The Redneck Bigotry Of Bill Maher
Posted on 03.20.12 by Danny Glover @ 1:19 pm

“They can’t see past their prejudices.” That’s what misogynistic, hate-spewing and hypocritical HBO talker Bill Maher said right after airing this prejudicial portrayal of Mississippi voters:

Slate’s Dave Weigel is right that it’s fair game to expose “stupid voters” for what they are by accurately reporting what they say and believe. Video producer John Ziegler did a great job of exposing the civics ignorance of Barack Obama voters on Election Day 2008 in his brilliant short video “How Obama Got Elected.”

But the video on Maher’s show revived the same predictable redneck-bashing stereotypes that liberal elites have embraced for decades to malign people who don’t think like they do. You knew the video was going to be bad because Maher tried to rebut the inevitable outcry of Mississippians, other “real Americans in the South” and their conservative brethren before his producers even hit the play button.

“She did not cherry-pick these people,” he insisted of video producer Alexandra Pelosi, the daughter of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. “… We are not making fun of anybody. She did not seek out people who look like what some people would say rednecks [look like].

Maher repeated that defense after the video aired — “[Pelosi] said she cut out 20 people who also did not have teeth” — but the disingenuousness of that claim became apparent as he, his guests and the audience laughed about the physical appearance of the people featured in and cut out of the video. The video was so obviously designed to perpetuate a myth about toothless, ignorant redneck voters in the South that even liberals are criticizing it.

“I’m as liberal as they come, but this video is sort of embarrassing,” one YouTube commenter said. “Yes, there are rednecks, but come on, this is like something out of “Deliverance” — and by Nancy Pelosi’s daughter! That’s like Newt Gingrich’s daughter going to a black neighborhood and showing black caricatures.”

Ta-Nehisi Coates of The Atlantic (the parent company of one of my former employers) said the video is a classic example of “The Liberal Sneer” that “oozes condescension. The violins, the camera angles, etc., all portray a snarky ‘laughing at you, not with you’ style of humor.”

Readers of Andrew Sullivan, a former blogger for The Atlantic, also took exception to the bigotry in the video:

  • “This video is PRECISELY the sort of condescending, self-congratulating, tautological garbage that fuels the stereotype of the mainstream media as a band of snotty elitists who sneer at everything that resides outside the Beltway, [New York City], Hollywood or San Francisco.”
  • “It’s prejudice porn. Viewers … see their every bias confirmed, from the production, with the banjo music serving as a screaming dog whistle declaring ‘THESE ARE REDNECKS, THEY’RE DUMB,’ to the silly beliefs that maybe voting Republican will work this time.”
  • “Even liberal Southerners like myself feel resentment on seeing stuff like this.”

Oblivious to the fact that two wrongs (in this case by the same two people) don’t make a right, Pelosi and Maher tried to justify their bigoted attack on rural, Southern rednecks by producing a video that made fun of urban, Northern blacks. Coates called them out on that phony attempt at objectivity.

“If your work doesn’t actually acknowledge people as full human beings, there’s no real reason — short of naked racism — why you wouldn’t deploy the white toothless hoarder as a weapon with the same zeal that you would deploy the black layabouts and drag-behind.”

Maher and Pelosi apparently believe that being an equal-opportunity bigot is a virtue, but it’s a despicable vice. They deserve the scorn of Americans across the political spectrum.

Filed under: Culture and Hatin' On Rednecks and News & Politics and People and Rednecks and Religion and Video and West Virginia


  1. [...] I have never watched Maher, don’t care to and I’ve never had any desire to post about him. Much like Rush Limbaugh, it’s all about ratings. However, I’ll make an exception and link to this interesting post by Danny Glover at Enlightened Redneck: [...]

    Pingback by ‘The Redneck Bigotry Of Bill Maher’ | No Silence Here — March 20, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

  2. [...] They cant see past their prejudices. [...]

    Pingback by SayUncle » Quote of the day — March 21, 2012 @ 10:30 am

  3. No American has ever died defending socialism. All we need is for the U.S. Government to get back to the U.S. Constitution and away from professional politicians.

    Comment by John Garrity — May 29, 2012 @ 6:46 pm

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    Pingback by The Enlightened Redneck » The Travesty That Is ‘Buckwild’ — December 7, 2012 @ 6:26 pm

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