- CRITTER TALK
- NEWS I FIND INTERESTING
What’s up with Jay Leno’s studio audience?
Bill Maher was on the Tonight Show last night and eventually The Chin asked for Maher’s thoughts on the violent rhetoric in U.S. politics. Maher said the go-to rhetoric for many Republicans is along the lines of “Wouldn’t it be fun to kill people we disagree with?” There was an audible murmur of disagreement in the audience. Well, actually, more than a murmur.
To which Maher reponded: “Really, then, do you read?” And then he laid out some facts and a little opinion for the crowd to ponder. Here’s some of what he said:
“Have you seen what people have said? Have you seen what Sarah Palin says? You know, she talks about ‘Don’t retreat, reload.’ She says it like a pull toy that’s broken, every five minutes she says this.
“Michelle Bachmann says she wants Minnesotans armed and dangerous. Allen West, a new Congressman, said he wants his opponent to be afraid to leave the house.
“Left-wingers don’t talk that way. And also, left-wingers, even if they do sometimes make a gun analogy or something, their audience isn’t hysterical.
“They’re already talking, the right-wingers, to audiences who are hysterical, who are irrational, and are highly armed to begin with.
“Newt Gingrich … said the Obama administration is as much a threat to us as were the Nazis and the Soviet Union.
“Now … when you characterize the opposition, the political opposition, as not just the opposition but the enemy – the Soviet Union and the Nazis were our enemies – of course you’re going to have borderline people who go and take this over the line.
“So stop telling me that the left and the right are both crazy. Yes, there are crazies on the left, but they’re not the same – they’re not gun crazy, they’re not violent crazy …
“Who’s part of the militias? When you hear the phrase ‘armed compound in a secluded rural area,’ what is that – a bunch of Democrats? Is that Denis Kucinich out there?”
It would be easy to explain the audience reaction by saying Leno’s crowd is more conservative than your average Californian, and there may even be truth to that. But really, I think their reaction reflects a more general zeitgeist of denial. Many U.S. citizens are doing their darndest to avoid confronting uncomfortable truths about their political culture.