For the benefit of anyone who cares, I'd just like to take a minute and point out the fact that I've given up on "Real Time With Bill Maher," and at this point, I don't think that I'll ever go back to the show.
I'm saying this partly for the benefit of the people who work for agencies and promote the show to one degree or another who have been nice enough to contact me and let me know that some downloadable material related to the show is available to me at such and such a location or whatever. After all, it would be of mutual benefit if I stuck in a plug for the show (though I'm quite sure Maher gets a much larger audience than I do).
But the thing with Christopher Hitchens giving the audience the finger twice during the first show a few weeks ago without a word of rebuke from Maher (as well as Hitchens' overall combative behavior) just got to me. And at the end, I'm sure the applause lights came on in the HBO studio when Maher finished up and people responded in kind to Hitchens and the other panelists, though with all due respect to the others (including the great Max Cleland), I simply would have gotten up and left the studio at an opportune time, probably extending the same gesture towards Hitchens also.
And yes, I did contact HBO about it, posting a message with links to both of my prior posts. And I received no response. And I took a look around the "Real Time" site at HBO and I couldn't find any acknowledgement or apology from anyone.
Well, when someone is abusive to me (and yes, though I wasn't in the audience, I considered the gestures of Hitchens to be directed towards me personally), I either respond in kind or I get out of there. And at this point, I'm taking the latter route.
Besides, I honestly don't think I can stand to listen to another person in this universe proclaim that George W. Bush is actually a smart person, but he's just misunderstood by people like me who like to believe he's stupid (which apparently recent guest reporter David Gregory did - kind of surprising since Gregory has tangled effectively with Bushco and Tony Snow lately). I said awhile back that Bush is certainly cagey in the ways of the world to worm himself into all of the business ventures that either blew up on him or he walked away from, and with the benefit of his name to trade on, he found himself in the presence of influential people who helped to put him where (God help us) he is today.
But don't you DARE try to make a case for me that George W. Bush is anything other than what he is, and that is a serendipitous frat boy who more or less resembles Forrest Gump in many ways had he grown up under the tutelage of William F. Buckley (and it doesn't make he happy to say that because I like that movie). I also find no humor in anything related to this man any more. He has left absolutely nothing but ruin in his wake, and until he finally leaves office by one means or another, I expect nothing but that from him. Ha ha ha...
It's a shame that I feel this way I guess, because Maher is genuinely funny. And I'm not unsympathetic to the fact that he has a fine line to walk between politics and entertainment, and I can take criticism aimed at liberals (hey, I came back to the show after enduring Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Coulter, didn't I?). But the Hitchens stuff was going too far; I had some other issues with that first show that, though annoying, weren't "show stoppers" that would make me avoid "Real Time" entirely, though (for example, no mention at all of the Ned Lamont win, and Maher's interview with Markos Moulitsas that made it obvious that Maher had never even been to The Daily Kos).
So there, I've spoken my peace on that subject. If you decide to watch the show, I hope you have fun. But count me out.