In a monologue on Friday, HBO comedian Bill Maher made the argument that red state Republicans were not actually annoyed at the liberal antics of the elite because they disagree with the values and politics of your average New York City Democrat; rather, anyone inland more than a few hundred miles is simply jealous of the jetsetting, 21st century lifestyle enjoyed by those who live in America’s collective answers to ancient Babylon.
In context, Maher was bashing Amazon’s Jeff Bezos for even trying to build a new headquarters in New York City in the first place. Making a decent argument (though one that fell quickly off the rails), Maher suggested that companies like Amazon should build in places that really need new jobs.
“We have a problem in America called spatial geographic inequality which means the most affluent and educated people are clustered in just a few cities,” he said.
Not entirely sure about that, but it just got more offensive from there.
“The blue parts of America are having a big prosperity party while the big sea of red feels like their invitation got lost in the mail — and they still use the mail,” Maher said. “They turn on the TV and all the shows take place in a few hip cities, there’s no ‘Real Housewives of Toledo’ or ‘CSI: Lubbock.’ There are no red carpets in Wyoming and no one ever asks you, ‘Who are you wearing?’ Because the answer is always ‘Target.’
“We have orchestras and theaters districts and world-class shopping. We have Chef Wolfgang Puck, they have Chef Boyardee,” he continued. “Our roofs have solar panels, theirs have last year’s Christmas lights. We’ve got legal bud, they’ve got Bud. We have anal bleaching, they have Congressman Steve King. The flyover states have become the passed-over states. That’s why red state voters are so pissed off. They don’t hate us, they want to be us. They want to go to the party.”
We’re not really sure how seriously to take any of this; Maher is a comedian, after all, and he’s playing to a pretty specific crowd. It would be pretty silly for a New York liberal to get uptight about something Larry the Cable Guy said, and this is probably just the same thing in reverse. It’s just that the unholy arrogance – mixed with an extraordinary dose of arrogance – is a bit much to take. Perhaps Maher hasn’t noticed that the most popular man in conservative circles these days – President Donald Trump – has enough money to buy and sell him fifty times over?
Oh well, let him think what he wants. If he thinks Wolfgang Puck dinners and red carpet premieres are really what make life worth living, he’s doesn’t need any more punishment from us.