New rule: You can't make an It Gets Better video if you are a bully.
Here's Bill Maher complaining about being bullied:
The man in that video who thinks it's so terrible to be bullied as a kid, who complains about certain people not knowing how to "be good" (only young people, naturally, since people Bill Maher's age can never be mean) got a lot of attention for repeatedly throwing fat hatred at the Tea Party a couple years ago (and he's still doing it). His routine was not the normal, base-level "fat people are icky" stuff that we've become inured to, but bizarrely raw hatred that was obviously intended to be mean-spirited.
I could go on. Maher's comedy is often about insulting others. Since a lot of it isn't even funny, one can only come to the conclusion that he does it for the thrill he and the audience get from meanness, not the laughs.
Bill Maher taking a stand against bullying is about as ridiculous as Dick Cheney taking a stand against torture. He's the bully on the TV showing other people that it's okay to be a bully. We wonder why we have a culture that says that it's okay to hurt others to make yourself feel better, and part of that is because of people like Maher.
If anything, his video is enlightening because it shows how spiritual violence replicates itself. Maher was bullied, and now he needs to show that he's superior to others.
He takes pride in being "politically incorrect," which just happens to be his way of justifying being mean and hoping people will laugh. There's a certain kind of person who confuses meanness with intelligence, who thinks that there's something defiant and edgy about making fun of the same people who everyone else makes fun of. That's usually the kind of person who wants to be politically incorrect (which is different from not caring about political correctness and thinking that political correctness is sometimes used to preserve privilege, mind you).
And notice how Maher's video doesn't even mention queer youth, the ostensible point of the project. Yes, bullying affects a lot of people, but teens don't follow all the gender rules get it worse and that should remain the focus of these videos. If we can't even make ourselves the point of our own community's projects, how can we expect anyone else to pay attention?
LGBTQ teens get bullied more than their peers because young people think that boys who are feminine and girls who are masculine and same-sex love are bad things. They aren't born little gender police; these are rules they pick up from adults. And when adults bully people for their gender performance, young people learn that it's a good reason to pick on others.
So it's fair to point out that Maher likes the gay jokes. A lot. We often let straight comedians off the hook if they support marriage and have gay friends (they're allies so they can behave like jerks!) but like to make gay people the butt of their jokes, but we shouldn't.
For example, how does this joke differ from the average 8th grade bully calling a classmate a fag?
The Olympics are pretty gay. Have you seen the opening ceremonies? Makes Cirque de Soleil look like a John Wayne movie. It's become so feminized. We have to find out that the javelin thrower is fighting diabetes and he was brought up in an orphanage.
Of course, he would say that it's just a joke. Lighten up.
Which is the same reaction a bully gives to those on the receiving end if they complain.
He doesn't have to take up bullying as a cause if he wants to continue to be a professional bully. He's the kid who gets bullied and who grows up and sees that it gets better not because he's freer but because now he's big and can bully others - not exactly the kind of getting better we should be promoting.