Gateway to Hell

No Time For Hateful Public Figures

Bill Maher has kindly reminded us that we have no time for hateful public figures. Friday he held forth with a hateful diatribe about fat people on his HBO platform. He says we need more fat shaming. According to him, the answer to obesity is to shame people into having smaller bodies. With talk about “gluttonous slobs,” he proposed shaming people into better health. “Shame is the first step to reform,” he said.

Making a Brand Out of Hate

This is nothing new. Maher’s rhetoric is ignorant and unoriginal. It’s not funny, either. All it amounts to is an expression of hate for people who look different from him. And he has a long history of saying such things. It’s what he stands for – “political incorrectness.” That’s a convenient label for hateful monologues.

But it sells advertising because it’s great clickbait. It’s a modern evolution of P.T. Barnum’s ethic: “I don’t care what the newspapers say about me as long as they spell my name right.”

Maher has indulged in racist jokes using the n-word to titillate his audience. He’s been making lame fat jokes for years. It fits perfectly with an age where demeaning the others in our midst wins notoriety. And a dubious following.

Shame Doesn’t Cure Chronic Diseases

As much as Maher’s words are hateful, they are also ignorant. Like CRUK’s recent campaign, he equates obesity (a disease) with smoking (a behavior). These two things are not alike. And shame doesn’t cure obesity any more than it cures cancer or leprosy.

What shame does is hurt people. It hurts their health. It leaves little children with deep wounds that take a lifetime to heal – all because their bodies don’t regulate the storage of energy as fat correctly. At least 70 percent of a person’s risk of obesity comes from heredity. It’s neither a choice nor the product of sinful gluttony. It’s a problem of physiology.

Hateful Public Figures Don’t Care

But Maher understands none of this. He doesn’t care. Obesity isn’t his problem. He’ll die from other problems. All he knows is that he has a platform on HBO and he’s found a market for hateful rhetoric.

Just as we have no time for other hateful public figures, we have no time for him. And if other people are as smart and kind and good as we know they can be, the market for his hateful brand will dry up. HBO will realize that they are tarnishing their own brand by unleashing him on the world.

Click here for more on Maher’s long history of fat shaming. But you won’t find us sharing links to his clips. We’re done with his hateful brand.

Gateway to Hell, drawing by Alfred Kubin / WikiArt

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Month #, 2019

5 Responses to “No Time For Hateful Public Figures”

  1. September 10, 2019 at 6:40 am, Mary-Jo said:

    I saw what he said about Americans eating poorly, but not his awful fat shaming remark. I’ve never paid attention to him because he comes across as angry and bitter and constantly takes cheap shots for laughs, but this is unacceptable! Can we contact the network?

    • September 10, 2019 at 7:33 am, Ted said:

      Yes! HBO should not be providing a platform for hate and lies.

  2. September 10, 2019 at 7:24 pm, Michael said:

    Maher and HBO are producing a product that makes them money. They will only stop producing it when demand falls enough. We all need to take some responsibility for influencing our little slice of the larger community’s demand for their nonsense.

    • September 11, 2019 at 4:55 am, Ted said:

      You certainly have a point, But in the short term, business ethics are not profitable. So a business has to decide if it will behave ethically. This coin has two sides.

  3. September 14, 2019 at 10:00 pm, Joe Gitchell said:

    Ted – if you’ve not seen this response to Maher from James Corden, it is worth the 7 minutes and 45 seconds: