Monday, February 07, 2011

Angry Arab on Bill Maher, after 9/11…

On Mondoweiss a couple of commenters were complaining about the treatment of Mona Eltahawy at the hands of Bill Maher. Some searching yielded nothing, perhaps too early days. But drilling a little deeper around ‘bill maher eltahawy egypt’ yielded something older and more unexpected: As’ad AbuKhalil’s experience on Bill Maher’s show.

Now I profess to not knowing Maher very well, except from a few funny youtube clips. But I know him now. As a swarmy slimeball, full of gratuitous racism (always beware of people that are proud to be ‘politically incorrect’), playing his zombie audience like a fiddle. Here’s just part II of the show, for your delectation. It shows how the Americans started off after 9/11 and how they never really changed direction.

All other parts of the recording are at the bottom of the link above.

And here’s As’ad’s own account of the ‘Maher experience’:

Back in 2001, only weeks after Sep. 11, I was invited to appear on the show that Bill Maher hosted on ABC called Politically Incorrect. It was during a time where I felt that views that were critical of the US were being obscured, maligned, marginalized, and disregarded. I of course accepted the invitation. I was speaking in Merced College the night before, and Maher sent me his limo driver to pick me up and drive me down to LA. They taped the show days in advance. I sat in the green room and then we were ready for the show. The show was supposed to deal with several segments dealing with different issues (including abortion and another topic that I don't remember). I did not know any of the other guests but I recognized Jean Sassoon because she wrote trashy books including one that was particularly trashy called Princess (which I am told was serialized in some tabloids). Sassoon approached me to tell me that she likes Arab men because they are "the best lovers" although she added that she did not want her American boyfriend (or husband) to hear her. I was in a very angry mood politically, and if you remember those days after Sep. 11 you would understand. So we started the show: Maher came before the show and briefly introduced himself and we were told that we have three different segments covering three different topics. And when the show started and then you can see the first segment. During the first commercial break, the producer came to whisper to Maher and then came to me and said that they have decided to cancel the other two topics and that I can proceed with my delivery and that it was good for the show, or words for that effect. Of course, talking about the Middle East is what I do, so I relished the opportunity. And then the show went on. During the break, the "comedic" actor to my right, kept asking me why am I in the US, if I was that critical of the US. And I kept telling him: you call yourself a liberal, and you pose that question to me? Would you ask that question if I were of German background? Because while he would say that, he would add that he was a liberal as if that would excuse or justify his bigotry. In the last commercial break, while the actor was asking me again, I finally said: I give up. I shall answer you. I stay in the US because of my deep love for Chicken McNuggets. And when the show restarts you hear Maher saying: Chicken McNuggets? So now you know that reference. During one commercial break, Maher said to me: I bet you are one of those who don't like Israel. I said: you bet right, I don't like Israel one bit. When the show ended, Maher approached me and said: look, I know that you don't like me, but I would like to have you on my show again. I said sure. But his show was cancelled shortly after (although he had me on his HBO show twice through satellite). Sassoon approached me after the show (despite our contentious encounter during the program) and asked to have her picture taken with me. I obliged although I squirmed when she put her hand on my shoulder. So if you see a picture of me with Sasoon that is the story. I never usually accept the tape or DVD that media firms give you after a show, but this time I accepted the tape because my students asked me. And then Maria (my 2nd ex-wife) asked for the tape and I thought that she still has it because I could never find it when people would ask me. Tonight, former student Peter, wrote me to and said that I gave him that tape and that he is going to put on Youtube, and he did. So here it is in full:


At 9:21 PM, Blogger Emmanuel said...

You know Bill Maher from watching just one episode of his show, and not just any episode - one that aired nine years ago, when 9/11 was still a fresh wound? Come on, you need to see more of him to know what kind of guy he is.

I like Bill Maher, although I don't agree with everything he says. He definitely isn't a racist. I think you'd agree with most of his views, though not about the Middle East.

He was kind of rude to Mona Eltahawy, but he asked relevant questions.

At 10:28 PM, Blogger Gert said...

This whole episode stank of racism. Bill’s views on Al Jazeera are (or were) that of a Neanderthal. I don’t like him anymore. NEXT!


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