Sunday, April 12, 2015

Silly Criticism




On his "Overtime" segment available specifically on the Internet, Bill Maher on March 27 ridiculed (video below) the departure of Zayn Malik from the boy-band One Direction

by jokingly calling into question the 22-year-old’s decision to quit the popular group.

“I think after everything we’ve been through, I at least deserved the common respect of being told face to face,” he says, while sharing the screen with an image of the pop crooner.

“Just tell me two things, Zayn. Which one in the band were you?” he continued, “And where were you during the Boston Marathon?” At this point, Zayn’s image was shown next to accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.







Maher's humor, bereft of the superficiality of, say, "Saturday Night Live" or Jimmy Fallon, often comes under attack. This was no exception and Friday, on HBO's "Real Time," Maher responded (video below) to the controversy by unveiling a new segment. He called it "Explaining Jokes to Idiots," and explained

.... what the joke is, that they look alike; that's it- they look alike! Their facial features are quite similar, which is humorous because one is a murder and the other is in a boy band where they only murder the music. Now, it turns out Zayn Malik is a Muslim but neither I nor anyone on our staff even knew that. How could we- the whole joke is I don't know who the f_ _ _ he is.








Even before the second segment, the comedian's bit provoked a change.org petition out of Great Britain (which could explain the deviant spelling) beginning "Firstly, this is not about making Bill Maher a scapegoat."

Then attempting to make Bill Maher a scapegoat, SJ Temi continues....

and before you disregard this thinking 1D fans are angry because of Zayn Malik, think again.This is about how islamophobia, racism and discrimination of ANY kind is wrong, shouldn't be ignored and must end.

Bill Maher publicly not only insulted but also discriminated against Zayn Malik with an islamophobic terrorist joke, which was broadcast on television last night. (04/04/2015) "Where were you during the Boston Marathons?" -- followed by a picture of Zayn next to the Boston Bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

This is completely unacceptable. Racism should not become normalised especially on NATIONAL TELEVISION. Bill Maher and whoever wrote the script, need to be severely disciplined and at least apologise to show that this type of behaviour is NEVER ok.

It surely is unfortunate Temi doesn't realize this is not discrimination. It is not disparate treatment, but rather speech or, in the spirit of this petition, SPEECH.  It would not be Islamophobia, given no indication that Bill Maher fears Islam or Muslims. In his willingness to take on Muslims and radical Islam, the comedian demonstrates an extraordinary lack of fear of Islam.  While Maher's distaste for Muslims is at least debatable, he clearly is not Islamophobic- and SJ Temi accuses the comedian of a phobia, not of hatred.

Temi doesn't explain what he (if, indeed, a "he") means by racism but presumably a negative comparison of one Muslim to another is racist.    That is a little ridiculous, if unfortunately common, inasmuch as "Muslim" is not a race.  (I'll refrain from questioning whether someone who identifies an individual racially on the basis of his religion is a  racist; I probably would be committing a similar same sin as does Temi.)

Dzhokar Tsarnaev is ethnically Chechen, therefore probably Slavic and white.  One of Malik's parents is ethnically Palestinian (insofar as that is an ethnic group, itself questionable) and the other ethnically English.  That would, it seems, make him white. Your mileage may vary, for race is an elusive term. Unfortunately, "racism" and "racist" are not; they are bandied about recklessly.

"Where were you during the Boston marathon,"  Maher asked. It is a variant of the classic "have you seen these people at the same place," asked upon displaying the pictures of two individuals virtually identical in appearance.  As Maher stated, his joke was funny (or not, depending upon your sense of humor) because it was a joke, not primarily because it was politically incorrect or allegedly insensitive.

The response,however, demonstrates the value of making a point which, with or without humor, is made by few if any other people.  The charge of racism is invalid, the complaint of discriminationis confused, and the phobia is not Maher's toward Islam, but to other comedians, who merely feign edginess while fearing the controversial joke or comment.






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