It was time for a guys-only talk on Friday’s Real Time with Bill Maher, as the host welcomed a panel to discuss just what the heck was going on in a week where the Queen died, the NFL opened, and Los Angeles was so hot “it was like Death Valley with In and Out burgers.”
What it boiled down to was that guys aren’t getting enough traction on Tinder, and Top Gun: Maverick is a macho outlier in a world that is typically afraid to go there.
Panelists Scott Galloway, podcast host and author of Adrift: America in 100 Charts, and Matt Welch, editor-at-large for Reason magazine and cohost of The Fifth Column”podcast, dived into a discusson of Joe Biden’s now-infamous “Bowels of Hell” speech. Maher felt that Biden could have hit a home run by tweaking his speech slightly to embrace the foibles of his own party, as well as the MAGA people he condemned.
Welch agreed. “The way he did it was a missed opportunity,” he said, and then pondered why the Electoral Reform Act was not being discussed. “If you really believe democracy is in peril, act like it.”
“His big mistake was thinking Americans could appreciate nuance,” Maher claimed, adding, “If he had made a speech that critiqued the fringe of both sides, I think he would be in such a winning place right now.”
Things grew contentious when Welch brought up “the traits that we don’t want to see” from the MAGA side, and mentioned the election denial in the Democratic party, particularly from Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.
Maher took offense. “Republicans own that issue of election denial,” he insisted. He also mused on why the mainly macho MAGA “completely relate to this feeling of grievance” created by “a whiny little bitch.”
Welch said that was because “They don’t like the way the culture sneers at them, and he (Trump) speaks to them in their language.”
Maher launched into an imitation of guy-speak at one point, and Welch scored points when he chided Maher’s “worst impression of a man.”
Galloway brought up the fact that unstable nations have a surplus of lonely and broken men, something that this country is headed toward with young men, pointing out their absence in the work force, their isolation in the sexual market, and their overall dimming prospects. “If you’re a young man, this work from home thing is a disaster,” he said. “Young men need guardrails.” That was defined as the abilty to party during the week, but still being able to put on a clean shirt and show up in the office the next day.
Technology is no friend to the plight of young men, Maher said, saying phone culture is high up in his list of reasons for today’s problem youth.
Galloway agreed the phone was to blame for much misery. “It’s a disaster. When people don’t get together, women primarily make quick assumptions about the ability to garner resources in the future. “That means online dating is disastrous for mating and men.”
Women don’t have it much easier, Galloway said, pointing out that the practice of cutting and hospitalizations are on the rise. He noted the would rather give his daughter “a bottle of Jack and weed” than give her a phone
Exacerbating the problem is the current working from home environment and the notion of “quiet quitting,” wherein employees do the bare minimum. “The reason (Maher and panelists) have balance is that we worked our asses off,” Galloway contended.
Earlier, Maher had trumpeter/composer Wynton Marsalis on to talk about where the country is headed. Frequent traveler Marsalis always uses his car because of a fear of flying, and likened his meetings with ordinary people as a refutation of the idea that those who don’t hold the same beliefs are the enemy.
“Do I want to fight you or come together with you,” Marsalis asked. “That’s really what jazz is all about.” He talked of the notion of “sharing the space,” where in music individuals work with each other to achieve creation of something bigger than themselves. “So we go back and forth,” Marsalis said. “It’s not all fun and games. Sometimes it can get heated.”
Maher’s “New Rules” editorial questioned why film critics, who always feel most movies aren’t woke enough, are so gaga over Top Gun: Maverick, which they give a 96% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The film “makes war-mongering sexy again,” Maher said, while also extolling the use of carbon-polluting big jets and burning energy. In effect, “We’re destroying the world to protect it,” Maher said.
He pointed out that the film doesn’t get specific on who the enemy is. “That’s on purpose. The people who made this movie knew that we are too fractured to have an emeny we can all agree on.” He added that our enemy used to be Russia, and still could be, but “You couldn’t have the enemy be an Arab country. Asian would be racist. The next thing, we would be blaming China for Covid.”