Bill Maher: I think I hate you
On September 8, 2007, nursing mamas in 105 locations in 38 states participated in a nurse-in, "after a breastfeeding mother was treated poorly by Applebee's on both local and corporate levels." On September 14, 2007 Bill Maher, on "Real Time with Bill Maher", spent a good part of his opening comments elborating how he thought breastfeeding in public was narcisistic and inappropriate. See the whole thing here (and forward to the 7:00min point).
He said, "Breastfeeding a baby is an intimate act, and I don’t want to watch strangers performing intimate acts…” He equates breastfeeding, a “natural” act, with masturbating, also an “intimate”, “natural” act. Making it sound like breastfeeding is some fad, he speculates, “Next thing, mothers will want to give birth in the waterfall at the mall.”
If we mamas nurse in public and are not decent about it, we are “lazy to either plan ahead or cover up.” To the mothers who nurse publicly, he says you are “fighting for the spotlight that you surely will get when you go 'Janet Jackson' on everyone." And, finally, he winds down with “Only in America do women think they deserve a medal for having a kid," and he suggests that even dogs can have kids (so are we all dogs?) He closes with “it’s about how petty and parochial our causes have become, how activism has become narcissism..... There is a place where breasts and food go together, it’s called ‘Hooters’”.
Cyberspace is teeming with anger with his comments, just google "bill maher breastfeeding" to find mamas and others around the country who are writing about it. I try not to be hypersensitive when it comes to comedians trying to make a buck and tell a joke, but Bill Maher goes too far and is offensive, obscene, misogynistic, completely outta line. Local mama Bridget is preparing a statement to send to HBO, and you can email her at billmahermustapologize@comcast
Here is an excerpt from the transcript, for those of you who want all the gory details:
Last week, the world’s first “Nurse In” was held to protest the case of a woman who was breast-feeding in public, and asked by an Appleby’s manager not to leave, but just to cover up a little bit. Because the wait staff got tired of hearing, “I’ll have what that kid’s having.” [laughter] [applause]
Look, I’m not trying to be insensitive here. I know your baby needs to eat, but so do I, and this is Appleby’s, so I’m already nauseous. [laughter]
Breast-feeding a baby is an intimate act, and I don’t want to watch strangers performing intimate acts. At least not for free. [laughter] It cheapens it. [laughter] But breast-feeding activists – yes, breast-feeding activists, called “lactivists” – say this is a human right and appropriate everywhere, because it’s natural. Well, so is masturbating, but I generally don’t do that at Appleby’s. [laughter] [applause] Not in the main dining area, anyway.
I mean, next thing, women will be wanting to give birth in the waterfall at the mall! [laughter] Look, there’s no principle at work here other than being too lazy to either plan ahead or cover up. It’s not fighting for a right. It’s fighting for the spotlight you surely will get when you go all “Janet Jackson” on everyone. [laughter] And get to drink in the “oohs” and “aahs” from the other customers because “You made a baby!” [laughter] Something a dog can do. [laughter] [applause] [cheers]
Only in America do women think they deserve a medal for having a kid. In China, women give birth on their lunch hour, and by the afternoon, they’re back on line, painting lead onto Barbie dolls. [laughter] [applause]
But this isn’t really about women taking their breasts out in public, as much as I’d like it to be. [laughter] It’s about how petty and parochial our causes have become, how activism has become narcissism. It’s why Al Gore can’t get people to focus on global warming unless there’s a rock concert. “Melting icebergs, brought to you by Smashing Pumpkins.”
It’s why there’ll be no end to this dumb war until there is a draft. Because, at the end of the day, Iraq is somebody else’s problem.
And, by the way, there is a place where breasts and food do go together. It’s called “Hooters.” [laughter] [applause]