Entertainment & Arts

Bill Maher’s ‘Real Time’ Addresses Issues, But Avoids Asking Certain Uncomfortable Questions

It was the next-to-last show of the season Friday for Bill Maher’s Real Time on HBO. So It was a moment for the host to ponder some of the supply chain issues and other big questions confronting US society, which some – including Maher – believe threaten life as we know it in this country.

So who better to bring on than multimillionaire entrepreneur Kevin O’Leary, aka “Mr. Wonderful” from ABC-TV’s Shark Tank, to talk about a world where the women of Only Fans are now accepting canned goods, thanks to supply chain issues, as Maher joked.

Why, asked Maher, are supply chain issues a problem when the stock market is booming and unemployment is low?.

O’Leary said he confronts the problem of supply chain blockages every day “We’re having major problems,” he said, blaming countries that have struggled to recover from the pandemic. “They’re keeping supplies low and factories shut down,” he said.

Still, he remains optimistic. Hard assets like housing, automobiles and the like “have exploded to the upside,” he said, adding that there’s a boom in digital jobs and that a huge transition in the workforce is occurring, now that there’s proof that telecommuting can work.

“They’re never coming back (to the office)” O’Leary said of a certain sector of workers. “They have proven to everybody that they can use technology to do their job. They want to stay at home and raise their kids, take care of elderly parents.”

After O’Leary, Maher brought out media personality and now the head of KBLA talk radio Tavis Smiley, and California Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff, author of the new book Midnight in Washington. They joined for a discussion that largely pointed fingers at Republicans for the nation’s ills.

Neither guest was asked about or challenged on their own personal foibles, including Smiley’s PBS firing for sexual misconduct or Schiff’s role in promoting the now-discredited dossier that led to the Russian collusion investigations that drained the country over the last few years.

Instead, the discussion circled around a familiar Maher theme: That the Jan. 6 uprising was only the harbinger of a much-worse situation brewing for 2025. That’s when any alleged manipulations of the popular vote will create political chaos leading to violence, Maher contends.

Schiff called his current Jan. 6 investigation “an early test of whether our democracy was recovering.
He added, “We now have a Justice Department that believes no one is above the law.” That, he hinted, will eventually lead the probe up the food chain to Donald Trump. “There’s a lot we don’t know about what the president was doing or not doing” on Jan. 6, Schiff said.

Smiley was in full agreement, but tried to make the argument that “white privilege” led people to walk into the Capitol. He called for swift and speedy punishments to be meted out on the basis of “The longer it takes, the more you lose the respect of the American people.”

Smiley later talked about a vague notion of “voter suppression” in the 2022 and 2024 elections, noting that “people are determined to win by any means necessary,” calling such alleged actions “society run amuck.” The culprits responsible for Camp Runamuck are politicians, the American people, and the mainstream media, all sharing blame in Smiley’s worldview.

The panelists later called for an end to trial lawyers not be allowed to take preemptory challenges to exclude jurors who may harbor secret prejudices. All were in agreement that this was a good thing, ignoring jury nullification possibilities.

Maher closed his show by attacking Facebook’s plans for a Metaverse, a digital artificial reality wherein users can interact, play games, even attend concerts. He showed a clip wherein two friends were joined by a giraffe at the show, “and the giraffe had better seats,” Maher joked.

Maher made the age-old argument that new technology – like radio, television, and rock ‘n roll once were demonized – would lead to increasing social isolation by the nation’s youth, Maher lamented that the Metaverse could provide one more excuse for young incels to stay glued to the couch and avoid the opposite sex.

“It’s a toxic culture of digital eunuchs,” Maher declared. “The Metaverse will make it worse. The more time you spend in the digital world, the more you suck at engaging in the real world.” This leads to “men with no game immersing themselves in games and other substitutes for female companionship. You want to be a hero? Rise from the couch. Talk to a girl. Be a hero to women.”

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