When Bill Maher hosted Politically Incorrect, I was young and didn’t care much about politics. I was basically oblivious when he was fired for his remarks regarding the 9/11 hijackers. I didn’t really stand up and pay attention to him until I simultaneously started
downloading watching Real Time with Bill Maher and read his book, When You Ride Alone, You Ride with Bin Laden.
Because his subject matter is so topical, and his show is less opening monologue and more panel discussion, it’s easy to lose sight of when Bill Maher is a satirist (polemicist, really) and when he’s a columnist of sorts. His previous book was more of the latter and less of the former. This new one is very much the latter. While it is still topical, and it consists solely of short blurbs á la the “New Rules” segment of his show, which are digestible little one liners with puns for titles. It’s a bit like if Jerry Seinfeld got a bug up his ass about government. “And what’s the deal with Pat Robertson? What a fucker!”
For those not aware of Bill Maher’s political orientation, he is a self-described libertarian; from this, he’s a social liberal and political conservative by default (for example, he’s for gay marriage and also for racial profiling). You might gather that he’s critical of the Bush administration, which is definitely not socially liberal but surprisingly not very politically conservative, either. While there are plenty of jibes against current administration muckity mucks, the book targets a wide variety of things, from Tom & Katie to fast food and American obesity in general.
So, it’s quite funny, but very brief. Here’s one “New Rule” listed in its entirety.
News organizations have to stop using the phrase, “We go beyond the headlines.” That’s your job, dummy. You don’t see American Airlines saying, “We land our jets on the runway!”
I finished it in a sparse hour, and recognized many tidbits that were either already from the show, or were used in his recent standup comedy performance, I’m Swiss. Still, it’s a pretty funny hour, probably moreso if you get the audiobook version (which I assume is performed by the author).