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Bill Maher - New Rules

Bill thinks we need more elite in government and fewer hayseeds.




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It depends on what is meant by elite. I certainly don't expect someone who doesn't know the price of daily necessities, whose annual tax writeoff is higher than my salary, to have any portion of my best interest at heart.

How about intellectuals? I wouldn't mind more of those...

Hey, I live in Kansas and our family has a farm. So that proves it, I'm not with the terrorists.

Hear, Hear!

Messiah College and Pat Robertson's Regent "University" Law School and only two shitty institutions from which Bush has drawn his joke of a government from. Check out Patrick Henry College, the shit-for-brains college from which 7 of 100 White House interns hailed in 2004.

This is a place with 8 biblical studies courses, 20 courses in government, and three math courses (all pre-calculus), 10 political theory courses, and five courses in "science" (Physics with Lab, Biology, Biology Lab, Molecular Nutrition, and Neuroscience). I shuddder to think what kind of shit they shovel there - I bet their "molecular biology" is interesting - not a single course in chemistry!

If I were the next president, I would make it a top priority to fire EVERY SINGLE BUSH SHITHEAD from every single appointed position in the government.

I loved the coda-- about real lawyer she's hired. Thanks, Norm!

I wonder what Scott McClellan, 3 feet to Bill's right, was thinking during that! Probably something along the lines of "glad I don't have to be a professional liar anymore, I wouldn't have been able to keep up!"

150 graduates of Pat Robertson's college in the Bush Administration! WOW! That needs to be shouted to the rooftops...

Attention all Hayseeds!

Thank you for the bacon and eggs I ate this morning! Thank you for the milk my children drink every day before school! Thank you for the apples and oranges we should be eating more of! Thank you for the peas I find under my children's plates after dinner! Thank you for the cheese that makes pizza one of my favorite foods! Thank you for the bread I make my sandwiches with! Thank you for the hamburgers I enjoy way too often and the steaks I enjoy way too seldom! Thank you for the cotton that keeps me clothed! Thank you for the ethanol we will be putting in our gas tanks! Thank you for the rice you send to the poorest nations on earth! Thank you for providing nearly all the essential products that make human life possible for billions of people!

Attention Bill Maher,

Thanks for reminding just who I should be thankful for.

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Well, I guess you wont need Jesus anymore

" In sociology as in general usage, the élite (the "elect," from French) is a relatively small dominant group within a larger society, which enjoys a privileged status which is upheld by individuals of lower social status within the structure of a group." - from wikipedia

Is it just me, or does Bill Maher have some really fascist tendencies? Does he really think that the problem with the Bush administration is not that they are doing their best to create a police state and undermine constitutional rights, systematically fucking over the nation's underclass, waging imperial wars etc. etc.; but that they're doing these things incompetently?!? Or that in some cases "they" aren't from a high enough social class?

Would it really be that much better if these things were being done by rich "well-educated" fucks from Wall Street who know exactly why they're doing what they're doing, and ostensibly know how to do it well?

I think it quite clear that Bill Maher is using elite in the sense of best of, the most skilled, in fact he uses the analogy of elite fighting force to make clear what he is talking about. The most skillful, the best trained. It has nothing to do with social class in the context he uses it.

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Syngas, once again, purposefully misses the entire point.

It's not that I shouldn't be thankful for the eggs, bacon and juice followed by two Wheatbix with milk, honey and a banana I had for breakfast.

It's that I should expect that this hardworking hayseed is not also presiding over the Government of the country that purportedly runs the free world.

Get a grip Syngas.

Some people are good at growing grain, raising cattle, milking cows et cetera and some OTHER people (usually) are better at holding key Government positions and not screwing things up.

Actually, I don't really mean fascist; sorry, I got carried away. Just anti-democratic, really.

Well, if nobody else uses the term in the sense "well-trained" when they're talking about government, then its unfair to criticize them for not wanting a government run by "elites." Incidentally, I don't think it's so clear that this is the sense he uses it, especially with references to "shit kickers from kansas" et al.

Even still, the fact that the Bush administration is "incompetent" is such a shallow criticism, that doesn't get to the heart of the matter. (Incidentally, I think they've been quite competent at getting what they want done, and were it not for the rather massive opposition to the Iraq War in the US -- which I don't think they counted on, and which has thank god restrained them considerably in what they could do to the Iraqis -- I think they would still be very powerful and successful.)

TheRealChristopher: Obviously you've never known a farmer. Just like any other field, there are very intelligent farmers who would make perfectly good leaders, and there are plenty who would not. I happen to know some who fit in the former category. Please remember also that Bush is not really a farmer or a rancher. He is a wealthy member of an "elite" family from the north.

I wish Maher had used different words instead of "elite" and "hayseed". He may have meant "sharp and skilled" versus "grinning simpleton", but did he not see the connotations? I think he did, but used the words anyways, in order to be "edgy"... Maher seems to like sounding controversial at all costs, and for those who are paying full attention to what he is saying, it tends to detract from his point.

The bottom line, though, is that it doesn't matter who is in charge... inevitably, they will end up serving their own interests, instead of keeping each and every citizen in mind. It's human nature. Power corrupts.

It seems like everyone is waiting for a benevolent dictator to take the reins. Not gonna happen, folks. You're going to have to do the work yourselves if you don't want to live in a crumbling police state.

I certainly don't expect someone who doesn't know the price of daily necessities, whose annual tax writeoff is higher than my salary, to have any portion of my best interest at heart.

Wow! You've just described 80-90% of all federal and state politicians!

Christopher,

Are you saying Jimmy Carter was not qualified to be President of the United States?

I agreed with Maher on requiring politicians to know the price of milk. Heck, I don't notice or remember the prices of a lot of things I buy, and I'm just a middle-class shlub. (I may be an odd case though -- very bad with money.)

I was surprised that Maher thought Imus was being held to a standard of "walking on eggshells." Not totally surprised, because I know Maher was famously screwed due to a remark he had made. But at least Maher was making a point with his remark about the suicide bombers, and he wasn't slurring anyone.

Do you need to walk on eggshells to keep yourself from gratuituously blurting out "nappy headed hos"? I was reminded of a line from Carlin about cops who had been sent to sensitivity training, something like "If you need sensitivity training to not stick a broomstick up someone's ass, then maybe you shouldn't be a cop." If you have to walk on eggshells to avoid saying something as stupid as what Imus said, maybe you shouldn't be on the air.

Bill Maher: Sloppy thoughts and an inconsistent sense of comedic timing.

Anon said " In sociology as in general usage, the élite (the "elect," from French) is a relatively small dominant group within a larger society, which enjoys a privileged status which is upheld by individuals of lower social status within the structure of a group." - from wikipedia

Is it just me, or does Bill Maher have some really fascist tendencies?"

There is more than one definition of the word "elite". One of them is "elect: selected as the best; "an elect circle of artists"; "elite colleges" a group or class of persons enjoying superior intellectual or social or economic status"

Clearly Maher is referring to the definition of "superior intellectual status" as a contrast for delivering his punchlines.

Also, the definition of a hayseed is yokel: not very intelligent or interested in culture

To be a successful farmer requires intelligence. They are not hayseeds.

Maher used the term "elite" because he was responding to the ridiculous over usage of the term "liberal elite". And in terms of "economic status", it is the Republicans who cater to this class of elite.

aglee.. Well stated.. thank you.

Someone here (probably Syngas) on another thread brought up the idea of being a bully and how there are other bullies and should they all be fired, etc etc blah blah blah..

If the comment "nappy headed hos" directed at a group of young innocent athletes didn't come across as being unacceptable, I don't know what will.

Have some Americans become so accustomed to racist, sexist comments that they don't even give a damn anymore?

On the contrary Jo Ann. I asked if they should all be fired and then explained how that would constitute despotism. Calling young innocent athelets 'nappy headed hos' is unacceptable to me so I don't tune in. Sure I give a damn about racist, sexist comments - I think Imus should have been fired after people stopped listening to him, not because Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson demanded it.

I've been in the USA for 15 years now. George Bush 1 was smart and competent. Ditto Clinton. Kept the country afloat. Not extremist.

But what's happened in the past 7 years is nothing short of frightening. More like Franco's Spain than the land of the free. Wake up my fellow americans. This is important! It's america. best country in the world (copyright 1776).
we urgently need someone with a brain at the helm again. america is becoming un-american. Guantanamo bay? No thanks. Not why i came here.

when comedians are the ONLY ones speaking the truth we are in deep trouble.

Syngas, this is what you said:

Bill O'Reilly, Keith Olbermann, Rosie O'Donnell, Howard Stern, Michael Savage, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are all bullies in my opinion. Should we demand they all be fired too? Do you really want to live in a world where people are scared to share their opinions because someone may be offended? We don't have to like them but despotism is not the answer.

If everyone kept listening, then it would be okay to continue to have those hosting programs on the major networks, such as MSNBC, call young innocent girls "nappy headed hos"?

Hell, initially they were just going to have a two-week suspension. It wasn't until more people complained and advertisers started pulling their ads that the network executives changed their minds and decided to cancel Imus. It had nothing to do with people not wanting to listen anymore.

So deciding to cancel the show of some racist, sexist, bigot is despotism? I don't get what you're trying to say?

"If everyone kept listening, then it would be okay to continue to have those hosting programs on the major networks, such as MSNBC, call young innocent girls "nappy headed hos"?"

Yes. If Jackson and Sharpton had appealed to the listeners to stop listening to Imus instead of going to the network heads and making threats, I'd be cool with it.

"So deciding to cancel the show of some racist, sexist, bigot is despotism? I don't get what you're trying to say?"

I'm saying that canceling a show because you are afraid of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton is cowardly and because they intimidated the networks, Sharpton and Jackson have engaged in despotism. I'm sure the execs at MSNBC didn't want to see their offices fall victim to the same fate as Freddy's Fashion Mart.

I'm saying that canceling a show because you are afraid of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton

The people in charge are only afraid of two types of people: advertisers and shareholders.

Boo hoo for the network execs, deciding to fire someone.

If you ask me, its all business, and its their business. If they wanna fire a racist "shock jock", they can go right ahead. And the reason will probably be one of profit and PR, nothing more.

If you work for a media company, your job is to make that company money, sell advertising, so on. If you want freedom of speech, start a blog or post to YouTube or something.

Jo Ann

Do you really think that when someone complains about "liberal elite" or "hollywood elite" they're complaining about "talented and intelligent liberals" or "talented and intelligent actors in hollywood"?

By the way, I don't know if you're insinuating I'm a Republican or rightist or whatever with the last sentence of your post, but you should realize that there are left critiques of the Democratic Party as well. The political spectrum does not end with John Kerry...

Do you really think that when someone complains about "liberal elite" or "hollywood elite" they're complaining about "talented and intelligent liberals" or "talented and intelligent actors in hollywood"?

If you asked someone who complains about the "liberal elite" what they meant, they aren't going to say "they're too talented and intelligent". I suspect they'll say something about how they don't have "good old fashioned American values", or that they're not "down to earth" or "plainspoken" some such. The subtext though is that they have a nuanced view of the world; not everything is black and white, and there's more to life than one's immediate surroundings. I suspect that the people who complain about the "liberal elite" are scared by the prospect that "good" and "evil" are not so easy to define; that the world is a very complex (and ever-shrinking) place. They're worried that people with "some fancy education" who "use big words" (and speak in well constructed, coherent and organized sentences and paragraphs) might give too much thought to these complexities, endangering the narrow worldview of the person who thinks that "God is pro-American", and that protection from "evil" "heathen" Muslim terrorists is worth any price.

So at some level it is intelligence they're scared of, but mostly insofar as intelligence brings a cosmopolitan sensibility. They may point to money, but that's just a convenient scapegoat. The wealthiest Americans are Republicans. Their old pal Dubya comes from an obscenely rich background.

Whether or not "elite" is the best choice of term, and whether or not Maher is being unnecessarily incendiary for the sake of ratings, he is certainly correct that government would be vastly improved if people elected intelligent, talented politicians -- most of all those who appreciate the complexity of issues. Maybe even more so, the politicians should appoint people who are the cream of their respective crops, not one-dimensional yes men and women. It's hard to see how anyone could disagree with that, all else being equal.

Of course the elite are not immune to corruption. But wouldn't you rather have a corrupt politician who does her job than an equally corrupt politician who is not only skimming off the top but is destroying the world at the same time? Maintaining a stable democracy at home while maintaining the world's respect is not only in the country's interest, but it's in a leader's personal interest as well. It's not so much about being selfless as it is about keeping the long term in mind.

An interesting and well-constructed post, Colin...

...you elitist bastard! ;)

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That's what I get for composing a thought at 2am.

I didn't mean to imply that farmers are stupid by any means.

What I meant was that unless I were living on Norfolk Island I wouldn't expect that the guy collecting the eggs from the chickens would also be the guy leading the place.

Not that he couldn't do it well, simply that in a place with a greater population (than say Norfolk Island) there'd likely be OTHER, possibly better, choices.

An interesting and well-constructed post, Colin...

...you elitist bastard! ;)

All part of my sinister plan to put people like myself into positions of power... :-)

Well, maybe we'll have to agree to disagree. I can't say exactly what those people who use the term "liberal elite" mean by it, because I'm not really one of them. But I rather suspect that they are playing off populist sympathies to argue that liberals like John Kerry or Barbara Streisand who purport to be help the poor really have no knowledge of their situation, as they come from a profoundly different background and social class. But like I said, it's just a guess.

I don't think anyone is arguing that those running the country ought to be embarrassingly unqualified. (I will throw out though that perhaps there shouldn't be any group of people "running" the country anyway, even for only four year periods, but I'm not prepared to defend that comment here...)

I'm sure there's some of that too, but it doesn't seem to me that that's the bulk of it. John Kerry got more flak for knowing French than for being rich, far as I could tell. Because again, Bush certainly can't relate to the "plight of the working class" or whatever. Not to say people who throw around the term are sensible...

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I like cheese!!

"The bottom line, though, is that it doesn't matter who is in charge..."

You can say that with a straight face after the last six years? Into S&M any?

The people who use the terms "liberal elite" and "Hollywood elite" are usually part of an economic "elite" themselves, and they are pandering to the the vast majority of Americans who do not have the same educational and financial opportunities. There is also a gender preference/ethnic subtext, as political figures who use such terms know that their "base" may not be kindly predisposed to wealthy eggheads, gays, and Jews.

I usually like what Maher has to say, but I couldn't follow him with his comments on the elites running society. Elitism can have a nasty side, as Bush and his buddies are exclusive and proud of it, which makes them elite in a very negative sense. I would shudder to think of elites in the sense of the intellectually arrogant men I've met in college running our society, because usually such men either disdain the poor, or give the poor what they don't need. Liberals aren't going to gain back "elite". I think changing the connotation of elite from "arrogant" to "intelligent and excellent" would require a more broad-sweeping reform on both sides of the aisle.

Are you saying Jimmy Carter was not qualified to be President of the United States?

As a matter of fact, Jimmy Carter attended the US Naval Academy, graduated with a degree in nuclear engineering, and served as a Naval officer well before he became the "humble peanut farmer" from Plains, GA.

Last time I checked, Annapolis was a prime "elite" training ground.

I get it now Mat! It's alright for someone with an agricultural background to become President as long as he also went to an elite university. Is Yale elite enough?

Ummm. Are yu always this dense?

I was just pointing out that Carter wasn't exactly John Q. Dirtfarmer.

I wasn't passing judgement or claiming the superiority of "elie" educations.

Nor was I.

I liked your blog. Please don't call me names.

I can call you whatever I want. And your words and arguments are what make you seem dense.

Plus, you seem to love the attention.

So, let's tick off your traits on here:

1) Your ubiquity in EVERY comments thread; 2) Your neurotic need to "stir things up," as some knee-jerk devil's advocate on every topic Norm presents, with arguments based on deliberate disingenuity or selective perception; 3) Your neurotic need to "get the last word" when hardly anyone cared about your first word; 4) And now you're telling me what I can or cannot say.

You have all the attributes of your run-of-the-mill blog comments troll.

Normally I don't "feed the trolls," but you're such an annoying person on here that at least you should be made aware of your repugnance.

Syngas for president. Are you up to it buddy?

"The bottom line, though, is that it doesn't matter who is in charge..."

You can say that with a straight face after the last six years?

Did you even read my post? I meant, (and this should have been obvious, especially given the "elite versus hayseed" topic) "generally speaking, it doesn't matter what type of person is in charge". They are all politicians, after all.

Thanks Norm, I'll have to pass though, I went to a commuter college.

I take the Kansas comment a little personally, but I realize it supports his joke (and I don't completely disagree). Still, the one president we've had from Kansas wasn't so bad... not to mention he's quoted a lot these days on matters regarding the "military industrial complex".

What Bill means of course is that we need more elite minds in leadership roles. Not elite in terms of "class", from that perspective Bush is elite; I mean not very many people can say their father was head of the CIA and a president. That is something people tend to forget when they try to frame him as a "man of the people" out cutting brush on his ranch.

That is something people tend to forget when they try to frame him as a "man of the people" out cutting brush on his ranch.

People also tend to forget that the Bush family is filthy, filthy rich, with their fingers in many, many pies. Gotta hand it to 'em, ditching the white three-piece suits and monocles was a smart move.

hayseed isn't slang for farmer its slang for yokel or dumbass, dumbass!

^ Them sound like elitist words!

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The point isn't perfectly made, but it's pretty well made and it's a really good one. Fake populism is really another kind of elitism, but a stupid, pandering kind. Intellectuals do not have a great run in power (Kissinger, anyone?), but it shouldn't be controversial that competence does matter in government. The attitude of Bush is that ideology and partisan loyalty is the main important thing--getting it right is secondary.

The irony of Maher's argument is that we're being told this by a comedian-turned-political commentator. What's good for political appointments is apparently not good for political punditry.

I was really shocked at the stats Maher cited. 150 From Regent?

I think Bill Maher was trying to convey that we need more intellectual elitism, instead of the socio-economic elitism that currently runs the government.

I also agree with dende blogger, "The attitude of Bush is that ideology and partisan loyalty is the main important thing--getting it right is secondary."

I agreed with Maher on requiring politicians to know the price of milk www.gozino.net

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Syngas's point is well taken, but what would motivate a Master Milker, Champion Cheeser, whatever, to come off the farm and get involved with something way over their head, dropping the ball, screwing up at every turn, to the point of mass manslaughter, anyway?

Hyper-hubris to the point of delusional grandeur?

These Hick-Rube-Bumpkin-Clowns are more akin to the pseudo-teutonic Nazis with their faux-medieval German army helmets, Indo-Aryan swastikas, Iranian spread-winged Eagles, all the rest that led to the ultimate nastiness in Old Europe. Hayseeds gone wild, in Lederhosen there, in "cowboy" attire here (by the way, real cowboys, miners, Non-Mormon Westerners in general, were notoriously irreligious).

It's all phoney symbolism, marketing TO the hayseeds, the Milkers, Cheesers,etc.

Not long ago would-be preachers typically took rigorous 4-day exams, and demonstrated mastery of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, just to get into "Jesus" school. (The English translations of the Bible are abominable.) Going to a college where only one "book" is required indeed.

Also, the Jesus cannibalism goes to M.C. Rove. Twisting off animal tops is a form of religious expression!?

Maybe?

Our system of government, ruling, class, is corrupt: rotten through and through. It is time to reboot. It's high time for a revolution and a new Constitutional Convention.

Let us elect a new elite.

And do a better job this time?

Phat chance.

@ dende blogger

Yep. 150 from Regent.

The WaPo had a good article about it (pub date April 8) called "Justice's Holy Hires"

I've lived in half a dozen countries for prolonged periods of time, and I've never seen one that is as anti-intellectual as the U. S. of A. in this point in time. If you can rub a couple of neurons together, you're a damned intellectual. If you have mastered the skill of breathing through your nose, you're a snobby elitist.

The country isn't being run by hayseeds. It's being run by people who really ARE elitist, intellectual snobs -- they just know how to appeal to the retarded fucking hayseeds -- by pretending to be equally retarded hayseeds themselves.

The "He doesn't know the price of milk" thing was played out with Bushie-1 and the supermarket scanner, so the media won't be playing it all over again, anyhow.

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