A rather surprising thing happened on HBO's "Real Time" Friday evening.
Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi, the daughter of the former Speaker of the House, scolded host Bill Maher for spending the first half of his show "dissing America" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
BILL MAHER, HOST: But right now she is a filmmaker whose seventh documentary “Citizen USA: A 50 State Road” and its companion book debuts July 4th on HBO. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Raise your right hand and repeat after me. “I hereby declare my oath…”
UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: I hereby declare my oath.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: For long, long time I wait for this day.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: This is greatest day of my life.
UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: I love America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MAHER: Please welcome Alexandra Pelosi.
ALEXANDRA PELOSI, FILMMAKER: Thank you.
MAHER: How are you doing? You didn’t think you’d be following the President of the United States, did you?
PELOSI: Well, I came to the show because after you spent the first half dissing America, I came to tell you how the American dream has people in every other country all over the world still wanting to come here to live here.
Absolutely delicious. Brava!
For a little background, here's what Pelosi's new documentary is about:
Each year, nearly one million people from more than 150 countries become American citizens.á Who are these new Americans, and why do they want to live here?
Inspired by her husband's desire to become an American, Emmy«-winning filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi (HBO's "Journeys with George") attends naturalization ceremonies across all 50 states and meets brand-new citizens to learn why they chose America as their home.The uplifting, thought-provoking documentary CITIZEN U.S.A.: A 50 STATE ROAD TRIP reveals what she discovered. [...]
CITIZEN U.S.A.: A 50 STATE ROAD TRIP opens with the swearing-in ceremony of filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi's Dutch-born husband, Michiel Vos. After the couple's children were born, Pelosi remembers him saying, "I can't be a foreigner in my own family." Her husband's example inspired Pelosi to embark on the road trip "to experience the moment new citizens take their oath, to find out why so many people are willing to renounce their birth country and swear allegiance to the United States of America."
Pretty cool stuff regardless of her liberal leaning, wouldn't you agree?
With this in mind, after Pelosi enumerated to Maher some of the things that are fabulous about our country, he tried without success to get his audience to chant “USA, USA”:
PELOSI: There are a lot of things we take for granted in this country.
MAHER: USA. USA.
MAHER AND PELOSI: USA USA.
PELOSI: USA, USA. Come on. Oh, come on, guys.
MAHER: I know, I know.
PELOSI: They can’t go for USA. They can go for four more years but they can't go for USA.
For the last 30 plus minutes – as well as for roughly 60 minutes in all previous “Real Time” installments – they’re told by the host and most of his guests how awful this country is.
Why would they consider his sudden bout of patriotism either genuine or something to emulate?