Newsweek loves Bill Maher -- so much that the utter incongruity of driving your $120,000 all-electric Tesla roadster to rally the “99 percent” in Los Angeles doesn’t collapse upon itself in their saccharine narrative.
Lloyd Grove began his tribute: “In many ways, Bill Maher is a testament to the enduring power of the American Dream.” This is also a ghastly clash, since Maher routinely scorns America as a nation packed with idiots.
But apparently, the Occupy L.A. folks are some of the smartest politicos out there:
“The most important thing is what you’re doing—so keep doing it,” Maher tells the crowd. “It sends a real message that people are in the streets because it’s the only other way to get your voice heard if you don’t play the game the way it’s been played, with lobbyists and congressmen who are too influenced by corporate money.”
To whoops and applause, he adds: “Don’t let them convince you to come inside and put on a suit and hire a lobbyist. That’s how you lose. This is how you win.”
Meanwhile, Maher lives in the lap of luxury, courtesy of HBO:
In his comic sensibility, Maher is the natural successor to the hilariously transgressive George Carlin as well as Lenny Bruce and Mort Sahl, the truth-to-power speakers of the 1950s and 1960s. But he lives like a Reagan Republican in a shining city on a hill—actually a large estate in a rarefied aerie of Beverly Hills. He purchased part of it from his next-door neighbor, Ben Affleck, after the movie star’s fiancée at the time, Jennifer Lopez, urged him to unload his bachelor pad so they could live together in more appropriate digs. “He sold that beautiful piece of land and I was lucky enough to buy it,” Maher says, adding that the main house burned down when Drew Barrymore owned it, but it came with a small guest house and a basketball court. “It never went on the market, and it wasn’t really all that expensive.”
The irony of his situation is not lost on Maher, the professional ironist, as he mingles with the huddled masses at Occupy L.A. And when a disheveled protester asks him if he’d buy some socks for the tent dwellers, Maher immediately says yes.
“How about dry socks?” prompts the Latino man who wants him to run for office.
“Of course,” Maher answers. “What—I’m gonna send you wet, moldy socks? What kind of schmuck do you think I am?”
The next day, Maher sends more than 100 pairs.
That's how the article ends: Maher the Sock Softie. But Newsweek also felt compelled to feature a collection of nasty Maherisms in big gray type for the "real America" to choke on, under the simple heading RANTS, including:
On religion: "Plan fact is, religion must die for mankind to live. The hour is getting very late to be able to indulge in having key decisions made by religious people. By irrationalists. By those who would steer the ship of state not by a compass, but by the equivalent of reading the entrails of a chicken."
On the Tea Party: Now I want you teabaggers out there to understand one thing. while you idolize the Founding Fathers and dress up like them and smell like them, I think it's pretty clear that the Founding Fathers would've hated your guts."
On Sarah Palin: "When I point out that Sarah Palin is a vainglorious braggart, a liar, a whiner, a bully who sells patriotism like a pimp, and the leader of a family of inbred weirdos straight out of The Hills Have Eyes, that's not sexist. I'm saying it because it's true, not because it's true of a woman."
Don't think Newsweek didn't enjoy emphasizing those talking points.