Bill Maher, while a comedian with an acerbic style, as always makes some good points – this time about political correctness.
He wades into the Michael Sam controversy, where an NFL player freaked out and tweeted “OMG horrible,” and subsequently got fined and suspended for it.
Maher thinks that went too far, especially since we, the side of good, basically won this battle by having an inter-racial gay kiss on ESPN (not to mention, we’ve basically won the marriage battle nationwide as well – it’s not over yet, but it will be). And we have won, but there is a problem with creating a hostile work environment for other players on the team.
Speaking of hostile work environments, Maher went on to talk about Mozilla’s former CEO Brendan Eich. The problem with Eich was not, as Maher alleged, that Eich was against gay marriage. The problem was that he was an anti-gay activist who donated money to a campaign intended to wipe out the already-existing legal marriages of gay couples. Perhaps Maher would have defended that as well, but it’s different from simply “not being in favor of gay marriage.” That was never the problem with Brendan Eich.
Of course, Maher does have a larger point that I don’t entirely disagree with. We have become an outrage-culture where social media has turned everyone into an instant trigger-happy expert on how awful every other person on the planet really is, and how they simply must be destroyed. And I don’t claim to be totally innocent here, either. I’ve done my share of advocacy campaigns. But as I’ve written before, being a good activist is about more than simply having a Twitter account, or even amassing a sizable number of followers. Good advocacy, “just” advocacy, is about going after the right, and legitimate, target proportionate to their offense, and for a reason. And the reason, if you’re a really good activist, is usually something far beyond “punishment.” It’s often about changing a larger culture, or effecting some greater change at an organization, or an industry. And, if you’re really good, sometimes you take a pass, because the thing everyone else determined to be outrageous sometimes simply isn’t.
Speaking of people we’re supposed to hate, here’s Bill Maher: