Thursday, December 8, 2011

"The New New Rules: A funny look at how everybody but me has their head up their ass" by Mill Maher

You have to say one thing for Bill Maher: the man speaks his mind and makes no apologies for doing so.

If you're not familiar with the sometimes-caustic, liberal host of HBO's Real Time, then you most likely picked up this book by mistake. I used to watch Maher when his show was still on "regular" television, before he spoke up about something, got everyone's panties in a twist, and had to go back to HBO. Yes, that should tell you something right there: he used to be on cable, moved to late-night TV, then went back to cable. Maher's guests were always an interesting bunch. I can remember one show that included Marilyn Manson, Florence Henderson, and two other guests. I don't remember who the other two were, but I do remember that one of them was a religious nut-job, and I say that in the nicest way possible. It was quite a sight to see Manson sitting there calmly trying to debate said nut-job and Mrs. Brady had to be the one to tell this lady to please be quiet and let the young man have a chance to speak. Surreal!

Anyway, Maher covers most of the same ground he did in his previous book and on his show. In fact, he admits in the foreword that the longer, more "philosophical" pieces are basically straight from the show, although not all made it to air. The short musings are funnier, in my humble opinion, and they are definitely short. This is the sort of book that you can pick up and digest little nuggets, akin to the evil McDonald's Chicken Nuggets that Maher likes to make you feel bad about eating.

Prime example (and one near & dear to my heart, as I am now a rebel at the ripe old age of almost 44!)
Tat Patrol: Now that everyone has a tattoo, it will now be considered rebellious to not have a tattoo. Seriously. I think the Jonas Brothers have tattoos now. I'm sure Mitt Romney is all inked up. Betty White has one across her back that says "F**k the Police" - that I know for sure.

Now, as funny as I found a lot of Maher's musings, I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed with him at times, too. He's turned into the "super-left" guy, just as Dennis Miller has turned into the "super-right", and I find that sad. Yes, the Republicans have screwed up things in this country - but so have the Democrats. Yes, there should be higher taxes to help get us out of the national debt, and definitely yes, corporations that manage to pay absolutely no taxes each and every year need to be stopped. But the Democrats went mad with power when they were in the majority, and rather than trying to help the country a little, they "helped" us a lot - and a lot of us really didn't deserve such help. I am all for lending a helping hand, but I grew a bit tired of watching the Democrats give us all handouts. I do agree with Maher when he asks what has happened to us as a country; he feels that we've become too accustomed to sitting around and waiting for the government to "save us". Well, guess what folks? Congress is nothing more right now than a huge daycare full of 2-year-olds that need a nap and refuse to agree on anything. It's going to be up to us, the citizens, to pull ourselves out of this mess - and that won't happen if we're squalling right along with the Big Boys.

All in all, a fun read. But I do wish we'd see a little more "middle" humor from our comedians, because I truly believe that's where most Americans stand - in the middle.

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