This is a four year old post that came from my previous sonic nurse blog on eblogger. It needs work but the approach is interesting. Thought I’d repost it.
I suppose I’ve gone back and forth on my opinion about stand up comedian and talk show host Bill Maher. In the past, I’ve appreciated his balls to the walls honesty. I’ve also, on a gut level– on a compassionate and empathetic-towards- other humans-level… been rubbed the complete wrong way. Recently, someone posted a condensed little packet of Bill Maher statements on their facebook that I hadn’t heard….Bill, ever discontented with things that make others in mass numbers happy, addresses fans of ‘milkshake’ like coffees, the Harry Potter series and Batman movies as high and on drugs:
“….well, we think Harry Potter is literature, and Batman movies are profound meditations on the human condition.. our morning coffee has become a milkshake with whipped cream… Yes. America IS on drugs… if you don’t think America is on drugs, you must be high.”
Sadly many people wear his quotes like these, as they would girl scout badges of courage, or zip themselves into his thoughtless diatribe as they would zip themselves into a proud, but poorly constructed halloween costume.
It’s funny. The faces of those–the Americans in my world who are on drugs by default in the world according to Bill are not limited to but widely represented as these:
The doctor, fluent in 3 languages other than his own, never misses an opportunity to teach–whether on complicated diagnoses or simple discharge instructions, his soft spoken approach eases most who encounter him…. Same doctor who strides in with head phones and a motorcycle helmet shyly offers a smile to anyone who looks his way. Same doctor works the grueling overnight shift so that he can stay home during the day and take care of his daughter with autism. Who, in his downtime has devotedly read, among others, the Harry Potter series. I ask Bill Maher, what drug is this American on?
Or my friend the Air Force veteran. Pulling bodies from the pentagon in the days after 9/11 was his first tour of duty. Same veteran despite the burnt and skewed horrors that have passed in front of his eyes attempts to approach the world with more optimism than bitterness. Same vet juggles waiting tables with going to school on the GI bill to be a history teacher. This vet gorges himself on all genres: anthropological, sociological, historical, auto-biographical, biographical, and yes, even the Harry Potter-ical…. I ask Bill Maher, what drug this American on?
Can’t forget countless fellow nurses who also work the grueling nightshift. These fellow nurses and care assistants work their asses off–offering healing hands and honest words of comfort to other people’s children. These same nurses and care assistants rally together around their friends who have fallen, both in a literal and figurative sense. These same nurses and care assistants wipe up every single body fluid known to man, because it has to be done and they don’t complain. They go home to families, some as single parents, some as single people…. all hard working, honest, and sincere. And before they come back and do it all over again, guess what they afford themselves? A sweetened, maybe frozen, maybe even very-much- like-a-milkshake-coffee drink for their drive to work. I ask Bill Maher, what drug are these Americans on?
Oh, and lets not forget the teenagers and twenty somethings who, never feeling connected to the musty required reading lists of junior high and high school picked up the first Harry Potter book and read him all the way through to book seven… These teens and twenty somethings were also fiery comic book fans– devoted readers not just for the blazing artwork but for the quick witted and subtle social commentary. These same teens and twenty somethings are now avid readers and writers. Active and pro-active action takers with avid minds. Organizing rallies and attending to social injustices with a brightly burning fire unique to our youngest adults… I ask Bill Maher, what drugs are these young Americans on?
And the millions of people, like the millions of people in decades past, who can use their minds–who can critically think and sift through the plights of comic book heros and their nemesises to spot subtle social commentary, subtle reflections of the days at hand–of the human condition. Reflections that comic book writers have been incorporating since the very first Superman…. I ask Bill Maher, what drugs are these millions of Americans on?
And finally, the man with a bachelors degree in History. The man who, out of the ashes of a luke warm acting and writing career–out of the ashes of a couple of cancelled talk shows–out of the ashes of making hurtful, racial comments –of comments regarding the similarities between dogs and ‘retarded children’–out of all of these smudgy, judgey and self absorbed ashes, this man rises like a phoenix. Rises like a phoenix into glorious enlightenment on the motivation of millions and millions of human minds….. Rises into self congratulatory, omnipotent status…. I implore Bill Maher, what delusional drug are you on?