The other night I’m flipping through the channels and Real Time shows up. It’s a show I’d ordinarily skip — Bill Maher is unfunny and insufferable — but he had economist Charles Murray on. Murray is an AEI scholar, brilliant, and I thought that he might stand a chance at putting some knowledge to Maher and his lapdog audience.
Murray and Maher were talking about the economy, income and the cost of living. Every time Murray tried to work in a real point, using facts and statistics, Maher tried a distraction. Murray argued that out-of-wedlock births are hurting society, and Maher counters that some people at the top make too much money.
A few minutes in, Maher decides that quipping about his rear end isn’t enough. So he cites — not making this up — the 1960s TV show That Girl to argue that the “rent is too damn high.”
Yes — That Girl. Talk about using dated references.
That Girl is both Maher’s argument, and his conclusion: A fake shop girl could afford a fabulous apartment on her unrealistic and fictional 1960s TV show, and therefore the country’s economics are falling apart now and Jimmy McMillan has the right platform. Watch the video — language warning. That Girl makes her entrance at about the 4:30 mark if you want to skip ahead.
It’s unfortunate that Murray tried taking Maher seriously and argued on his terms. The only proper response to the That Girl argument is to laugh in Bill Maher’s face. And keep laughing, and openly mocking his shallowness and ignorance on his own stage, until Maher can’t stand it anymore. Break the conversation with derision, because that’s the only thing it, Bill Maher and his audience deserve.
You won’t get invited back onto the show. But if Maher’s stage is a place where That Girl passes as a serious economic argument, what’s the point of appearing on the show at all?