Michael Moore defends Bill Maher: "Comedy is and should be a dangerous business"

Moore explains why he thinks liberals are so offended when Maher disses Islam

Published November 10, 2014 2:46PM (EST)

  (AP/Evan Agostini)
(AP/Evan Agostini)

On Sunday evening (or more like early Monday morning), controversial documentary filmmaker Michael Moore posted an open letter on his Facebook page defending Bill Maher, calling him "a friend of mine." Moore praised Maher for his dedication to exposing the truth about Christian conservatism, refusing to give in to post-9/11 fear-mongering and for condemning the Iraq War, even when it was unpopular to do so.

The real point of the letter was to address the widespread criticism Maher has received for his recent comments on Islam, which many have interpreted as bigoted and threatening.

Maher is generally praised for his dedication to speaking truth to power, Moore writes. That is, until he addresses Islam. "Why is that? Because when he bravely ridicules and attacks Christian assassins of abortion doctors who cite the Bible as justification for their evil acts, we heartily applaud him. But when he mercilessly stomps on Islamic assassins who cite the Koran, we grow uneasy.. Why the switch on our part? Is it because Bill doesn't just stop with the Islamic assassins -- he thinks anyone who follows the Koran is a bit nuts? Or the Bible or the Talmud or the... you name it. He thinks it's all coo coo for cocoa puffs."

Moore thinks he knows why liberals are so uncomfortable with Maher's brand of humor:

1. We have witnessed, since 9/11, Arabs and Muslins in this country undergoing huge amounts of prejudice, bigotry and sometimes outright violence. This sickens us (as I know it does Bill). So we are extra sensitive to what sounds like, as it goes through the liberal filter in our ears, any "anti-Arab" comments. We don't want to hear anything even remotely anti-Muslim. But we have to be careful that this doesn't stop us from listening to legitimate criticisms about things that go on in the Muslim world. I just think that, due to our illegal actions (invasions) of the past decade, our government lacks any moral authority on this and should be forbidden from any attempts to "fix" those problems.

2. Liberals are intensely fed up with these two wars against mostly Muslim populations (not to mention the indiscriminate drone strikes on at least four other nations). And now the party that won the elections last Tuesday would like a war with Iran. An ignorant American public was manipulated with fear and lies to start and maintain the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars -- and that manipulation continues today in order to justify things like the mass spying by the NSA on our entire citizenry...

So we liberals don't want to hear another word about an "Islamic threat" or some non-existent Iranian nukes or... or whatever! We know we're being set up to get behind another war effort, another arms race, another diversion intended to make the point-one-percenters even filthier rich -- and the rest of us distracted with false fears and hatreds.

"Comedy is and should be a dangerous business," Moore continues. "But in order to encourage them to take those chances, we have to give them some leeway, give them a break when, in our mind, they've crossed that line."

By Joanna Rothkopf

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Bill Maher Islam Liberalism Michael Moore Open Letter