http://neverfollow.blogspot.com/ Devang

    Let me repeat myself: If you read Robert Baer’s Sleeping with the Devil, on page 11 in the first paragraph he says:

    “In 2000 two Saudi security officers hijacked a Saudi commercial jet bound for London and forced it to land in Baghdad. “We are just ordinary people, and we are calling for the rights of the Saudi people, such as decent education, decent health, and other services,” one of the hijackers told officials when the plane put down in Iraq.”

    What Aslan said was more correct than what Harris said. The reality in the world makes it so. Harris may have had some good points to make, but he was clueless about the fundamentals of the mid-east. A guest on The Daily Show made Aslan’s point about socio-economic equity and development too.

    The neo-cons (Perle actually wanted to go after Saudi Arabia) are more honest about Saudi Arabia than Hitchens and his ilk at this point. The issue at this point is all tied up in reducing energy consumption, but honesty wouldn’t hurt, as Baer is his book goes to pains to point out. His book is the best source of information on this topic and I’m going to rightly stick to it. I also linked to the the newest Sy Hersh article which made things quite clear about who is helping fundamentalists and who isn’t. The issue isn’t about some Orwellian defense of the oppressed Iraqis and Kurds like Hitchens has been doing (Al Franken stood up for the Kurds in 1991 too), it’s about stopping the hypocrisy of dealing with the corrupt Saudi’s at one point, and then telling every other African government, sorry you’re too corrupt. The big picture is too hard to paint here, but there are PLENTY is plenty of such idiotic hypocrisy which is ingrained in foreign policy realpolitik and remains so which has NOTHING to do with Islam. 9/11 changed nothing. Fix the hypocrisy and the rest will fix itself. Islam is a small small small part of this.

  • Guru Gulab Khatri

    Nonesense Devang
    Islam is a big big big part of IT.
    Historicaly its been.
    IT includes freedom to Offend
    (also freedom to leave you after death something the real axis of evil (islam/xtianity/judaism) doesnt want to do
    Now thats evil.
    )
    SY Hersh Article did NOT make anything clear. Where is a single example of money being given for an act of terror?
    He even admitted this on CNN when asked if he knows of any individual being funded.
    Incidentaly hes the one who started a brouhaha on an iran invasion plan ~18 months ago.
    and the source a DOD war game analysis
    so where’s the brouhaha over DOD war game analysis on war with china.
    or war with Saudi Arabia.
    The point is they like you provide no facts

    Islam’s hypocricies are older than US and muslims(check ayaans differentiation)
    need to fix that.
    and there is no causality on other hypocrisies being fixed by it.
    Thanks for the domino theory of hypocrisy.
    Perhaps Aslan should incorporate that in his next work.
    What an idea
    1st Hypocrisy in Foreign policy will fall
    Then hypocrisy in trade will fall
    then hypocrisy in advertisement will fall
    … then very small small small hypocricy in raising decrepit provenance towards american policy will fall

  • http://neverfollow.blogspot.com/ Devang

    I have given plenty of specifics, like the quote for Baer’s book. For every time you mention Islam as being the problem, I can point to an example like Baer’s or a Muslim like Aasif Mandvi, who just became the newest correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He was raised a Muslim but hadn’t even heard of the word jihad until he heard an American reporter say it. Hersh gave names of three extremist groups being funded by the Saudis and possibly us. He gave enough context to understand it all too. He was clear in his article in Iran about Col. Sam Gardiner’s war games, he attributed credit by naming the Colonel in his article for the war games! It isn’t my fault if you have extremely selective memory or are delusional. Maybe you’re just trolling.

    If we’re going to start talking about Islam’s hypocrisies, let’s not leave out Christianity. Religion shouldn’t get a pass on ANY of it. I have atheist tendencies just like Miss Ali. Just because she feels like going after the hypocrisies in her former religion, does not mean I’m about to join her. It’s a religion for gods sake! A religion! It’s entitled to hypocrisies normal defended by “theology.” Until you get rid of your selective memory and actually carefully read Hersh, Baer, and some Amartya Sen you will continue to fail in seeing the obvious and elementary disconnect between trying to relate a religions’ hypocrisies to the those in the real world relating to real choices.

  • Guru Gulab Khatri

    Ok Dude
    Did i say Christianity is out of this.
    I specificaly mentioned what Reza Boy Genius was mentioning.

    I am not that dispondent on American Civilization(here’s a America Fuck yeah for bit Gaurav)

    If you are that morose on it you can wreck your boat on it,

    But ‘possibly’ american (‘our’) involvement doesnt cut it for me.

    Regarding Sen
    Please ask him why he concluded panini was an afghan and not a hindu in his brilliant (only in terms of what he read not what he concluded) the arguementative indian.

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  • Desi Android

    I watched aslan harris debate. It was too long and later I followed the arguements on this thread. I am convinced of the negative role of religion in human psychology.
    But all religions are not same and muslims are the worst. So given a choice i will rate them in least to most damaging to human thought process. 1 Buddhism, 2 Hindu, 3 Sikh 4 Christian, 5 Mohammeden.
    I dont know much about other religions like the jews and parsi so wont bother adding them.
    I am a big Bill Maher fan But will concede to the points made by G.G. Khatri.
    Sir it is correct that he is a comedian and dont take him to be more than that.
    You seem to be a serious person so perhaps the silliness is not for you.
    I do understand what you are saying.
    You are correct in saying that muslims are causing great damage to the world.
    and no one scruitinizes or suspects muslims to be the culprit as much as americans.
    If america or an american makes a mistake It is unessecarily magnified and repeated
    But not for any muslim country. They are all making bigger mistakes and not contributing anything other than stupid religion to the world.
    I have worked america, dubai, malaysia and saudi arabia. Given the chance again I would go only to America again over any muslim country. Any time there is any problem in america, they start to discuss and look for solution. Any time there is a problem with muslims they start talking more religion. If there was no oil in muslim countries they all would have been poor they dont try to learn or focus on education. They think they can get people from other country and use them as labor without making them citizens. This is why no indian likes to work hard when they are in muslim country. First they think every one from india is beneath them then they want them to work like a donkey and they keep reward for themselves.
    Americans Canadians treat others with more respect and give them a path to integration.

  • Guru Gulab Khatri

    You seem to be a serious person so perhaps the silliness is not for you.

    Its not the humor that is the issue.

    First they think every one from india is beneath them then they want them to work like a donkey and they keep reward for themselves.
    Americans Canadians treat others with more respect and give them a path to integration.

    Well if the employers is an asshole he’ll treat every one like an ass, if he’s smart he’ll make the employees smart.
    Regarding the path to intergartion its a tangential point but points out yet another layer of difference in attitudes (particulaly those towards racism and identity)
    Perhaps more Desi folks who understand the distinction should move here.
    And the less of those who are inclined to create domino theories of hypocricies.

  • http://neverfollow.blogspot.com/ Devang

    What I want to say is here: http://www.cocomment.com/comment/10707764

  • Guru Gulab Khatri

    I was amused at the comment left at cocomment. something that shows the authors prejudicial predictions on
    my age(which is wrong) my parents view(which is again very wrong) my political creed and on and on.

  • Notsure

    GGK perhaps you dealt with a real ABCD
    and I say this as an american born.